The 2016-2017 school year marks year two for the Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) system at Nevada Community School District. While the structure of intentional teacher leadership was not novel to Nevada, the program did allow for some new positions and opportunities for professional growth. Last school year, the position of instructional guide was created in all three buildings in the district. As instructional guides, we work collaboratively with teachers and administration to plan professional development, directly coach and encourage learning team coaches and peer mentors, and support the teachers within their buildings through resources and coaching. The 2016-2017 school year brought a new face to our instructional guide team through Katie Borton, who previously served as the seventh grade-science teacher.
Together the district’s instructional guide team set out to plan a year of learning for the TLC team around two main focuses: Intentionality and Awareness. Gathering with the district’s learning team coaches and peer mentors, the team dug into Intentionality and Awareness supported by learning from “The Art of Coaching” by Elena Aguilar. The goal of the TLC day learning was to provide all staff with intentional support based on awareness of the individual needs of educators in Nevada Community School District. Coaches, mentors and guides worked on disciplinary skills such as listening, paraphrasing, questioning and planning. The team also gained awareness tools like The Ladder of Inference, Coaching Lenses, Myers-Briggs, “Minding the Gap” and much more. Each TLC day included the increasing of knowledge about a concept or tool, modeling of a coaching practice and finally, practice of the learning. Coaches and mentors were then given opportunities to extend their learning beyond the TLC day and later discuss the extension at a following meeting. The feedback we have received on the structure and learning from the TLC days has been overwhelmingly positive, with coaches and mentors communicating a feeling of value and empowerment through their learning.
As a result of the TLC grant, the instructional guide team was also given the opportunity to attend the National ASCD Conference, Empower ’17. We agree the conference was one of the best professional development experiences we have had. Each instructional guide attended the conference with a focus for their building as well as a collective focus for the district and is implementing their new learning. We believe Nevada Community School District will notice significant benefits from our conference attendance over the next school year.
Meg, Deb and Katie feel fortunate to have Justin Gross as the director of school improvement and innovation. He is a great support to the TLC team through his clear vision, excellent coaching practices and deep caring for the students and teachers of Nevada Community School District. As the 2017-2018 school year approaches, the TLC team’s goal is to continue moving forward by supporting and empowering teachers in their professional growth, passions and goals.
As an instructional guide team, we would like to say a big thank-you to the district and community for the support of TLC. Educators are “world changers” and a continued commitment to developing the “world changers” is a commitment to the next generation.