Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Literacy Coaches: Closing the Gap Between Training and Use

Donna Bickel, Donna Micheaux, Annette Seitz, Lillie Sipp, Nancy Artz.

About five years ago, educators across the United States began talking about the potentials of having an on-site professional developer in all schools, supporting teachers via modeling lessons, providing materials and helping assess student learning. Most large, urban school districts have now hired somebody who loosely fills this role. But the initial data on the effectiveness of this role has raised some new issues about the role itself, the effectiveness of professional development, and schools as learning communities generally. Unfortunately, the hiring of an additional person in a school does not solve the problem of low student achievement.

Over the past five years, the Institute For Learning at the University of Pittsburgh has been working with many large, urban school districts as they train their coaches. In the course of this work, we have seen the need to stay content-specific and focus on rigorous lesson design. We have accepted the collapse of the “cascade” model and recognized that for any model to be successful, it has to work with the whole system. A coach cannot do it alone. We have also had to recognize that quality professional development no longer means simply that the participants learn something. The participants have to be enabled to effect change in classroom instruction using what they learned.

This paper outlines the lessons learned and potential professional development structures that may foster adult learning communities that in turn support richer, more rigorous learning opportunities for all students.


Donna Bickel  (United States)

Donna Micheaux  (United States)

Annette Seitz  (United States)
Resident Fellow
Institute For Learning
Univeristy of Pittsburgh

Seitz, a Resident Fellow at the Institute For Learning, is currently the district liaison for Springfield, MA and works on the Content-Focused Coaching team. This includes development and in-district implementation and support. Previously, Seitz worked with New Standards both on standards development and on professional development and in-district implementation.

Lillie Sipp  (United States)

Nancy Artz  (United States)

  • Coaches
  • Literacy
  • Professional development
  • Learning community

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)