Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching — A Partnership Between the Annenberg Foundation and the Pennsylvania Department of Education
PIIC Starts 2014-15 School Year with Interactive PLO PDF Print E-mail

PIIC hosted the first Professional Learning Opportunity (PLO) of the 2014-2015 school year from September 29-October 1, 2014 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.  In addition to the PLO, PIIC also hosted its second Administrator Day on September 30.  The Administrator Day sessions provided time for administrators to learn from one another as well as attend several sessions with instructional coaches during the PLO. 

PIIC Executive Director Ellen Eisenberg welcomed participants on September 29, which then led to mixed conversations among all participants.  Participants were randomly pre-assigned to tables, creating networking opportunities for participants across IUs. 

After the table talk session, participants moved to their preselected breakout sessions.  Participants registered for breakout sessions prior to the PLO via an online registration form.  Breakout sessions included:

  • Participants new to PIIC attended Coaching 101: PIIC Instructional Coaching model, the BDA Cycle, and the 4-Quadrant Framework, facilitated by Ellen Eisenberg;
  • Facilitation and Presentation: Understanding the Difference, facilitated by FHI 360 Vice President Ivan Charner;
  • Digging Deeper with Formative Assessment, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentors Kathleen Eich and Lori Ceremuga;
  • The PA Core Shift to Argumentative Writing, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentors Loriann Ruddy and Amy Walker;
  • How Research and Evaluation Can Make the Case for Instructional Coaching, facilitated by PIIC Senior Advisor and Evaluator Elliott Medrich.

The first day of the PLO concluded with Understanding the Danielson Domains and Coaching, a Carousel of Learning session where participants reviewed the supporting documentation, i.e., evidence and examples, to accompany the Danielson framework that administrators can use when evaluating teachers in their coaching role. Participants were divided into four groups to discuss the domains.  IU PIIC Mentor facilitators included Cindy Shaffer, Jeremy Gabborin, Heather Moschetta, Missy Petrilak, Mike Derman, Donna Waleski, Diane Hubona, Carol Adams, and Stephanie Schwab.

Day 2 of the PLO started with brief announcements and time for self-reflection. Participants then moved into their preselected breakout sessions.  Participants selected one of the following sessions:

  • Participants new to PIIC attended Literacy: Building a Foundation through PLN, facilitated by PLN Director Joe Ginotti;
  • Understanding the Coach’s Role in the Educator Effectiveness SLO Process, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentor Melissa Devlin and IU 14 Program Administrator Jeff Rothenberger;
  • Danielson and PIIC: Creating the Connection, facilitated by IU 17 Educational Consultant Todd Moyer and IU PIIC Mentors Carol Adams and Teri Everett;
  • Building Language-Based Activities: Digging Below the Surface, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentors Stevie Kline, Mike Derman, and Cindy Shaffer;
  • Moving from PA Core Math Standards to Coaching Classroom Practice in Mathematics, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentor Missy Petrilak and PIIC RMC Gen Battisto.

During the breakout sessions, 15 administrators from various PIIC-participating IUs joined Ellen Eisenberg, Bruce Eisenberg, and RMCs Tom Sebastian and Charles Territo for the second PIIC Administrator Day.  After a short introduction, administrators shared their experiences with instructional coaching (IC), reflected on ways to support IC, learned about the PIIC framework and BDA cycle of coaching, and set goals to support IC in their schools.

PIIC Administrator Day participants later joined the PLO participants for the general session, Implementing an Effective Literacy Framework: How School Leaders and Coaches Can Best Support Literacy Across All Content Areas, facilitated by PLN Director Joe Ginotti.  The time with coaches and administrators together gave participants an opportunity to see coaching from both perspectives as well as an opportunity to collaborate about strategies for school wide improvement.

After that general session, PLO participants attended Part 2 of the Carousel of Learning session, Understanding the Danielson Domains and Coaching.  This session focused on domains 3 and 4 and participants were again divided into four groups.  IU PIIC Mentor facilitators included IU PIIC Mentors Amy Walker, Barb Wilkinson, Loriann Ruddy, Todd Moyer, Lori Ceremuga, Stevie Kline, Melissa Devlin, and Teri Everett.  Administrators attended their own session of Instructional Coaching and the Danielson Framework: Evidence and Examples, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentors Kathleen Eich and Terri Lewis and instructional coaches Joanne Custer and Amy Wall.

Upon concluding the Danielson domains sessions, coaches and administrators reconvened for IU Team Time and Ask the Coaches, two table talk sessions designed for participants to discuss the Danielson domains, how administrators and coaches can work together to achieve common goals, and the importance of the coach-administrator relationship.

Participants started day 3 of the PLO by discussing two very important questions with their table groups from day 1: What can I do as a coach to help teachers change and improve their practice? What can I do as a coach to help teachers improve student engagement and outcomes?  Participants found working in the same groups as the first day of the conference beneficial to developing and strengthening their coaching networks.  After working with table groups, participants rotated to one of the following breakout sessions:

  • An Introduction to the ILV Process, facilitated by PIIC Associate Director Bruce Eisenberg and PIIC consultant Skip McCann;
  • Coaching Strategies: Getting Started, facilitated by Exeter Township SD Instructional Coach Karen Denunzio and IU PIIC Mentor Melissa Devlin;
  • Making the Most of Small Group Coaching, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentor Jeremy Gabborin and RMC Kathy Gori;
  • Digging Deeper with Formative Assessment, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentors Donna Waleski and Heather Moschetta;
  • Coaching with Evidence-Based Literacy Practices, facilitated by IU PIIC Mentor Terri Lewis and Penn Manor SD Instructional Coach Amy Wall.

Breakout sessions were followed by mentor-led table talk sessions with their table groups from the morning session to reflect on how coaches can work with teachers on specific domains.  Groups rotated into IU team time immediately following the table discussion to conclude the PLO.

PIIC received positive feedback about the PLO:

“I loved the interactions between the participants! The use of the word activity plus IU team time provided lots of time for meaningful conversations.”
-PIIC Regional Mentor Coordinator

“Embedding the coaching process into the school culture takes time.  This is my third year and I can see shifts happening.  It is important to stay focused and keep chipping away.  The PIIC conferences help me with that process!”
-Full-Time Instructional Coach

“I like the IU table time. I feel this is needed to share ideas with colleagues that I work with closely in the IU.  I have felt that our IU has become closer with our networking and supporting each other because of the PIIC PLOs.”
-Full-Time Instructional Coach

“As always, the breakout sessions were great.  Every session is well planned, delivered with expertise and always model effective practices. At every PLO, I am inspired by the facilitators of these sessions and always take something away that I use with coaches.”
-IU PIIC Mentor

You can read more feedback from this event on the Testimonials page.  The agendas from the PLO and Administrator day are available on our Past Professional Learning Opportunities page.  You can also find photos from this event in the PIIC Photo Gallery.  Our next PIIC Professional Learning Opportunity will be January 12-14, 2015 at The Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, PA.  Details can be found on our Events page.