We’ve talked about that feeling that coaches sometimes have where it’s like they are alone on an island, marooned and fending for themselves…that feeling one gets when they are a “singleton” in their building or even their district. Do you ever wonder what other coaches are doing? What other coaches are choosing for professional learning? Where other coaches are struggling? Well, we wonder those same things at the state level! We wonder about you - all of you. The good news is, we do more than simply wonder - we ask you! For the last 2 years, we’ve been asking you to self-assess your strengths and areas for growth as it relates to the coaching competencies so that we can be proactive in addressing statewide needs for support and celebrations.
A decision support data system (DSDS) is a system for identifying, collecting, and analyzing data that are useful to systems implementing innovations. It must be a data system that provides timely, reliable data for decision-making. At the state level, we leverage the DSDS to build coaching supports for the field - whether that is in the form of professional learning opportunities, data collection tools, or resources to support recruiting and hiring of coaching staff. An important goal for us is to always listen and seek input from you before developing supports that respond to your needs as coaches. We want to ensure we are creating the most useful and relevant resources to support Wisconsin’s coaches. So, we asked… and you responded.
When asked what sort of professional learning opportunities are coaches engaging with, the majority of coaches are accessing self-directed learning through webinars and book studies. You can see from the graph below what kind of professional learning opportunities are important to coaches across the state.
Coaches across the state also provide information about the content of learning they hope to see. With over 600 responses from the field, we are developing a pretty clear picture of where to focus the professional learning energy. If you are unfamiliar with the self-assessment, coaches are asked to rate a series of coaching skills (aligned to the CCPP) from low to high. Based on these aggregated ratings the competencies of Equity Mindset, Knowledge Base Development and Change Facilitation were rated the lowest. Based on this information, we can infer that these competencies would benefit from more opportunities for coaches to grow these skills.
Digging deeper into the data, we see more patterns. Coaches want support in the following areas:
- Examining and challenging oppressive policies and practices (Competency 1)
- Urging others to examine core values, biases and mindsets (Competency 2)
- Leveraging others’ strong emotions (Competency 3)
- General coaching strategies (Competency 4)
- Identifying possibilities and obstacles in conversations (Competency 5)
- Generating productive conflict (Competency 6)
- Speaking to and modeling self-care (Competency 7)
What similarities do you have with this statewide data? Where do you see your needs matching those of a growing statewide collective of coaches?
Taking a deep dive into this statewide coaching data helps us make informed decisions. It is one way we incorporate data into the decisions we make, so it is more than just wondering about what coaches want or need, it is data informed!
Designing, building and sustaining a coaching system is no small task. Many regions, districts and schools across the state are working toward that goal as well. We know that each level of the system is interconnected and depends on the another to be successful. The supports that are created at the state level will help regions, districts and schools build and grow their own systems of support for robust coaching - coaching that ultimately positively impacts adult practices and student outcomes.
Be on the lookout for professional learning focused on these identified needs. Watch for learning that speaks to you. Connect with a colleague and talk about how you can support one another in your professional growth journey, odds are, you’re more alike than you may know!