|Frequently Asked Questions|
IU PIIC Mentors work with instructional coaches to focus on increasing student engagement and improving student achievement through the implementation of the PLN framework and other evidence-based literacy strategies.
What is the Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional coaching? The Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching is a statewide effort designed to develop and support the consistent delivery of high quality instructional coaching, ongoing mentoring and sustained professional development for instructional coaches and mentors. It is a system of training and support for instructional coaches, teacher leaders, and the mentors who support them.
Don’t good teachers of adolescents automatically make good teachers/coaches of adults? (i.e., Isn't there a uniform set of skills for good teaching?) In athletics, not every great athlete automatically becomes a great coach. This same theory applies to education. Not every great teacher automatically becomes a great coach but every great coach must have been a great teacher.
There is a core set of skills and standards that describe instructional coaching. Our hopes are that each school district hires highly qualified coaches to support their school improvement plans and strategic plans.
Does PIIC provide any direct service to students? No, PIIC provides direct services to coaches who provide direct services to teachers. Teachers then provide the direct services to students.
Funding and Hiring
How will the IU mentors be hired? Some IUs already have a staff member who qualifies for the position. If not, a job posting will be necessary. The hiring practices of the IU are the responsibility of the individual IU.
IU mentors are learning about the Penn Literacy Network (PLN). What if the districts they serve are already implementing another literacy framework? The Penn Literacy Network embraces instructional techniques and literacy strategies designed to enhance student outcomes, change teacher practices and increase student engagement. It is not meant to supplant any instructional/literacy framework already implemented in districts. PLN offers additional instructional techniques and strategies for a teacher’s toolbox.
How will the IU mentor be supported? The IU mentor will be supported by PDE, IU staff members and by PIIC’s executive team.
How will the superintendents of each district learn about PIIC and the IU mentoring services? The IU executive directors will communicate regularly with each superintendent in the IU. The curriculum coordinators in each IU will also be instrumental in sharing information about the professional development opportunities for the IU mentors. Mentors are expected to facilitate on-going professional development for the instructional coaches in each district. Our websites, www.pacoaching.org and www.instituteforinstructionalcoaching.org, newsletters and other print materials will be sources of information.
What professional development will the IU mentors receive? IU mentors are expected to participate in all PIIC professional learning opportunities. Planning these opportunities is collaborative with PDE, the IU executive directors, the IU curriculum coordinators, current mentors, current coaches, experts in the field, and other appropriate entities.
How will the IU mentors work with coaches? The IU mentors will work with the participating schools to plan a schedule for visitations with the instructional coaches and for facilitating ongoing professional learning opportunities for the districts in each IU.
What professional development will be offered to the coaches in each IU? There will be a full program of study for the instructional coaches designed during the pilot year which will reflect ongoing assessments for program improvement as suggested by the current mentors and IUs.
Is PIIC only a high school model? PIIC is currently designed to address the needs of instructional coaches and teachers in high schools across the state. Over the next 3-4 years, PIIC will expand its array of professional development and support to include grades K – 12.
How does PIIC support PDE’s six circles and the resiliency/wellness approach to student achievement? The PIIC programs of study will enhance PDE’s standards aligned system and are designed to help coaches, with the support of the IUs, help teachers improve student academic achievement and increase student engagement across all content areas in all schools.
What services will PIIC provide to help school administrators? PIIC’s program of study includes several sessions offering ongoing professional development on the process and content of instructional coaching and instructional mentoring. Please check the website for a list of items that will be addressed throughout the PIIC professional learning opportunities.
Will our coaches and teachers always have to go to workshops off campus to receive training support? PIIC provides offsite professional development approximately 3 times a year. In addition to the offsite learning opportunities, instructional coaches provide ongoing professional development in their building and at the IU. The IU based mentors will help coaches facilitate ongoing professional development at the school site, district site, or IU site.
Will PIIC lead professional development sessions at the high school based on needs and issues identified by the school? (i.e., Will PIIC work directly with teachers to support professional development?) Instructional coaches from each school should design a needs assessment for their school to identify the needs. The PIIC mentors help the instructional coaches plan and facilitate the professional development at the school site. In addition, coaches provide professional learning around topics shared through our PIIC programs of study around literacy and student engagement.
Will we be able to provide on-site support for technology issues related to CFF (Now 21st Century Teaching and Learning)? PIIC is a literacy based model providing coaches, administrators, and mentors with ongoing professional development opportunities on the content and process of instructional coaching and mentoring. Technology support is a focus of CFF.