Teachers look for data trends to determine interventions, enrichment, and next steps for lesson planning. Administrators look for data trends to determine funding needs, student placement, and professional development. Just like teachers and administrators, coaches are constantly collecting data. Unfortunately, it is not always clear what coaches are supposed to do with this data. Do coaches share out their findings? Is a coach responsible for submitting their data for accountability? Does the data live on the coaches dashboard for their eyes only?
Coaches need to take the time to reflect on trends in their data. But, it is even more important for coaches to take action.
Build an Understanding on Where Coaching Time is Spent
If data trends show that 75% of coaching cycles are focused on supporting teachers with classroom management, what do you do? If 60% of your time is spent troubleshooting technology devices, do you just accept this as part of your job? If you are only working with 15% of the teachers on your campus, is it possible to make a bigger impact at your site?
Let’s start by understanding how to look for trends in coaching data and then use that to support teachers and administrators.
Trends in Coaching Data 🔎
Coaching trends come in many varieties. As you begin looking at your data, it can be helpful to have a few “look-for” items to determine trends and paint a data picture. Oftentimes, trends revolve around coaching cycle focuses, coaching hours, and coaching engagement.
- Coaching Cycle Focuses: Based on previous and current coaching cycles, what kind of challenges are teachers needing support with? This can be anything from professional growth to classroom management to differentiation and so on. Look at the coaching cycles focuses on your campus and see if you can find similarities. You can look at the percentage of teachers that you support in each different focus and/or the growth that the coaching cycle had on each focus. The biggest emphasis here is around clearly articulating the focus areas that are being supported during coaching cycles.
- Coaching Hours: Add up the total amount of hours you are engaged in coaching cycles and compare that to the hours spent at work doing other duties. In a typical day, week, or month how many hours are spent engaged in coaching cycles? Articulate how you are spending a majority of your time to see if you can find a common trend.
- Coaching Engagement: Engagement can take many forms for coaches. When it comes to data around engagement this can include the percent of educators being supported by a coach and the departments being supported. Use this data to identify coaching impact across your site. Coaching engagement data also includes the types of interactions that are taking place within a given period. Interaction types can be everything from coaching sessions to leading professional development to IT support. How are you engaging with teachers on your school campus?
Once you have found your trends in data, it is time to take action.
Using Data Trends to Select PD
Working with administrators and teachers to determine upcoming professional development (PD) does not need to be a stressful process. Use your data to help make decisions. As a coach, you can share out coaching cycle focus trends to see which areas teachers are seeking out for the most support. For example, if a majority of coaching cycles are focused on classroom management it might be time to invest in a site-wide PD focused on behavior support or responsive teaching. You might have to spend some time digging into the focus trend to find patterns within each cycle, but if many teachers on one campus are having the same challenge then a site-wide PD could be a valuable use of time and resources.
Data trends may also reflect that subgroups of teachers could use support in differing focuses. If this happens, look for ways to meet teachers where they are. Differentiating PD by giving choice boards, book studies, or mini Ed Camps with topics found in your coaching data would allow teachers to get the support they need at their level. PD should seldom be a one-size-fits-all approach unless the data is there to show the need.
Trends vs. Site Goals
Data trends and site goals should reflect one another. As a coach, it is important to look at the site goal and see if your data trends are supporting the goal or not. If your school goal is around academic growth and most of your engagements have involved classroom management support, it might be time to reach out to individual teachers, team leads, or department chairs to see how you can better support academic growth. There should be a clear alignment between coaching support and site goals. If this alignment is not present, it is time to speak up or look for opportunities to support in areas that do align with the school site goal.
Reflect on Trends
There is true value in time spent reflecting on data trends. Look for where most of your time is being spent. Ask yourself if your time could be better spent if your schedule was shifted or altered in any way.
Spend time reflecting on your coaching cycle focuses. If you find that most of your coaching cycles focus on one area (i.e. differentiation), ask yourself if this is a comfort area for you. It is completely natural to gravitate towards one focus over another, but it is also important to take risks and open the door for new challenges.
Reflecting on data trends is valuable for support in setting new goals.
Coaches have many opportunities to collect data and find trends through their interactive reports in connecthub.io. Once trends are determined coaches need to take action.