Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching — A Partnership Between the Annenberg Foundation and the Pennsylvania Department of Education

Every month we PIIC the brains of one of our mentors and ask them to write about topics related to instructional coaching and mentoring.  See what they have to say...

Click here to see a complete list of Mentor Blogs



Coming to Terms with Engagement PDF Print E-mail

By IU PIIC Mentors Sondra Humenansky, Melissa Petrilak, and Mike Zwanch

What have we learned about fidget spinners being banned in schools?  These fidget spinners are being labeled as distractions in classrooms without little inquiry as to why students are utilizing them in the first place.  As we think back to events in history, there has always been a huge emphasis on keeping people engaged. During the days of the Roman Empire, soldiers were directed to construct coliseums along the border to help them hone their skills and stay focused during long periods of inactivity. Soldiers during World War II were regularly provided cigarettes and chocolate bars to keep them mentally alert between battles.  So why isn’t there the same time and effort being placed to mentally engage our students during classroom instruction?


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Reflection: Looking ahead by looking back PDF Print E-mail

By IU PIIC Mentors Scott Snyder and Alicia Hull

When we began as coach mentors just a year ago, the future was cloudy and uncertain. How would we adapt to this new challenge? How would we design and plan for our meetings? How would we keep our coaches engaged and growing? There was a bigger issue too: would coaching even exist beyond the 2016-17 school year? Now, nearly a year later, we are still here and looking ahead to another year of instructional coach mentoring. How did we get here and where are we going next?


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Reflecting on Growth Mindset PDF Print E-mail

By IU PIIC Mentors Jamie Pitcavage and Denise Ross

Imagine going to the emergency room with a broken arm.  The doctor examines the break and says, “This is pretty severe.  We’re just going to have to amputate it.”  Shocked, you think the doctor would at least try to mend it with a cast, splint, or something! You ask the doctor about those options, but the doctor replies, “Well, this is the way we’ve always done it.”


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The School Board Wants to Know: Why PIIC Coaching? PDF Print E-mail

By IU PIIC Mentors Diane Hubona and Jeremy Gabborin

School board members voluntarily take on the role of guiding school-wide district decisions and are charged to make fiscally responsible choices. As PIIC coaching mentors, we both acknowledge the arduous task board members face as they ask: Why should we invest in instructional coaches? Shouldn’t teachers already know how to teach? How can we afford the cost of coaching positions?


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LEADING WITH A PURPOSE PDF Print E-mail

By RMC Jacky Territo and IU PIIC Mentors Jen Herncane and Breanne Scears

Leadership is a daunting task, even for someone with legitimate authority or power.   “Following one step ahead” of one’s peers can be even more challenging for a coach or mentor.  But in the scheme of things, who is better to lead when they have already walked a mile in one’s shoes?


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