Mentoring and Coaching
The Office of School Improvement of the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), in collaboration with the Virginia Foundation for Educational Leadership and the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center at Edvantia, provided training to school improvement teams during the 2009-2010 academic year. The first training, The Virginia Model: Mentor Coaching for School Improvement Institute, was held at the Doubletree Hotel in Charlottesville, July 26-31, 2009. Additional training was held during the school year via webinars and school site visits. The initiative is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Education through Section 1003(g).
The purpose of the training was to provide principals, mentor coaches, and central office staff with the knowledge,
tools, and skills to work with school faculties to make effective decisions resulting in increased student achievement. The goal was to provide continuous school improvement for the sake of all children. The institute training revolved around research-based strategies developed by the Center on Innovation and Improvement, the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ (NASSP) Breaking Ranks in the Middle (BRIM), and the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals’ (VASSP) mentoring and coaching program.
The overarching objective of the initiative was to provide a research-based model around which schools could improve student achievement. While the initiative is designed to help designated schools, the model is applicable for all school divisions and schools. It is anticipated that The Virginia Model will be adapted and replicated in several other states. Each school division involved in the initiative identified a mentor coach who will work with the principal and the school improvement team to develop and implement a school improvement plan. This mentor coach will be trained in mentor coaching, effective curricular and instructional strategies, and an adaptation of Breaking Ranks in the Middle (BRIM). The principals of the schools will be involved in the mentor coaching aspect of the training and will receive the adapted BRIM training in the fall. The success of the initiative is predicated on developing a close working relationship between the mentor coach, principal, and school improvement team.
The training involves a variety of topics which include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Creating a vision
• Expanding leadership capacity of others in the building and community
• Making data-driven decisions based on identified school needs
• Building a collaborative school community
• Evaluating both the formative and summative aspects of programs
• Allocating both fiscal and human resources
• Aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment
• Creating a personalized environment
The goal of every school in the Commonwealth of Virginia is to improve student achievement, have fully-accredited schools, and make adequate yearly progress (AYP) as mandated by No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The Virginia Model: Mentor Coaching for School Improvement initiative provides a structure to accomplish this. Through a year-long series of activities beginning with the mentor coaching institute and expanding to webinars, site visits, and school-based data entry, the model will provide a structure for improvement.