El Campo ISD

El Campo school leaders are going back to basics creating district instructional coaches, hoping to assist less experienced teachers in the upcoming school year.

An instructional coach is hired to provide training and expertise to teachers and to help improve students’ academic performance. A coach must have prior teaching experience, but will not work directly in El Campo classrooms.

Going into the 2021-2022 school year, administrators are looking to redefine the roles of instructional coaches after looking at research and considering how to use the coaches more effectively, administrators said.

“Elective, career and technical, and fine arts teachers have not benefited from our Instructional Coaches in the present model,” Assistant Superintendent Dolores Trevino told the Leader-News. “The ‘21-’22 Instructional Coaching Program will focus on supporting teachers with less than five years of experience and alternatively certified teachers who did not earn a degree in education by providing mentoring and ongoing professional growth.”

In previous years, ECISD instructional coaches helped teachers based on specific academic subjects. In the new school year, the coaches will be assigned to a specific campus, but provide assistance to all teachers, regardless of class content. Instructional coaches will no longer have administrative duties in the upcoming school year, Trevino said.

“We very much have customized the instructional coach role,” Trevino said at the ECISD school board meeting on Jan. 26. “That kind of led us to where we are now where we really need to get back to doing it to fidelity, true to instructional coaching.”

The district currently has seven instructional coaches and is looking to hire one more from internal candidates for the 2021-2022 school year. The new hire will need to have a Master’s degree in education, at least five years of teaching experience, three years of classroom experience, with at least one year at ECISD. The new coach will work at the elementary school level.

Before August, the district plans to have one coach each at Myatt Elementary and Northside Elementary, and two each at Hutchins Elementary, El Campo Middle School and El Campo High School.

“The number of instructional coaches for ‘21-’22 was determined by reviewing student and teacher numbers at each campus and distributing them accordingly,” Trevino said.

At the board meeting, Trevino discussed the district’s plans for the instructional coach role with trustees. Administrators and campus principals met with the instructional coaches earlier in the school year to discuss the changes and how best to implement them.

“We were really looking at focusing their job description and roles and responsibilities to truly support teachers so that student achievement would be increased,” Trevino said.

Administrators hope to hold instructional coach training in the spring and summer of this year so that coaches will be ready to work in their new roles as soon as the new school year starts.

Traditionally coaches would attend training conferences earlier in the year, but there have been few due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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