Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching — A Partnership Between the Annenberg Foundation and the Pennsylvania Department of Education
PIIC Hosts First PLO of 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 February 2015 13:02

PIIC started 2015 with a bang by hosting the second Professional Learning Opportunity (PLO) of the school year on January 12-14, 2015 at The Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, PA.  Over 140 coaches, administrators, IU PIIC Mentors, and Regional Mentor Coordinators (RMC) from 20 PIIC-participating Intermediate Units (IU) attended the three-day conference. 

Ellen Eisenberg, PIIC Executive Director, welcomed the group on January 12 and facilitated a mixed group activity.  Participants reviewed blogs from and engaged in conversation with a partner based on what they read.  Participants were randomly pre-assigned to tables, creating networking opportunities for participants across IUs. 

Following the table talk session, participants attended preselected breakout sessions.  Participants registered for breakout sessions prior to the PLO via an online registration form. Participants attended one of the following sessions:

  • Participants new to PIIC attended Coaching 101.5!, facilitated by Ellen Eisenberg;
  • It’s About the Questions, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentors Amy Walker and Lori Ceremuga;
  • Building Language Based Activities: Digging Below the Surface, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentors Stevie Kline, Mike Derman, and Cindy Shaffer;
  • Professional Learning Communities: A Culture of Collaboration, facilitated by Altoona Area High School Instructional Coaches Kelli Livermore and Mike Baker;
  • Coaching Effective Teaching Practices in Math to Ensure Success for All, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentor Missy Petrilak and PIIC RMC Gen Battisto.

After a short break, the day concluded with the general session, Coaching Teachers with Text Dependent Analysis (TDA), co-facilitated by Penn Literacy Network (PLN) Director Joe Ginotti and IU PIIC Mentor Diane Hubona.  The general session was the first of two TDA sessions, a  theme throughout the PLO. 

Participants started day 2 with some time to reflect on the previous day’s learnings.  Participants then moved into the first of two breakout sessions for the day.  Participants preselected one of the following sessions:

  • Participants new to PIIC attended Foundations of PLN, facilitated by Joe Ginotti;
  • “I used to say… but now I say…” facilitated by IU PIIC Mentors Carol Adams, Stephanie Schwab, and Heather Moschetta;
  • Capacity will Bloom! The Answer’s in the Room: Building a PLC at Your School, facilitated by Plymouth Whitemarsh High School Instructional Coach Becky Duffy and North Penn School District Instructional Coach Brett Baker;
  • The PA Core Shift to Argumentative Writing, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentors Amy Walker and Loriann Ruddy;
  • Be Smarter than Your Series: Coaching to the PA Core with a Reading Series, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentor Terri Lewis and Manheim township School District Instructional Coach Kim Kichline.

Following the breakout sessions, participants attended Going Deeper into Text Dependent Analysis, a concurrent session where participants were divided into four rooms to delve further into TDAs.  The concurrent session required eight facilitators, including IU PIIC Mentors Melissa Devlin, Kathleen Eich, Terri Lewis, Tish Hockensmith, Diane Hubona, Amy Walker, Teri Everett, and Jeremy Gabborin.

After lunch, participants attended their second breakout session for the day.  Sessions offered included:

  • Digging Deeper with Formative Assessment, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentors Kathleen Eich and Melissa Devlin;
  • It’s About the Questions, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentors Amy Walker and Lori Ceremuga;
  • “I used to say… but now I say…” facilitated by IU PIIC Mentors Carol Adams, Stephanie Schwab, and Heather Moschetta;
  • Twitter for Instructional Coaches: Following, Tweeting, and Chatting for Professional Growth, facilitated by Bellefonte Area School District Instructional Coach Jackie Wynkoop and IU PIIC Mentor Diane Hubona;
  • It’s Not Just About the Math: Coaches Promoting Analytical Thinking through MDC, facilitated by Huntingdon Area School District Instructional Coach Melissa Decker and IU PIIC Mentor Tish Hockensmith.

To close the session-filled day, mentors led IU Team Time, a session where coaches from each IU meet with their mentors and reflect on the PLO topics through the lens of instructional coaching. Coaches and mentors discussed what teacher knowledge and skills are necessary to enhance the instruction of TDAs and how coaches can use this information in their work with teachers. 

Day 3 of the PLO returned to the theme from the September 2014 PLO, the Danielson Framework.  Coaches and mentors discussed the Danielson Framework by identifying and sorting three current take-aways from the PLO into Danielson’s four domains.  Participants also addressed how they can use the BDA cycle of consultation to work with colleagues around the Danielson Framework.

Participants then met in groups for a Birds of a Feather session, an activity where participants developed topics of interest throughout the PLO to continue their conversations with their colleagues.  Following the Birds session, participants returned to their IU groups for Chat and Chew IU Team Time to plan professional development and professional learning around TDAs.

Feedback from the participants was positive:

Thank you and the PIIC team for orchestrating such a great opportunity for coaches from around PA to come together, collaborate, network and learn.  I had a great experience there and look forward to coming again in May.
-Part-Time Coach

Every time I have the privilege of attending a PLO, I am able to see my role as a change agent in my district having more value. Being a part of something as powerful and meaningful as PIIC has allowed me to see the strength in questioning and coaching. Thank you for making this possible!
-Full-Time Coach

The mood and rapport was outstanding. PIIC individuals truly have a sense of pride, camaraderie, and persistence to educate and support growth in learning.
-IU PIIC Mentor

What an amazing opportunity to learn alongside such positive and dedicated educators!
-District Administrator

You can read more feedback from this PLO on the Testimonials page.  The PLO agenda is available on our Past Professional Learning Opportunities page.  You can also find photos from the event in the PIIC Photo Gallery.  Our next PIIC Professional Learning Opportunity will be May 4-6, 2015 at the Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, PA.  Details can be found on our Events page.

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