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Building a Direct Channel Between Teachers, Coaches, and Academic Leadership

Establish school-to-district office communication channels to get feedback and to facilitate initiative rollouts

Overview

The pandemic challenged district teams to work with agility as well as greater proximity to teachers and learning to understand and respond to challenges. In Liberty Public Schools, leaders chose to limit the number of reporting levels in order to create a more direct channel between front-line educators and key decision-makers with power.

Approach

Instructional coaches are assigned to work as teams directly with educators in schools. These coaches report to the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Design, who reports directly to the Superintendent and is a member of the leadership Cabinet. This structure allows leadership visibility into day-to-day instructional challenges and also to work in a coherent way with site leaders to roll out new supports and initiatives.

“We're pretty stealthy. On Thursday, I sent out an all-call to the team and I said, I need you in five minutes. We need teacher feedback on what we're getting ready to roll out: our reentry plan. They got on. I mean, they dropped everything. They ran right to me. We jumped on. We discussed it first and discussed what was going on. And then they went off and got me the information I needed so I could put that in the superintendent's hand literally two hours later. It's not that our principals aren't a big part of that, but the difference between that leadership piece and the coaches is [that the coaches] are sitting side-by-side with the teachers being able to tell their story.” - Dr. Jeanette Westfall, Assistant Superintendent- Instructional Design, Liberty Public Schools


This strategy is a part of TLA's Hop, Skip, Leapfrog release, which explores the concrete ways in which schools and systems pursued student-centered innovation during COVID-19. Explore the full guide to find additional strategies, insights, and resources.