Citation
Coaching within a community of practice

Material Information

Title:
Coaching within a community of practice the effects of one urban school's collaborative professional development model on teacher instruction and student achievement
Creator:
Hessee, Gregory M
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
xviii, 295 leaves : ; 28 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Language arts teachers -- Training of ( lcsh )
Communities of practice ( lcsh )
Literacy -- Study and teaching ( lcsh )
Employees -- Coaching of ( lcsh )
Communities of practice ( fast )
Employees -- Coaching of ( fast )
Language arts teachers -- Training of ( fast )
Literacy -- Study and teaching ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Colorado Denver, 2011. Educational leadership and innovation
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 282-295).
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Gregory M. Hessee.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
780447065 ( OCLC )
ocn780447065

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text

COACHING WITHIN A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE:
THE EFFECTS OF ONE URBAN SCHOOLS COLLABORATIVE
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL ON TEACHER INSTRUCTION
AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
by
Gregory M. Hessee
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
2011


2011 by Gregory M. Hessee
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Gregory M. Hessee
has been approved
by
Deanna Sands
iii


Hessee, Gregory M. (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
Coaching within a Community of Practice: The Effects of One Urban Schools
Collaborative Professional Development Model on Teacher Instruction and
Student Achievement
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Nancy L. Shanklin
ABSTRACT
This study analyzes a professional development model implemented during the
2010-2011 school year at a large urban high school in the western United States
for a group of ten teachers of English Language Learners. Focusing on the work
of one community of practice consisting of ten interdisciplinary teachers guided
by a literacy coach, this study describes the activities of this model and their
intended goals through observations of and interviews with community of practice
participants. A specific section of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol
connected to the goals of the community of practice was used as an instrument for
determining changes in the instruction of four of these ten teachers over the
course of the school year. The literacy achievement of these four teachers
students were analyzed in terms of change in percentage proficient and median
growth percentile as compared to the school, district and state on the Colorado
Student Assessment Program, the Colorado English Language Assessment, and
the districts Acuity assessment. Findings from the classroom observations
indicate that the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol scores of the four
target teachers improved by an average of 28%. In-addition, observations and
interviews indicated that three of these four teachers exhibited changes to their
pedagogical philosophies due to their involvement in the work of this community
of practice. Though the analysis of the students achievement revealed that these
students failed to achieve at the same level as their peers, specific limitations may
help to explain these results. The study illustrates how communities of practice
engaged in activities such as learning labs can lead to improvements in teachers
instruction and students learning.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.


DEDICATION
This work is dedicated to my wife, Dara, whose pride and faith never allowed my
spirits to flag.
I would also like to dedicate this work to Belinda Munoz, the most infuriatingly
wonderful mentor I have encountered in this field. May this work help to increase
the scope of literacy coaches like you.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
To my Doctoral Committee, Dr. Nancy Shanklin, Dr. Deanna Sands, Dr. Alan
Davis, and Dr. Kris OClair: Thank you for supporting and guiding me through
this beautiful academic labyrinth. You were by my side during my greatest
struggles, both personal and professional, and I will never forget your patient
wisdom.
To Loan Maas and the literacy coaches of Hardin High School: Thank you for
guidance and understanding. If you had not been able to comprehend my
thoughts, however convoluted, I never would have made it through to this day.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES..................................................xvi
LIST OF TABLES..................................................xvii
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION....................................................1
Purpose of the Study.............................................2
Problem..........................................................3
The Author......................................................10
Research Questions..............................................12
Research Design and Context.....................................12
2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE.......................................16
The Conceptual Framework........................................18
Models of Coaching..............................................20
Implementation of Literacy Coaching: Roles and Responsibilities.22
Recent Research in Secondary Literacy Coaching..................26
Supporting Literacy across the Sunshine State................26
Pennsylvania High School Coaching Initiative.................29
Reading Assistance Initiative for Secondary School Educators.31
Recent Dissertations on Secondary Literacy Coaching..........32
Research from Hardin High Schools District..................34
Summary: The State of Secondary Literacy Coaching............36
vii


ELL Instruction and the SIOP
39
Professional Learning Communities and Learning Labs...............41
Professional Learning Communities...............................42
Learning Labs...................................................44
Theoretical Framework...........................................48
Language: A tool for development..............................48
Language: A tool for defining identity........................50
Creating communities and identities through discourse.........51
Mutually constitutive communities effects on individual identity.. 52
Situated learning within communities of practice............53
Resources essential for communities of practice and the IDZ.55
Summary.......................................................56
3. METHODOLOGY.......................................................60
Design...........................................................60
Research Questions..............................................61
Case Selection and Description....................................61
Hardin High School Demographics.................................63
Participants....................................................66
Professional community of practice............................67
Embedded case of teachers.....................................68
viii
The literacy coach.
68


The students.
69
PD Context: Coaching Model.............................................70
Data Collection and Analysis..............................................72
Research Question 1: What Are the Specific Features of the Collaborative
Coaching Professional Development Model Used by Hardin High School?
.......................................................................73
Data collection for research question 1..............................74
Coach interviews..................................................74
Community of practice observations................................75
Data analysis for research question 1................................76
Coach interviews..................................................76
Community of practice observations................................77
Research Question 2: To What Extent Do the Instructional Practices of the
Target Teachers within this Community of Practice Change?..............78
Data collection for research question 2..............................79
Classroom observations using the SIOP rubric......................79
Fieldnotes from classroom observations............................82
Meeting artifacts.................................................82
Informal target teacher interviews................................85
Data analysis for research question 2................................86
Classroom observations using the SIOP rubric......................86
IX


Fieldnotes from classroom observations
87
Data triangulation...........................................88
Coded fieldnotes from the observations of the community of
practice..................................................89
Exit tickets collected from the learning labs.............89
Informal interviews with or reflection papers from the target
teachers..................................................90
Research Question 3: To What Extent Does the Literacy Achievement of
These Teachers Students Change?.................................91
Data collection for research question 3........................91
The CSAP assessments in reading and writing..................92
The CELA assessment..........................................93
Acuity assessment in reading.................................95
Data analysis for research question 3..........................96
Threats to Validity.................................................98
Internal.........................................................98
External.........................................................99
Limitations........................................................100
4. RESULTS: SPECIFIC FEATURES OF THE COLLABORATIVE
COACHING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL..........................102
Intended Model......................................................103
x


Effects........................................................103
Activities.....................................................104
Focal sessions...............................................105
Learning labs................................................107
Collaborative planning.......................................112
Individual coaching..........................................113
Alterations....................................................115
Programmatic alterations.....................................115
Protocol alterations.........................................118
Alterations to individual coaching...........................121
Summary..........................................................123
5. RESULTS: INSTRUCTIONAL CHANGES...................................125
Selma Halka......................................................128
Language Used to Interact with Students........................129
Use of Sentence Stems..........................................139
Use of Group Work..............................................142
SIOP Growth....................................................152
Pilar Cruz.......................................................155
Expectations of Language Use..................................155
Use of Sentence Stems..........................................161
Use of Group Work..............................................165
xi


Can I Just Do Learning Labs Every Day Next Year?..............171
SIOP Growth...................................................173
Samuel Harris...................................................175
Use of a Peer Translator......................................176
Use of Group Work.............................................178
SIOP Growth...................................................180
Jocelyn Collins.................................................182
Oral Language Use.............................................184
Use of Sentence Stems.........................................186
Use of Group Work.............................................187
SIOP Growth....................................................190
Summary..........................................................190
6. RESULTS: STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT....................................196
CELA Results.....................................................198
CELA Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to School: One sample T-
test..........................................................200
CELA Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to School: One sample T-
test..........................................................201
CELA Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to District: One sample T-
test..........................................................202
xii


CELA Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to District: One sample T-
test.....................................................................202
CELA Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to State: One sample T-test
.........................................................................203
CELA Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to State: One sample T-test
.........................................................................204
CSAP Results................................................................205
CSAP Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to School: One sample T-
test.....................................................................207
CSAP Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to School: One sample T-
test.....................................................................208
CSAP Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to District: One sample T-
test.....................................................................209
CSAP Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to District: One sample T-
test.....................................................................210
CSAP Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to State: One sample T-test
........................................................................211
CSAP Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to State: One sample T-test
..................................................................212
Acuity Results........................................................213
Limitations...........................................................215
Xlll


Time Period.......................................................216
The Professional Development Focus................................217
Assessment Difficulties...........................................218
7. CONCLUSION..........................................................222
Findings............................................................222
The Professional Development Model................................222
Instructional Changes.............................................223
Student Achievement...............................................224
Limitations.........................................................225
The Coachs Role..................................................225
The Non-Target Teachers...........................................226
The Students Perspectives........................................227
Shifting Beliefs: A Possible Explanation for the Results............227
Selma's Shift.....................................................231
Pilars Shift.....................................................235
Jocelyns Shift...................................................238
Recommendations for Practice........................................241
Determining Focus.................................................242
Being Flexible with Protocols.....................................243
Incorporating Professional Readings...............................245
Altering Collaborative Planning Time..............................246
xiv


Determining Student Growth through Assessment..................248
Coaching Individually..........................................248
Recommendations for Future Research..............................250
Implications.....................................................253
Implementation.................................................253
Potential......................................................254
Participant engagement.......................................255
Additive effects.............................................259
Epilogue: Where Are They Now?....................................262
Hardin High School's Professional Development: 2011-2012.......262
The Community of Practice......................................263
The Target Teachers............................................264
APPENDIX
A. Glossary of Acronyms..............................................267
B. Initial Interview Questions: Literacy Coach.......................269
C. Final Interview Questions: Literacy Coach.........................270
D. Learning Lab Charts...............................................271
E. Learning Lab Exit Ticket..........................................278
F. SIOP Rubric.......................................................279
REFERENCES...........................................................282
xv


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
1. Conceptual Framework.........................................19
2. Correlation between Practice and Engagement in Classrooms
Observed.....................................................30
3. Classroom Observation Rubric.................................81
4. Data Analysis of Research Question 2 To What Extent Do the
Instructional Practices of the Target Teachers within this
Community of Practice Change?................................83
5. Excerpt from Fieldnotes of Classroom Observation.............84
6. The Coaching Program at Hardin High School..................105
7. Scaffolding Poster..........................................120
8. Timelines of Learning Labs, Collaborative Planning, and
Observations................................................125
9. Observations and Learning Labs Summarized...................127
10. Average SIOP Growth of the Four Target Teachers.............193
xvi


LIST OF TABLES
Table
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
NAEP Reading Scores by Ethnicity NAEP 2007.................6
Hardins Growth and Achievement on State Assessments........64
Percent of Hardin 9lh and 10th Graders Scoring Proficient or Above
in Reading..................................................65
Percent of Hardin 9th and 10th Graders Scoring Proficient or Above
in Writing..................................................67
Data Collection Chart.......................................73
Selmas SIOP Scores........................................153
Pilars SIOP Scores........................................174
Samuels SIOP Scores.......................................181
Jocelyns SIOP Scores......................................191
Average SIOP Scores of the Four Target Teachers............192
CELA Reading and Writing Growth Percentiles of Comparison
Groups.....................................................199
CSAP Reading and Writing Growth Percentiles of Comparison
Groups.....................................................207
Change in Percent Proficient on Acuity Reading of Comparison
Groups.....................................................214
Selmas Four-Column Map....................................232
XVII


15. Pilars Four-Column Map...............................236
16. Jocelyns Four-Column Map.............................239
17. Hardins 2010 Professional Development Questionnaire..257
18. Hardin's 2011 Professional Development Survey.........258
xviii


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
Increasing the quality of instruction in the field of literacy has long been
an issue of extreme importance in education (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006; Graham
& Perin, 2007). However, in recent years this focus has intensified with the
demand made by No Child Left Behind that students demonstrate adequate yearly
progress in the areas of reading and writing ("No Child Left Behind Act," 2001).
More recently, the introduction of the LEARN Act in the House of
Representatives in 2009 served to increase funding for school-wide programs,
instructional strategies, and professional development in literacy education that is
on-going and research-based ("Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation
Act," 2009). Despite this heightened focus, literacy scores across the nation have
shown little improvement in the last thirty years (J. Lee, Grigg, & Donahue,
2007). In addition, the achievement gap between minority and disadvantaged
students and their White and Asian counterparts has persisted despite national
mandates ensuring its removal (J. Lee et al., 2007; "No Child Left Behind Act,"
2001). Particularly in schools that serve high proportions of students of diverse
backgrounds, this systemic failure limits the access of certain groups of students
to power and opportunity in American society (Delpit, 1995; hooks, 1994; Lareau,
2003; C. D. Lee, 2007; Rogoff, 2003).
1


The need for job-embedded approaches to teacher professional
development has been proposed as a viable approach to improving literacy
instruction for all (Darling-Hammond, 1997; B. R. Joyce & Showers, 2002).
Literacy coaching programs, one specific type of job-embedded professional
development, have been adopted by a large number of school districts. However,
the wide variety of the programs currently in place and the limited amount of
research displaying positive effects on instructional improvement and student
achievement, particularly at the high school level, create a great deal of confusion
for those attempting to implement coaching programs (Casey, 2006; Fisher &
Frey, 2007; Marsh et al., 2008; Puig & Froelich, 2007; Rainville, 2007; Toll,
2005). As literacy coaching offers an opportunity for job-embedded professional
development, it is important that secondary schools be aware of sustainable
approaches to implementing these programs and their effects.
Purpose of the Study
This study describes and examines one urban schools implementation of a
specific coaching model within a community of practice utilizing learning labs
(Lave & Wenger, 1991; Public Education and Business Coalition, 2001). Though
this study is limited to the activities and outcomes within one high school, the
issues addressed in this study are of national significance. The goals of this study
are to (a) develop a nuanced description of the professional development
approach adopted by this school and (b) analyze the effects this model for a
sample of the staff participating in this approach and their students.
2


Problem
As literacy applies to a continuum of communication skills, rather than
simply the ability to read and write with understanding, a world with ever-
increasing global connections through advanced technology requires a population
with heightened literacy skills in order to engage in these global communications
(Biancarosa & Snow, 2006; Graham & Perin, 2007). To successfully compete in
todays marketplace, students entering the workforce need greater literacy skills
than previous generations (Bowman, 1999; Brozo & Simpson, 2007; Carnegie
Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy, 2010). This trend promises to
increase as the twenty-five fastest-growing professions have higher than average
literacy demands and approximately half of all job growth between 2004 and
2014 will require high-level literacy skills. In addition, reading and writing
abilities are key predictors of future academic success and basic requirements for
participation in civic life and in the global economy (Graham & Perin, 2007).
These literacy skills not only provide students with the opportunity to engage in
meaningful discourse, but also serve as key predictors of success in other
academic areas, such as math and science (Brozo & Simpson, 2007).
The need for heightened literacy skills has prompted many to argue that
states need to revise their approaches to literacy instruction on an infrastructure
level, developing comprehensive and coordinated literacy plans (Faggella-Luby,
Ware, & Capozzoli, 2009). Accordingly, many states and districts are developing
new definitions of literacy and applicable standards that focus on 21st Century
3


skills common to all disciplines (Colorado Department of Education, 2010).
These include critical thinking and reasoning skills, collaborative abilities, and
information literacy (defined as a students ability to accesses information
efficiently and effectively by reading and understanding essential content of a
range of informational texts and documents in all academic areas).
Students who do not develop these skills tend to struggle in high school
and have a greatly reduced chance of receiving a high school diploma (Graham &
Perin, 2007; National Center for Education Statistics, 2007). For those students
who fail to develop proficient literacy skills but do manage to complete high
school, many lag far behind the students of other industrialized nations and find
themselves unable to compete on the open market (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006;
Graham & Perin, 2007). Particularly with regards to social groups which have had
limited access to literacy skills and the opportunities to which they are connected
in the past, it is of extreme importance that these trends be altered by providing
students with the skills required to compete in todays economy.
Despite this increased need for advanced literacy skills, many students are
not developing the skills they require, and adolescent literacy is currently in a
problematic state. As of 2003, the public schools in this country held eight million
struggling readers in grades four through twelve, including over half of twelfth
graders performing below grade level as readers (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006). For
many of these students, the difficulties of continuing in high school become
overwhelming, causing approximately 7,000 students to drop out daily and only
4


70% to graduate on time (Graham & Perin, 2007). Of those who do graduate,
nearly one third are not prepared for college-level composition courses (ACT,
2005). Currently, only one-third of the students entering the 9th grade are
graduating from high school within four years with the skills required for success
in higher education and the workplace, and approximately 1,230,000 students fail
to graduate at all, costing the country over three hundred billion dollars each year.
NAEP scores indicate that the number of students at or below basic expectations
is larger than the number considered proficient or advanced in every state (J. Lee
et al., 2007).
Though the issue of adolescent literacy acquisition clearly affects the
nation as a whole, it is particularly problematic for non-dominant cultural groups.
Students first engage in cultural discourse within their communities, and it is in
this context that they leam their primary linguistic codes (Rogoff, 2003). As the
academic voice is reflective of the linguistic code used by the dominant
hegemony within U.S. culture, students who are raised in communities that
embrace this code have a natural advantage upon entering the classroom (Crehan,
2002; Gee, 1990; Heath, 1983; Rogoff, 2003). For this reason, public educators
must strive diligently to provide students from non-dominant cultures with the
opportunities to connect to and engage in the dominant discourse embraced by the
academic voice while maintaining the validity of these students primary
linguistic codes (Delpit, 1995; "Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation
Act," 2009). Unfortunately, NAEP scores indicate that the performance of Black
5


and Hispanic students on reading assessments is far below that of their White and
Asian peers (Table 1), and though the gap between reading scores of thirteen and
seventeen year-old White and Black and Hispanic students has diminished in the
past forty years, it has increased significantly from the scores in 1988 (Rampey,
Dion, & Donahue, 2009). Reading scores for twelfth grade Asian-American
students had not been released at the time of this study.
Literacy skills impact academic success, job proficiency, and civil
participation; however, all students in the United States do not have strong
literacy skills, especially students from non-dominant cultures and students at the
Table 1: NAEP Reading Scores by Ethnicity NAEP 2007
White
Asian-American
Hispanic
Black
6


secondary level. Additionally, secondary education is powerfully dependent upon
context (Weaver, 1996). As no two classrooms are identical, it is difficult for a
number of teachers to implement one approach or curriculum across a variety of
classrooms successfully. Student diversity between and within schools and school
districts demands that educators be capable of adapting curricula to the needs of
the students in their classrooms. Research suggests teachers who are more willing
to take innovative approaches to implementing curricula (e.g. adapting broad
syllabi to individual student needs, connecting in-class learning to outside
interests, deconstructing pedagogical goals with students) tend to increase student
performance at higher rates (Darling-Hammond, 2000; Hinchman & Sheridan-
Thomas, 2008). Professional development can be used to increase teacher
ingenuity (B. R. Joyce & Showers, 2002). For this reason, teacher professional
development has been linked to increased student achievement (Costa &
Garmston, 2002).
However, not all teacher professional development-has yielded positive
effects (Desimone, Porter, Garet, Yoon, & Birman, 2002; Porter, Garet,
Desimone, Yoon, & Birman, 2000). The traditional model of professional
development utilizes an approach in which teachers attend workshops and
seminars where they are provided with new and innovative instructional
strategies. These teachers return to their classrooms where they are left to
implement these strategies in isolation, with no one to assist them in developing
and refining them for their students. This typically results in teachers failing to
7


implement the instructional strategies presented. In fact, Joyce and Showers
(1988) found that only one in ten teachers actually implemented strategies which
they encountered in professional development sessions while these same
strategies were adopted by ninety percent of the teachers when job-embedded
assistance was provided (B. R. Joyce & Showers, 1988).
Joyce and Showers found that a more successful approach to professional
development provides teachers with a job-embedded model (Darling-Hammond,
1997; B. R. Joyce & Showers, 1988). The job-embedded model is an approach to
professional development that presents a greater amount of active learning in
which educators can participate and subsequently apply directly to their specific
classroom environments. Here, job-embedded professional development is
defined as instructional assistance provided to educators that occurs on-site (at the
school) on a continuing basis to develop skills over time. Job-embedded models
of professional development often utilize an instructional coach to observe
teachers and provide them with feedback on their instruction. The instructional
coach is typically an individual with content and leadership expertise who works
with teachers to consistently develop instruction. The continuity provided by this
model assists teachers in their implementation of new instructional practices. This
type of professional development has been proven capable of positively impacting
a teachers instruction within the classroom (B. R. Joyce & Showers, 2002; Marsh
et al., 2008; Neufeld & Roper, 2003; Porter et al., 2000).
8


Coaching is one popular and promising example of job-embedded
professional development (J. E. Taylor, 2008). Joyce and Showers (1980) defined
coaching as a form of professional development providing hands-on, in-classroom
assistance with the transfer of skills and strategies to the classroom (B. Joyce &
Showers, 1980). Literacy coaching displays major components of the job-
embedded model with a focus on literacy. For this reason, the role of the literacy
coach is attractive as a form of job-embedded professional development which
can be used to improve literacy instruction. The literacy coach can serve as the
source for instructional knowledge which is continually introduced, discussed,
reflected upon, and implemented in various secondary classrooms.
Utilizing a literacy coach is one approach for combating the literacy
problem in secondary schools, and many authors concur with the need for literacy
coaching. However, though strides have been made in the K-8 levels, little
progress has been made to connect this approach to student achievement at the
high school level (Brown, Reumann-Moore, Hugh, Christian, & Riffer, 2008;
Clary, Oglan, & Styslinger, 2008; Marsh et al., 2008; Rainville, 2007). In
addition, such a great variety of coaching models is recommended by literacy
coaching trade texts, that it is difficult to determine exactly what activities
coaches ought to be engaging in to increase teacher abilities and student
achievement rates (Casey, 2006; Puig & Froelich, 2007; Toll, 2005). For this
reason, many coaches find themselves in fragmented roles, attempting to fulfill a
large number of duties in relatively little time. Coupled with the fact that
9


education has consistently been a field that is highly resistant to change, it should
not be surprising that research has yielded such inconclusive results (Donaldson et
al., 2008; Killion, 2008).
Though literacy coaching, as a program, has great potential to address
literacy instruction and student achievement, it is necessary to provide greater
data-driven attention to the effects of specific approaches in this field.
Specifically, literacy coaching models that incorporate collaborative groups of
educators engaging in reflective activities with the guidance of a coach require
detailed analysis in order to define these professional development approaches
and study their effects on teacher instruction and student achievement.
The Author
I discovered the field of education as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Poland.
Though I had no prior teaching experience, this organization placed me in my
own classroom with little more than a pamphlet and a two-week practicum as my
preparation. Like many new teachers, in my first two years in the classroom I
pieced together a good many lessons and activities, but failed to develop any
pedagogy from which my professional strategies could consistently spring. For
this reason, a semester in my class more closely resembled a haphazard series of
random events than a carefully planned and executed high school course. Thus, in
these first two years 1 learned two things: (a) I loved teaching, and (b) 1 was not
very good at it.
10


Though I had four semesters under my belt, I was not a teacher when I
returned to the United States. Upon my return, I accepted a fellowship to Teachers
College Columbia to work toward a Masters in English Education while teaching
full-time in an urban school in New York. Raised in a rural area of the Midwest
and having taught only in the countryside of Eastern Europe, I was wholly
unprepared for the city and its children. The school that hired me was labeled with
the moniker Horror High for the atrocities which occurred in the building (the
year before I arrived two students were shot in the hallway during state
examinations), and I would be developing my own courses, from syllabi to book
lists. My evolution into a successful teacher in this environment was definitely not
inevitable. However, the school held one asset that outweighed all detractors: a
literacy coach. From our first four-hour syllabus meeting through the next two
years, this coach worked with me constantly, forcing me to second guess all of my
decisions and search for the underpinnings of my assumptions until I began to
recognize my own beliefs and the ways in which these often contradicted my
practices. With this coaching, I grew into the teacher I am today; without it, I
would likely no longer be a member of this profession.
I have spent the years since my experiences in New York searching for a
way to replicate the quality of the professional development in which I engaged
with this coach. Research and experience have led me to believe that there is no
simple set of best practices to guide a coach in professional development, but my
interactions with one urban high school have indicated to me that there may exist
11


an effective, sustainable approach to implement a coaching program which alters
instruction and, ultimately, increases student achievement for all cultural groups:
coaching within a community of practice. This study focused on gathering and
examining data in order to develop a rich description of this model and study its
effects on teacher instruction and student achievement.
Research Questions
The following research questions guided this dissertation study:
1. What are the specific features of the collaborative coaching
professional development model used by Hardin High School?
2. To what extent do the instructional practices of the teachers within
this community of practice change?
3. To what extent does the literacy achievement of these teachers
students change?
Research Design and Context
This study took place during the 2010-2011 school year in a large urban
high school in a western state, serving grade nine through twelve in an urban
district. This schools district operates 73 elementary schools, 15 K-8 schools, 17
middle schools, 14 high schools, and 19 charter schools. In total, the district
serves approximately 73,000 students, 40% of whom are classified as English
Language Learners. The ethnical/racial composition of this student body is 1.2%
American Indian, 3.1% Asian, 19.1% Black, 57.3% Hispanic, and 19.3% White.
As of the 2008-2009 school year, this districts graduation rate was 52.6%.
12


Though a number of reform-based initiatives had been introduced in this
district in recent years, student performance on state examinations and ACT
remained well below the state average, the achievement gaps between ethnic and
racial groups continued to grow, and graduation rates had not risen. Due to this
poor performance and the generally negative perception of this district in the
community, student enrollment declined over the previous decade. Although
recent years witnessed a slight increase in the total number of students, the
majority of the secondary schools operated below capacity, including twelve of
the fourteen high schools. As an example, one of the major high schools, built to
hold nearly 1700 students, had an enrollment of 895 students in the 2008-2009
school year.
This study was an examination of one urban schools implementation of a
specific coaching model integrating communities of practice within this district.
Through the study, the features and purposes of this professional development
model were analyzed in order to clearly describe the activities of one community
of practice at this high school and its effects on classroom instruction. It then used
a case study approach and a mixed-methods design through observation and
interviews to test the soundness of this model. Finally, the study tracked the state
assessment scores, state English language acquisition scores, and district
assessment scores of students in the classrooms chosen for this study in order to
determine the effects of any observed instructional changes on reading and
13


writing test scores. A full description of the study, sampling, data collection, and
data analysis techniques is discussed in chapter II
14


15


CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
Through their meta-analysis of research conducted on more than three
thousand educators, Joyce and Showers (1980; 1988) recognized the failure of sit-
and-get professional development models in transforming teacher instruction.
Based on this perceived failure, they developed a theory of embedded
professional development that would provide educators with continual guidance
in implementing new strategies in their classrooms, thus changing practice in
order to inevitably change beliefs. They described the professionals who provided
this guidance as staff development specialists. Though a variety of service
providers were named as possible staff development specialists, their coaching
model was developed based upon research in professional development that
supported teachers abilities to master implementation of new skills and
strategies. This mastery was achieved at the highest rates when teachers were
given the technical assistance of more-knowledgeable others (L. S. Vygotsky,
1978) in developing these instructional strategies at the classroom level. Joyce
and Showers (1988) saw instructional expertise as the primary component of the
coaches role:
These persons need to develop a very high level of competence in an area to
the point where they can deal with its theory, demonstrate it, organize
16


practice with it, and help coaching teams and study groups sustain its use in
the instructional setting (13).
The invention of the coachs role created a position meant to provide non-
evaluative guidance to teachers individually, as well as in professional
communities, to assist them in achieving school and district goals (Ezarik, 2002;
Walpole & McKenna, 2004). As instructional specialists, these coaches were
considered the individuals best prepared to share resources with teachers to ensure
that they were capable of reaching the point in their professional development
where these goals would become more consistently realized.
As defined by the literature, ultimately, a literacy coaching program in any
given school has two goals: (a) improving literacy instruction amongst all
educators and (b) increasing students knowledge and skill (Hirsh, 2006; Puig &
Froelich, 2007). The role of the literacy coaches is to work side-by-side with
teachers, in their classrooms with their students, to provide them with the support
they need to improve their literacy instruction and increase their students
knowledge and skill (Casey, 2006). By providing teachers with an individual who
can serve beside them within the classroom as a more knowledgeable other, the
literacy coach presents a powerful opportunity to better prepare these
professionals. In addition, the literacy coach works to develop relationships
amongst teachers, providing opportunities for them to collaborate, reflect upon
common practices, and develop support systems to make decisions (Robbins,
1991; Stichter, Lewis, Richter, Johnson, & Bradley, 2006). By leading this
17


dialogue with groups of educators, literacy coaches are able to advocate for higher
standards and greater rigor and deepen educator reflections on instructional
practices while removing the teacher isolation that serves to weaken effects on
student learning.
The Conceptual Framework
As previously explained, the work of the literacy coach is not limited to
one-on-one interactions with teachers. Instead, many professional development
models include a literacy coach who guides groups of teachers collaboratively and
embeds this collaborative work into their daily practices by working with these
teachers individually. In order to clearly display the manner in which this model
works to affect teacher instruction and student achievement, Figure 1 displays the
conceptual framework for this study. A conceptual framework explains, either
graphically or in narrative form, the main things to be studied the key factors,
constructs or variables and the presumed relationships among them (Miles &
Huberman,1984, 18). The key factors in this conceptual framework include the
collaborative group of educators, referred to in this study as the community of
practice, the activities in which this group engaged, and the literacy coach. The
presumed relationships show the anticipated impact of the professional
development model. Thus, this conceptual framework displays an explanation for
possible effects of a collaborative coaching professional development model on
student achievement and teacher instruction.
18


As one of the goals, though not the final goal, of professional development
is improved teacher instruction, this transformation is the first intermediate
outcome displayed in Figure 1. Finally, the established ultimate goal of
communities of practice, as well as educational reform in general, is increased
student achievement, which is the ultimate outcome of this conceptual framework.
19


This framework provided a chain of evidence to be confirmed through multiple
sources of evidence to provide construct validity (Miles & Huberman, 1994). The
literature reviewed in this chapter provides background on the variety of literacy
coaching models and the value of coaching within collaborative groups. In
addition, this chapter clearly displays the importance of developing a succinct
definition for collaborative coaching models and the need for evaluating such
models effects on teacher instruction and student achievement.
Models of Coaching
Based upon these goals and the early work of Joyce and Showers (1980),
a number of different literacy coaching models have emerged. The first
introduced form was technical coaching (B. Joyce & Showers, 1980). According
to the technical coaching model, an outside expert is brought into a school to train
the faculty in new teaching practices. This individual remains in the school until
the practices are mastered by the educators. The goal of this form of literacy
coaching is the implementation of new teaching strategies by the faculty.
A second form of literacy coaching, cognitive coaching, is a non-
evaluative form of developing teachers instructional practice through constant
reflection (Costa & Garmston, 2002). In this model, developed by Costa and
Garmston (2002), the literacy coach is a more-knowledgeable other who does not
arrive in the teachers classroom with skills and strategies for the teacher to
master, but instead works with the teacher to assist him/her in developing
teaching as a craft. Cognitive coaches focus on the thought processes, values,
20


and beliefs that motivate, guide, influence, and give rise to overt behaviors (13).
Following a schedule of planning conferences, observations, and reflections, the
cognitive coach mediates by helping the teacher to consider the classroom
strategies s/he used, their effects, and possible instructional alternatives (Costa &
Garmston, 2002). The role of the cognitive coach is not to tell the teacher what to
do differently, but to help the teacher develop a sustainable approach to personal
professional development. Thus, the cognitive coach uses questioning and
reflection to help teachers refine their craft by analyzing the work they have
accomplished and the goals they wish to achieve with each student. Ideally,
cognitive coaching works to develop an educators ability to grow independently;
eventually removing the need for the literacy coach entirely.
A third form of literacy coaching, peer or collegial coaching, is an
adaptation of the work of Joyce and Showers (1980). Though many forms of peer
coaching have emerged in the last two decades, the model was described as an
approach to prompting professionals to work together to develop and refine their
teaching practices (Hall & McKeen, 1991; Killion, 2008; Robbins, 1991; R. T.
Taylor, Moxley, Chanter, & Boulware, 2007). Based on the concept that a vast
amount of resources exist within the faculty of most schools, peer coaching
emphasizes the collaboration of colleagues to share approaches and reflect upon
strategies that have worked in the past. Thus, peer coaching focuses primarily on:
(a) collaborative development, (b) refinement, and (c) sharing of instructional
knowledge (Robbins, 1991). Peer coaching is often accomplished through
21


informal, non-evaluative teams, but can also be a more regimented form of
literacy coaching.
Based upon the perceived success of introducing the literacy coach as
colleague rather than evaluator, many schools have borrowed from the peer
coaching model (Casey, 2006; Poglinco et al., 2003; Puig & Froelich, 2007). For
this reason, many literacy coaching programs include the use of a model
classroom in which the literacy coach is the classroom teacher (Casey, 2006;
Poglinco et al., 2003). By developing the role of literacy coach as classroom
teacher, this model fosters collegiality between the literacy coach and the rest of
the teachers while providing a model classroom that the literacy coach can use to
display new strategies or as a source of inquiry, inviting teachers to observe and
question the practices utilized in the coachs class. This approach also works to
keep the literacy coach grounded in the instruction of the curriculum that s/he is
assisting teachers in mastering. Based upon these literacy coaching roles, many
authors and organizations have proposed a wide variety of specific duties for
literacy coaches to fulfill in their respective programs (Casey, 2006; IRA, 2006;
Puig & Froelich, 2007; Toll, 2005; Walpole & McKenna, 2004).
Implementation of Literacy Coaching: Roles and Responsibilities
With the help of a Carnegie Foundation grant, the International Reading
Association (2006) collaborated with a group of educators, researchers, and
policymakers knowledgeable about adolescent literacy and literacy coaching to
establish an extensive list of standards which middle and high school literacy
22


coaches are intended to achieve, broken into leadership and content-specific lists.
According to the leadership standards, all literacy coaches ought to adhere to
three leadership standards:
Standard 1: Skillful collaborators: Content area literacy coaches are skilled
collaborators who function effectively in middle school and/or high school
settings.
Standard 2: Skillful job-embedded coaches: Content area literacy coaches
are skilled instructional coaches for secondary teachers in the core content
areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
Standard 3: Skillful evaluators of literacy needs: Content area literacy
coaches are skilled evaluators of literacy needs within various subject
areas and are able to collaborate with secondary school leadership teams
and teachers to interpret and use assessment data to inform instruction (8).
These leadership standards are further deconstructed into an extensive list of sub-
standards over the initial twenty pages of the report. Additionally, literacy
coaches are expected to meet the requirements of the IRAs English Language
Arts content standard four:
Skillful instructional strategists: Content area literacy coaches are
accomplished middle and high school teachers who are skilled in
developing and implementing instructional strategies to improve academic
literacy in English language arts (20).
23


The literacy coaches role can incorporate a great deal more than
modeling, observing, and providing feedback (Casey, 2006; Puig & Froelich,
2007), straining their ability to present an exemplary classroom. Casey (2006)
explains that literacy coaches need to leam and teach effective decision-making
skills, literacy content knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge. In
addition, they must be effective teachers of adults, strive to build leadership
capacity, embrace resistance, communicate effectively, articulate clear beliefs,
evaluate learners needs, inspire, and lead. Walpole and McKenna (2004) also
include the roles of grant-writer, curriculum expert, program designer, and
researcher. Simultaneously, many authors express the need for literacy coaches to
develop trusting relationships by accepting and projecting the fact that they are
not the experts in the classroom (Casey, 2006; Puig & Froelich, 2007; Toll, 2005).
Regardless of the titles used to describe their specific duties, literacy
coaches are generally in charge of developing the literacy instructional practices
of the staff through individual and/or team conferencing (Casey, 2006; Marsh et
al., 2008; Puig & Froelich, 2007; Toll, 2005; Walpole & McKenna, 2004). At the
secondary level this often includes working outside of the English department as
well to assist other disciplines in reading and writing instruction (IRA, 2006). In
addition, literacy coaches are regularly asked to work with the entire faculty in
professional development. Many literacy coaches are given administrative and/or
clerical duties at their respective schools and/or asked to run literacy teams with
other faculty members to develop long-term literacy goals at the school. Often
24


literacy coaches are in charge of working individually with students in other
teachers classrooms to help these individuals develop their own literacy skills
(Poglinco et al., 2003; Rainville, 2007). Many schools also have professional
groups or book clubs that literacy coaches are asked to lead.
Many schools and districts do not provide literacy coaches with a specific
model for working with the faculty of the schools, which necessitates that these
literacy coaches develop a program for conferencing, observing, and providing
teachers with feedback that enhances each educators instructional abilities. A
great deal is asked of literacy coaches who must continually select strategies and
programs that fit the needs of the specific teacher(s) being served (Hall &
McKeen, 1991; Poglinco et al., 2003; Reiman & Peace, 2002). In addition, though
many literacy coaches are school based, some are asked to work at more than one
school, further fragmenting the literacy coaching role (Casey, 2006; Rainville,
2007). The multitude of tasks literacy coaches may be asked to perform limits
their ability to achieve specific goals and confuses the concept of literacy
coaching by providing no clear model of best practice (Casey, 2006; Puig &
Froelich, 2007; Rainville, 2007).
In order to utilize their time to best prepare teachers, some researchers
believe that literacy coaches should attempt to follow a schedule that specifically
outlines the amount of time they spend on each activity (Poglinco et al., 2003;
Puig & Froelich, 2007). Puig & Froelich (2007) explain that literacy coaches
should work with students 15 hours per week, engage in dialogic conversations
25


7.5 hours per week, model lessons 3.75 hours per week, plan training sessions 7.5
hours per week, and engage in professional book study for 3.75 hours per week
(based on a 37.5 hour work week). Though different schools display great variety
in the number of faculty employed, no consensus exists regarding the appropriate
ratio of coaches to teachers, complicating the coaches schedules. Regardless of
how many minutes literacy coaches spend within a classroom weekly, studies of
literacy coaching programs tend to provide a clear explanation of and rationale for
the structure and support system of the programs implementation (Kannapel,
2007; Stephens & Morgan, 2007). Though these programs are by no means
identical, certain features (i.e. observation, feedback, and modeling) are
consistently present.
Recent Research in Secondary Literacy Coaching
Despite the detailed descriptions of the implementation processes provided
by these practice-based texts, there remain few clear connections between
coaching and student achievement or instructional improvement at the secondary
level. In recent years a number of articles have been produced, many by major
research centers, in attempts to address this void.
Supporting Literacy across the Sunshine State
In 2008 the RAND Corporation released an analysis of the reading coach
program in Florida middle schools to determine the effects these individuals were
having on teacher instruction and student achievement (Marsh et al., 2008). This
study analyzed survey and interview data from 113 middle schools in eight major
26


school districts in Florida. To connect literacy coaching to student achievement,
this study conducted two sets of analyses: (a) analyzing Florida Comprehensive
Assessment Test (FCAT) data from 1997-2006 to determine whether having a
state-funded coach in a school was associated with average annual achievement
growth (xvi) and (b) analyzing individual student scores in the 2006-2007 school
year to determine if different approaches to literacy coaching implementation
correlated to differences in student achievement and growth. The survey and
interview data displayed that the vast majority of teachers and administrators
viewed the literacy coach as having a positive impact on the individual teachers
and the school as a whole.
Despite this positive feedback from the school professionals, the study
obtained mixed results regarding the literacy coaches impact on student
achievement. Though the frequency with which literacy coaches reviewed
assessment data with teachers was associated with small, but significant gains in
student growth, few other coaching implementation features were associated
with student achievement (184). In some schools, where little assessment data
analysis was led by literacy coaches, one-on-one conferencing between coaches
and teachers was actually associated with negative student gains. The researchers
suggest that this may be due to the fact that such conferences lack focus and
purpose when they are not guided by clear data regarding student achievement.
Similar discoveries led the researchers to emphasize the importance of
maintaining clear goals at all times when implementing a literacy coaching
27


program, including explicitly defining the role of the literacy coach to all
stakeholders. The research team determined that this definition proved quite
difficult to provide, however, as literacy coaches were engaged in a wide variety
of duties across the state, including modeling, observing, conferencing, reviewing
assessment data, proctoring assessments, managing resources, attending meetings,
tutoring, teaching, substitute teaching, and performing lunch and bus duties.
One interesting finding of this study was the influence of peer coaching on
teacher instruction, particularly in the presence of literacy coaches. Reading
teachers were just as likely to report that other teachers influenced changes in
their instruction to a moderate or great extent as they were to identify reading
coaches as an influence (128). These teachers reported their peers providing
them with the same types of assistance, such as data analysis and lesson planning,
as the literacy coaches tended to focus upon. This guidance did not occur despite
the coaches, but rather due to their presence. Many literacy coaches worked to
facilitate connections among staff and create a learning community (131),
guiding teachers into peer coaching groups through the use of such activities as
group workshops and book studies. Due to the prevalence of positive comments
regarding peer coaching models in the research, this study recommends future
research on professional development models that emphasize collaborative
coaching.
28


Pennsylvania High School Coaching Initiative
A comprehensive review of the Pennsylvania High School Coaching
Initiative (PAHSCI) was released in 2008, reviewing the first three years of this
programs implementation at secondary schools throughout the state (Brown et
al., 2008). This program placed one math and one literacy coach in 24 high-need
high schools in Pennsylvania. In the first half of the 2007-08 school year, the
research team visited 102 classrooms in 9 of these schools, and interviewed 109
teachers and the coaches with whom they worked (57). Placing the PAHSCI
model as the intervention, this study assigned improvements in teacher
instructional practices as the immediate outcome, student engagement as the
intermediate outcome, and student achievement as the ultimate outcome. The
research team then developed a rubric to assess instructional practices and student
engagement, used this instrument during observations in over 100 classrooms, and
followed these visitations by interviewing the teachers and their coaches
separately.
The study showed that the implementation of this coaching model led to
common adoption of best instructional practices in the classrooms visited. In
addition, this research displayed a strong correlation between teachers use of the
strategies focused upon by the coach and high levels of student engagement. This
correlation is evident in Figure 2. However, this research was unable to establish a
significant relationship between coached teachers and improved student
achievement as measured by state achievement tests.
29


This study also emphasized the importance of the coaches role in
breaking down teacher isolation and forming trustful relationships among
professional colleagues. As these coaches were placed in collaborative groups,
they were able to establish trust and enter teachers into interdisciplinary discourse.
Teacher and coach interviews showed that
Teacher Practice/Student Engagement Correlation
school faculties utilized the common language and shared goals introduced by the
coaching model to develop solid collaborative professional communities. This
study shows that literacy coaching models including clear goals and purposes
toward which educators can develop are positively associated with increases in
teachers senses of self-efficacy.
30


Cantrell & Hughes (2008) support this finding in their one-year analysis of
the changes in teacher self-efficacy caused by a literacy coaching program. These
researchers followed twenty-two specific secondary teachers at eight schools
(rural, suburban, and urban) in Kentucky, utilizing a teacher survey to measure
teachers' efficacy before and after participation in the professional development,
and classroom observations to measure teachers' implementation of content
literacy practices. The researchers determined that there was an increase in
teachers self-efficacy due to this embedded model of coaching (Cantrell &
Hughes, 2008). The research of Cantrell & Hughes (2008) and Brown et al.
(2008) supports the belief that firmly established professional communities of this
nature serve to develop sustainable networks of teacher development through
continuous, collaborative peer coaching.
Reading Assistance Initiative for Secondary School Educators
In 2008, South Carolina completed an evaluation of Project RAISSE
(Reading Assistance Initiative for Secondary School Educators) over its first
two years of implementation at two high-needs, rural high schools in the
state. Project RAISSE developed content area study groups at each high
school led by a teacher who has been provided with training in literacy
coaching. The dual goals of this project are to increase student achievement
on reading assessments and improve content area reading instruction
amongst the faculty. These content area groups, referred to as Collegial Study
Groups, provide teachers with opportunities to collaborate toward specific
31


literacy instructional goals with other members of their departments (Clary
et al., 2008).
By developing Collegial Study Groups, the study shows that Project
RAISSE has created relationships among teachers who were previously
disconnected from one another. Many of these relationships have been
across content areas and have proven instructionally fruitful. In addition, the
teachers chosen to lead these groups, having received literacy coaching
training, have shown increased senses of self-efficacy, explaining that they
have discovered their leadership potential and accepted responsibility for
improving literacy rates at their schools. This is a promising sign, as teachers
who take responsibility for their own instructional improvements become
more deeply engaged and committed to the professional goals of their
institutions (Louis & Miles, 1990; Rosenholtz, 1991). Though this study does
not connect these changes in teacher beliefs and engagement to increased
student achievement, it highlights the importance of developing site-based
collaborative coaching communities with clear objectives to overcome
teacher reluctance.
Recent Dissertations on Secondary Literacy Coaching
As the recent research on secondary literacy coaching is represented by so
few studies, it is necessary to look beyond recently published work to better
understand what is known in this field. In addition, the fact that there has been no
synthesis or meta-analysis of the middle school and high school studies on
32


literacy coaching requires that diligent researchers look to other sources of
information. The dissertations on literacy coaching at the secondary level serve as
one major untapped resource. As many of the researchers completing dissertations
are school-based educators, many never attempt to publish their research, and
their findings are left undiscovered. In 2009, Shanklin, Zucker, and Hessee (2009)
completed a meta-analysis of the secondary studies available in this research since
2000, focusing on the methods and results of 12 studies (Shanklin, Zucker, &
Hessee, 2009). Based on their analysis, they presented six common findings
across these 12 studies:
1. A literacy coach needs a clear job description.
2. A principal needs to clearly communicate the role of the literacy coach to
the faculty.
3. Content teachers want PD to reflect their own areas of instruction as
closely as possible.
4. Modeling of lessons and coaching cycles may help, but literacy coaches
currently do these the least.
5. How many teachers a literacy coach is asked to work with impacts his/her
ability to invest in individual teachers trainings.
6. The work of a literacy coach is more effective if a PLC environment has
been established where data is examined and instructional improvement is
valued.
33


These findings are consistent with many of the larger evaluations of secondary
literacy coaching programs completed in recent years.
Research from Hardin High Schools District
In 2009, Hessee (2009) completed a pilot study of the literacy coaches
assigned to nine different high schools in Hardin High Schools district. This
study used a semi-structured interview model to describe the roles filled by these
literacy coaches and the impediments they perceived in successfully fulfilling the
responsibilities of these roles (Donaldson et al., 2008; Hessee, 2009). All of the
literacy coaches interviewed emphasized the importance of engaging in classical
coaching duties: observing, modeling, providing feedback in one-on-one
collaborative discussion, and/or team teaching. However, eight of the nine literacy
coaches explained that they were regularly unable to fulfill the majority of these
duties, four of whom were not able to engage in any one of these duties over the
course of the year. All of the literacy coaches expressed dissatisfaction with this
fact; however, only two claimed that time constraints were major factors which
limited their abilities to fulfill these duties. This study found that the most
commonly cited barrier to instructional improvement was teacher engagement.
These literacy coaches described the teachers with whom they worked as ground
down by a successive series of failed approaches to school reform. They claimed
that many of the teachers expressed a lack of buy-in when presented with
opportunities to analyze their instructional practices and had to be forced to reflect
on their classrooms.
34


These reactions are typical of professional cultures where members lack
self-efficacy and engagement and distrust initiatives intended to improve their
practices (Cantrell & Hughes, 2008; Deal & Peterson, 1999; Rosenholtz, 1991).
Though the vast majority of the literacy coaches participating in this study were
unable to overcome these cultural characteristics, one coach was able to
successfully engage in all of the responsibilities she perceived as inherent within
her role, despite the fact that she reported the largest number of duties of any
literacy coach interviewed. This study explained that this literacy coach, referred
to as Tera, was able to accomplish these duties by redefining the concept of the
literacy coaching role within her school as a collaborative endeavor:
Teras concept of the role of coach appears to be that of the more
knowledgeable other who works with teachers, as a teacher, with the dual
goals of developing the literacy instructional practices of the faculty and
increasing the literacy abilities of the students. Further, this concept
positions Tera as a non-evaluative mentor for the faculty; she is
simultaneously a teacher and colleague, improving instruction through
teaching practice as well as coaching. In addition, she works with the
teachers to create a more collaborative environment in which peer
coaching is developed as a sustainable practice within the culture of the
school (33).
35


Summary: The State of Secondary Literacy Coaching
Literacy coaching has been touted as a "popular and promising
solution" and a vehicle for providing "high-quality, ongoing professional
development" (Kamil, 2003, p. 27). However, the connection between the
implementation of literacy coaching programs and instructional change
and/or student achievement has not been clearly established especially at
the high school level. Recent research evaluations of literacy coaching
programs have shown connections between literacy coaching and specific
intermediate outcomes such as teacher efficacy, improved classroom
instruction, and increased student engagement. In Florida, interviews showed
that teachers and administrators viewed the literacy coach as having a positive
impact on the individual teachers and the school as a whole (Marsh et al., 2008).
Teachers who participated in the coaching model implemented in
Pennsylvania were more likely to use the instructional approaches focused
upon by these literacy coaches (Brown et al., 2008). As these approaches
worked to increase student engagement, observations showed that teachers
who had participated in this coaching tended to instruct more highly engaged
classes. In addition, these teachers showed increases in their senses of self-
efficacy. Finally, in South Carolina, a literacy coaching model incorporated at
three high schools has been linked to increased teacher self-efficacy and
greater relationships amongst staff members (Clary et al., 2008).
36


The correlations between literacy coaching models and student
achievement gains are less clear in these studies. Though the Florida study
showed a correlation between the use of a literacy coach and small, but
significant gains on state assessments in reading, overall the study displayed
mixed results regarding the literacy coaches' impacts on student
achievement. Specifically, the frequency with which literacy coaches
reviewed assessment data with teachers was associated with small, but
significant gains in student growth, but individual coaching with no
assessment data was associated with negative student growth. This supports
Shanklin et al.s (2009) assertion that certain duties, such as modeling and
engaging in coaching cycles, may have a greater impact on instructional
improvement than others. Though these studies are an important step toward
highlighting the effects of literacy coaching, more research is required, especially
regarding the effects of literacy coaching models on student achievement,
particularly at the secondary level.
These studies also highlight the importance of creating collaborative
professional development cultures where data is regularly analyzed and
instructional reform is valued. As Clary (2008) explains, "What is needed for
school change is a combination of instructional and infrastructure
improvements" (p. 12). All of these studies emphasize the use of
collaborative teams to accomplish the necessary infrastructure
37


improvements, engage teachers who feel ground down, and increase
teachers' senses of self-efficacy.
Brown et al. (2008) studied a model in which literacy coaches worked
with teachers in collaborative groups to break down isolation and distrust. Their
research suggests that established professional communities of this nature serve to
develop sustainable networks of teacher development through continuous peer
coaching. Clary et al. (2008) focused their research upon content area study
groups, known as Collegial Study Groups, led by a teacher who had been
provided with training in literacy coaching. This study connects such a
collaborative model with positive increases in teacher self-efficacy. Shanklin
et al.'s (2009) meta-analysis of dissertations on secondary literacy coaching
also emphasizes the importance of collaborative environments, explaining
that the work of a literacy coach is more effective if a Professional Learning
Community environment has been established. Hessees (2009) pilot study of
Hardin High School's district led him to focus upon the work of one specific
literacy coach, the scope of whose work showed greater promise than her
colleagues. He determined that this successful literacy coach worked with the
teachers to create a more collaborative environment in which peer coaching
was developed as a sustainable practice within the culture of the school.
Finally, Marsh et al. (2008) emphasize the importance of collaborative peer
coaching, particularly in the presence of a literacy coach, as teachers indicated
that this activity had as great an impact on their instructional improvement as one-
38


on-one conferencing with the literacy coaches themselves. For this reason, these
authors recommend future research on literacy coaching models that emphasize
team coaching.
Historically, literacy coaching models have emphasized the one-on-
one duties of the literacy coach in professional development. Cognitive,
technical, and peer coaching models have recommended that the literacy
coach observe, model, and provide feedback to teachers individually (Costa &
Garmston, 2002; Hall & McKeen, 1991; B. Joyce & Showers, 1980). However,
recent research in secondary literacy coaching highlights the importance of
creating collaborative environments within which the literacy coach is able
to provide guidance and facilitate the instructional development of the
teachers in small groups (Brown et al., 2008; Clary et al., 2008; Hessee, 2009;
Marsh et al., 2008; Shanklin et al., 2009). Thus, developing clear definitions of
specific approaches to collaborative coaching is of great importance. The next
section of this chapter provides background on the instructional focus of
Hardin High School, and the following section describes models of
collaborative coaching that have been developed in the past, followed by the
theoretical framework behind a collaborative model of this nature, guided by
a coach.
ELL Instruction and the SIOP
Nearly 80% of the students enrolled at the high school examined in this
study were defined by the district as English Language Learners. Thus, only 20%
39


of this high schools student body reported speaking English as their primary
language outside of school. For this reason, much of this schools work focused
upon English Language Acquisition through sheltered instruction, including the
coaching within a community of practice professional development model. In
order to describe the collaborative coaching model of this school, it is necessary
to define the schoolwide focus by explaining the Sheltered Instruction
Observation Protocol (SIOP).
Based on the consistently growing numbers of students with limited
English proficiency skills in U.S. schools, sheltered instruction was developed as
a way to incorporate best practices for ELLs into classroom instruction in all
subject areas (National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, 2002).
Sheltered instruction practices were developed as an approach to integrate
language and content objectives into every classroom in order to promote the
development of English skills in collaboration with content knowledge. The first
coherent model of sheltered instruction practices, the Sheltered Instruction
Observation Protocol (SIOP), was developed in the early 1990s as an instrument
to be used in assessing teachers use of these best practices (Echevarria, Vogt, &
Short, 2004). From 1996-2003, the National Center for Research on Education,
Diversity, and Excellence (CREDE) conducted a study to refine the preliminary
draft of the SIOP:
This project worked with middle school teachers to identify key practices
for sheltered instruction (SI) and develop a professional development
40


model to enable more teachers to use SI effectively. The projects goals
were to: (a) develop an explicit model of sheltered instruction; (b) use that
model to train teachers in effective sheltered strategies; and (c) conduct
field experiments and collect data to evaluate teacher change and the
effects of the SIOP Model of sheltered instruction on students English
language development and content knowledge (Echevarria et al. p. 16)
The SIOP is an observational instrument developed as a rating scale. This
scale is broken into thirty items grouped in eight main components: preparation,
building background, comprehensible input, strategies, interaction,
practice/application, lesson delivery, and review/assessment (Echevarria et al.,
2004). Guarino, Echevarria, Short, Schick, Forbes, & Rueda (2001) conducted a
study of the revised version of the SIOP in order to evaluate its reliability amongst
raters and the effects of its practices on student achievement. This study found the
SIOP to have an interrater correlation of .99 and found that the 238 middle school
students who had teachers who scored highly on the SIOP outperformed the 77
students in control classes on state writing assessments in Illinois (Guarino et al.,
2001). The SIOP instrument itself is explained in greater depth in the following
chapter.
Professional Learning Communities and Learning Labs
To better understand the ideas behind the model that Hardin High
School attempted to implement in the 2010-11 school year, as well as the
activities in which participating educators engaged, it is necessary to
41


understand some of the antecedents to Hardin's approach and their
theoretical underpinnings. A number of collaborative models of professional
development have been introduced in education in the past ten years, from
DuFour and Eakers (1998) business-oriented concept of the Professional
Learning Community (PLC) to the Collegial Study Groups implemented in
South Carolina's Project RAISSE in 2006. This section will discuss two
collaborative models of educational professional development: PLCs and
learning labs.
Professional Learning Communities
One extremely popular form of small group professional development
in education is the PLC (DuFour & Eaker, 1998). DuFour and Eaker (1998)
presented the concept of the PLC in response to what they perceived to be a
failing, top-down approach to educational reform. Based on their
experiences in education and what they knew of successful business models,
DuFour and Eaker (1998) claimed that the culture of many failing schools
would need to change if these schools were to experience sustained
organizational improvement. They explained their belief that the basic
building block for this culture shift would be the Professional Learning
Community.
According to these authors, PLCs which successfully transform school
cultures are characterized by six features: (a) shared mission, vision, and
goals; (b) collective inquiry, where it is defined as a four step process of
42


public reflection, sharing understandings of meaning, joint planning, and
coordinated action; (c) collaborative teams; (d) action orientation; (e)
continuous improvement; (f) an orientation toward results rather than
intentions. DuFour and Eaker (1998) explain that these collaborative teams
of educators can be formed based on any number of commonalities such as
content area, pedagogical interest, or students taught, but they must
collaborate to determine unifying goals that the PLC as a whole can work
toward. Here, collective inquiry is the process used to guide the participants
to collaboratively addressing barriers to their shared goals. Once the barriers
have been considered, the teachers take action and use the data from the
results to determine their levels of success. The assessments used to
determine the outcomes of their collaborative work are chosen and/or
developed based upon their shared goals. For this reason, the assessment
development process cannot precede the development of the PLCs.
Though this form of professional development is meant to be
developed by and for the teachers, DuFour and Eaker (1998) explain that the
process cannot be voluntary. Instead, they explain that PLCs "must be
systematically embedded into the daily life of the school as collaboration by
invitation does not work" (118). They continue to explain that the PLC model
is a form of staff development based on research-driven instructional
methods, focused on teaching skills (content-specific and cross-content) and
differentiation. In addition, the PLC model is defined as a job-embedded
43


approach to professional development. Though the authors do not speak to
the need for a job-embedded professional developer or coach, they explain
that this model is to be implemented in terms of the workplace, focusing
primarily on "creating a context or culture that is conducive to professional
growth and development" (293).
Though the principles of PLCs have been adopted by many school
districts across the nation and the popularity of this model continues to rise
(Foord & Haar, 2008), the authors provide little explanation for the
theoretical foundations which underpin this approach. The fact that this
model is built neither upon theory nor research leaves the schools which
implement variations of this model, such as Hardin High School, vulnerable
when attempting to express the rationale behind this implementation. For
this reason, the final section of chapter II develops a theoretical framework
supporting the use of such collaborative teams by incorporating the
theoretical foundations developed around a similar model known as the
community of practice.
Learning Labs
As part of job-embedded professional development, one activity in
which some collaborative groups engage is the learning lab. Though there are
examples of this activity which seem to predate the model described in this
section, the most coherent description available today is provided by the
Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC) located in Denver, Colorado.
44


Learning labs, according to the PEBC, are opportunities for educators to
come together in small groups to observe an experienced practitioner
teaching a lesson. From these presentations, observing teachers are directed
to consider their own classrooms and pedagogical practices through a clear
protocol.
PEBC describes six different learning lab approaches that focus on
various elements of instruction and professional development on their
website: (a) orientation labs, (b) local immersion labs, (c) internal labs, (d)
inter-school labs, (e) principal labs, and (f) national labs (www.pebc.org). All
of these learning labs are based on the teaching-observer model, facilitated
by a staff developer, and capable of being aligned to the pre-existing
professional development occurring within schools. The organization
recruits teachers interested in sharing their own practices with others to
develop host classrooms that are used by PEBC to display best practices
within specific content areas. These host classrooms are made available to
external observers during the orientation labs, local immersion labs,
principal labs, and national labs. In inter-school labs, two or more schools
that have already begun to practice learning labs offer schools within the
same district an opportunity to connect by inviting teachers to observe host
classrooms within their schools, usually focusing on the same curricular area.
In the internal lab process, teachers interested in sharing and
reflecting upon their own practices within a school are invited to present a
45


lesson to a small group of colleagues. These lessons are usually focused upon
one instructional strategy or specific student skill. School leadership
determines which teachers would fit best with their chosen areas and offers
a variety of strategy and skill-focused lessons to the faculty from which to
choose. These internal labs follow a detailed process of pre-brief and debrief
protocol that separates this activity from simple peer observations (Public
Education and Business Coalition, 2001).
The internal learning lab begins with each observing group of
teachers meeting together prior to the observation to prepare for the
experience through the use of a five step pre-brief focused on creating an
atmosphere of support and learning in the observation setting. These pre-
briefs are led and begun by the facilitator; the host teacher then provides the
lesson overview; the observers ask questions; and observation norms
focused on non-evaluative observations connected to each teachers personal
work are discussed. The focus of the learning lab is determined by each
teachers individual area of interest and generally stems from a prominent
feature of the school's professional development. Each observing teacher
develops a focus and determines how s/he will gather evidence around
his/her focus during the observation, taking notes to review during the
debrief. Though each observer's focus is expected to be connected to the
focus of the group as a whole, the ways in which these connections are
formed is unclear.
46


After the host teacher has presented the lesson to the observing
teachers, the group meets again and follows a six step debrief to help
participants reflect on what they observed and what they will take away
from the experience for their own practice. First, the observers review their
recorded evidence and make silent annotations. These notes are then shared
by all and the host teacher responds when all have finished. After an open
discussion, all the participants record new insights, understandings, or ideas
that they are taking away from the experience. Finally the group discusses
the lesson in an evaluative way, determining what did and did not go well.
These discussions are intended to promote future development of the
presentation lesson while simultaneously engaging the group in the
evolution of their own instructional practices.
No clear theoretical explanation exists for the emergence of the
learning lab as a valuable activity for collaborative development. Though
PEBC believes it to be a successful activity in which educators can engage to
develop their practices, the explanation for why it may be successful remains
quite thin. Though the theoretical basis for this approach has not been clearly
articulated, utilizing learning labs within communities of practice with the
guidance of a literacy coach as an approach to the development of
instructional identity through discourse and activity is, in fact, built upon a
firm theoretical framework. This theoretical framework shall be explained in
the final section of this chapter.
47


Theoretical Framework
Though improving the literacy instructional skills of secondary teachers
through on-going, job-embedded professional development appears a promising
approach to increasing the literacy skills of all adolescents, education has
historically been a field highly resistant to change (Donaldson et al., 2008;
Killion, 2008; Little, 1988; Orr, Byme-Jimenez, McFarlane, & Brown, 2005;
Poglinco et al., 2003). Due, in part, to the fact that teachers spend the majority of
their time working in isolation rather than in collaborative environments, certain
norms have been established in education that work to ensure that change is
inhibited.
Donaldson et al. (2008) refer to three classical teaching norms in their
research: teacher autonomy, egalitarianism, and seniority. They explain that
educational leaders in reform roles find change problematic to implement if it
conflicts with any of these norms. Thus, teachers are more likely to accept change
if it does not entail anyone asserting authority over them (Donaldson et al., 2008;
Little, 1988). As organizations in general tend to resist change (Boleman & Deal,
2003; Kegan, 1994; Kegan & Lahey, 2001), educational organizations staffed by-
individuals who are wary of outside expertise and often work from personal
assumptions experience this resistance at a heightened level (Rogoff, 2003).
Language: A tool for development.
Vygotsky (1978, 1986) explains that language is a developmental tool
used as a mediating factor between stimulus and response (L. S. Vygotsky, 1978;
48


Lev S. Vygotsky, 1986). In fact, he explains that human thought and language are
so interdependent that one is almost never found without the other, and even in
isolation, the thinker utilizes language to contemplate the stimulus. Though this
example highlights the manner in which language is used independently, it is also
a powerful tool for interdependent reasoning, where individuals in collaborative
environments reason through activities to determine meaning with language. As
Vygotsky (1978) explains, Just as a mold gives shape to a substance, words can
shape an activity into a structure (28). As we perceive our external realities as
structures, this statement displays the fact that we define reality based upon the
manner in which we describe it collaboratively through the use of language.
This highlights an important point regarding the social nature of learning.
According to this sociocultural theory of development, knowledge is not provided
and accepted by another; rather, the individuals understanding of the world itself
is developed through discourse. By incorporating a more knowledgeable other
into these interdependent interactions, Vygotsky (1978) believed that a learner
could be guided through the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) into more
expert practice. Accordingly, the power of language to alter definitions of external
reality makes it a prominent tool in overcoming the resistance to change in
professional development in education. However, in order to engage teachers in
successfully developing their understanding of their instructional practices, it is
necessary to overcome the aforementioned classical norms of autonomy,
49


egalitarianism, and seniority by providing educators with the opportunity to
redefine their own roles and norms.
Language: A tool for defining identity.
Language, in its everyday use, is a form of discourse used to develop
understanding. However, as language is also a culturally specific linguistic code,
it connects directly to an individuals social identity. Gee (1990) refers to
language used in this culturally embedded manner as Discourse with a capital D
(to differentiate it from discourse as everyday language use) and defines
Discourses as social practices which integrate language, thinking, values, and
ways of acting and interacting (73). When viewed in this way, Discourse
becomes a tool which incorporates both the sociocultural elements of cognitive
development through language as well as a device used to determine social roles
(Gee, 1990, 1992). Through Discourse, a person takes on a social role that is
embedded within his/her language, beliefs, values, actions, and attitude.
Discourse, role, and identity are intertwined; therefore, changing one inevitably
changes all three. Gee (1990) explains that Discourses are more than ways of
speaking, but must be viewed as ways of being in the world... which integrate
words, acts, values, beliefs, attitudes, [and] social identities (142).
From this perspective, Discourses are much more than the diction and
syntax an individual chooses. Instead, Discourses represent and define the social
identities expected by the cultural group within which one is a member. In order
to alter social roles and identities, it is necessary for the individual to transform
50


his/her Discourse. This process, however, is not as simple as changing hats.
Secondary Discourses must be adopted with intentionality; the individual must
have a meta-awareness of the value and purpose of the adopted Discourse in order
to actively accept the alterations in world view which accompany this change. In
addition, as Discourses represent ways of being in the world as accepted by
specific social groups, if one is to adopt a secondary Discourse, a prerequisite for
adoption is the existence of a social group that utilizes this world view and
displays its beliefs, values, and attitudes through this Discourse. Thus, language
develops understanding and Discourse develops identity, but it takes a community
to transform language into Discourse through activity.
Creating communities and identities through discourse.
Understanding is developed through communication of ideas in
interpersonal relationships (Gee, 1990, 1992, 2004; Rogoff, 2003; L. S. Vygotsky,
1978; Lev S. Vygotsky, 1986). In order to alter social identities, individuals must
adopt and adapt to-new ways of thinking and being by entering into new
Discourse communities. These communities do not transform social roles simply
by being together, but also by doing together. Active transformation occurs when
individuals engage in dynamic activities collaboratively. Rogoff (2003) refers to
this type of intentional transformation as adaptive practice and explains that it
must be completed collaboratively and with a mutual understanding of the
purposes behind adopting the communal practice (255). She goes further to
explain that, by entering into this adaptive practice within a community, the
51


individual is provided access to the shared knowledge during activity with the
group through language, a feature she refers to as distributed cognition (285).
Thus, the individual must accept and intentionally engage in the adaptive practice,
and, in return, s/he receives the benefits of distributed cognition. Accepting this
Discourse and utilizing it to engage in activity within a group not only transforms
the individual, but the community as well. As communities are created and new
members are added, cognition is redistributed, new ways of thinking and being
are introduced, the community itself is continually redefined, and its individual
constituents are mutually constituted (51) through language and activity.
Mutually constitutive communities effects on individual identity.
Gee (1990) explains that mutually constitutive communities create, in
turn, social worlds as social reality is created by our beliefs and values and these
beliefs and values are created through our social relationships (9). Thus, the
individuals understanding of reality and identity is created in collaboration with
the communities in which one practices Discourse. These mutually constitutive
communities of practice are arenas in which learners are apprenticed into social
groups and social worlds. Gee (1990) anticipates Rogoff s explanation of
distributed cognition by explaining that One does not think for oneself, rather
one always thinks for (really with and through) a group (46). Accordingly, if one
wishes to transform the practice of an individual, the most effective and
sustainable way to accomplish this change is by apprenticing the individual into
the practices of a social group.
52


Thus, the identity of an individual does not exist in isolation but is
inextricably linked with the communities in which the individual practices. Gee
(2004) defines learning as changing patterns of participation in specific social
practices where identities are socially situated and changes in ones patterns
of participation with specific social practices constitute changes in these socially
situated identities (38). The socially situated nature of identity emphasizes the
need to change ones social community in order to transform his/her practice. The
community of practice is a cultural model that indoctrinates members into its
values and beliefs in order to achieve this goal.
Rogoff (2003) describes the rationale behind her support for communities
of practice by explaining her belief that People develop as participants in cultural
communities. Their development can only be understood in light of the cultural
practices and circumstances of their communities which also change (3-4).
Thus, the community of practice is central to the development of each of its
members. Rogoff (2003) defines these communities as a group of insiders with
shared goals and values who contest and create meaning through participation in
activities, follow a shared set of procedures, yet have freedom to operate outside
of the group (202).
Situated learning within communities of practice.
Rogoff s (2003) concept of mutually constitutive communities was by no
means unique to her theories. Lave and Wenger (1991) also describe learning as
development within communities, rather than transmission and/or assimilation
53


(Lave & Wenger, 1991). They, in fact, explain that this development is directly
related to participation in communities of social practice wherein understanding
and experience are in constant interaction indeed, are mutually constitutive
(52). Like Rogoff, they emphasize the importance of novices and experts sharing
goals to create specific outcomes and agree with Gee that apprenticeship changes
roles and relationships to activities. In addition, Lave and Wenger (1991) express
the fact that every learning curriculum consists of situated opportunities from the
perspective of learners (97). Thus, the learners (both novice and expert;
apprentice and master) must be engaged in the process of recognizing and
embracing the opportunities to transform for said changes to occur. Thus the goals
are developed by the members of the community through active collaboration.
Once an individual has entered into the collaborative creation of authentically
shared goals within a community, s/he:
has been correspondingly transformed into a practitioner...whose
changing knowledge, skill, and discourse are part of a developing identity
- in short, a member of a community of practice. ...Situated learning
activity has been transformed into legitimate peripheral participation in
communities of practice (122).
In addition, Lave and Wenger warn of the dangers of adversarial
relationships within these communities of practice. They explain that conditions
which place people in adversarial relationships distort the prospects for learning
54


in practice. In application, this means that relationships within communities of
practice must be non-evaluative to be successful.
Resources essential for communities ofpractice and the IDZ.
In his analysis of the ways in which language is used to distribute
cognition, Mercer (2000) works to continue and clarify the definition of
communities of practice set forth by Lave and Wenger (Mercer, 2000). Beginning
with a reiteration of the ways in which language is used as a tool to develop
communal cognition while reconstructing self-identity, Mercer goes on to
describe how language is redefined and eventually owned by specific
communities. It is during this discussion that Mercer defines the four resources
communities make available for joint intellectual activity: (a) a history, (b) a
collective identity, (c) reciprocal obligations, and (d) a Discourse (106). First, he
explains that groups which work together inevitably create a series of shared
experiences that become the communitys history. Second, as experience and
identity are in constant mutually constitutive interaction, these shared experiences
form the collective identity of the community. Third, since the members of these
communities share goals, values, and cognition, they are beholden to one another
to provide the knowledge and activity for the community as a whole and thus
have reciprocal obligations amongst themselves. Finally, members shape their
language based upon the beliefs, values, and experiences shared within the
community. These shared ways of thinking and being eventually become a
Discourse particular to that community. Mercer explains that, in order for these
55


resources to be shared by and accessible to all, the purposes of cooperative
endeavors made by the community must be explicitly described and protocol must
be followed to ensure behavior appropriate to the development of the community.
Mercer agrees with Vygotsky (1978) that the presence of a more
knowledgeable other is a requirement of consistent development in practice,
explaining that communities require members with special
knowledge/experience to help guide the acquisition of discourse during activity
(169). However, Mercer explains that distributed cognition takes one beyond the
linear notion of Vygotskys Zone of Proximal Development into a model capable
of depicting the collaborative growth inherent within a community of practice.
Mercer refers to this model as the intermental development zone (IDZ) which he
defines as a shared communicative space created by a community in which they
negotiate differences through language in activity (141).
Summary.
We define reality based upon the manner in which we describe it
collaboratively through the use of language. The ways in which we act in and
interact with this constructed reality make up our Discourse, and through
Discourse, a person takes on a social role that is embedded within his/her social
identity. Changing teachers practices involves overcoming classic teaching
norms and changing teachers socially defined identities. Discourse, role, and
identity are intertwined; therefore, changing one inevitably changes all three.
Thus, to change teachers identities, it is necessary to change their shared
56


Discourse, but it takes a community to transform language into Discourse through
activity. Communities of practice provide the opportunity for professionals to
create a shared Discourse, transforming the members values, beliefs, roles, and
ultimately their identities. These communities represent the most effective and
sustainable way to apprentice the individual into the practices of a social group.
This process, however, is not one of assimilation. Rather, the members
mutually constitute the groups identity through their shared practices,
experiences, and distributed cognition with the guidance of a more knowledgeable
other. Thus, successful communities of practice will exhibit a history, a collective
identity, reciprocal obligations, and a shared Discourse. In order to achieve this,
the communities must have specific protocols to ensure that the purposes behind
the transformation are explicit, group norms work toward the development of the
community and shared goals, and relationships are non-evaluative.
Thus, it would seem that this framework can be posited as the theoretic
underpinning that has been missing to explain why Professional Learning
Communities which engage in learning labs can be successful when well
implemented. Communities of practice have subtle differences from PLCs in that
authors have delineated the specific resources and attributes that should be clearly
observable within communities of practice; resources which are supported by the
theoretical explanations of the ways in which professional identities are mutually
constituted through Discourse and engagement in collaborative activities. For this
57


reason, the collaborative group analyzed at Hardin High School will be referred to
as a community of practice which engages in learning labs in this study.
Thus, the intervention studied here is one specific community of practice
which had specific elements to its coaching program. First, the members of this
specific community of practice were classroom teachers and a literacy coach with
defined roles. The coachs role included facilitating and preparing for the
meetings, guiding the group through communal reflection, collaborating with the
teachers to determine an instructional focus, observing and conferencing with the
teachers beyond the learning lab to discuss the SIOP focus, assisting and
facilitating the learning lab pre-brief and debrief meetings, and providing
guidance to the teachers in incorporating focal strategies into future lessons
during collaborative planning. The teachers roles included collaborating to
determine the instructional focus, alternating as hosts for the learning lab sessions,
engaging in reflection on their own classrooms, and incorporating focal strategies
into future lessons.
58


59


CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY
This study employed case study methodology to examine the
implementation of one community of practice in an urban high school and
associated changes in instructional practice and evidence of student learning.
Design
This study used a mixed methods analysis of an embedded case study
design to analyze a professional development model chosen at Hardin High
School and its outcomes. The professional development model incorporated
multiple features including the use of a literacy coach and a community of
practice of ten ELA teachers who also engaged in learning labs. The literacy
coach also worked individually with all members of this community of practice.
Thus, this study focused on the ten ELA instructors, the literacy coach, four cross-
content area ELA teachers as individual cases, the classrooms of these four
teachers, and the students within these classrooms. The professional development
approach at the school and its associated components constituted the primary case
studied; the embedded cases were constituted through deeper inquiry of four
target teachers and their students. These individuals are referred to using
pseudonyms throughout this study to maintain their anonymity.
60


Research Questions
In order to analyze the process and effects of coaching within this
community of practice, this study focused on three research questions.
1. What are the specific features of the collaborative coaching
professional development model used by Hardin High School?
2. To what extent do the instructional practices of the teachers within
this community of practice change?
3. To what extent does the literacy achievement of these teachers
students change?
The first question was descriptive and served to provide a rich and detailed
description of the professional development model used by the school. The
second and third questions were explanatory and provided an explanation of the
effects this form of professional development had on teacher instruction and
student achievement for the four target teachers. Thus, question one was used to
collect and analyze data from the entire community of practice, while questions
two and three focused solely on data collected from the four target teachers and
one student cohort. The data collection and analysis procedures for each of these
questions, in turn, are described directly following the explanation of the
population and participant selection.
Case Selection and Description
This study took place during the 2010-2011 school year in a large urban
high school, herein referred to as Hardin High School, in a western state, serving
61


grades nine through twelve in an urban district. As mentioned in Chapter I, this
school is located within a district that introduced a number of reform-based
initiatives in previous years; however, student achievement on state assessments
and graduation rates within this district had not risen, and the achievement gaps
among ethnic and racial groups continued to grow. For these reasons, district
student enrollment had declined over the past decade. Though recent years had
witnessed a slight increase in the total number of students, the majority of the
secondary schools were operating below capacity, including twelve of the
fourteen high schools, though Hardins enrollment had steadily increased. In
efforts to remedy this situation, the district continued to seek and implement new
approaches to effectively improve its schools. As Hardin High School
encountered many of the complex issues facing urban secondary schools
throughout the West, including increasing numbers of English language learners
and assessment scores consistently below the state average, it was a candidate for
improvement. The implementation of a coaching program within a community of
practice at Hardin during the 2010-2011 school year provided a unique
opportunity to determine the effects of such a collaborative approach on a high
school. Results found at Hardin may help other schools facing similar issues
(Conchas, 2006; Freedman, Simons, Kalnin, & Casareno, 1999; J. Lee et al.,
2007).
62


Hardin High School Demographics
Of the 96 faculty members working at Hardin High School in 2010-2011,
78 were full-time teachers and 1 was a part-time teacher. The teaching staff had
an average of eleven years of experience in the classroom; 69% had at least three
years of experience. 57% of these educators taught courses in the subject area in
which they received their degrees, and 33 of the teachers (approximately 42%)
had Masters or Doctoral degrees. The school also had a four-person
administrative staff. The ethnical/racial composition of the 1728 students served
by Hardin High School was 1% American Indian, 4% Asian, 86% Hispanic, 4%
Black, and 5% White. Approximately 84% of the students were eligible for free
and reduced lunch. Additionally, nearly 80% of the students were English
language learners. The school had a 10% dropout rate and a 65% graduation rate,
higher than the district average, but below the state average. The average ACT
composite score for this school in 2010 was 14.7, as compared to 16.8 at the
district level and 19.4 at the state level. Approximately 17% of the 11th and 12th
grade students at this school were enrolled in at least one Advanced Placement
course.
Based on the state assessment scores for reading, writing, and math given
to 9th and 10lh graders, the school was designated low-performing, high growth for
the 2009-2010 school year based on the Colorado Growth Model. For
achievement in mathematics, 5% of the students tested at or above proficient,
26% in reading, and 14% in writing. Thus, in terms of achievement itself many 9lh
63


and 10th grade students at this school were performing below grade level. Based
on changes from these scores in the 2009-2010 school year, Hardin was placed in
the 52nd growth percentile in math, meaning that the schools overall growth
improvement on the state test in this subject was as high or higher than 52 percent
of students at a similar level of proficiency (Colorado Department of Education,
2009). Hardin was placed in the 55lh growth percentile in reading and the 51st
growth percentile in writing. As Table 2 displays, Hardin improved at a slightly
Table 2: Hardin's Growth and Achievement on State Assessments
OMath
Reading
O Writing
64


higher pace in all three subjects than the state average. Despite this fact, the
school did not meet the requirements for federal average yearly progress toward
its defined academic goals (AYP).
Unpacking the state assessment data for reading and writing by
demographic group displayed a more detailed description of the schools recent
achievement. On the reading portion of the state exam, 26% of the students tested
in the 9th and 10th grade achieved at or above the level deemed proficient by the
State Department of Education, a slight decrease from the previous two years.
Though this decrease can clearly be seen occurring over the past two years, these
scores represent an increase for these 9th and 10th graders from the 2006-2007
scores as can be seen in Table 3. Though demographic data were not available for
Table 3: Percent of Hardin 9th and 10lh Graders Scoring Proficient or Above in
Reading
2007
012008
2009
2010
65


the African American population, it is clear that the increase in achievement over
these four years was reflective of the increase in the scores of the Hispanic and
ELL populations at this school, as these groups comprised such a large proportion
of the school population.
On the state assessment in writing, these same 9th and 10th grade students
achieved at a much lower rate, though similar growth can be seen over the
previous four years. As a school, 14% of these students scored at or above
proficient on the state writing assessment in 2010. Though African American
demographic data were again unavailable, four-years of growth is reflected in the
achievement growth of the Hispanic student population. This data is displayed in
Table 4. Interestingly, the 2009-2010 school year witnessed a slight drop in scores
from the 2008-2009 school year, despite the continued growth on writing
assessments within the Hispanic population of Hardin High School. It would
appear that this drop was due, in part, to the decrease in the test scores of the
ELLs at the school. This opposing shift helps to display the difference between
these two groups at Hardin.
Participants
The participants in this study included the literacy coach, the ten ELA
instructors engaged in the community of practice, the four target teachers who
served as the embedded case within this group of ten, and the students of these
four target teachers.
66


Table 4: Percent of Hardin 9,h and 10th Graders Scoring Proficient or Above in
Writing
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

School
White
Hispanic
ELLs
2007
2008
2009
2010
Professional community of practice.
Ten ELA teachers composing one community of practice were the general
group from which the embedded case was chosen for this study. Three of these
ten teachers were male, seven were female, and they represented the four core
content areas: math, science, English, and history. Three of these ten teachers
were native Spanish speakers; the other seven had varying levels of limited
Spanish proficiency and were all native English speakers. With the exception of
one of the math teachers, hired during the 2009-2010 school year, all of these
teachers had participated in learning labs at Hardin High School in the past.
67


Embedded case of teachers.
For the 9th grade class, Hardin High School employed a Freshman
Academy Program. This program separated the freshman body into cohorts of
twenty to thirty-five students, and each cohort was instructed by the same math,
English, history, and science teachers. Four of the teachers in this group instructed
one cohort of English language learners, meaning that they saw these same
students each day. For this reason, the impact on student achievement was more
closely linked to their work as the students analyzed had received minimal
instruction from other educators. These four teachers were the target teachers
analyzed in this study. As their students were in the 9th grade, state assessment
data charted their growth from the 2009-2010 to 2010-2011 school years. This
group of four teachers was interdisciplinary and included one math, science,
English, and history teacher. Both the math teacher, a novice Caucasian male, and
the English teacher, an experienced Caucasian female, displayed limited
proficiency in Spanish. The science and history teachers were experienced
teachers, Latina, and native Spanish speakers.
The literacy coach.
For the 2010-2011 school year, Hardin High School hired a part-time
literacy coach who facilitated this community of practice. The coachs role during
the meetings was to facilitate the focal sessions, develop the framework for focal
sessions by preparing readings and study questions, and guide the group toward a
68


communal reflection upon their practices and ways in which to improve their
instruction through SIOP strategies.
In addition, this coach worked with all ten ELA teachers in this
community of practice as a literacy coach. Her duties in this regard were to
observe teachers independently (outside of learning lab preparation) and to
provide one-on-one feedback. These observations were intended to occur twelve
times for each of the ten teachers over the course of the year, and the focus of this
one-on-one coaching was to be the same as the focus of the community of
practice during their meetings and learning labs. For this reason, the literacy
coach was instrumental in considering the instructional growth of the four
educators of this case study over the course of the school year.
The students.
The students chosen for this subunit were the 9lh graders enrolled in three
or more of the courses taught by these four target teachers. Additionally, this
study only analyzed data from students who took both the pre and post reading
and writing tests on the state assessment and state English language acquisition
assessment as well as the district-level Acuity assessment. Based on these criteria,
52 students from two classes taught by at least three of the four target teachers
were analyzed in this study. Though all but one of these students were Spanish
speakers in the fall of 2010, it is important to note that this was a dynamic group
of students which changed at semester. At the end of the fall semester, five
Spanish speaking students from the cohort taught by the target teachers
69


transferred out of district and nine new students arrived. Of the nine new students,
eight spoke Vietnamese as their first language and one spoke Spanish.
PD Context: Coaching Model
The coaching within a community of practice model was first introduced
to the school during the 2007-2008 school year through a grant obtained by a
local university. During the first two years of its implementation, this intervention
was made available to any interested educator on a volunteer basis as an
additional form of professional development. These teachers, who represented a
variety of subject areas, met monthly in a small group or community of practice
with the guidance of a university professor as the external coach. The meetings
alternated between focal sessions and learning labs (Public Education and
Business Coalition, 2001). Through their discussions during focal sessions, these
teachers shared classroom strategies that they determined to be appropriate for
their students, often choosing to focus on one or more of the strategies found in
the SIOP model. These teachers then engaged in action research in which they
implemented the classroom strategies discussed during these focal sessions and
shared their results with the other participants. Though these results were
occasionally based on formative assessments the teachers had developed for their
classrooms, more often the results represented an informal holistic response,
describing the teachers perceptions of student reactions to specific instructional
approaches.
70


During learning labs, the strategies that the group determined to be most
promising were implemented by a specific participant who acted as host teacher,
and the other members were invited to observe this teachers instruction. The
community of practice met beforehand and followed a clear pre-brief protocol,
during which the host teacher shared the lesson with the other members, and the
community of practice revisited the focus of the learning lab and ways for the
observers to record observable behaviors and empirical evidence during the
lesson. After the lesson was presented, the community of practice met again,
following a systematic debrief protocol patterned after the approach developed by
the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC), to develop ideas and
understandings of their own classroom practices based upon the observable data
recorded during the host teachers lesson (Public Education and Business
Coalition, 2001). The university used grant monies to pay for classroom coverage
so that these teachers were able to spend one day every other month engaged in a
learning lab. This schedule was adhered to in the same manner during the 2010-
2011 school year.
After two years where a voluntary approach to implement this coaching
program was adopted, the principal decided to work with the university to
implement coaching in communities of practice as a full-faculty, mandatory
professional development approach in the 2009-2010 school year. In order to ease
the transition from voluntary engagement to mandatory professional development,
the teachers who participated in the initial years voluntarily addressed the faculty
71


regarding the rewards and responsibilities inherent within this intervention model.
These teachers, having been exposed to the intervention for as many as three
years prior to its implementation school-wide, were often used to facilitate the
learning labs, serving as teacher leaders to guide their colleagues through the
process.
Data Collection and Analysis
This study examined the connection between the coach-guided activities
of one community of practice (participation in learning labs, focal sessions, and
collaborative planning) and changes in teacher instruction for four of its members
and achievement for these four teachers students. An overview of these data
sources is displayed in Table 5. Multiple procedures were utilized to analyze these
data in order to triangulate the analysis across multiple sources of evidence
(Creswell, 2007; Miles & Huberman, 1994; Yin, 2009). This community of
practice provided the opportunity for professionals to create a shared Discourse to
potentially transform the members values, beliefs, roles, instructional practices
and, ultimately, student achievement. Changes in teacher instruction were
determined through the use of strategy-specific, SIOP rubrics during classroom
observations of the four target teachers instruction. Changes in student
achievement were determined by analyzing assessment data for the students of
these specific teachers. For clarity, the data collection and analysis procedures
detailed in the following section are organized by research question.
72


Table 5: Data Collection Chart
Description of coaching within a community of practice:
10 teachers and 1 coach
Qualitative Quantitative
* Interviews of literacy coach Beginning of year End of year Field notes from observations of meetings Focal sessions (3) Learning labs (5) Collaborative planning (5) None
Change in teacher instruction: 4 target teachers
Qualitative Quantitative
Field notes from classroom observations (pre and post) Informal interviews with teachers Artifacts collected from all meetings Charts displayed Professional readings Exit tickets Reflection papers Researchers score on SIOP rubric Coachs score on SIOP rubric Completed at intervals Multiple times over course of year
Student achievement: 4 target teachers Qualitative Quantitative
None CSAP scores (reading and
writing)
CELA scores (reading and
writing)
Acuity scores (reading)
Research Question 1: What Are the Specific Features of the Collaborative
Coaching Professional Development Model Used by Hardin High School?
In order to analyze the effects of this professional development model, it
was first necessary to determine exactly what the model was. Though
73


communities of practice involved in learning labs had been implemented in this
school in the past, various factors caused the model to change annually. The
purpose of this research question was to define the features and intentions of
coaching within a community of practice in the 2010-2011 school year.
Data collection for research question 1.
As displayed in Table 5, this research pulled from two data sources: (a)
interviews with the literacy coach and (b) observations of the community of
practice meetings. Observations and interviews of the persons involved are two
commonly utilized sources of evidence in case study research (Yin, 2009).
Coach interviews.
In order to describe the intended professional development model, this
study first interviewed the literacy coach who was working within the community
of practice. The literacy coach was then interviewed again at the end of the year to
provide reflection on this process. These interviews were each one hour in length
and occurred on-August 30, 2010 and June 8, 2011, respectively. Both interviews
with the literacy coach were semi-structured to allow the researcher the ability to
tailor the questions to the responses given (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002). The initial
interview with the literacy coach was recorded and transcribed and consisted of
four basic questions: (a) What are the goals of this professional development
model and how will these be achieved?, (b) How often will this community of
practice meet and what will be the purpose of each of these meetings?, (c) How
often will you be working with each of the target teachers one-on-one and what
74


will be the purpose of these meetings?, and (d) What are the defining features of
this professional development model?
At the end of the school year the literacy coach was interviewed again to
provide an opportunity for reflection on the adherences to and deviations from the
intended professional development model. This semi-structured interview focused
on six questions: (a) In what ways did the work of the community of practice
deviate from the model and why?, (b) In what ways did your one-on-one coaching
with the four target teachers deviate from the model and why?, (c) What effects
do you believe these deviations had on the goals of this professional
development?, (d) In what ways do you think the model did and did not work?,
(e) Will you use this model again?, and (f) How would you implement it
differently? These questions are also listed in Appendices B and C.
Community of practice observations.
All meetings of the ten-member community of practice (planned as three
focal sessions, five learning labs,-and five collaborative planning) were observed
and detailed field notes were taken to record the adherences to and deviations
from the intended model. These field notes were recorded on Microsoft Word as
narrative accounts of the events which occurred and the statements which were
made during these meetings. Each speaker was identified within these field notes
and each individuals statement was either recorded precisely or summarized. In
addition, participant actions (such as displaying a book, removing a chart from a
wall, standing, etc.) were recorded as they occurred.
75


The sole focal session was observed for ninety minutes on September 9,
2010, and the learning labs and collaborative planning meetings were observed on
October 20, 2010, November 17, 2010, February 3, 2011, and May 11, 2011.
Each of the learning labs was roughly four hours long and each of the
collaborative planning meetings was roughly three hours long. Of the ten
members of the community of practice, all were present for the focal session and
nine of the ten were present at each learning lab and collaborative planning
meeting. During the first and last learning labs and collaborative planning
sessions, the target math teacher was absent and one non-target teacher was
absent from the second and third meetings.
Data analysis for research question 1.
Both data sources (transcripts from interviews with the literacy coach and
fieldnotes of observations of the community of practice meetings) were analyzed
in order to develop a rich description of the collaborative coaching model
implemented at Hardin High School during the 20K)-2011 school year.
Coach interviews.
The coach interview transcripts were analyzed to determine the specific
features that defined this model of professional development, including the
professional development timeline enacted by this community of practice, the
activities in which this group engaged, and the calendar the literacy coach used
for one-on-one coaching with the four target teachers. This study used a
descriptive coding approach by separating transcript data into a list of three codes:
76


(a) activities, both collaborative and individual; (b) effects, both anticipated and
perceived; and (c) alterations (Miles & Huberman, 1994). These codes were
created to determine the specific goals that had been set for this professional
development model, the activities in which the literacy coach engaged with the
community of practice in order to achieve these goals, and the perceived effects of
these activities on the participants during the community of practice meetings.
The transcript of the first interview was entered into Weft QDA, a simple
qualitative data analysis tool which saves information highlighted by the user as a
specific code into its own document. Thus, the first interview transcript was coded
into activities and anticipated effects. The codes of perceived effects and
alterations were not used as the community of practice had not yet met. The final
interview transcript was also entered into Weft QDA and coded into activities,
effects, and alterations. The activity code for both transcripts was used to
highlight statements made by the literacy coach regarding the actions of the
community of practice. The effects code highlighted the statements made by the
literacy coach regarding the impact of the community of practice work on teacher
instruction and belief. The alterations code was used to highlight statements made
by the literacy coach regarding changes made in the professional development
design over the course of the year and the purposes behind these changes.
Community of practice observations.
During observations of the thirteen meetings of this community of
practice, extensive descriptive field notes were taken, as previously explained.
77


This study used descriptive coding to separate these data into the aforementioned
three provisional codes: (a) activities, both collaborative and individual; (b)
effects, both anticipated and perceived; and (c) alterations. This analysis also used
Weft QDA as its coding tool.
The activities code was again used to highlight the activities in which the
community of practice engaged. The alterations code was used to highlight
changes made from the intended professional development model, as explained
by the literacy coach in the first interview. The effects code highlighted
participant statements which implied potential changes in thinking and/or practice
that occurred during community of practice meetings. For example, when Selma
stated she was impressed by another teachers use of mixed-level grouping, this
was coded as a potential effect upon Selmas use of grouping during her
instruction. In this way, subcodes were developed within the effects code to
specify which teacher displayed the effect and what type of instructional change
was implied by this statement. This was done in order to support the analysis of
the second research question through triangulation of data sources, as will be
explained in the following section.
Research Question 2: To What Extent Do the Instructional Practices of the
Target Teachers within this Community of Practice Change?
The next portion of this analysis provided an opportunity to connect the
work in the community of practice with improved teacher instruction. This
question was used to collect and analyze data from the four target teachers in the
78


community of practice, working with the same group of students. This research
question focused on the first step in collecting and analyzing data in order to
determine if the intervention was successful in the field.
Data collection for research question 2.
As Table 5 displays, data collected for this portion of the study were both
quantitative and qualitative. Quantitatively, a portion of the SIOP rubric referred
to in Chapter 2 was used during classroom observations to score target teachers
instruction in the three areas chosen as the focus of this community of practices
work. Qualitatively, field notes from classroom observations, artifacts from
community of practice meetings, and transcripts of informal interviews with the
target teachers were collected. As previously mentioned, the field notes from the
community of practice observations were also used for the qualitative portion of
this analysis.
Classroom observations using the SIOP rubric.
The SIOP is an observational instrument developed as a rating scale which
is displayed in Appendix F. This scale is broken into thirty items grouped in eight
main components: preparation, building background, comprehensible input,
strategies, interaction, practice/application, lesson delivery, and
review/assessment (Echevarria et al., 2004). A brief explanation of each of these
components is provided here. Preparation refers to lesson preparation and focuses
on developing lessons that are culturally and
79


linguistic responsive; building background refers to utilizing students prior
knowledge in lessons and consistently building upon this knowledge;
comprehensible input refers to using instructional speech, explanations, and other
techniques to ensure student understanding of key content; and strategies refers to
engaging students in utilizing their own cognitive, metacognitive, and
social/affective strategies. Interaction refers to developing opportunities for
students to communicate with the teacher and with one another in English;
practice/application refers to providing students with hands-on experience to
practice content and language skills; lesson delivery refers to presenting
instruction in an engaging manner; and review/assessment refers to analyzing
student knowledge and providing feedback regarding key language and content
concepts and skills.
Of these eight categories, interaction, strategies, and building background
were the major focal areas of the professional development model utilized by
Hardin High School in the 2010-2011 school year. For this reason, a specific
portion of the SIOP was used as an observational rubric during classroom
observations. This instrument is shown in Figure 3.
On September 29, 2010, the literacy coach observed all four target
teachers and scored their lessons with this rubric. On October 6, 2010, the primary
researcher and the literacy coach observed three of the four target teachers, scored
these teachers separately, and met later to norm their scoring collaboratively.
During this norming session, the literacy coach and primary researcher
80


Adapted SIOP Observation Rubric
4 3 2 1 0 N/ A
Building Background
1. Concepts explicitly linked to students' background experiences
2. Links explicitly made between past learning and new concepts
3. Key vocabulary emphasized (e.g., introduced, written, repeated, and highlighted for students to see)
Strategies
4. Provides ample opportunities for students to use strategies
5. Consistent use of scaffolding techniques through- out lesson, assisting and supporting student understanding, such as think-alouds
6. Teacher uses a variety of question types, including those that promote higher-order thinking skills throughout the lesson (e.g., literal, analytical and interpretive questions)
Interaction
7. Frequent opportunities for interaction and discussion between teacher / student and among students, which encourage elaborated responses students, which encourage elaborated responses about lesson concepts
8. Grouping configurations support language and content objectives of the lesson
9. Consistently provides sufficient wait time for student response
10. Ample opportunities for students to clarify key concepts in LI
Figure 3: Classroom Observation Rubric (Echevarria et al. 2004)
determined that their reliability was above ninety percent, due in great part to the
reliability of the SIOP itself. Two studies completed in the 1990s confirm the
reliability and validity of this tool in measuring sheltered instruction practices of
teachers, even when the rubric was utilized by individuals who were not
specifically trained in SIOP strategies. A statistical analysis of revealed an
81


interrater of correlation .99 between these individuals (Echevarria et al., 2004;
Guarino et ah, 2001). The primary researcher observed the target teachers on
December 7, 2010, March 18, 2011, and May 19, 2011. The target English
teacher was absent from the first second, and third of the primary researchers
observations and the target math teacher was absent from the third observation as
well. The literacy coach observed all four target teachers again on May 17, 2011.
This process is displayed in Figure 4.
Fieldnotes from classroom observations.
During the four separate classroom observations of the four target
teachers, the primary researcher recorded data pertaining to the classroom
environment, the activities of the class, and the actions of the instructor and the
students in fieldnotes. These data types are displayed in Table 5. During these
observations, extensive fieldnotes were recorded. These notes were recorded as a
chronological running record of each class period, focusing upon the classroom
itself, the activities of the teacher and students, and the interactions between these
actors. Teacher comments and actions, student comments and actions, and lesson
activities were recorded into a blank Microsoft Word document in order of
occurrence as shown in the excerpt displayed in Figure 5.
Meeting artifacts.
All documents used in community of practice meetings were also
collected by the researcher. Specifically, professional readings, learning lab
charts, learning lab exit tickets, and reflection papers were collected for this
82


Full Text

PAGE 1

COACHING WITHIN A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE: THE EFFECTS OF ONE URBAN SCHOOL'S COLLABORATIVE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL ON TEACHER INSTRUCTION AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT by Gregory M. Hessee A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Educational Leadership and Innovation 2011

PAGE 2

by Gregory M. Hessee All rights reserved.

PAGE 3

This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Gregory M. Hessee has been approved by Shanklin, Chair Deanna Sands Alan Davis Kris O'Clair r nate Ill

PAGE 4

Hessee, Gregory M. (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation) Coaching within a Community ofPractice: The Effects of One Urban School's Collaborative Professional Development Model on Teacher Instruction and Student Achievement Thesis directed by Associate Professor Nancy L. Shanklin ABSTRACT This study analyzes a professional development model implemented during the 2010-2011 school year at a large urban high school in the western United States for a group often teachers of English Language Learners. Focusing on the work of one community of practice consisting of ten interdisciplinary teachers guided by a literacy coach, this study describes the activities of this model and their intended goals through observations of and interviews with community of practice participants. A specific section ofthe Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol connected to the goals of the community of practice was used as an instrument for determining changes in the instruction of four of these ten teachers over the course of the school year. The literacy achievement of these four teachers' students were analyzed in terms of change in percentage proficient and median growth percentile as compared to the school, district and state on the Colorado Student Assessment Program, the Colorado English Language Assessment, and the district's Acuity assessment. Findings from the classroom observations indicate that the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol scores of the four target teachers improved by an average of28%. In-addition, observations and interviews indicated that three of these four teachers exhibited changes to their pedagogical philosophies due to their involvement in the work ofthis community of practice. Though the analysis ofthe students' achievement revealed that these students failed to achieve at the same level as their peers, specific limitations may help to explain these results. The study illustrates how communities of practice engaged in activities such as learning labs can lead to improvements in teachers' instruction and students' learning. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication. Signed L. Shanklin

PAGE 5

DEDICATION This work is dedicated to my wife, Dara, whose pride and faith never allowed my spirits to flag. I would also like to dedicate this work to Belinda Munoz, the most infuriatingly wonderful mentor I have encountered in this field. May this work help to increase the scope of literacy coaches like you.

PAGE 6

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT To my Doctoral Committee, Dr. Nancy Shanklin, Dr. Deanna Sands, Dr. Alan Davis, and Dr. Kris O'Clair: Thank you for supporting and guiding me through this beautiful academic labyrinth. You were by my side during my greatest struggles, both personal and professional, and I will never forget your patient wisdom. To Loan Maas and the literacy coaches of Hardin High School: Thank you for guidance and understanding. If you had not been able to comprehend my thoughts, however convoluted, I never would have made it through to this day.

PAGE 7

TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF FIGURES ......................................................................................... xvi LIST OF TABLES .......................................................................................... xvii CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................... 1 Purpose of the Study ....................................................................................... 2 Problem ........................................................................................................... 3 The Author .................................................................................................... 10 Research Questions ....................................................................................... 12 Research Design and Context ....................................................................... 12 2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ............................................................. 16 The Conceptual Framework .......................................................................... 18 Models of Coaching ...................................................................................... 20 Implementation of Literacy Coaching: Roles and Responsibilities .............. 22 Recent Research in Secondary Literacy Coaching ....................................... 26 Supporting Literacy across the Sunshine State ......................................... 26 Pennsylvania High School Coaching Initiative ........................................ 29 Reading Assistance Initiative for Secondary School Educators ............... 31 Recent Dissertations on Secondary Literacy Coaching ........................ 32 Research from Hardin High School's District.. ........................................ 34 Summary: The State of Secondary Literacy Coaching ............................. 36 VII

PAGE 8

ELL Instruction and the SlOP ..................................................................... 39 Professional Learning Communities and Learning Labs ......................... 41 Professional Learning Communities ...................................................... 42 Learning Labs .......................................................................................... 44 Theoretical Framework ............................................................................. 48 Language: A tool for development. ...................................................... 48 Language: A tool for defining identity ................................................. 50 Creating communities and identities through discourse ....................... 51 Mutually constitutive communities' effects on individual identity .. 52 Situated learning within communities of practice ............................ 53 Resources essential for communities of practice and the IDZ .......... 55 Summary ............................................................................................... 56 3. METHODOLOGY ...................................................................................... 60 Design ........................................................................................................... 60 Research Questions ................................................................................... 61 Case Selection and Description .................................................................... 61 Hardin High School Demographics .......................................................... 63 Participants ................................................................................................ 66 Professional community of practice ...................................................... 67 Embedded case of teachers ................................................................... 68 The literacy coach ................................................................................. 68 Vlll

PAGE 9

The students .......................................................................................... 69 PD Context: Coaching Model.. ................................................................. 70 Data Collection and Analysis ........................................................................ 72 Research Question 1: What Are the Specific Features of the Collaborative Coaching Professional Development Model Used by Hardin High School? ................................................................................................................... 73 Data collection for research question } ................................................. 74 Coach interviews ............................................................................... 74 Community of practice observations ................................................ 75 Data analysis for research question } .................................................... 76 Coach interviews ............................................................................... 76 Community of practice observations ................................................ 77 Research Question 2: To What Extent Do the Instructional Practices of the Target Teachers within this Community of Practice Change? ................. 78 Data collection for research question 2 ................................................. 79 Classroom observations using the SlOP rubric ................................ 79 Fieldnotes from classroom observations ........................................... 82 Meeting artifacts ............................................................................... 82 Informal target teacher interviews .................................................... 85 Data analysis for research question 2 .................................................... 86 Classroom observations using the SlOP rubric ................................ 86 IX

PAGE 10

Fieldnotes from classroom observations ........................................... 87 Data triangulation .............................................................................. 88 Coded fieldnotes from the observations of the community of practice .......................................................................................... 89 Exit tickets collected from the learning labs ................................. 89 Informal interviews with or reflection papers from the target teachers ......................................................................................... 90 Research Question 3: To What Extent Does the Literacy Achievement of These Teachers' Students Change? .......................................................... 91 Data collection for research question 3 ................................................. 91 The CSAP assessments in reading and writing ................................. 92 The CELA assessment. ..................................................................... 93 Acuity assessment in reading ............................................................ 95 Data analysis for research question 3 .................................................... 96 Threats to Validity ........................................................................................ 98 Internal ...................................................................................................... 98 External ..................................................................................................... 99 Limitations .................................................................................................. 100 4. RESULTS: SPECIFIC FEATURES OF THE COLLABORATIVE COACHING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL .................. 1 02 Intended Model ........................................................................................... 1 03 X

PAGE 11

Effects ..................................................................................................... 1 03 Activities ................................................................................................. 104 Focal sessions .................................................................................... 105 Learning labs ....................................................................................... 1 07 Collaborative planning ...................................................................... 112 Individual coaching ............................................................................. 113 Alterations ............................................................................................... 115 Programmatic alterations .................................................................... 115 Protocol alterations ............................................................................. 118 Alterations to individual coaching ...................................................... 121 Summary ..................................................................................................... 123 5. RESULTS: INSTRUCTIONAL CHANGES ............................................ 125 Selma Halka ................................................................................................ 128 Language Used to Interact with Students ............................................... 129 Use of Sentence Stems ............................................................................ 139 Use of Group Work ................................................................................. 142 SlOP Growth ........................................................................................... 152 Pilar Cruz .................................................................................................... 155 Expectations of Language Use ................................................................ 155 Use of Sentence Stems ............................................................................ 161 Use of Group Work ................................................................................. 165 Xl

PAGE 12

Can I Just Do Learning Labs Every Day Next Year? ............................. 171 SlOP Growth ........................................................................................... 173 Samuel Harris .............................................................................................. 175 Use of a Peer Translator. ......................................................................... 176 Use of Group Work ................................................................................. 178 SlOP Growth ........................................................................................... 180 Jocelyn Collins ............................................................................................ 182 Oral Language Use ................................................................................. 184 Use of Sentence Stems ............................................................................ 186 Use of Group Work ................................................................................. 187 SlOP Growth ........................................................................................... 190 Summary ..................................................................................................... 190 6. RESULTS: STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT ................................................ 196 CELA Results ............................................................................................. 198 CELA Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to School: One sample Ttest ........................................................................................................... 200 CELA Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to School: One sample Ttest ........................................................................................................... 201 CELA Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to District: One sample Ttest ........................................................................................................... 202 Xll

PAGE 13

CELA Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to District: One sample Ttest ........................................................................................................... 202 CELA Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to State: One sample T-test 203 CELA Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to State: One sample T-test 204 CSAP Results .............................................................................................. 205 CSAP Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to School: One sample Ttest ........................................................................................................... 207 CSAP Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to School: One sample Ttest ........................................................................................................... 208 CSAP Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to District: One sample Ttest ........................................................................................................... 209 CSAP Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to District: One sample Ttest ........................................................................................................... 210 CSAP Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to State: One sample T -test ................................................................................................................. 211 CSAP Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to State: One sample T-test ................................................................................................................. 212 Acuity Results ............................................................................................. 213 Limitations .................................................................................................. 215 xm

PAGE 14

Time Period ............................................................................................. 216 The Professional Development Focus .................................................... 217 Assessment Difficulties .......................................................................... 218 7. CONCLUSION .......................................................................................... 222 Findings ....................................................................................................... 222 The Professional Development Model.. .................................................. 222 Instructional Changes .............................................................................. 223 Student Achievement .............................................................................. 224 Limitations .................................................................................................. 225 The Coach's Role .................................................................................... 225 The NonTarget Teachers ....................................................................... 226 The Students' Perspectives ..................................................................... 227 Shifting Beliefs: A Possible Explanation for the Results ........................... 227 Selma's Shift ........................................................................................... 231 Pilar's Shift ............................................................................................. 235 Jocelyn's Shift ......................................................................................... 238 Recommendations for Practice ................................................................... 241 Determining Focus .................................................................................. 242 Being Flexible with Protocols ................................................................. 243 Incorporating Professional Readings ...................................................... 245 Altering Collaborative Planning Time ................................................. 246 XIV

PAGE 15

Determining Student Growth through Assessment.. ............................... 248 Coaching Individually ............................................................................. 248 Recommendations for Future Research ...................................................... 250 Implications ................................................................................................. 253 Implementation ....................................................................................... 253 Potential .................................................................................................. 254 Participant engagement. ...................................................................... 255 Additive effects ................................................................................... 259 Epilogue: Where Are They Now? ............................................................... 262 Hardin High School's Professional Development: 2011-2012 .......... 262 The Community of Practice .................................................................. 263 The Target Teachers ............................................................................. 264 APPENDIX A. Glossary of Acronyms .................................................................................... 267 B. Initial Interview Questions: Literacy Coach ................................................... 269 C. Final Interview Questions: Literacy Coach ..................................................... 270 D. Learning Lab Charts ........................................................................................ 271 E. Learning Lab Exit Ticket. ................................................................................ 278 F. SlOP Rubric ..................................................................................................... 279 REFERENCES .................................................................................................... 282 XV

PAGE 16

Figure 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. LIST OF FIGURES Conceptual Framework .................................................................. 19 Correlation between Practice and Engagement in Classrooms Observed ........................................................................................ 30 Classroom Observation Rubric ...................................................... 81 Data Analysis of Research Question 2 -To What Extent Do the Instructional Practices of the Target Teachers within this Community of Practice Change? ................................................... 83 Excerpt from Fieldnotes of Classroom Observation ...................... 84 The Coaching Program at Hardin High School ........................... 1 05 Scaffolding Poster ........................................................................ 120 Timelines of Learning Labs, Collaborative Planning, and Observations ................................................................................ 125 Observations and Learning Labs Summarized ............................ 127 Average SlOP Growth of the Four Target Teachers ................... 193 XVI

PAGE 17

Table 1. 2. 3 4. 5. 6 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. LIST OF TABLES NAEP Reading Scores by Ethnicity-NAEP 2007 ......................... 6 Hardin's Growth and Achievement on State Assessments ............ 64 Percent of Hardin 9th and I oth Graders Scoring Proficient or Above in Reading ............................................. .... ..................................... 65 Percent of Hardin 9th and I oth Graders Scoring Proficient or Above in Writing ....................................................................................... 67 Data Collection Chart .................................................................... 73 Selma's SlOP Scores ................................................................... 153 Pilar's SlOP Scores ...................................................................... 174 Samuel's SlOP Scores ................................................................. 181 Jocelyn's SlOP Scores ................................................................. 191 Average SlOP Scores of the Four Target Teachers ..................... 192 CELA Reading and Writing Growth Percentiles of Comparison Groups .......................................................................................... 199 CSAP Reading and Writing Growth Percentiles of Comparison Groups .................................................... .......... .................. ......... 207 Change in Percent Proficient on Acuity Reading of Comparison Groups ......... ......... .............................. ........ ................................ . 214 Selma's Four-Column Map .......................................................... 232 XVll

PAGE 18

15. 16. 17. 18. Pilar's Four-Column Map .......................................................... 236 jocelyn's Four-Column Map ...................................................... 239 Hardin's 2010 Professional Development Questionnaire ........... 257 Hardin's 2011 Professional Development Survey ...................... 258 XVlll

PAGE 19

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Increasing the quality of instruction in the field of literacy has long been an issue of extreme importance in education (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006; Graham & Perin, 2007). However, in recent years this focus has intensified with the demand made by No Child Left Behind that students demonstrate adequate yearly progress in the areas of reading and writing ("No Child Left Behind Act," 2001). More recently, the introduction of the LEARN Act in the House of Representatives in 2009 served to increase funding for school-wide programs, instructional strategies, and professional development in literacy education that is on-going and research-based ("Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation Act," 2009). Despite this heightened focus, literacy scores across the nation have shown little improvement in the last thirty years (J. Lee, Grigg, & Donahue, 2007). In addition, the achievement gap between minority and disadvantaged students and their White and Asian counterparts has persisted despite national mandates ensuring its removal (J. Lee et al., 2007; "No Child Left Behind Act," 2001 ). Particularly in schools that serve high proportions of students of diverse backgrounds, this systemic failure limits the access of certain groups of students to power and opportunity in American society (Delpit, 1995; hooks, 1994; Lareau, 2003; C. D. Lee, 2007; Rogoff, 2003).

PAGE 20

The need for job-embedded approaches to teacher professional development has been proposed as a viable approach to improving literacy instruction for all (Darling-Hammond, 1997; B. R. Joyce & Showers, 2002). Literacy coaching programs, one specific type of job-embedded professional development, have been adopted by a large number of school districts. However, the wide variety of the programs currently in place and the limited amount of research displaying positive effects on instructional improvement and student achievement, particularly at the high school level, create a great deal of confusion for those attempting to implement coaching programs (Casey, 2006; Fisher & Frey, 2007; Marsh et al., 2008; Puig & Froelich, 2007; Rainville, 2007; Toll, 2005). As literacy coaching offers an opportunity for job-embedded professional development, it is important that secondary schools be aware of sustainable approaches to implementing these programs and their effects. Purpose of the Study This study describes and examines one urban school's implementation of a specific coaching model within a community of practice utilizing learning labs (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Public Education and Business Coalition, 200 I). Though this study is limited to the activities and outcomes within one high school, the issues addressed in this study are of national significance. The goals of this study are to (a) develop a nuanced description of the professional development approach adopted by this school and (b) analyze the effects this model for a sample of the staff participating in this approach and their students. 2

PAGE 21

Problem As literacy applies to a continuum of communication skills, rather than simply the ability to read and write with understanding, a world with ever increasing global connections through advanced technology requires a population with heightened literacy skills in order to engage in these global communications (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006; Graham & Perin, 2007). To successfully compete in today's marketplace, students entering the workforce need greater literacy skills than previous generations (Bowman, 1999; Brozo & Simpson, 2007; Carnegie Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy, 201 0). This trend promises to increase as the twenty-five fastest-growing professions have higher than average literacy demands and approximately half of all job growth between 2004 and 2014 will require high-level literacy skills. In addition, reading and writing abilities are key predictors of future academic success and basic requirements for participation in civic life and in the global economy (Graham & Perin, 2007). These literacy skills not only provide students with the opportunity to engage in meaningful discourse, but also serve as key predictors of success in other academic areas, such as math and science (Brozo & Simpson, 2007). The need for heightened literacy skills has prompted many to argue that states need to revise their approaches to literacy instruction on an infrastructure level, developing comprehensive and coordinated literacy plans (Faggella-Luby, Ware, & Capozzoli, 2009). Accordingly, many states and districts are developing new definitions of literacy and applicable standards that focus on 21st Century 3

PAGE 22

skills common to all disciplines (Colorado Department of Education, 20 I 0). These include critical thinking and reasoning skills, collaborative abilities, and information literacy (defined as a student's ability to accesses information efficiently and effectively by reading and understanding essential content of a range of informational texts and documents in all academic areas). Students who do not develop these skills tend to struggle in high school and have a greatly reduced chance of receiving a high school diploma (Graham & Perin, 2007; National Center for Education Statistics, 2007). For those students who fail to develop proficient literacy skills but do manage to complete high school, many lag far behind the students of other industrialized nations and find themselves unable to compete on the open market (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006; Graham & Perin, 2007). Particularly with regards to social groups which have had limited access to literacy skills and the opportunities to which they are connected in the past, it is of extreme importance that these trends be altered by providing students with the skills required to compete in today's economy. Despite this increased need for advanced literacy skills, many students are not developing the skills they require, and adolescent literacy is currently in a problematic state. As of 2003, the public schools in this country held eight million struggling readers in grades four through twelve, including over half of twelfth graders performing below grade level as readers (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006). For many of these students, the difficulties of continuing in high school become overwhelming, causing approximately 7,000 students to drop out daily and only 4

PAGE 23

70% to graduate on time (Graham & Perin, 2007). Of those who do graduate, nearly one third are not prepared for college-level composition courses (ACT, 2005). Currently, only one-third of the students entering the 9th grade are graduating from high school within four years with the skills required for success in higher education and the workplace, and approximately 1,230,000 students fail to graduate at all, costing the country over three hundred billion dollars each year. NAEP scores indicate that the number of students at or below basic expectations is larger than the number considered proficient or advanced in every state (J. Lee et al., 2007). Though the issue of adolescent literacy acquisition clearly affects the nation as a whole, it is particularly problematic for non-dominant cultural groups. Students first engage in cultural discourse within their communities, and it is in this context that they learn their primary linguistic codes (Rogoff, 2003). As the academic voice is reflective of the linguistic code used by the dominant hegemony within U.S. culture, students who are raised in communities that embrace this code have a natural advantage upon entering the classroom (Crehan, 2002; Gee, 1990; Heath, 1983; Rogoff, 2003). For this reason, public educators must strive diligently to provide students from non-dominant cultures with the opportunities to connect to and engage in the dominant discourse embraced by the academic voice while maintaining the validity of these students' primary linguistic codes (Delpit, 1995; "Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation Act," 2009). Unfortunately, NAEP scores indicate that the performance of Black 5

PAGE 24

and Hispanic students on reading assessments is far below that of their White and Asian peers (Table I), and though the gap between reading scores of thirteen and seventeen year-old White and Black and Hispanic students has diminished in the past forty years, it has increased significantly from the scores in I988 (Rampey, Dion, & Donahue, 2009). Reading scores for twelfth grade Asian-American students had not been released at the time of this study. Literacy skills impact academic success, job proficiency, and civil participation; however, all students in the United States do not have strong literacy skills, especially students from non-dominant cultures and students at the Table I: NAEP Reading Scores by EthnicityNAEP 2007 300 290 280 4th Grade 8th Grade 12th Grade 6 EI!White Asian-American DHispanic DBiack

PAGE 25

secondary level. Additionally, secondary education is powerfully dependent upon context (Weaver, 1996). As no two classrooms are identical, it is difficult for a number of teachers to implement one approach or curriculum across a variety of classrooms successfully. Student diversity between and within schools and school districts demands that educators be capable of adapting curricula to the needs of the students in their classrooms. Research suggests teachers who are more willing to take innovative approaches to implementing curricula (e.g. adapting broad syllabi to individual student needs, connecting in-class learning to outside interests, deconstructing pedagogical goals with students) tend to increase student performance at higher rates (Darling-Hammond, 2000; Hinchman & Sheridan Thomas, 2008). Professional development can be used to increase teacher ingenuity (B. R. Joyce & Showers, 2002). For this reason, teacher professional development has been linked to increased student achievement (Costa & Garmston, 2002). However, not all teacher professional development-has yielded positive effects (Desimone, Porter, Garet, Yoon, & Birman, 2002; Porter, Garet, Desimone, Yoon, & Birman, 2000). The traditional model of professional development utilizes an approach in which teachers attend workshops and seminars where they are provided with new and innovative instructional strategies. These teachers return to their classrooms where they are left to implement these strategies in isolation, with no one to assist them in developing and refining them for their students. This typically results in teachers failing to 7

PAGE 26

implement the instructional strategies presented. In fact, Joyce and Showers (1988) found that only one in ten teachers actually implemented strategies which they encountered in professional development sessions while these same strategies were adopted by ninety percent of the teachers when job-embedded assistance was provided (B. R. Joyce & Showers, 1988). Joyce and Showers found that a more successful approach to professional development provides teachers with a job-embedded model (Darling-Hammond, 1997; B. R. Joyce & Showers, 1988). The job-embedded model is an approach to professional development that presents a greater amount of active learning in which educators can participate and subsequently apply directly to their specific classroom environments. Here, job-embedded professional development is defined as instructional assistance provided to educators that occurs on-site (at the school) on a continuing basis to develop skills over time. Job-embedded models of professional development often utilize an instructional coach to observe teachers and provide them with feedback on their instruction. The instructional coach is typically an individual with content and leadership expertise who works with teachers to consistently develop instruction. The continuity provided by this model assists teachers in their implementation of new instructional practices. This type of professional development has been proven capable of positively impacting a teacher's instruction within the classroom (B. R. Joyce & Showers, 2002; Marsh et al., 2008; Neufeld & Roper, 2003; Porter et al., 2000). 8

PAGE 27

Coaching is one popular and promising example of job-embedded professional development (J. E. Taylor, 2008). Joyce and Showers (1980) defined coaching as a form of professional development providing hands-on, in-classroom assistance with the transfer of skills and strategies to the classroom (B. Joyce & Showers, 1980). Literacy coaching displays major components of the job embedded model with a focus on literacy. For this reason, the role of the literacy coach is attractive as a form of job-embedded professional development which can be used to improve literacy instruction. The literacy coach can serve as the source for instructional knowledge which is continually introduced, discussed, reflected upon, and implemented in various secondary classrooms. Utilizing a literacy coach is one approach for combating the literacy problem in secondary schools, and many authors concur with the need for literacy coaching. However, though strides have been made in the K-8 levels, little progress has been made to connect this approach to student achievement at the high school level (Brown, Reumann-Moore, Hugh, Christian, & Riffer, 2008; Clary, Oglan, & Styslinger, 2008; Marsh et al., 2008; Rainville, 2007). In addition, such a great variety of coaching models is recommended by literacy coaching trade texts, that it is difficult to determine exactly what activities coaches ought to be engaging in to increase teacher abilities and student achievement rates (Casey, 2006; Puig & Froelich, 2007; Toll, 2005). For this reason, many coaches find themselves in fragmented roles, attempting to fulfill a large number of duties in relatively little time. Coupled with the fact that 9

PAGE 28

education has consistently been a field that is highly resistant to change, it should not be surprising that research has yielded such inconclusive results (Donaldson et al., 2008; Killion, 2008). Though literacy coaching, as a program, has great potential to address literacy instruction and student achievement, it is necessary to provide greater data-driven attention to the effects of specific approaches in this field. Specifically, literacy coaching models that incorporate collaborative groups of educators engaging in reflective activities with the guidance of a coach require detailed analysis in order to define these professional development approaches and study their effects on teacher instruction and student achievement. The Author I discovered the field of education as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Poland. Though I had no prior teaching experience, this organization placed me in my own classroom with little more than a pamphlet and a two-week practicum as my preparation. Like many new teachers, in my first two years in the classroom I pieced together a good many lessons and activities, but failed to develop any pedagogy from which my professional strategies could consistently spring. For this reason, a semester in my class more closely resembled a haphazard series of random events than a carefully planned and executed high school course. Thus, in these first two years I learned two things: (a) I loved teaching, and (b) I was not very good at it. 10

PAGE 29

Though I had four semesters under my belt, I was not a teacher when I returned to the United States. Upon my return, I accepted a fellowship to Teachers College Columbia to work toward a Masters in English Education while teaching full-time in an urban school in New York. Raised in a rural area ofthe Midwest and having taught only in the countryside of Eastern Europe, I was wholly unprepared for the city and its children. The school that hired me was labeled with the moniker "Horror High" for the atrocities which occurred in the building (the year before I arrived two students were shot in the hallway during state examinations), and I would be developing my own courses, from syllabi to book lists. My evolution into a successful teacher in this environment was definitely not inevitable. However, the school held one asset that outweighed all detractors: a literacy coach. From our first four-hour syllabus meeting through the next two years, this coach worked with me constantly, forcing me to second guess all of my decisions and search for the underpinnings of my assumptions until I began to recognize my own beliefs and the ways in which these often contradicted my practices. With this coaching, I grew into the teacher I am today; without it, I would likely no longer be a member of this profession. I have spent the years since my experiences in New York searching for a way to replicate the quality of the professional development in which I engaged with this coach. Research and experience have led me to believe that there is no simple set of best practices to guide a coach in professional development, but my interactions with one urban high school have indicated to me that there may exist 11

PAGE 30

an effective, sustainable approach to implement a coaching program which alters instruction and, ultimately, increases student achievement for all cultural groups: coaching within a community of practice. This study focused on gathering and examining data in order to develop a rich description of this model and study its effects on teacher instruction and student achievement. Research Questions The following research questions guided this dissertation study: 1. What are the specific features of the collaborative coaching professional development model used by Hardin High School? 2. To what extent do the instructional practices of the teachers within this community of practice change? 3. To what extent does the literacy achievement of these teachers' students change? Research Design and Context This study took place during the 2010-2011 school year in a large urban high school in a western state, serving grade nine through twelve in an urban district. This school's district operates 73 elementary schools, 15 K-8 schools, 17 middle schools, 14 high schools, and 19 charter schools. In total, the district serves approximately 73,000 students, 40% of whom are classified as English Language Learners. The ethnical/racial composition of this student body is 1.2% American Indian, 3.1% Asian, 19.1% Black, 57.3% Hispanic, and 19.3% White. As of the 2008-2009 school year, this district's graduation rate was 52.6%. 12

PAGE 31

Though a number of reform-based initiatives had been introduced in this district in recent years, student performance on state examinations and ACT remained well below the state average, the achievement gaps between ethnic and racial groups continued to grow, and graduation rates had not risen. Due to this poor performance and the generally negative perception of this district in the community, student enrollment declined over the previous decade. Although recent years witnessed a slight increase in the total number of students, the majority of the secondary schools operated below capacity, including twelve of the fourteen high schools. As an example, one of the major high schools, built to hold nearly 1700 students, had an enrollment of 895 students in the 2008-2009 school year. This study was an examination of one urban school's implementation of a specific coaching model integrating communities of practice within this district. Through the study, the features and purposes ofthis professional development model were analyzed in order to clearly describe the activities of one community of practice at this high school and its effects on classroom instruction. It then used a case study approach and a mixed-methods design through observation and interviews to test the soundness of this model. Finally, the study tracked the state assessment scores, state English language acquisition scores, and district assessment scores of students in the classrooms chosen for this study in order to determine the effects of any observed instructional changes on reading and 13

PAGE 32

writing test scores. A full description of the study, sampling, data collection, and data analysis techniques is discussed in chapter II 14

PAGE 33

-15

PAGE 34

CHAPTER II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Through their meta-analysis of research conducted on more than three thousand educators, Joyce and Showers (1980; 1988) recognized the failure of sit and-get professional development models in transforming teacher instruction. Based on this perceived failure, they developed a theory of embedded professional development that would provide educators with continual guidance in implementing new strategies in their classrooms, thus changing practice in order to inevitably change beliefs. They described the professionals who provided this guidance as staff development specialists. Though a variety of service providers were named as possible staff development specialists, their coaching model was developed based upon research in professional development that supported teachers' abilities to master implementation of new skills and strategies. This mastery was achieved at the highest rates when teachers were given the technical assistance of more-knowledgeable others (L. S. Vygotsky, 1978) in developing these instructional strategies at the classroom level. Joyce and Showers (1988) saw instructional expertise as the primary component of the coaches' role: These persons need to develop a very high level of competence in an area to the point where they can deal with its theory, demonstrate it, organize 16

PAGE 35

practice with it, and help coaching teams and study groups sustain its use in the instructional setting ( 13 ). The invention of the coach's role created a position meant to provide non evaluative guidance to teachers individually, as well as in professional communities, to assist them in achieving school and district goals (Ezarik, 2002; Walpole & McKenna, 2004). As instructional specialists, these coaches were considered the individuals best prepared to share resources with teachers to ensure that they were capable of reaching the point in their professional development where these goals would become more consistently realized. As defined by the literature, ultimately, a literacy coaching program in any given school has two goals: (a) improving literacy instruction amongst all educators and (b) increasing students' knowledge and skill (Hirsh, 2006; Puig & Froelich, 2007). The role of the literacy coaches is to work side-by-side with teachers, in their classrooms with their students, to provide them with the support they need to improve their literacy instruction and increase their students' knowledge and skill (Casey, 2006). By providing teachers with an individual who can serve beside them within the classroom as a more knowledgeable other, the literacy coach presents a powerful opportunity to better prepare these professionals. In addition, the literacy coach works to develop relationships amongst teachers, providing opportunities for them to collaborate, reflect upon common practices, and develop support systems to make decisions (Robbins, 1991; Stichter, Lewis, Richter, Johnson, & Bradley, 2006). By leading this 17

PAGE 36

dialogue with groups of educators, literacy coaches are able to advocate for higher standards and greater rigor and deepen educator reflections on instructional practices while removing the teacher isolation that serves to weaken effects on student learning. The Conceptual Framework As previously explained, the work of the literacy coach is not limited to one-on-one interactions with teachers. Instead, many professional development models include a literacy coach who guides groups of teachers collaboratively and embeds this collaborative work into their daily practices by working with these teachers individually. In order to clearly display the manner in which this model works to affect teacher instruction and student achievement, Figure 1 displays the conceptual framework for this study. "A conceptual framework explains, either graphically or in narrative form, the main things to be studied the key factors, constructs or variables and the presumed relationships among them" (Miles & Huberman, 1984, 18). The key factors in this conceptual framework include the collaborative group of educators, referred to in this study as the community of practice, the activities in which this group engaged, and the literacy coach. The presumed relationships show the anticipated impact of the professional development model. Thus, this conceptual framework displays an explanation for possible effects of a collaborative coaching professional development model on student achievement and teacher instruction. 18

PAGE 37

As one of the goals, though not the final goal, of professional development is improved teacher instruction, this transformation is the first intermediate outcome displayed in Figure 1. Finally, the established ultimate goal of Professional Development Model Community of practice work Focal Sessions Learning Labs Collaborative Planning Figure 1 : The Conceptual Framework Individual Coaching communities of practice, as well as educational reform in general, is increased student achievement, which is the ultimate outcome of this conceptual framework. 19

PAGE 38

This framework provided a chain of evidence to be confirmed through multiple sources of evidence to provide construct validity (Miles & Huberman, 1994). The literature reviewed in this chapter provides background on the variety ofliteracy coaching models and the value of coaching within collaborative groups. In addition, this chapter clearly displays the importance of developing a succinct definition for collaborative coaching models and the need for evaluating such models' effects on teacher instruction and student achievement. Models of Coaching Based upon these goals and the early work of Joyce and Showers (1980), a number of different literacy coaching models have emerged. The first introduced form was technical coaching (B. Joyce & Showers, 1980). According to the technical coaching model, an outside expert is brought into a school to train the faculty in new teaching practices. This individual remains in the school until the practices are mastered by the educators. The goal of this form ofliteracy coaching is the implementation of new teaching strategies by the faculty. A second form of literacy coaching, cognitive coaching, is a non evaluative form of developing teachers' instructional practice through constant reflection (Costa & Garmston, 2002). In this model, developed by Costa and Garmston (2002), the literacy coach is a more-knowledgeable other who does not arrive in the teacher's classroom with skills and strategies for the teacher to master, but instead works with the teacher to assist him/her in developing teaching as a craft. "Cognitive coaches focus on the thought processes, values, 20

PAGE 39

and beliefs that motivate, guide, influence, and give rise to overt behaviors" (13). Following a schedule of planning conferences, observations, and reflections, the cognitive coach mediates by helping the teacher to consider the classroom strategies s!he used, their effects, and possible instructional alternatives (Costa & Garmston, 2002). The role of the cognitive coach is not to tell the teacher what to do differently, but to help the teacher develop a sustainable approach to personal professional development. Thus, the cognitive coach uses questioning and reflection to help teachers refine their craft by analyzing the work they have accomplished and the goals they wish to achieve with each student. Ideally, cognitive coaching works to develop an educator's ability to grow independently; eventually removing the need for the literacy coach entirely. A third form ofliteracy coaching, peer or collegial coaching, is an adaptation of the work of Joyce and Showers (I 980). Though many forms of peer coaching have emerged in the last two decades, the model was described as an approach to prompting professionals to work together to develop and refine their teaching practices (Hall & McKeen, 1991; Killion, 2008; Robbins, 1991; R. T. Taylor, Moxley, Chanter, & Boulware, 2007). Based on the concept that a vast amount of resources exist within the faculty of most schools, peer coaching emphasizes the collaboration of colleagues to share approaches and reflect upon strategies that have worked in the past. Thus, peer coaching focuses primarily on: (a) collaborative development, (b) refinement, and (c) sharing of instructional knowledge (Robbins, 1991 ). Peer coaching is often accomplished through 21

PAGE 40

informal, non-evaluative teams, but can also be a more regimented form of literacy coaching. Based upon the perceived success of introducing the literacy coach as colleague rather than evaluator, many schools have borrowed from the peer coaching model (Casey, 2006; Poglinco et al., 2003; Puig & Froelich, 2007). For this reason, many literacy coaching programs include the use of a model classroom in which the literacy coach is the classroom teacher (Casey, 2006; Poglinco et al., 2003). By developing the role of literacy coach as classroom teacher, this model fosters collegiality between the literacy coach and the rest of the teachers while providing a model classroom that the literacy coach can use to display new strategies or as a source of inquiry, inviting teachers to observe and question the practices utilized in the coach's class. This approach also works to keep the literacy coach grounded in the instruction of the curriculum that s/he is assisting teachers in mastering. Based upon these literacy coaching roles, many authors and organizations have proposed a wide variety of specific duties for literacy coaches to fulfill in their respective programs (Casey, 2006; IRA, 2006; Puig & Froelich, 2007; Toll, 2005; Walpole & McKenna, 2004). Implementation of Literacy Coaching: Roles and Responsibilities With the help of a Carnegie Foundation grant, the International Reading Association (2006) collaborated with a group of educators, researchers, and policymakers knowledgeable about adolescent literacy and literacy coaching to establish an extensive list of standards which middle and high school literacy 22

PAGE 41

coaches are intended to achieve, broken into leadership and content-specific lists. According to the leadership standards, all literacy coaches ought to adhere to three leadership standards: Standard I: Skillful collaborators: Content area literacy coaches are skilled collaborators who function effectively in middle school and/or high school settings. Standard 2: Skillful job-embedded coaches: Content area literacy coaches are skilled instructional coaches for secondary teachers in the core content areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Standard 3: Skillful evaluators ofliteracy needs: Content area literacy coaches are skilled evaluators of literacy needs within various subject areas and are able to collaborate with secondary school leadership teams and teachers to interpret and use assessment data to inform instruction (8). These leadership standards are further deconstructed into an extensive list of sub standards over the initial twenty pages of the report. Additionally, literacy coaches are expected to meet the requirements of the IRA's English Language Arts content standard four: Skillful instructional strategists: Content area literacy coaches are accomplished middle and high school teachers who are skilled in developing and implementing instructional strategies to improve academic literacy in English language arts (20). 23

PAGE 42

The literacy coaches' role can incorporate a great deal more than modeling, observing, and providing feedback (Casey, 2006; Puig & Froelich, 2007), straining their ability to present an exemplary classroom. Casey (2006) explains that literacy coaches need to learn and teach effective decision-making skills, literacy content knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge. In addition, they must be effective teachers of adults, strive to build leadership capacity, embrace resistance, communicate effectively, articulate clear beliefs, evaluate learners' needs, inspire, and lead. Walpole and McKenna (2004) also include the roles of grant-writer, curriculum expert, program designer, and researcher. Simultaneously, many authors express the need for literacy coaches to develop trusting relationships by accepting and projecting the fact that they are not the experts in the classroom (Casey, 2006; Puig & Froelich, 2007; Toll, 2005). Regardless of the titles used to describe their specific duties, literacy coaches are generally in charge of developing the literacy instructional practices of the staff through individual and/or team conferencing (Casey, 2006; Marsh et al., 2008; Puig & Froelich, 2007; Toll, 2005; Walpole & McKenna, 2004). At the secondary level this often includes working outsidt: of the English department as well to assist other disciplines in reading and writing instruction (IRA, 2006). In addition, literacy coaches are regularly asked to work with the entire faculty in professional development. Many literacy coaches are given administrative and/or clerical duties at their respective schools and/or asked to run literacy teams with other faculty members to develop long-term literacy goals at the school. Often 24

PAGE 43

literacy coaches are in charge of working individually with students in other teachers' classrooms to help these individuals develop their own literacy skills (Poglinco et al., 2003; Rainville, 2007). Many schools also have professional groups or book clubs that literacy coaches are asked to lead. Many schools and districts do not provide literacy coaches with a specific model for working with the faculty of the schools, which necessitates that these literacy coaches develop a program for conferencing, observing, and providing teachers with feedback that enhances each educator's instructional abilities. A great deal is asked of literacy coaches who must continually select strategies and programs that fit the needs of the specific teacher(s) being served (Hall & McKeen, 1991; Poglinco et al., 2003; Reiman & Peace, 2002). In addition, though many literacy coaches are school based, some are asked to work at more than one school, further fragmenting the literacy coaching role (Casey, 2006; Rainville, 2007). The multitude of tasks literacy coaches may be asked to perform limits their ability to achieve specific goals and confuses the concept of literacy coaching by providing no clear model of best practice (Casey, 2006; Puig & Froelich, 2007; Rainville, 2007). In order to utilize their time to best prepare teachers, some researchers believe that literacy coaches should attempt to follow a schedule that specifically outlines the amount of time they spend on each activity (Poglinco et al., 2003; Puig & Froelich, 2007). Puig & Froelich (2007) explain that literacy coaches should work with students 15 hours per week, engage in dialogic conversations 25

PAGE 44

7.5 hours per week, model lessons 3.75 hours per week, plan training sessions 7.5 hours per week, and engage in professional book study for 3.75 hours per week (based on a 37.5 hour work week). Though different schools display great variety in the number of faculty employed, no consensus exists regarding the appropriate ratio of coaches to teachers, complicating the coaches' schedules. Regardless of how many minutes literacy coaches spend within a classroom weekly, studies of literacy coaching programs tend to provide a clear explanation of and rationale for the structure and support system of the program's implementation (Kannapel, 2007; Stephens & Morgan, 2007). Though these programs are by no means identical, certain features (i.e. observation, feedback, and modeling) are consistently present. Recent Research in Secondary Literacy Coaching Despite the detailed descriptions of the implementation processes provided by these practice-based texts, there remain few clear connections between coaching and student achievement or instructional improvement at the secondary level. In recent years a number of articles have been produced, many by major research centers, in attempts to address this void. Supporting Literacy across the Sunshine State In 2008 the RAND Corporation released an analysis of the reading coach program in Florida middle schools to determine the effects these individuals were having on teacher instruction and student achievement (Marsh et al., 2008). This study analyzed survey and interview data from 113 middle schools in eight major 26

PAGE 45

school districts in Florida. To connect literacy coaching to student achievement, this study conducted two sets of analyses: (a) analyzing Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) data from 1997-2006 "to determine whether having a state-funded coach in a school was associated with average annual achievement growth" (xvi) and (b) analyzing individual student scores in the 2006-2007 school year to determine if different approaches to literacy coaching implementation correlated to differences in student achievement and growth. The survey and interview data displayed that the vast majority of teachers and administrators viewed the literacy coach as having a positive impact on the individual teachers and the school as a whole. Despite this positive feedback from the school professionals, the study obtained mixed results regarding the literacy coaches' impact on student achievement. Though the frequency with which literacy coaches reviewed assessment data with teachers was associated with small, but significant gains in student growth, "few other coaching implementation features were associated with student achievement" (184). In some schools, where little assessment data analysis was led by literacy coaches, one-on-one conferencing between coaches and teachers was actually associated with negative student gains. The researchers suggest that this may be due to the fact that such conferences lack focus and purpose when they are not guided by clear data regarding student achievement. Similar discoveries led the researchers to emphasize the importance of maintaining clear goals at all times when implementing a literacy coaching 27

PAGE 46

program, including explicitly defining the role of the literacy coach to all stakeholders. The research team determined that this definition proved quite difficult to provide, however, as literacy coaches were engaged in a wide variety of duties across the state, including modeling, observing, conferencing, reviewing assessment data, proctoring assessments, managing resources, attending meetings, tutoring, teaching, substitute teaching, and performing lunch and bus duties. One interesting finding of this study was the influence of peer coaching on teacher instruction, particularly in the presence ofliteracy coaches. "Reading teachers were just as likely to report that other teachers influenced changes in their instruction to a moderate or great extent as they were to identify reading coaches as an influence" ( 128). These teachers reported their peers providing them with the same types of assistance, such as data analysis and lesson planning, as the literacy coaches tended to focus upon. This guidance did not occur despite the coaches, but rather due to their presence. Many literacy coaches worked to "facilitate connections among staff and create a learning community" ( 131 ), guiding teachers into peer coaching groups through the use of such activities as group workshops and book studies. Due to the prevalence of positive comments regarding peer coaching models in the research, this study recommends future research on professional development models that emphasize collaborative coaching. 28

PAGE 47

Pennsylvania High School Coaching Initiative A comprehensive review of the Pennsylvania High School Coaching Initiative (P AHSCI) was released in 2008, reviewing the first three years of this program's implementation at secondary schools throughout the state (Brown et al., 2008). This program placed one math and one literacy coach in 24 high-need high schools in Pennsylvania. In the first half of the 2007-08 school year, the research team visited 1 02 classrooms in 9 of these schools, and interviewed 1 09 teachers and the coaches with whom they worked (57). Placing the PAHSCI model as the intervention, this study assigned improvements in teacher instructional practices as the immediate outcome, student engagement as the intermediate outcome, and student achievement as the ultimate outcome. The research team then developed a rubric to assess instructional practices and student engagement, used this instrument during observations in over 1 00 classrooms, and followed these visitations by interviewing the teachers and their coaches separately. The study showed that the implementation of this coaching model led to common adoption of best instructional practices in the classrooms visited. In addition, this research displayed a strong correlation between teachers' use of the strategies focused upon by the coach and high levels of student engagement. This correlation is evident in Figure 2. However, this research was unable to establish a significant relationship between coached teachers and improved student achievement as measured by state achievement tests. 29

PAGE 48

This study also emphasized the importance of the coaches' role in breaking down teacher isolation and forming trustful relationships among professional colleagues. As these coaches were placed in collaborative groups, they were able to establish trust and enter teachers into interdisciplinary discourse. Teacher and coach interviews showed that Teacher Practice/Student Engagement Correlation High Teacher Practice/ Low Student Engagement Low Teacher Practice/ Low Student Engagement 42 High Teacher Practice/ High Student Engagement Low Teacher Practice/ High Student Engagement Figure 2: Correlation between Practice and Engagement in Classrooms Observed school faculties utilized the common language and shared goals introduced by the coaching model to develop solid collaborative professional communities. This study shows that literacy coaching models including clear goals and purposes toward which educators can develop are positively associated with increases in teachers' senses of self-efficacy. 30

PAGE 49

Cantrell & Hughes (2008) support this finding in their one-year analysis of the changes in teacher self-efficacy caused by a literacy coaching program. These researchers followed twenty-two specific secondary teachers at eight schools (rural, suburban, and urban) in Kentucky, utilizing a teacher survey to measure teachers' efficacy before and after participation in the professional development, and classroom observations to measure teachers' implementation of content literacy practices. The researchers determined that there was an increase in teachers' self-efficacy due to this embedded model of coaching (Cantrell & Hughes, 2008). The research of Cantrell & Hughes (2008) and Brown et al. (2008) supports the belief that firmly established professional communities ofthis nature serve to develop sustainable networks of teacher development through continuous, collaborative peer coaching. Reading Assistance Initiative for Secondary School Educators In 2008, South Carolina completed an evaluation of Project RAISSE (Reading Assistance Initiative for Secondary School Educators) over its first two years of implementation at two high-needs, rural high schools in the state. Project RAISSE developed content area study groups at each high school led by a teacher who has been provided with training in literacy coaching. The dual goals of this project are to increase student achievement on reading assessments and improve content area reading instruction amongst the faculty. These content area groups, referred to as Collegial Study Groups, provide teachers with opportunities to collaborate toward specific 31

PAGE 50

literacy instructional goals with other members of their departments (Clary et al., 2008). By developing Collegial Study Groups, the study shows that Project RAISSE has created relationships among teachers who were previously disconnected from one another. Many of these relationships have been across content areas and have proven instructionally fruitful. In addition, the teachers chosen to lead these groups, having received literacy coaching training, have shown increased senses of self-efficacy, explaining that they have discovered their leadership potential and accepted responsibility for improving literacy rates at their schools. This is a promising sign, as teachers who take responsibility for their own instructional improvements become more deeply engaged and committed to the professional goals of their institutions (Louis & Miles, 1990; Rosenholtz, 1991). Though this study does not connect these changes in teacher beliefs and engagement to increased student achievement, it highlights the importance of developing site-based collaborative coaching communities with clear objectives to overcome teacher reluctance. Recent Dissertations on Secondary Literacy Coaching As the recent research on secondary literacy coaching is represented by so few studies, it is necessary to look beyond recently published work to better understand what is known in this field. In addition, the fact that there has been no synthesis or meta-analysis of the middle school and high school studies on 32

PAGE 51

literacy coaching requires that diligent researchers look to other sources of information. The dissertations on literacy coaching at the secondary level serve as one major untapped resource. As many of the researchers completing dissertations are school-based educators, many never attempt to publish their research, and their findings are left undiscovered. In 2009, Shanklin, Zucker, and Hessee (2009) completed a meta-analysis of the secondary studies available in this research since 2000, focusing on the methods and results of 12 studies (Shanklin, Zucker, & Hessee, 2009). Based on their analysis, they presented six common findings across these 12 studies: 1. A literacy coach needs a clear job description. 2. A principal needs to clearly communicate the role of the literacy coach to the faculty. 3. Content teachers want PD to reflect their own areas of instruction as closely as possible. 4. Modeling oflessons and coaching cycles may help, but literacy coaches currently do these the least. 5. How many teachers a literacy coach is asked to work with impads his/her ability to invest in individual teachers' trainings. 6. The work of a literacy coach is more effective if a PLC environment has been established where data is examined and instructional improvement is valued. 33

PAGE 52

These findings are consistent with many of the larger evaluations of secondary literacy coaching programs completed in recent years. Research from Hardin High School's District In 2009, Hessee (2009) completed a pilot study of the literacy coaches assigned to nine different high schools in Hardin High School's district. This study used a semi-structured interview model to describe the roles filled by these literacy coaches and the impediments they perceived in successfully fulfilling the responsibilities of these roles (Donaldson et al., 2008; Hessee, 2009). All of the literacy coaches interviewed emphasized the importance of engaging in "classical coaching duties:" observing, modeling, providing feedback in one-on-one collaborative discussion, and/or team teaching. However, eight of the nine literacy coaches explained that they were regularly unable to fulfill the majority of these duties, four of whom were not able to engage in any one of these duties over the course of the year. All of the literacy coaches expressed dissatisfaction with this fact; however, only two claimed that time constraints were major factors which limited their abilities to fulfill these duties. This study found that the most commonly cited barrier to instructional improvement was teacher engagement. These literacy coaches described the teachers with whom they worked as ground down by a successive series of failed approaches to school reform. They claimed that many of the teachers expressed a lack of buy-in when presented with opportunities to analyze their instructional practices and had to be forced to reflect on their classrooms. 34

PAGE 53

These reactions are typical of professional cultures where members lack self-efficacy and engagement and distrust initiatives intended to improve their practices (Cantrell & Hughes, 2008; Deal & Peterson, 1999; Rosenholtz, 1991 ). Though the vast majority of the literacy coaches participating in this study were unable to overcome these cultural characteristics, one coach was able to successfully engage in all of the responsibilities she perceived as inherent within her role, despite the fact that she reported the largest number of duties of any literacy coach interviewed. This study explained that this literacy coach, referred to as Tera, was able to accomplish these duties by redefining the concept of the literacy coaching role within her school as a collaborative endeavor: Tera's concept of the role of coach appears to be that of the more knowledgeable other who works with teachers, as a teacher, with the dual goals of developing the literacy instructional practices of the faculty and increasing the literacy abilities of the students. Further, this concept positions Tera as a non-evaluative mentor for the faculty; she is simultaneously a teacher and colleague, improving instruction through teaching practice as well as coaching. In addition, she works with the teachers to create a more collaborative environment in which peer coaching is developed as a sustainable practice within the culture of the school (33). 35

PAGE 54

Summary: The State of Secondary Literacy Coaching Literacy coaching has been touted as a "popular and promising solution" and a vehicle for providing "high-quality, ongoing professional development" (Kamil, 2003, p. 27). However, the connection between the implementation of literacy coaching programs and instructional change and/or student achievement has not been clearly established especially at the high school level. Recent research evaluations of literacy coaching programs have shown connections between literacy coaching and specific intermediate outcomes such as teacher efficacy, improved classroom instruction, and increased student engagement. In Florida, interviews showed that teachers and administrators viewed the literacy coach as having a positive impact on the individual teachers and the school as a whole (Marsh et al., 2008). Teachers who participated in the coaching model implemented in Pennsylvania were more likely to use the instructional approaches focused upon by these literacy coaches (Brown et al., 2008). As these approaches worked to increase student engagement, observations showed that teachers who had participated in this coaching tended to instruct more highly engaged classes. In addition, these teachers showed increases in their senses of self efficacy. Finally, in South Carolina, a literacy coaching model incorporated at three high schools has been linked to increased teacher self-efficacy and greater relationships amongst staff members (Clary et al., 2008). 36

PAGE 55

The correlations between literacy coaching models and student achievement gains are less clear in these studies. Though the Florida study showed a correlation between the use of a literacy coach and small, but significant gains on state assessments in reading, overall the study displayed mixed results regarding the literacy coaches' impacts on student achievement. Specifically, the frequency with which literacy coaches reviewed assessment data with teachers was associated with small, but significant gains in student growth, but individual coaching with no assessment data was associated with negative student growth. This supports Shanklin et al.'s (2009) assertion that certain duties, such as modeling and engaging in coaching cycles, may have a greater impact on instructional improvement than others. Though these studies are an important step toward highlighting the effects of literacy coaching, more research is required, especially regarding the effects of literacy coaching models on student achievement, particularly at the secondary level. These studies also highlight the importance of creating collaborative professional development cultures where data is regularly analyzed and instructional reform is valued. As Clary (2008) explains, "What is needed for school change is a combination of instructional and infrastructure improvements" (p. 12). All of these studies emphasize the use of collaborative teams to accomplish the necessary infrastructure 37

PAGE 56

improvements, engage teachers who feel ground down, and increase teachers' senses of self-efficacy. Brown et al. (2008) studied a model in which literacy coaches worked with teachers in collaborative groups to break down isolation and distrust. Their research suggests that established professional communities of this nature serve to develop sustainable networks of teacher development through continuous peer coaching. Clary et al. (2008) focused their research upon content area study groups, known as Collegial Study Groups, led by a teacher who had been provided with training in literacy coaching. This study connects such a collaborative model with positive increases in teacher self-efficacy. Shanklin et al.'s (2009) meta-analysis of dissertations on secondary literacy coaching also emphasizes the importance of collaborative environments, explaining that the work of a literacy coach is more effective if a Professional Learning Community environment has been established. Hessee's (2009) pilot study of Hardin High School's district led him to focus upon the work of one specific literacy coach, the scope of whose work showed greater promise than her colleagues. He determined that this successful literacy coach worked with the teachers to create a more collaborative environment in which peer coaching was developed as a sustainable practice within the culture ofthe school. Finally, Marsh et al. (2008) emphasize the importance of collaborative peer coaching, particularly in the presence of a literacy coach, as teachers indicated that this activity had as great an impact on their instructional improvement as one38

PAGE 57

on-one conferencing with the literacy coaches themselves. For this reason, these authors recommend future research on literacy coaching models that emphasize team coaching. Historically, literacy coaching models have emphasized the one-on one duties of the literacy coach in professional development. Cognitive, technical, and peer coaching models have recommended that the literacy coach observe, model, and provide feedback to teachers individually (Costa & Garmston, 2002; Hall & McKeen, 1991; B. Joyce & Showers, 1980). However, recent research in secondary literacy coaching highlights the importance of creating collaborative environments within which the literacy coach is able to provide guidance and facilitate the instructional development of the teachers in small groups (Brown et al., 2008; Clary et al., 2008; Hessee, 2009; Marsh et al., 2008; Shanklin et al., 2009). Thus, developing clear definitions of specific approaches to collaborative coaching is of great importance. The next section of this chapter provides background on the instructional focus of Hardin High School, and the following section describes models of collaborative coaching that have been developed in the past, followed by the theoretical framework behind a collaborative model of this nature, guided by a coach. ELL Instruction and the SlOP Nearly 80% of the students enrolled at the high school examined in this study were defined by the district as English Language Learners. Thus, only 20% 39

PAGE 58

of this high school's student body reported speaking English as their primary language outside of school. For this reason, much of this school's work focused upon English Language Acquisition through sheltered instruction, including the coaching within a community of practice professional development model. In order to describe the collaborative coaching model ofthis school, it is necessary to define the schoolwide focus by explaining the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SlOP). Based on the consistently growing numbers of students with limited English proficiency skills in U.S. schools, sheltered instruction was developed as a way to incorporate best practices for ELLs into classroom instruction in all subject areas (National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, 2002). Sheltered instruction practices were developed as an approach to integrate language and content objectives into every classroom in order to promote the development of English skills in collaboration with content knowledge. The first coherent model of sheltered instruction practices, the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SlOP), was developed in the early 1990s as an instrument to be used in assessing teachers' use of these best practices (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2004). From 1996-2003, the National Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence (CREDE) conducted a study to refine the preliminary draft of the SlOP: This project worked with middle school teachers to identify key practices for sheltered instruction (SI) and develop a professional development 40

PAGE 59

model to enable more teachers to use Sl effectively. The project's goals were to: (a) develop an explicit model of sheltered instruction; (b) use that model to train teachers in effective sheltered strategies; and (c) conduct field experiments and collect data to evaluate teacher change and the effects of the SlOP Model of sheltered instruction on students' English language development and content knowledge (Echevarria et al. p. 16) The SlOP is an observational instrument developed as a rating scale. This scale is broken into thirty items grouped in eight main components: preparation, building background, comprehensible input, strategies, interaction, practice/application, lesson delivery, and review/assessment (Echevarria et al., 2004). Guarino, Echevarria, Short, Schick, Forbes, & Rueda (2001) conducted a study of the revised version of the SlOP in order to evaluate its reliability amongst raters and the effects of its practices on student achievement. This study found the SlOP to have an interrater correlation of .99 and found that the 238 middle school students who had teachers who scored highly en the SlOP outperformed the 77 students in control classes on state writing assessments in Illinois (Guarino et al., 2001 ). The SlOP instrument itself is explained in greater depth in the following chapter. Professional Learning Communities and Learning Labs To better understand the ideas behind the model that Hardin High School attempted to implement in the 2010-11 school year, as well as the activities in which participating educators engaged, it is necessary to 41

PAGE 60

understand some of the antecedents to Hardin's approach and their theoretical underpinnings. A number of collaborative models of professional development have been introduced in education in the past ten years, from DuFour and Eaker's (1998) business-oriented concept of the Professional Learning Community (PLC) to the Collegial Study Groups implemented in South Carolina's Project RAISSE in 2006. This section will discuss two collaborative models of educational professional development: PLCs and learning labs. Professional Learning Communities One extremely popular form of small group professional development in education is the PLC (DuFour & Eaker, 1998). DuFour and Eaker (1998) presented the concept of the PLC in response to what they perceived to be a failing, top-down approach to educational reform. Based on their experiences in education and what they knew of successful business models, -DuFour and Eaker (1998) claimed that the culture of many failing schools would need to change if these schools were to experience sustained organizational improvement. They explained their belief that the basic building block for this culture shift would be the Professional Learning Community. According to these authors, PLCs which successfully transform school cultures are characterized by six features: (a) shared mission, vision, and goals; (b) collective inquiry, where it is defined as a four step process of 42

PAGE 61

public reflection, sharing understandings of meaning, joint planning, and coordinated action; (c) collaborative teams; (d) action orientation; (e) continuous improvement; (f) an orientation toward results rather than intentions. DuFour and Eaker (1998) explain that these collaborative teams of educators can be formed based on any number of commonalities such as content area, pedagogical interest, or students taught, but they must collaborate to determine unifying goals that the PLC as a whole can work toward. Here, collective inquiry is the process used to guide the participants to collaboratively addressing barriers to their shared goals. Once the barriers have been considered, the teachers take action and use the data from the results to determine their levels of success. The assessments used to determine the outcomes of their collaborative work are chosen and/or developed based upon their shared goals. For this reason, the assessment development process cannot precede the development of the PLCs. Though this form of professional development is meant to be developed by and for the teachers, DuFour and Eaker (1998) explain that the process cannot be voluntary. Instead, they explain that PLCs "must be systematically embedded into the daily life of the school as collaboration by invitation does not work" (118). They continue to explain that the PLC model is a form of staff development based on research-driven instructional methods, focused on teaching skills (content-specific and cross-content) and differentiation. In addition, the PLC model is defined as a job-embedded 43

PAGE 62

approach to professional development. Though the authors do not speak to the need for a job-embedded professional developer or coach, they explain that this model is to be implemented in terms of the workplace, focusing primarily on "creating a context or culture that is conducive to professional growth and development" (293). Though the principles of PLCs have been adopted by many school districts across the nation and the popularity of this model continues to rise (Foord & Haar, 2008), the authors provide little explanation for the theoretical foundations which underpin this approach. The fact that this model is built neither upon theory nor research leaves the schools which implement variations of this model, such as Hardin High School, vulnerable when attempting to express the rationale behind this implementation. For this reason, the final section of chapter II develops a theoretical framework supporting the use of such collaborative teams by incorporating the theoretical foundations developed around a similar model known as the community of practice. Learning Labs As part of job-embedded professional development, one activity in which some collaborative groups engage is the learning lab. Though there are examples of this activity which seem to predate the model described in this section, the most coherent description available today is provided by the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC) located in Denver, Colorado. 44

PAGE 63

Learning labs, according to the PEBC, are opportunities for educators to come together in small groups to observe an experienced practitioner teaching a lesson. From these presentations, observing teachers are directed to consider their own classrooms and pedagogical practices through a clear protocol. PEBC describes six different learning lab approaches that focus on various elements of instruction and professional development on their website: (a) orientation labs, (b) local immersion labs, (c) internal labs, (d) inter-school labs, (e) principal labs, and (f) national labs (www.pebc.org). All of these learning labs are based on the teaching-observer model, facilitated by a staff developer, and capable of being aligned to the pre-existing professional development occurring within schools. The organization recruits teachers interested in sharing their own practices with others to develop host classrooms that are used by PEBC to display best practices within specific content areas. These host classrooms are made available to external observers during the orientation labs, local immersion labs, principal labs, and national labs. In inter-school labs, two or more schools that have already begun to practice learning labs offer schools within the same district an opportunity to connect by inviting teachers to observe host classrooms within their schools, usually focusing on the same curricular area. In the internal lab process, teachers interested in sharing and reflecting upon their own practices within a school are invited to present a 45

PAGE 64

lesson to a small group of colleagues. These lessons are usually focused upon one instructional strategy or specific student skill. School leadership determines which teachers would fit best with their chosen areas and offers a variety of strategy and skill-focused lessons to the faculty from which to choose. These internal labs follow a detailed process of pre-brief and debrief protocol that separates this activity from simple peer observations (Public Education and Business Coalition, 2001). The internal learning lab begins with each observing group of teachers meeting together prior to the observation to prepare for the experience through the use of a five step pre-brief focused on creating an atmosphere of support and learning in the observation setting. These pre briefs are led and begun by the facilitator; the host teacher then provides the lesson overview; the observers ask questions; and observation norms focused on non-evaluative observations connected to each teacher's personal work are discussed. The focus of the learning lab is determined by each teacher's individual area of interest and generally stems from a prominent feature of the school's professional development. Each observing teacher develops a focus and determines how sfhe will gather evidence around his/her focus during the observation, taking notes to review during the debrief. Though each observer's focus is expected to be connected to the focus of the group as a whole, the ways in which these connections are formed is unclear. 46

PAGE 65

After the host teacher has presented the lesson to the observing teachers, the group meets again and follows a six step debrief to help participants reflect on what they observed and what they will take away from the experience for their own practice. First, the observers review their recorded evidence and make silent annotations. These notes are then shared by all and the host teacher responds when all have finished. After an open discussion, all the participants record new insights, understandings, or ideas that they are taking away from the experience. Finally the group discusses the lesson in an evaluative way, determining what did and did not go well. These discussions are intended to promote future development of the presentation lesson while simultaneously engaging the group in the evolution of their own instructional practices. No clear theoretical explanation exists for the emergence of the learning lab as a valuable activity for collaborative development. Though PEBC believes it to be a successful activity in which educators can engage to develop their practices, the explanation for why it may be successful remains quite thin. Though the theoretical basis for this approach has not been clearly articulated, utilizing learning labs within communities of practice with the guidance of a literacy coach as an approach to the development of instructional identity through discourse and activity is, in fact, built upon a firm theoretical framework. This theoretical framework shall be explained in the final section ofthis chapter. 47

PAGE 66

Theoretical Framework Though improving the literacy instructional skills of secondary teachers through on-going, job-embedded professional development appears a promising approach to increasing the literacy skills of all adolescents, education has historically been a field highly resistant to change (Donaldson et al., 2008; Killion, 2008; Little, 1988; Orr, Byrne-Jimenez, McFarlane, & Brown, 2005; Poglinco et al., 2003). Due, in part, to the fact that teachers spend the majority of their time working in isolation rather than in collaborative environments, certain norms have been established in education that work to ensure that change is inhibited. Donaldson et al. (2008) refer to three classical teaching norms in their research: teacher autonomy, egalitarianism, and seniority. They explain that educational leaders in reform roles find change problematic to implement if it conflicts with any of these norms. Thus, teachers are more likely to accept change if it does not entail anyone asserting authority over them (Donaldson et al., 2008; Little, 1988). As organizations in general tend to resist change (Boleman & Deal, 2003; Kegan, 1994; Kegan & Lahey, 2001), educational organizations staffed by individuals who are wary of outside expertise and often work from personal assumptions experience this resistance at a heightened level (Rogoff, 2003). Language: A tool for development. Vygotsky (1978, 1986) explains that language is a developmental tool used as a mediating factor between stimulus and response (L. S. Vygotsky, 1978; 48

PAGE 67

Lev S. Vygotsky, 1986). In fact, he explains that human thought and language are so interdependent that one is almost never found without the other, and even in isolation, the thinker utilizes language to contemplate the stimulus. Though this example highlights the manner in which language is used independently, it is also a powerful tool for interdependent reasoning, where individuals in collaborative environments reason through activities to determine meaning with language. As Vygotsky (1978) explains, "Just as a mold gives shape to a substance, words can shape an activity into a structure" (28). As we perceive our external realities as structures, this statement displays the fact that we define reality based upon the manner in which we describe it collaboratively through the use of language. This highlights an important point regarding the social nature of learning. According to this sociocultural theory of development, knowledge is not provided and accepted by another; rather, the individual's understanding ofthe world itself is developed through discourse. By incorporating a more knowledgeable other into these interdependent interactions, Vygotsky (1978) believed that a learner could be guided through the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) into more expert practice. Accordingly, the power of language to alter definitions of externai reality makes it a prominent tool in overcoming the resistance to change in professional development in education. However, in order to engage teachers in successfully developing their understanding of their instructional practices, it is necessary to overcome the aforementioned classical norms of autonomy, 49

PAGE 68

egalitarianism, and seniority by providing educators with the opportunity to redefine their own roles and norms. Language: A tool for defining identity. Language, in its everyday use, is a form of discourse used to develop understanding. However, as language is also a culturally specific linguistic code, it connects directly to an individual's social identity. Gee (1990) refers to language used in this culturally embedded manner as Discourse with a capital D (to differentiate it from discourse as everyday language use) and defines Discourses as "social practices which integrate language, thinking, values, and ways of acting and interacting" (73). When viewed in this way, Discourse becomes a tool which incorporates both the sociocultural elements of cognitive development through language as well as a device used to determine social roles (Gee, 1990, 1992). Through Discourse, a person takes on a social role that is embedded within his/her language, beliefs, values, actions, and attitude. Discourse, role, and identity are intertwined; therefore, changing one inevitably changes all three. Gee (1990) explains that Discourses are more than ways of speaking, but must be viewed as "ways of being in the world ... which integrate words, acts, values, beliefs, attitudes, [and] social identities" (142). From this perspective, Discourses are much more than the diction and syntax an individual chooses. Instead, Discourses represent and define the social identities expected by the cultural group within which one is a member. In order to alter social roles and identities, it is necessary for the individual to transform 50

PAGE 69

his/her Discourse. This process, however, is not as simple as changing hats. Secondary Discourses must be adopted with intentionality; the individual must have a meta-awareness of the value and purpose of the adopted Discourse in order to actively accept the alterations in world view which accompany this change. In addition, as Discourses represent "ways of being in the world" as accepted by specific social groups, if one is to adopt a secondary Discourse, a prerequisite for adoption is the existence of a social group that utilizes this world view and displays its beliefs, values, and attitudes through this Discourse. Thus, language develops understanding and Discourse develops identity, but it takes a community to transform language into Discourse through activity. Creating communities and identities through discourse. Understanding is developed through communication of ideas in interpersonal relationships (Gee, 1990, 1992, 2004; Rogoff, 2003; L. S. Vygotsky, 1978; Lev S. Vygotsky, 1986). In order to alter social identities, individuals must adopt and adapt to11ew ways of thinking and being by entering into new Discourse communities. These communities do not transform social roles simply by being together, but also by doing together. Active transformation occurs when individuals engage in dynamic activities collaboratively. Rogoff (2003) refers to this type of intentional transformation as "adaptive practice" and explains that it must be completed collaboratively and with a mutual understanding ofthe purposes behind adopting the communal practice (255). She goes further to explain that, by entering into this adaptive practice within a community, the 51

PAGE 70

individual is provided access to the shared knowledge during activity with the group through language, a feature she refers to as "distributed cognition" (285). Thus, the individual must accept and intentionally engage in the adaptive practice, and, in return, s/he receives the benefits of distributed cognition. Accepting this Discourse and utilizing it to engage in activity within a group not only transforms the individual, but the community as well. As communities are created and new members are added, cognition is redistributed, new ways of thinking and being are introduced, the community itself is continually redefined, and its individual constituents are "mutually constituted" (51) through language and activity. Mutually constitutive communities' effects on individual identity. Gee (1990) explains that mutually constitutive communities create, in tum, social worlds as social reality is created by our beliefs and values and these beliefs and values are created through our social relationships (9). Thus, the individual's understanding of reality and identity is created in collaboration with the communities in which one practices Discourse. These mutually constitutive communities of practice are arenas in which learners are apprenticed into social groups and social worlds. Gee (1990) Rogoffs explanation of distributed cognition by explaining that "One does not 'think for oneself,' rather one always thinks for (really with and through) a group" (46). Accordingly, if one wishes to transform the practice of an individual, the most effective and sustainable way to accomplish this change is by apprenticing the individual into the practices of a social group. 52

PAGE 71

Thus, the identity of an individual does not exist in isolation but is inextricably linked with the communities in which the individual practices. Gee (2004) defines learning as "changing patterns of participation in specific social practices" where identities are "socially situated" and "changes in one's patterns of participation with specific social practices constitute changes in these socially situated identities" (38). The socially situated nature of identity emphasizes the need to change one's social community in order to transform his/her practice. The community of practice is a cultural model that indoctrinates members into its values and beliefs in order to achieve this goal. Rogoff (2003) describes the rationale behind her support for communities of practice by explaining her belief that "People develop as participants in cultural communities. Their development can only be understood in light of the cultural practices and circumstances of their communities-which also change" (3-4). Thus, the community of practice is central to the development of each of its members. Rogoff(2003) defines these communities as a group of insiders with shared goals and values who contest and create meaning through participation in activities, follow a shared set of procedures, yet have freedom to operate outside of the group (202). Situated learning within communities of practice. Rogoff's (2003) concept of mutually constitutive communities was by no means unique to her theories. Lave and Wenger ( 1991) also describe learning as development within communities, rather than transmission and/or assimilation 53

PAGE 72

(Lave & Wenger, 1991). They, in fact, explain that this development is directly related to participation in communities of social practice wherein "understanding and experience are in constant interaction indeed, are mutually constitutive" (52). Like Rogoff, they emphasize the importance of novices and experts sharing goals to create specific outcomes and agree with Gee that apprenticeship changes roles and relationships to activities. In addition, Lave and Wenger ( 1991) express the fact that every learning curriculum consists of situated opportunities from the perspective oflearners" (97). Thus, the learners (both novice and expert; apprentice and master) must be engaged in the process of recognizing and embracing the opportunities to transform for said changes to occur. Thus the goals are developed by the members of the community through active collaboration. Once an individual has entered into the collaborative creation of authentically shared goals within a community, s/he: has been correspondingly transformed into a practitioner. .. whose changing knowledge, skill, and discourse are part of a developing identity -in short, a member of a community of practice .. .. Situated learning activity has been transformed into legitimate peripheral participation in communities of practice ( 122). In addition, Lave and Wenger warn of the dangers of adversarial relationships within these communities of practice. They explain that conditions which place people in adversarial relationships distort the prospects for learning 54

PAGE 73

in practice. In application, this means that relationships within communities of practice must be non-evaluative to be successful. Resources essential for communities of practice and the IDZ. In his analysis of the ways in which language is used to distribute cognition, Mercer (2000) works to continue and clarify the definition of communities of practice set forth by Lave and Wenger (Mercer, 2000). Beginning with a reiteration of the ways in which language is used as a tool to develop communal cognition while reconstructing self-identity, Mercer goes on to describe how language is redefined and eventually owned by specific communities. It is during this discussion that Mercer defines the four resources communities make available for "joint intellectual activity:" (a) a history, (b) a collective identity, (c) reciprocal obligations, and (d) a Discourse (106). First, he explains that groups which work together inevitably create a series of shared experiences that become the community's history. Second, as experience and identity are in constant mutually constitutive interaction, these shared experiences form the collective identity of the community. Third, since the members of these communities share goals, values, and cognition, they are beholden to one another to provide the knowledge and activity for the community as a whole and thus have reciprocal obligations amongst themselves. Finally, members shape their language based upon the beliefs, values, and experiences shared within the community. These shared ways of thinking and being eventually become a Discourse particular to that community. Mercer explains that, in order for these 55

PAGE 74

resources to be shared by and accessible to all, the purposes of cooperative endeavors made by the community must be explicitly described and protocol must be followed to ensure behavior appropriate to the development of the community. Mercer agrees with Vygotsky ( 1978) that the presence of a more knowledgeable other is a requirement of consistent development in practice, explaining that "communities require members with special knowledge/experience to help guide the acquisition of discourse during activity" (169). However, Mercer explains that distributed cognition takes one beyond the linear notion ofVygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development into a model capable of depicting the collaborative growth inherent within a community of practice. Mercer refers to this model as the intermental development zone (IDZ) which he defines as "a shared communicative space created by a community in which they negotiate differences through language in activity" (141 ). Summary. We define reality based upon the manner in which we describe it collaboratively through the use of language. The ways in which we act in and interact with this constructed reality make up our Discourse, and through Discourse, a person takes on a social role that is embedded within his/her social identity. Changing teachers' practices involves overcoming classic teaching norms and changing teachers' socially defined identities. Discourse, role, and identity are intertwined; therefore, changing one inevitably changes all three. Thus, to change teachers' identities, it is necessary to change their shared 56

PAGE 75

Discourse, but it takes a community to transform language into Discourse through activity. Communities of practice provide the opportunity for professionals to create a shared Discourse, transforming the members' values, beliefs, roles, and ultimately their identities. These communities represent the most effective and sustainable way to apprentice the individual into the practices of a social group. This process, however, is not one of assimilation. Rather, the members mutually constitute the group's identity through their shared practices, experiences, and distributed cognition with the guidance of a more knowledgeable other. Thus, successful communities of practice will exhibit a history, a collective identity, reciprocal obligations, and a shared Discourse. In order to achieve this, the communities must have specific protocols to ensure that the purposes behind the transformation are explicit, group norms work toward the development of the community and shared goals, and relationships are non-evaluative. Thus, it would seem that this framework can be posited as the theoretic underpinning that has been missing to explain why Professional Learning Communities which engage in learning labs can be successful when well implemented. Communities of practice have subtle differences from PLCs in that authors have delineated the specific resources and attributes that should be clearly observable within communities of practice; resources which are supported by the theoretical explanations of the ways in which professional identities are mutually constituted through Discourse and engagement in collaborative activities. For this 57

PAGE 76

reason, the collaborative group analyzed at Hardin High School will be referred to as a community of practice which engages in learning labs in this study. Thus, the intervention studied here is one specific community of practice which had specific elements to its coaching program. First, the members of this specific community of practice were classroom teachers and a literacy coach with defined roles. The coach's role included facilitating and preparing for the meetings, guiding the group through communal reflection, collaborating with the teachers to determine an instructional focus, observing and conferencing with the teachers beyond the learning lab to discuss the SlOP focus, assisting and facilitating the learning lab pre-brief and debrief meetings, and providing guidance to the teachers in incorporating focal strategies into future lessons during collaborative planning. The teachers' roles included collaborating to determine the instructional focus, alternating as hosts for the learning lab sessions, engaging in reflection on their own classrooms, and incorporating focal strategies into future lessons. 58

PAGE 77

59

PAGE 78

CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY This study employed case study methodology to examine the implementation of one community of practice in an urban high school and associated changes in instructional practice and evidence of student learning. Design This study used a mixed methods analysis of an embedded case study design to analyze a professional development model chosen at Hardin High School and its outcomes. The professional development model incorporated multiple features including the use of a literacy coach and a community of practice often ELA teachers who also engaged in learning labs. The literacy coach also worked individually with all members of this community of practice. Thus, this study focused on the ten ELA instructors, the literacy coach, four cross content area ELA teachers as individual cases, the classrooms of these four teachers, and the students within these classrooms. The professional development approach at the school and its associated components constituted the primary case studied; the embedded cases were constituted through deeper inquiry of four target teachers and their students. These individuals are referred to using pseudonyms throughout this study to maintain their anonymity. 60

PAGE 79

Research Questions In order to analyze the process and effects of coaching within this community of practice, this study focused on three research questions. 1. What are the specific features of the collaborative coaching professional development model used by Hardin High School? 2. To what extent do the instructional practices of the teachers within this community of practice change? 3. To what extent does the literacy achievement of these teachers' students change? The first question was descriptive and served to provide a rich and detailed description of the professional development model used by the school. The second and third questions were explanatory and provided an explanation of the effects this form of professional development had on teacher instruction and student achievement for the four target teachers. Thus, question one was used to collect and analyze data from the entire community of practice, while questions two and three focused solely on data collected from the four target teachers and one student cohort. The data collection and analysis procedures for each of these questions, in turn, are described directly following the explanation of the population and participant selection. Case Selection and Description This study took place during the 2010-2011 school year in a large urban high school, herein referred to as Hardin High School, in a western state, serving 61

PAGE 80

grades nine through twelve in an urban district. As mentioned in Chapter I, this school is located within a district that introduced a number of reform-based initiatives in previous years; however, student achievement on state assessments and graduation rates within this district had not risen, and the achievement gaps among ethnic and racial groups continued to grow. For these reasons, district student enrollment had declined over the past decade. Though recent years had witnessed a slight increase in the total number of students, the majority of the secondary schools were operating below capacity, including twelve of the fourteen high schools, though Hardin's enrollment had steadily increased. In efforts to remedy this situation, the district continued to seek and implement new approaches to effectively improve its schools. As Hardin High School encountered many of the complex issues facing urban secondary schools throughout the West, including increasing numbers of English language learners and assessment scores consistently below the state average, it was a candidate for improvement. The implementation of a coaching program within a community of practice at Hardin during the 2010-2011 school year provided a unique opportunity to determine the effects of such a collaboratiw approach on a high school. Results found at Hardin may help other schools facing similar issues (Conchas, 2006; Freedman, Simons, Kalnin, & Casareno, 1999; J. Lee et al., 2007). 62

PAGE 81

Hardin High School Demographics Ofthe 96 faculty members working at Hardin High School in 2010-2011, 78 were full-time teachers and 1 was a part-time teacher. The teaching staff had an average of eleven years of experience in the classroom; 69% had at least three years of experience. 57% of these educators taught courses in the subject area in which they received their degrees, and 33 ofthe teachers (approximately 42%) had Masters or Doctoral degrees. The school also had a four-person administrative staff. The ethnical/racial composition of the 1728 students served by Hardin High School was 1% American Indian, 4% Asian, 86% Hispanic, 4% Black, and 5% White. Approximately 84% of the students were eligible for free and reduced lunch. Additionally, nearly 80% ofthe students were English language learners. The school had a 10% dropout rate and a 65% graduation rate, higher than the district average, but below the state average. The average ACT composite score for this school in 2010 was 14.7, as compared to 16.8 at the district level and 19.4 at the state level. Approximately 17% of the 11th and 12th grade students at this school were enrolled in at least one Advanced Placement course. Based on the state assessment scores for reading, writing, and math given to 9th and 1oth graders, the school was designated low-performing, high growth for the 2009-2010 school year based on the Colorado Growth Model. For achievement in mathematics, 5% of the students tested at or above proficient, 26% in reading, and 14% in writing. Thus, in terms of achievement itself many 9th 63

PAGE 82

and I O'h grade students at this school were performing below grade level. Based on changes from these scores in the 2009-2010 school year, Hardin was placed in the 52"d growth percentile in math, meaning that the school's overall growth improvement on the state test in this subject was as high or higher than 52 percent of students at a similar level of proficiency (Colorado Department of Education, 2009). Hardin was placed in the 551 h growth percentile in reading and the 51st growth percentile in writing. As Table 2 displays, Hardin improved at a slightly Table 2: Hardin's Growth and Achievement on State Assessments
PAGE 83

higher pace in all three subjects than the state average. Despite this fact, the school did not meet the requirements for federal average yearly progress toward its defined academic goals (A YP). Unpacking the state assessment data for reading and writing by demographic group displayed a more detailed description of the school's recent achievement. On the reading portion of the state exam, 26% of the students tested in the 9th and 1oth grade achieved at or above the level deemed proficient by the State Department of Education, a slight decrease from the previous two years. Though this decrease can clearly be seen occurring over the past two years, these scores represent an increase for these 9th and 1oth graders from the 2006-2007 scores as can be seen in Table 3. Though demographic data were not available for Table 3: Percent of Hardin 9'h and Jdh Graders Scoring Proficient or Above in Reading 100 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 +=-'"""'"'--_.____ School White Hispanic Ells 65 .2007 [;I)2008 02009 .2010

PAGE 84

the African American population, it is clear that the increase in achievement over these four years was reflective of the increase in the scores of the Hispanic and ELL populations at this school, as these groups comprised such a large proportion of the school population. On the state assessment in writing, these same 91 h and 1 01 h grade students achieved at a much lower rate, though similar growth can be seen over the previous four years. As a school, 14% of these students scored at or above proficient on the state writing assessment in 2010. Though African American demographic data were again unavailable, four-years of growth is reflected in the achievement growth of the Hispanic student population. This data is displayed in Table 4. Interestingly, the 2009-2010 school year witnessed a slight drop in scores from the 2008-2009 school year, despite the continued growth on writing assessments within the Hispanic population of Hardin High School. It would appear that this drop was due, in part, to the decrease in the test scores of the ELLs at the school. This opposing shift helps to display the difference between these two groups at Hardin. Participants The participants in this study included the literacy coach, the ten ELA instructors engaged in the community of practice, the four target teachers who served as the embedded case within this group of ten, and the students of these four target teachers. 66

PAGE 85

Table 4: Percent of Hardin grh and I dh Graders Scoring Proficient or Above in Writing 90 20 10 0 -+'-'....._.___..__ School White Hispanic Professional community of practice. Ells 2007 0 2008 02009 .2010 Ten ELA teachers composing one community of practice were the general group from which the embedded case was chosen for this study. Three of these ten teachers were male, seven were female, and they represented the four core content areas: math, science, English, and history. Three of these ten teachers were native Spanish speakers; the other seven had varying levels oflimited Spanish proficiency and were all native English speakers. With the exception of one of the math teachers, hired during the 2009-2010 school year, all of these teachers had participated in learning labs at Hardin High School in the past. 67

PAGE 86

Embedded case of teachers. For the 91 h grade class, Hardin High School employed a Freshman Academy Program. This program separated the freshman body into cohorts of twenty to thirty-five students, and each cohort was instructed by the same math, English, history, and science teachers. Four of the teachers in this group instructed one cohort of English language learners, meaning that they saw these same students each day. For this reason, the impact on student achievement was more closely linked to their work as the students analyzed had received minimal instruction from other educators. These four teachers were the target teachers analyzed in this study. As their students were in the 91 h grade, state assessment data charted their growth from the 2009-2010 to 2010-201 I school years. This group of four teachers was interdisciplinary and included one math, science, English, and history teacher. Both the math teacher, a novice Caucasian male, and the English teacher, an experienced Caucasian female, displayed limited proficiency in Spanish. The science and history teachers were experienced teachers, Latina, and native Spanish speakers. The literacy coach. For the 2010-2011 school year, Hardin High School hired a part-time literacy coach who facilitated this community of practice. The coach's role during the meetings was to facilitate the focal sessions, develop the framework for focal sessions by preparing readings and study questions, and guide the group toward a 68

PAGE 87

communal reflection upon their practices and ways in which to improve their instruction through SlOP strategies. In addition, this coach worked with all ten ELA teachers in this community of practice as a literacy coach. Her duties in this regard were to observe teachers independently (outside oflearning lab preparation) and to provide one-on-one feedback. These observations were intended to occur twelve times for each of the ten teachers over the course of the year, and the focus of this one-on-one coaching was to be the same as the focus of the community of practice during their meetings and learning labs. For this reason, the literacy coach was instrumental in considering the instructional growth of the four educators of this case study over the course of the school year. The students. The students chosen for this subunit were the 91 h graders enrolled in three or more of the courses taught by these four target teachers. Additionally, this study only analyzed data from students who took both the pre and post reading and writing tests on the state assessment and state English language acquisition assessment as well as the district-level Acuity assessment. Based on these criteria, 52 students from two classes taught by at least three of the four target teachers were analyzed in this study. Though all but one of these students were Spanish speakers in the fall of 20 I 0, it is important to note that this was a dynamic group of students which changed at semester. At the end of the fall semester, five Spanish speaking students from the cohort taught by the target teachers 69

PAGE 88

transferred out of district and nine new students arrived. Of the nine new students, eight spoke Vietnamese as their first language and one spoke Spanish. PD Context: Coaching Model The coaching within a community of practice model was first introduced to the school during the 2007-2008 school year through a grant obtained by a local university. During the first two years of its implementation, this intervention was made available to any interested educator on a volunteer basis as an additional form of professional development. These teachers, who represented a variety of subject areas, met monthly in a small group or community of practice with the guidance of a university professor as the external coach. The meetings alternated between focal sessions and learning labs (Public Education and Business Coalition, 2001). Through their discussions during focal sessions, these teachers shared classroom strategies that they determined to be appropriate for their students, often choosing to focus on one or more of the strategies found in the SlOP model. These teachers then engaged in action research in which they implemented the classroom strategies discussed during these focal sessions and shared their results with the other participants. Though these results were occasionally based on formative assessments the teachers had developed for their classrooms, more often the results represented an informal holistic response, describing the teachers' perceptions of student reactions to speci fie instructional approaches. 70

PAGE 89

During learning labs, the strategies that the group determined to be most promising were implemented by a specific participant who acted as host teacher, and the other members were invited to observe this teacher's instruction. The community of practice met beforehand and followed a clear pre-brief protocol, during which the host teacher shared the lesson with the other members, and the community of practice revisited the focus of the learning lab and ways for the observers to record observable behaviors and empirical evidence during the lesson. After the lesson was presented, the community of practice met again, following a systematic debrief protocol patterned after the approach developed by the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC), to develop ideas and understandings of their own classroom practices based upon the observable data recorded during the host teacher's lesson (Public Education and Business Coalition, 2001). The university used grant monies to pay for classroom coverage so that these teachers were able to spend one day every other month engaged in a learning lab. This schedule was adhered to in the same manner during the 20102011 school year. After two years where a voluntary approach to implement this coaching program was adopted, the principal decided to work with the university to implement coaching in communities of practice as a full-faculty, mandatory professional development approach in the 2009-2010 school year. In order to ease the transition from voluntary engagement to mandatory professional development, the teachers who participated in the initial years voluntarily addressed the faculty 71

PAGE 90

regarding the rewards and responsibilities inherent within this intervention model. These teachers, having been exposed to the intervention for as many as three years prior to its implementation school-wide, were often used to facilitate the learning labs, serving as teacher leaders to guide their colleagues through the process. Data Collection and Analysis This study examined the connection between the coach-guided activities of one community of practice (participation in learning labs, focal sessions, and collaborative planning) and changes in teacher instruction for four of its members and achievement for these four teachers' students. An overview of these data sources is displayed in Table 5. Multiple procedures were utilized to analyze these data in order to triangulate the analysis across multiple sources of evidence (Creswell, 2007; Miles & Huberman, 1994; Yin, 2009). This community of practice provided the opportunity for professionals to create a shared Discourse to potentially transform the members' values, beliefs, roles, instructional practices and, ultimately, student achievement. Changes in teacher instruction were determined through the use of strategy-specific, SlOP rubrics during classroom observations of the four target teachers' instruction. Changes in student achievement were determined by analyzing assessment data for the students of these specific teachers. For clarity, the data collection and analysis procedures detailed in the following section are organized by research question. 72

PAGE 91

Table 5: Data Collection Chart Description of coaching within a community of practice: 1 0 teachers and 1 coach Qualitative Interviews of literacy coach Beginning of year End ofyear Field notes from observations of meetings Focal sessions (3) Learning labs ( 5) Collaborative planning (5) Quantitative None Change in teacher instruction: 4 target teachers Qualitative Field notes from classroom observations (pre and post) Informal interviews with teachers Artifacts collected from all meetings Charts displayed Professional readings Exit tickets Reflection papers Quantitative Researcher's score on SlOP rubric Coach's score on SlOP rubric Completed at intervals Multiple times over course of year Student achievement: 4 target teachers Qualitative None Quantitative CSAP scores (reading and writing) CELA scores (reading and writing) Acuity scores (reading) Research Question 1: What Are the Specific Features of the Collaborative Coaching Professional Development Model Used by Hardin High School? In order to analyze the effects of this professional development model, it was first necessary to determine exactly what the model was. Though 73

PAGE 92

communities of practice involved in learning labs had been implemented in this school in the past, various factors caused the model to change annually. The purpose of this research question was to define the features and intentions of coaching within a community of practice in the 2010-2011 school year. Data collection for research question 1. As displayed in Table 5, this research pulled from two data sources: (a) interviews with the literacy coach and (b) observations of the community of practice meetings. Observations and interviews of the persons involved are two commonly utilized sources of evidence in case study research (Yin, 2009). Coach interviews. In order to describe the intended professional development model, this study first interviewed the literacy coach who was working within the community of practice. The literacy coach was then interviewed again at the end of the year to provide reflection on this process. These interviews were each one hour in length and occurred on-August 30,2010 and June 8, 2011, respectively. Both interviews with the literacy coach were semi-structured to allow the researcher the ability to tailor the questions to the responses given (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002). The initial interview with the literacy coach was recorded and transcribed and consisted of four basic questions: (a) What are the goals ofthis professional development model and how will these be achieved?, (b) How often will this community of practice meet and what will be the purpose of each of these meetings?, (c) How often will you be working with each of the target teachers one-on-one and what 74

PAGE 93

will be the purpose of these meetings?, and (d) What are the defining features of this professional development model? At the end of the school year the literacy coach was interviewed again to provide an opportunity for reflection on the adherences to and deviations from the intended professional development model. This semi-structured interview focused on six questions: (a) In what ways did the work of the community of practice deviate from the model and why?, (b) In what ways did your one-on-one coaching with the four target teachers deviate from the model and why?, (c) What effects do you believe these deviations had on the goals of this professional development?, (d) In what ways do you think the model did and did not work?, (e) Will you use this model again?, and (f) How would you implement it differently? These questions are also listed in Appendices B and C. Community of practice observations. All meetings of the ten-member community of practice (planned as three focal sessions, five learning labs, -and five collaborative planning) were observed and detailed field notes were taken to record the adherences to and deviations from the intended model. These field notes were recorded on Mil:rosoft Word as narrative accounts of the events which occurred and the statements which were made during these meetings. Each speaker was identified within these field notes and each individual's statement was either recorded precisely or summarized. In addition, participant actions (such as displaying a book, removing a chart from a wall, standing, etc.) were recorded as they occurred. 75

PAGE 94

The sole focal session was observed for ninety minutes on September 9, 20 I 0, and the learning labs and collaborative planning meetings were observed on October 20,2010, November 17, 2010, February 3, 2011, and May 11, 2011. Each of the learning labs was roughly four hours long and each of the collaborative planning meetings was roughly three hours long. Of the ten members ofthe community of practice, all were present for the focal session and nine of the ten were present at each learning lab and collaborative planning meeting. During the first and last learning labs and collaborative planning sessions, the target math teacher was absent and one non-target teacher was absent from the second and third meetings. Data analysis for research question 1. Both data sources (transcripts from interviews with the literacy coach and fieldnotes of observations ofthe community ofpractice meetings) were analyzed in order to develop a rich description of the collaborative coaching model implemented at Hardin High School during the 20l0-2011 school year. Coach interviews. The coach interview transcripts were analyzed to dderminc the specific features that defined this model of professional development, including the professional development timeline enacted by this community of practice, the activities in which this group engaged, and the calendar the literacy coach used for one-on-one coaching with the four target teachers. This study used a descriptive coding approach by separating transcript data into a list of three codes: 76

PAGE 95

(a) activities, both collaborative and individual; (b) effects, both anticipated and perceived; and (c) alterations (Miles & Huberman, 1994). These codes were created to determine the specific goals that had been set for this professional development model, the activities in which the literacy coach engaged with the community of practice in order to achieve these goals, and the perceived effects of these activities on the participants during the community of practice meetings. The transcript of the first interview was entered into Weft QDA, a simple qualitative data analysis tool which saves information highlighted by the user as a specific code into its own document. Thus, the first interview transcript was coded into activities and anticipated effects. The codes of perceived effects and alterations were not used as the community of practice had not yet met. The final interview transcript was also entered into Weft QDA and coded into activities, effects, and alterations. The activity code for both transcripts was used to highlight statements made by the literacy coach regarding the actions of the community of practice. The effects code highlighted the statements made by the literacy coach regarding the impact of the community of practice work on teacher instruction and belief. The alterations code was used to highlighl statements made by the literacy coach regarding changes made in the professional development design over the course of the year and the purposes behind these changes. Community of practice observations. During observations of the thirteen meetings of this community of practice, extensive descriptive field notes were taken, as previously explained. 77

PAGE 96

This study used descriptive coding to separate these data into the aforementioned three provisional codes: (a) activities, both collaborative and individual; (b) effects, both anticipated and perceived; and (c) alterations. This analysis also used Weft QDA as its coding tool. The activities code was again used to highlight the activities in which the community of practice engaged. The alterations code was used to highlight changes made from the intended professional development model, as explained by the literacy coach in the first interview. The effects code highlighted participant statements which implied potential changes in thinking and/or practice that occurred during community of practice meetings. For example, when Selma stated she was impressed by another teacher's use of mixed-level grouping, this was coded as a potential effect upon Selma's use of grouping during her instruction. In this way, subcodes were developed within the effects code to specify which teacher displayed the effect and what type of instructional change was implied by this statement. This was done in order to support the analysis of the second research question through triangulation of data sources, as will be explained in the following section. Research Question 2: To What Extent Do the Instructional Practices of the Target Teachers within this Community of Practice Change? The next portion of this analysis provided an opportunity to connect the work in the community of practice with improved teacher instruction. This question was used to collect and analyze data from the four target teachers in the 78

PAGE 97

community of practice, working with the same group of students. This research question focused on the first step in collecting and analyzing data in order to determine if the intervention was successful in the field. Data collection for research question 2. As Table 5 displays, data collected for this portion of the study were both quantitative and qualitative. Quantitatively, a portion of the SlOP rubric referred to in Chapter 2 was used during classroom observations to score target teacher's instruction in the three areas chosen as the focus of this community of practice's work. Qualitatively, field notes from classroom observations, artifacts from community of practice meetings, and transcripts of informal interviews with the target teachers were collected. As previously mentioned, the field notes from the community of practice observations were also used for the qualitative portion of this analysis. Classroom observations using the SlOP rubric. The SlOP is an observational instrument developed as a rating scale which is displayed in Appendix F. This scale is broken into thirty items grouped in eight main components: preparation, building background, comprt:hensibie input, strategies, interaction, practice/application, lesson delivery, and review/assessment (Echevarria et al., 2004). A brief explanation of each of these components is provided here. Preparation refers to lesson preparation and focuses on developing lessons that are culturally and 79

PAGE 98

linguistic responsive; building background refers to utilizing students' prior knowledge in lessons and consistently building upon this knowledge; comprehensible input refers to using instructional speech, explanations, and other techniques to ensure student understanding of key content; and strategies refers to engaging students in utilizing their own cognitive, metacognitive, and social/affective strategies. Interaction refers to developing opportunities for students to communicate with the teacher and with one another in English; practice/application refers to providing students with hands-on experience to practice content and language skills; lesson delivery refers to presenting instruction in an engaging manner; and review/assessment refers to analyzing student knowledge and providing feedback regarding key language and content concepts and skills. Ofthese eight categories, interaction, strategies, and building background were the major focal areas of the professional development model utilized by Hardin High School in the 2010-2011 school year. For this reason, a specific portion of the SlOP was used as an observational rubric during classroom observations. This instrument is shown in Figure 3. On September 29, 2010, the literacy coach observed all four target teachers and scored their lessons with this rubric. On October 6, 20 I 0, the primary researcher and the literacy coach observed three of the four target teachers, scored these teachers separately, and met later to norm their scoring collaboratively. During this norming session, the literacy coach and primary researcher 80

PAGE 99

Adapted SlOP Observation Rubric 4 3 2 1 0 N/ A Building Background 1. Concepts explicitly linked to students' D D D D D D background experiences 2. Links explicitly made between past D D 0 0 0 0 learning and new concepts 3. Key vocabulary emphasized (e.g., introduced, written, repeated, and D 0 0 0 0 0 highlighted for students to see) Strategies 4. Provides ample opportunities for D 0 D D 0 0 students to use strategies 5. Consistent use of scaffolding techniques through-out lesson, D 0 0 D 0 0 assisting and supporting student understanding, such as think-alouds 6. Teacher uses a variety of question types, including those that promote higher-order thinking skills D 0 0 D 0 D throughout the lesson (e.g., literal, analytical and interpretive questions) Interaction 7. Frequent opportunities for interaction and discussion between teacher I student and among students, which 0 D 0 D 0 0 encourage elaborated responses students, which encourage elaborated responses about lesson concepts 8. Grouping configurations support language and content objectives of the 0 D 0 D 0 0 lesson 9. Consistently provides sufficient wait D 0 0 D 0 0 time for student response 10. Ample opportunities for students to io 0 0 D 0 0 clarify key concepts in Ll Figure 3: Classroom Observation Rubric (Echevarria et al. 2004) determined that their reliability was above ninety percent, due in great part to the reliability of the SlOP itself. Two studies completed in the 1990s confirm the reliability and validity of this tool in measuring sheltered instruction practices of teachers, even when the rubric was utilized by individuals who were not specifically trained in SlOP strategies. A statistical analysis of revealed an 81

PAGE 100

interrater of correlation .99 between these individuals (Echevarria et al., 2004; Guarino et al., 2001). The primary researcher observed the target teachers on December 7, 2010, March 18,2011, and May 19,2011. The target English teacher was absent from the first second, and third of the primary researcher's observations and the target math teacher was absent from the third observation as well. The literacy coach observed all four target teachers again on May 17, 2011. This process is displayed in Figure 4. Fieldnotes from classroom observations. During the four separate classroom observations of the four target teachers, the primary researcher recorded data pertaining to the classroom environment, the activities of the class, and the actions of the instructor and the students in fieldnotes. These data types are displayed in Table 5. During these observations, extensive fieldnotes were recorded. These notes were recorded as a chronological running record of each class period, focusing upon the classroom itself, the activities ofthe teacher and students, and the interactions between these actors. Teacher comments and actions, student comments and actions, and lesson activities were recorded into a blank Microsoft Word document in order of occurrence as shown in the excerpt displayed in Figure 5. Meeting artifacts. All documents used in community of practice meetings were also collected by the researcher. Specifically, professional readings, learning lab charts, learning lab exit tickets, and reflection papers were collected for this 82

PAGE 101

r / "' Rubric used by coach during observation ..,) \ r Instructional focus developed by community of practice from SlOP model. SlOP rubric chosen to assess level of implementation Scoring normed after first observation Coach and researcher come to consensus on instructional change r Rubric used by researcher during classroom observation "' I ..,) Figure 4: Data Analysis of Research Question 2 -To What Extent Do the ..,) Instructional Practices of the Target Teachers within this Community of Practice Change? 83

PAGE 102

Samuel Harris Room 1 06 Algebra I Room o Class in islands o 28 Ss, 9 groups o Rules and charts on wall o Terminology and vocabulary for each class on separate word walls o All in English Objectives on board 10:00 o Content: SWBA T write the equation of a line in slope/intercept form from a graph and review solving equations o Language: SWBAT explain the real-world meanings of slope and y-intercept o No vocabulary Steps to do now on board ELA para assisting 10:08 3-4 Ss still doing nothing. 1 island of 2 with nothing on desk, discussing in Spanish Ss receive stamps upon completion; those who do not work request and receive nothing 10:10 T reviews answers. Some instruction in Spanish o Objective reviewed briefly o Agenda for day discussed T displays how to graph 1 y = mx + b line on Smartboard o Explains approach o Ss assist with responses T displays 2nd for students to help him complete o Tech difficulties10 minute break back to Accelerated Math in groups o Return to 2nd line equation and some Ss participate in solving, graphing line Group work o Ss told to silently determine slope, intercept and graph line o Then explain to one another using sentence structure provided: "The slope is because __ The y-intercept is __ because Therefore, the graph of the line looks like this. (Show your graph)." Figure 5: Excerpt from Fieldnotes ofClassroom Observation 84

PAGE 103

research. During the pre-brief of the first, second, and third learning labs, the literacy coach provided the teachers with brief passages from professional readings to review. During each learning lab's debrief, three charts were developed displaying the participants' reactions to the hosted lesson, and at the end of each learning lab, every participant completed an exit ticket. These exit tickets asked participants to respond to eight separate questions in writing: (a) What are your next steps from this lab?, (b) What specifically will you implement in your classroom as a result of this experience?, (c) How will what you learned today impact student achievement?, (d) Did your beliefs about teaching and learning shift in any way?, (e) What was the best part of the lab experience for you?, (f) What was the worst part of the lab experience for you?, (g) Do you have any suggestions for how we could make the learning lab process better?, (h) Do you have any suggestions of next steps for the group based on our experiences today? The exit ticket is also displayed in Appendix E. In the final meeting of the community of practice on May 11, 2011, the history and science target teachers shared reflection papers they had composed regarding their work in this community of practice. The readings, charts, exit tickets, and reflection papers were the primary artifacts collected from the community of practice meetings. Informal target teacher interviews. At the end of the fall semester, after instructional alterations had been recorded based upon the first two observations of the target teachers (a process 85

PAGE 104

that will be explained in the data analysis portion of this section), these four target teachers were informally interviewed to determine their perceived impetus for these changes. Between February 1 and March 1, 2011, each of the four target teachers received and responded to an email from the primary researcher with three to four questions included. These questions were all two-part and began with the area in which an instructional alteration was perceived during the first two observations followed by a question regarding the extent to which their involvement in the community of practice informed the perceived alteration. For example, the target science teacher, Pilar, was asked: Do you find yourself responding to student questions in Spanish less often? How much did your work in the community of practice inform this decision? These responses were saved and used to triangulate the data supporting observed instructional changes. Data analysis for research question 2. A mixed methods analysis was employed to analyze these data sources in order to respond to this-research question. Quantitatively, the SlOP rubric was scored and analyzed to determine areas of growth. Qualitatively, the multiple data sources displayed in Table 5 were analyzed in order to support the effects of community of practice work on specific target teacher instructional changes through triangulation. Classroom observations using the SlOP rubric. The aforementioned abbreviated SlOP rubric, displayed in Figure 3, was used by this researcher and the literacy coach during each classroom observation 86

PAGE 105

to score the level at which each of the four target teachers implemented the SlOP foci ofthis community of practice. Each target teacher's instruction was scored using this instrument between three and six times over the course of the year, twice by the literacy coach, three times by the primary observer, and once by the two collaboratively. After the collaborative observation on October 6, 2010, all subsequent observations were done separately and scores were compared in order to determine change in instructional practices over time. The average gain of each of the four target teachers was computed for the coach and compared to the average gain computed for the researcher to determine overall average growth of each of the four target teachers according to this portion of the SlOP rubric. Fieldnotes from classroom observations. As previously mentioned, the fieldnotes from the classroom observations were recorded as chronological running records of each class period, focusing upon the classroom itself, the activities of the teacher and students, and the interactions between these actors. This study used descriptive coding to separate these data into four provisional codes suggested for coding qualitative data by Strauss (1987): (a) conditions, (b) interactions amongst actors, (c) strategies and tactics, and (d) consequences (Strauss, 1987). This analysis also used Weft QDA as its coding tool. Fieldnotes were entered into Weft QDA and highlighted based upon these specific provisional codes. The conditions code was used to highlight the atmosphere within each classroom, focusing on aspects such as seating arrangement and information posted within the room. The interactions code was 87

PAGE 106

used to highlight comments made between the teacher and students or between the students themselves, particularly recognizing the language in which these comments were made. The strategies and tactics code was used to highlight all teacher actions displaying planned activities and all reactions to student behavior. Finally, the consequences code was used to highlight student reactions to teacher actions, statements, strategies, and tactics. This code included both academic and behavioral responses. After the second observation on December 7, 201 0, data coded from observation one and two for each teacher was compared and alterations in conditions, interactions, or strategies and tactics were recorded as themes. These themes were again referred to when comparing coded data from observations one and two to three and, finally, four. In this way, these codes were revised and pattern coded to determine any themes that became apparent during instruction. Data triangulation. Once these instructional alterations from the first two observations were recorded, they were triangulated across three other data sources: (a) coded fieldnotes from the observations of the community of practice, (b) the exit tickets collected from the learning labs, and (c) the informal interviews with or reflection papers from the target teachers. This process is explained below with a specific example for clarification. 88

PAGE 107

Coded fieldnotes from the observations of the community of practice. The effects code used to analyze the fieldnotes from the observations of the community of practice meetings was developed into subcodes to specify which teacher displayed what effect and what type of instructional change was implied by this statement. After classroom observations had been coded, any observed instructional alterations were cross-referenced with these subcodes in order to determine if the perceived effects of the community of practice work correlated with these perceived instructional alterations. For example, between observations one and two, the interaction code of the classroom observation fieldnotes revealed that the target science teacher, Pilar, changed her instruction from responding to student questions asked in Spanish to ignoring questions asked in Spanish. The fieldnotes from the observations of the community of practice meetings were then reviewed, and the effects code revealed that Pilar had specifically mentioned her interest in increasing student use of English at all times in her classroom. This correlation displayed the first support for the theory that her instructional shift was a consequence of her participation in the community of practice work. Exit tickets collected from the learning labs. Any correlations between community of practice activities and instructional changes which became apparent during this process were then validated through reference to the learning lab exit tickets. Each exit ticket provided an opportunity for the participants to explain the ways in which they 89

PAGE 108

intended to alter their instruction due to their participation in the community of practice work. Thus, exit tickets were analyzed to determine if the target teacher specifically mentioned his/her intention to alter instructional practices in the manner observed due to his/her participation in the community of practice. Upon reviewing Pilar's responses on the exit ticket completed on November 17, 20 II, following the second learning lab, it became clear that the issue of student oral language use was again referenced in this data source. In response to the question "Did your beliefs about teaching and learning shift in any way?" Pilar wrote: "Need to figure out ways for students to do more oral language development." This statement displayed the second support for the theory that her instructional shift was a consequence of her participation in the community of practice work. Informal interviews with or reflection papers from the target teachers. Finally, after each semester, the target teachers provided feedback regarding their impetus for making any instructional changes that appeared to connect to community of practice activities. At the end of the first semester, the informal interviews were used for this purpose and, at the end of the second semester, the reflection papers were used. In her informal interview, Pilar was asked is she found herself responding to student questions in Spanish less often and, if so, how her much work within the community of practice informed this decision. She explained that she had made a "big effort" to only respond to questions in English and that the labs had 90

PAGE 109

informed her decision to do so. Pilar's response displayed the third and final support for the theory that her instructional shift was a consequence of her participation in the community of practice work. The effects of the community of practice on teacher instruction, triangulated in this manner, are described in Chapter 5. Research Question 3: To What Extent Does the Literacy Achievement of These Teachers' Students Change? The ultimate outcome for this professional development model was to improve student achievement. Inevitably, the value of coaching in communities of practice is directly tied to its perceived ability to improve student achievement as determined by the state assessments. However, in order to determine the effects on student achievement with greater validity, district formative assessments were also used as an additional source of data in this study. These data sources are displayed in Table 5. Data collection for research question 3. This study examined student achievement through data collected from three sources: the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) assessments in reading and writing, the Colorado English Language Assessment (CELA) in reading and writing, and the Acuity assessment in reading. Each of these assessments are more completely described in this section. CELA scores for reading and writing were only collected for those students who took the reading assessments in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years and/or the writing 91

PAGE 110

assessments in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years. Acuity assessment data were used for students who took both the pre and posttests during the 20102011 school year. Data were only collected from students who were enrolled in three or more of the four case study educators' courses in order to determine the growth of students who were affected by these four teachers. This approach was used to limit the difficulties inherent in attempting to determine the cause of a student's literacy growth for students who encounter multiple educators each day (Brozo & Simpson, 2007; Fisher & Frey, 2007). Student assessment scores for all students who took the pre and posttests were then collected for each individual participating teacher to determine each teacher's class growth. The number of students who met these criteria for CELA reading and writing was 28, for CSAP was 38, and for Acuity was 52. The CSAP assessments in reading and writing. The CSAP is given each March to students in grades three through ten, assessing reading, writing, mathematics, and science at some grade levels. The assessments are developed, scored, and scaled by CTB/McGraw-Hill, LLC and are intended to measure student proficiency in terms of the state content standards (McGraw-Hill, 2009b ). The items used by these assessments are carefully reviewed and discussed by diverse local committees, which include teachers, State Department of Education members, and community members "to ensure content validity, accurate alignment to content standards, and the quality and appropriateness of the items, including review for bias and sensitivity issues" 92

PAGE 111

(McGraw-Hill, 9). This standardized, paper-pencil test is administered to each student in his/her own school by the faculty of that school in grade-specific groups. These are considered secure tests and proctor's manuals are provided to ensure that the tests are administered in the same way at each site. Both the reading and writing assessments contain multiple choice and constructed response items. "Reliability for constructed-response items [is] typically examined by calculating indices of interrater agreement-the reliability with which human raters assign scores to student responses" (McGraw-Hill, 921). For this analysis, five percent of student responses are scored by two raters. In order to match student scores to specific grade levels, Stocking and Lord's (1983) equating procedure is used to place each grade on the vertical scale developed for each content area. McGraw-Hill (2009) used Cronbach's alpha to determine reliability coefficients for these assessments. The reliability coefficients for the writing assessment had a median value of .91, and the reading assessment had a median value of .93, indicating a high internal consistency and relatively stable scores. In order to ensure validity, the department of education conducts comprehensive curriculum reviews. All assessment items then developed to measure the content standards and are subject to numerous levels of scrutiny, both internal and external, before their operational use (McGraw-Hill, 2009b ). The CELA assessment. The CELA is administered each spring, the first of which was in 2006 (McGraw-Hill, 2010). At that time, the assessments were identical to CTB's LAS 93

PAGE 112

Links Form A, except for test book covers and answer sheets. LAS Links (Form A) remains the foundation of these assessments: The LAS Links assessments were developed from a framework that reflects sound principles of second-language acquisition. Each LAS Links test consists of four separately scored sections (Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking). In addition to these four component scores, all of the Listening and Speaking items are combined to produce an Oral score, and selected Reading and Listening items are combined to yield a Comprehension score. Nearly 30,000 students participated in the field test, item analysis, and calibration of LAS Links Form A, which was calibrated and scaled using item-response theory and a common-item equating design to place all grade levels on a common scale and to ensure that skill area scores have the same meaning across forms, grades, and years. The LAS Links tests are aligned to CTB/McGraw-Hill's English Language Proficiency Assessment Standards (ELPAS), which were developed to include key standards from the national ESL and TESOL standards and from several state ESL standards. (McGraw-Hill, 7). In order to align this assessment with the state standards for English language learners, McGraw-Hill conducted an alignment analysis which removed 104 ofthe 397 standards due to the fact that they were considered non-assessable. The remaining 293 standards are all addressed by at least one item on this assessment. 94

PAGE 113

This standardized paper-pencil assessment is administered at each school to the students deemed to be English language learners by their families or by school personnel and includes speaking, listening, reading, and writing assessments. The reading tests contain multiple choice items, and the writing test contains both multiple choice and constructed response items. Interrater reliability is used randomly on all test items and the discrepancy percentage was under seven percent in 2010 (McGraw-Hill 201 0). Acuity assessment in reading. The Acuity assessment is a predictive test aligned with the focus of the state assessments in math, reading, and writing and was administered in this urban school district twice over the course of the 2010-2011 school year, in September and January. This computer-administered assessment is somewhat unique in that the actual scores obtained at the time of testing (scale score and performance band broken by quartile) are not the focal point; rather, the focus is the prediction of how well the student is likely to score on the state assessment. The test is standardized in that administration and scoring procedures do not vary from student to student. The test is neither purely criterionnor norm-referenced as it contained elements of both. The engine that computes the predictions depends in part on the performance of other students across the state; however, the assessment against which the scores are computed is primarily criterion-based. These assessments contains both multiple choice and constructed response items 95

PAGE 114

and the reading test is intended to be completed in a forty-minute time period (McGraw-Hill, 2009a). "The content and construct validity of the Acuity Predictive Benchmarks are supported by the alignment of the assessments to the [state assessment] blueprints at each grade" (McGraw-Hill, 2009a, 10). A team of McGraw-Hill assessment specialists collaborated with members of the state department of education to identify and eliminate questions that contained content or wording that could be construed as biased and to ensure that all items on the test were paired with essential standards assessed by the state assessment. Data analysis for research question 3. The CSAP and CELA assessments in reading and writing were analyzed using three sets of comparisons: (a) gains of students of the four target teachers vs. gains of students within the state; (b) gains of students of the four target teachers vs. gains of students within the district; (c) gains of students of these four teachers vs. gains of students within the school. The Acuity assessment in reading was analyzed using the last two comparisons only, as Acuity was not used by the state as a whole. Based on data publicly released by the State Department of Education, this study examined students' growth based on median growth percentile from the 2009-2010 school year to the 2010-2011 school year in order to complete an analysis of growth on state assessments in reading and writing. Using t-tests, these students' average growth percentiles were then compared externally to the median 96

PAGE 115

growth percentiles of the state, district, and school. T -tests were appropriate for this analysis as this study represented a situation in which two groups of matched subjects are compared on a dependent variable (Stevens, 2007). Of the three assumptions upon which the t-test is based, the most likely of causing a type I error, independence of the observations, was not violated in this case as the two groups did not affect each other's scores. Though all of these compared groups may not have met the other assumptions, homogeneity of variance and normality, "considerable research has shown that a violation of the normality assumption is of little consequence" (Stevens, 2007, 9). The probable violation of the homogeneity of variance assumption by certain of these comparisons was noted in the analysis and, thus, these comparisons' results must be validated by the comparisons which do not violate this assumption. The Acuity assessment in reading was analyzed using two sets of comparisons: (a) gains of students of the four target teachers vs. the district and (b) gains of these four teachers vs. the school. This study compared fall and spring scores of the students of these four target teachers to examine the change in percent proficient that occurred during the 2010-2011 school year. Based on data obtained from the school and district, this study compared these students' change in percent proficient externally to the district and school. Growth percentiles were not used for this analysis as the district did not compute these for the Acuity assessment. 97

PAGE 116

Threats to Validity Any study that attempts to connect professional development to student achievement, particularly in literacy at the high school level, must respond to a number of threats to validity. This section discusses these internal and external threats. Internal One major threat to internal validity in this study is a result of the vast number of potential independent variables that can affect the ultimate outcome of student achievement in secondary classrooms. In order to limit these external factors, data were only collected from students who took both the pre and posttests used as instruments. In addition, students were specifically selected who were in three or more of the classes taught by the four members of the community of practice, thereby limiting the number of other instructional influences to which these participants were exposed. In addition, by comparing the students' performance on state-wide assessments to the state average, this study worked to eliminate single group threats to internal validity. As the group to which these students were compared was extremely large, any threats regarding seledion bias were removed. Additionally, the teachers themselves posed threats to the internal validity of the study, as it is possible that many of the strategies they used to achieve student growth were developed through other means than this particular professional development model. To address this threat, teachers were 98

PAGE 117

interviewed after each semester to receive feedback regarding the source behind any observed instructional changes. Finally, the fact that both raters of instructional growth, researcher and literacy coach, were employees of the school district who were interested in finding successful professional development models implies a potential bias that must be considered throughout the study. The use of triangulation across multiple data sources to support any perceived instructional change, as described in this chapter, was the most effective approach to addressing this potential research bias. External The size ofthe sample of teachers and students analyzed in this study posed a number of threats to its external validity as it is difficult to generalize the results from one cohort of teachers, principal, coach, and students to another context. This study viewed the participating community of practice as a critical case often educators, which must be analyzed as a singularity in order to provide a rich, deep explanation of how the professional-development model functioned to achieve the intended outcomes. It was necessary to follow the four target teachers because they provided instruction to one specific cohort of ELLs; thus, their instructional changes may have been linked to changes in student achievement. As a whole, this study worked to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to recognize transferability by providing a rich description of the professional development model. 99

PAGE 118

Limitations Coaching through communities of practice, professional learning communities, learning labs, and one-on-one coaching in general comprise the quintain or collection of cases sharing general characteristics with this particular case studied (City, Elmore, Fiarman, & Teitel, 2009; Connors, Challendar, Proctor, Robinson, & Walters, 2009; DuFour & Eaker, 1998; Stake, 2006). Though a surge in interest has recently occurred regarding the implementation of such programs in education, the transferability of the results of this study depends on the interpretation of the reader and the similarities of the study to his/her context. 100

PAGE 119

101

PAGE 120

CHAPTER IV RESULTS: SPECIFIC FEATURES OF THE COLLABORATIVE COACHING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL Recent research in secondary literacy coaching highlights the importance of creating collaborative environments within which the literacy coach is able to provide guidance and facilitate the instructional development of the teachers in small groups (Brown et al., 2008; Clary et al., 2008; Hessee, 2009; Marsh et al., 2008; Shanklin et al., 2009). These groups, or communities of practice, provide the opportunity for professionals to create a shared Discourse, transforming the members' values, beliefs, roles, and ultimately their identities. These communities represent the most effective and sustainable way to apprentice the individual into the practices of a social group. The professional development model at Hardin High School represents a clear example of a collaborative community of practice coupled with the support and guidance of a literacy coach and deserves a thorough description. For this reason, the purpose of this chapter is to respond to the first research question of this study: What are the specific features of the collaborative coaching professional development model used by Hardin High School? In order to determine the model implemented, this study carried out two semi-structured interviews with the literacy coach who facilitated the professional development, one early in the fall semester and another at the end of the school year. In 102

PAGE 121

addition, the learning labs, collaborative planning periods, and focal sessions of this community of practice were observed to confirm the activities involved in the implementation of this model and highlight any deviations from the intended approach. Intended Model Hardin High School hired a literacy coach for the 2010-2011 school year to work three days a week, focusing on the English Language Acquisition (ELA) teachers within the building. ELA was chosen as the focus of this model due to the ever-increasing numbers of English Language Learners in the school and their poor performance on state assessments. Specifically, she was asked to work with a group often teachers from across the disciplines to develop their expertise in sheltered instruction practices through individual coaching and learning labs. This ten-teacher group is described as a community of practice within this study. Effects The literacy coach emphasized two overarching goals to be met by this professional development: (a) "the quality of instruction for our ELA students will improve" and (b) "the achievement of these students will improve." She explained that the shared goal of the members of the community of practice was to "become SlOP leaders of the building." She also explained that the instructional improvements would relate to "strategies that teachers would use to work with English learners and that promote English language development." Thus, this model was not developed with the intention of improving content103

PAGE 122

specific instruction; rather, it was intended to improve the ELA instruction of the members of this community of practice. Accordingly, the model intended to display improvements in student achievement on language specific assessments such as the CELA and literacy-specific assessments such as the reading and writing portions of the CSAP and the Acuity tests developed as predictors for the CSAP. Activities According to the literacy coach, this community of practice was intended to meet thirteen times over the course of the school year. During three of these meetings the community of practice would engage in focal sessions, five meetings would be spent engaging in learning labs, and during the other five the teachers would collaboratively plan ways to incorporate focal strategies into future lessons. In addition, the literacy coach planned to observe each of the ten teachers involved in this community of practice every other week and to engage in pre and post observation meetings with them. These observations and meetings were intended to provide opportunities for her to coach the teachers in the continued implementation of the sheltered instruction focuses developed during focal sessions and emphasized during learning labs and collaborative planning. This coaching program is displayed in Figure 6 and each of the four major activities in which it engaged are described in greater detail below. 104

PAGE 123

Focal sessions. As described in chapter III, focal sessions were defined as planning meetings during which community of practice participants may read researchbased journal articles focused on classroom instruction of ELLs, share student work with one another to discuss their respective classroom needs, and determine the focus and schedule of the future learning labs and collaborative planning meetings. On September 91h of2010 at 2:45 in the afternoon, this community of practice met in a classroom at Hardin High School to Hardin High School: Communities of Practice Community ofPractice Meetings per school year studied SlOP Focus Negotiated Focal Learning Labs Collaborative Literacy Teachers' Sessions 5 meeting s Planning Coach's Role Roles 3 meetings 1/2 day 5 meetings 112 day Expert Host Develop Pre-brief: focal Plan future knowledge learning SlOP strategy and lessons Facilitate labs focus of host teacher together meetings Reflect gro up explanation with Prepare openly on Discuss Lesson: literacy meetings practices progress strategy coach and Plan Incorporate Determine implementation peers l earning focal successes and observers Incorporate labs with strategies and record focal host into future failures observable strategies Guide lessons behaviors and into each reflection learning empirical classroom and lab evidence planning calen dar Debrief: Engage in observations 1-on-1 and coaching interpretation developing s shared SlOP focus of group individually Figure 6: The Coaching Program at Hardin High School 105

PAGE 124

hold their very first focal session. Nine of the teacher members were present, including all four of the target teachers for this study. The coach began the session by briefly reiterating the purposes of the professional development and explaining the shared goal of the group. To achieve this, they would "collaborate as a group to help everyone become an expert in this manner" and the community of practice would focus only on its own growth, not concerning itself with the development ofthe school as a whole. She also used this time to explain the number of labs, collaborative planning sessions, and focal sessions in which the group would engage and her role as their coach. Here she stated that she would "reinforce the focus of the labs in individual coaching," but would not be used as an evaluative tool by the administration; her assistance would be solely developmental. The reaction of the community of practice to this information displayed their comfort with the literacy coach as well as the trustful nature of her relationship with them. After outlining the model and its purposes to the teachers, the literacy coach provided each with a survey of their comfort level with the eight components ofthe SlOP: preparation, building background, comprehensible input, strategies, interaction, practice/application, lesson delivery, and review/assessment (Echevarria et al., 2004). For each component, a Likert scale was provided ranging from "I don't understand/never do this" to "I do this regularly and understand this." After the teachers had completed this survey, a chart listing the eight components was displayed, and the teachers were asked to 106

PAGE 125

place a sticky note to the right of the three components which scored the lowest on their surveys. As the majority of the sticky notes clearly fell into building background, strategies for sheltered classrooms, and interaction, the literacy coach nominated these to be the focus of their work. The teachers were asked to vote on the focus they would like to begin with, and they unanimously chose interaction. Based on this decision, a calendar was quickly developed, and two teachers volunteered to host the first two labs, focusing on interaction. This focal session served to determine the focus and schedule of the learning labs and collaborative planning meetings. The session also served to clarify the role of the literacy coach as well as the teachers and the intentions for the professional development. Learning labs. According to the literacy coach, "the purpose of the labs is for each individual teacher to have the opportunity to reflect." Though she admitted that this was somewhat of an oversimplification and recognized secondary goals such as group formation, vertical articulation, and the development of common instructional strategies, she still believed the main intention of the learning lab process was to place educators in contexts in which they were likely to reflect upon their practices. She believes that learning labs are ways for teachers to "reflect by watching another teacher's classroom, so that they ... reflect and come away with new strategies for supporting their English language learners-that would be the goal." Though this literacy coach emphasized reflection as the primary purpose of learning labs, she did 107

PAGE 126

not see her role as facilitator of this reflection alone, providing an opportunity for teachers to examine underlying beliefs in a manner similar to that used in cognitive coaching (Costa & Garmston, 2002). Instead, she worked with the teachers throughout the year to guide them toward research-supported practices that could, in turn help develop their beliefs. By providing teachers with classroom strategies and developing their use of these strategies through observation and feedback, she positioned herself as an instructional coach at Hardin High School. Each of the five learning lab meetings followed a clear protocol including a pre-brief and debrief, similar to the one discussed in the PEBC model of the learning lab. In addition, the professional readings originally intended for the focal sessions were incorporated into the beginning of the learning labs. At the beginning of each lab, the community of practice met and -discussed the focus of the learning lab and the agenda of the day. The literacy coach then provided the teachers with a research-based article, such as a chapter from Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners (Hill & Flynn, 2006). The teachers read and reflected upon the personal connections they were able to create between their own practices and those discussed in the reading. These reflections began in pairs and were shared publicly with the group as a whole. Afterward, the literacy coach led the group into a structured pre-brief, with three distinct steps: development of teacher focus, 108

PAGE 127

journaling of instructional beliefs which connected to that focus, and presentation by the host teacher. First, the literacy coach instructed the teachers to consider the SlOP component that they all agreed was the general focus of the lesson, and then to record and share what, specifically, they wanted to focus their observations upon. When asked, during the second learning lab, if the teachers could first hear from the host teacher, the literacy coach recommended against it, explaining that the purpose of developing an individual focus was to guide the observer's learning, not respond to the host's presentation. Once each teacher's individual focus was charted on the wall, they were asked to choose one or two of these foci and explain their beliefs regarding the focus chosen. Is it valuable? Is it not? Why? For example, in the third learning lab, one participant's stated focus was using technology to increase the amount of student discussion in English. When asked to share her belief regarding this focus, she explained: "Kids need an opportunity to talk. Like we read-in the last lab, building opportunities to speak into lesson plans adds to development, much as practicing an instrument improves ability." Finally, much like the PEBC model, the host teacher would then present the lesson plan, and the observers would ask clarifying questions in preparation for the observation. Unlike the PEBC model, however, all members of the community of practice focused upon the same SlOP instructional strategy. This shared focus was used to assist the observing teachers in determining exactly what type of evidence they would record 109

PAGE 128

during the classroom observation. The facilitator consistently instructed the observers to only record observable behaviors and empirical evidence, with the intention of helping them to become objective observers and dismiss their assumptions and interpretations. After the lesson, the teachers met again for a structured debrief, focusing upon the data they collected during the observations, the implications which could be drawn from these data, and the connections they could make between these data and their beliefs as previously stated in their journal entries. First, the literacy coach instructed the teachers to highlight the most valuable data they recorded in terms of their respective individual foci for the observation linked to the SlOP instructional strategy as developed during the pre-brief. They shared their observations, in turn, and these were recorded in numerical order on a chart entitled "Observations" within the room. After all the observers were finished, the host teacher was asked to -add anything sfhe saw as relevant to this database. Next, the literacy coach asked the teachers to review the charted data and determine implications that they could draw from these observations. For example, during the second lab, a teacher noted that the pairing of students in the host's lesson provided each student with a greater amount of time to speak in English than the groups of four to five she often used in her classroom: "Two kids speaking and switch is a more effective pairing for using English." Again the teachers would share all the implications they could find, 110

PAGE 129

in turn, always being sure to refer specifically back to the observation number recorded on the previous chart. These implications were recorded on a chart entitled "Implications" and, after each teacher had shared his/her implications, the host teacher was asked to respond and add any other relevant observations. Finally, the literacy coach invited the teachers to return to the beliefs they had recorded during the pre-brief and "see how [these] were reinforced, reshaped, and/or challenged" over the course of the learning lab. Again, the teachers shared their responses, these were recorded on a chart entitled "Beliefs," and the host teacher added his/her thoughts at the end. Prior to the completion of the learning lab, the community of practice discussed their progress in the process of transforming their instructional practices, future labs, and each teacher received an exit ticket to record their own next steps. Here they detailed and then shared the ideas they had for their own classroom practices during the learning lab. In addition to providing more time for individual reflection, the exit tickets were also intended to inform the literacy coach's work, assisting the teachers as they worked to incorporate these ideas into their classrooms. These exits tickets asked participants to respond to eight separate questions in writing: (a) What are your next steps from this lab?, (b) What specifically will you implement in your classroom as a result ofthis experience?, (c) How will what you learned today impact student achievement?, (d) Did your beliefs about teaching and learning shift in any way?, (e) What was the best part ofthe lab experience for you?, (f) 111

PAGE 130

What was the worst part of the lab experience for you?, (g) Do you have any suggestions for how we could make the learning lab process better?, (h) Do you have any suggestions of next steps for the group based on our experiences today? The coach read these in the days following the learning labs and intended to use the participants' feedback to assist in structuring future individualized observations, focusing upon the specific instructional strategies which the participants had claimed they would implement in their classrooms. In addition, the coach used their feedback on the lab itself to determine any beneficial alterations to future learning labs. Collaborative planning. According to the literacy coach's description and the observed actions of the community of practice, after each of the learning lab meetings, the second half of the school day was used for collaborative planning meetings. During these five meetings, the participants were provided with coach guided time to incorporate the knowledge they gained from the learning lab process into their future teaching. Often this included providing resources for the community of practice members to develop programmatic changes across their classrooms, such as locating laminators and poster-makers for interdisciplinary sentence stems or meeting with the administration to discuss schedule alterations. 112

PAGE 131

Individual coaching. The learning labs, focal sessions, and collaborative planning sessions were accomplished by the community of practice collaboratively. In addition to these whole group activities, each teacher received individualized coaching from the literacy coach twice a month. As the literacy coach explained, her role was to "help them take the ideas from the labs, the readings, and the discussions, and incorporate these individually in their classrooms." Initially, the focus of these coaching sessions was developed by the teacher being observed, but once the learning labs had begun, the literacy coach intended to guide that focus toward the community of practice's shared SlOP component in general and the individual teacher's ideas as reported on his/her exit ticket more specifically. As she explained during the fall semester: The purpose at the beginning of the year is really driven by the teachers: what do you want to focus on? What are you working on this year? What do you want help with? What do you want me to watch for? With always in my mind SlOP is the framework. The teachers, having chosen interaction, strategies, and building background as the three components of SlOP they want to focus on, I'm using that as a framework to focus our observations. So starting after the first lab, I've been taking in the SlOP observation rubric to our debrief and we, together, have been looking at the interaction section of the rubric as a basis to our conversation in addition to what they have been asking me to focus on. 113

PAGE 132

In order to determine each teacher's instructional growth on the SlOP areas of interest and use this information to guide conversations with these teachers, the literacy coach adapted the SlOP rubric displayed in chapter II to focus specifically on interaction, building background, and strategies. This rubric, displayed in Chapter 3, was used throughout the year to determine instructional growth by the coach and researcher. In addition to working with this group often teachers regularly throughout the year, the literacy coach also dedicated two to three coaching sessions to each of the five learning lab hosts in order to help them prepare for their host sessions. She felt this form of coaching was of particular importance because the teachers were "so motivated." According to the literacy coach, the upcoming observation by ten of their peers tended to encourage the host teachers to invest more time in planning for the lesson which, in turn, caused them to work more closely with the literacy coach to incorporate instructional improvements into their teaching. For this reason, she claimed that: Most host teachers walk[ ed] away saying that was the best part of the lab tor me, having that time to eo-plan because most teachers don't have that time to plan and every lab that comes out it's wow-planning, the more you plan the more you get out of your students. 114

PAGE 133

Alterations Over the course of the year, a number of changes were made to activities of the community of practice. Though some of these alterations were made to better achieve the twin goals of instructional improvement and student achievement, others were driven by outside factors. The three areas affected were: (a) the program of the professional development approach (including the number of meetings), (b) the protocol of the meetings themselves, and (c) the individual coaching. Programmatic alterations. One change implemented early in the school year was the elimination of focal sessions. Though the community of practice met in September, no research based journal articles were read nor was student work shared, two components often associated with focal sessions. Instead, over the course of the year the literacy coach brought research-based journal articles into the learning lab sessions, read these with the community of practice, and led brief discussions on the content and implications of these articles. For this reason, the community of practice determined that the focal sessions were not necessary and removed the second session from their calendar. As the literacy coach explained at the end of the fall semester, "the reflection that is intended to occur in these meetings is actually happening in the labs now." In the end, a change to the structure ofthe final community of practice meeting did allow time for this final reflection, as will be described in the following section. 115

PAGE 134

Though the literacy coach felt that the "reflection" inherent within the focal sessions was occurring during the labs in an effective manner, the sharing of student work, which was a clearly stated goal of these sessions, did not occur during community of practice work. According to the coach, this change was made in the interest of time and with the understanding that the coach would be reviewing student work with individual teachers during observation post conferences as necessary. As the literacy coach explained at the conclusion of the school year, student work was referred to at times in these individual conferences, but, in future communities of practice, she hoped to incorporate this into the full group meetings. There was time spent looking at student work in the post-observation conferences to varying degrees and amounts, but it happened a lot. Really, it wasn't that intentional to not have it in learning labs because I never have had it in learning labs, so I didn't think much about it. I think with the amount of time that we had, it probably would have been a good addition, and it is something I would try to include in the future. The literacy coach went on to explain that, as the main focus of the community of practice's work was interaction, they discussed oral language development as the main student outcome of much of their work, a concept that has a relatively small body of student data outside of directly observable student interactions during class. For this reason, she stated that post-observation conferences involved student work "to varying degrees and amounts." This 116

PAGE 135

statement displays the fact that no comprehensive system for student data analysis was incorporated into the professional development model, collaboratively or during individual coaching, and this fact was likely the impetus for her interest in changing this aspect of the model in future iterations. Another major change to the professional development program was the removal of the fourth learning lab and collaborative planning meetings. Originally scheduled for early April, the literacy coach explained that these meetings were cancelled "so that people wouldn't feel so stressed out about the amount of time they would have to miss from their classes, and I think it worked out well since we had two labs each semester." It is true that the most common complaint regarding community of practice meetings, referenced by two of the four target teachers on their final exit tickets, was "being away from [their] students so many times." However, the five meetings were planned so that community of practice participants would be able to observe a lesson focused on each of the three SlOP focuses chosen: interaction, strategies, and building background. As the participants clearly stated an interest in interaction, this was the focus of observation made during the first three learning labs. The fourth learning lab focused on SlOP strategies as will be described below. For this reason, strategies were addressed as a learning lab focus during the final meeting, and the group never addressed building background as a focus. 117

PAGE 136

Protocol alterations. As previously stated, Hardin High School utilized a clear protocol for the learning lab meetings. However, over the course of the year this protocol was significantly altered twice; once intentionally by the literacy coach and once by the participants themselves. The first alteration occurred during the debrief of the very first learning lab on October 20th. As the literacy coach was transitioning the community of practice from reflecting on their beliefs to a discussion of a professional reading, the group began to discuss the value of sentence stems in ELA instruction. After approximately five minutes of conversation, the literacy coach attempted to bring the group back together. Literacy coach: So let's move on ... Teacher: Wait, let's talk this out. One of the complaints about learning labs is that we never get a chance to finish a conversation before we have to move on. Could we just stay on this for now? I haven't said anything yet, but I'm thinking about it. Literacy coach: Sure, if you guys wanna talk about it, let's forget about the article and work with this for a while The community of practice continued this conversation for the next forty-five minutes and, from this unintended discussion, they developed a shared sentence stem chart which was adopted by all of the participants to be used in their classrooms; a creation which will be shown to have been a major contribution to the observable instructional changes of the target teachers. 118

PAGE 137

A second major alteration occurred in the planning of the final learning lab meeting on May 11. During this meeting, the literacy coach decided to alter the general schedule of engaging the participants in a learning lab followed by a collaborative planning session. Instead, the learning lab was scheduled for the afternoon and the morning was spent engaging the participants in a group reflection. The literacy coach began this meeting by reviewing the instructional focuses chosen by the community of practice during their first focal session. As she explained, "We did interaction and strategies. I find strategies to be the most difficult. We did not get to building background because we just didn't seem ready." Based on this assessment and the group's general agreement regarding the difficulty of SlOP strategies, the participants returned to and reread the Strategies chapter (Echevarria et al., 2004). From three of the major portions of this chapter, the literacy coach had prepared a learning walk incorporating three posters: "higher-order questioning, learning strategies, and scaffolding." Each poster was separated into three sections, and each section contained one of three questions: "What is it?, How do you do it?, and Why is it important?" After the participants had circulated and added information to respond tu the questions, they were asked to approach one ofthe posters and analyze the responses to it together. Figure 7 displays an example of the scaffolding poster. 119

PAGE 138

(I{ t.ti,l i r Figure 7: Scaffolding Poster After an in-depth discussion of these three aspects of SlOP strategies, the observations, implications for student teaming, and beliefs charts from the first three learning labs were displayed, and the participants were asked to review these in order to determine any themes they saw developing over time. The data from these charts are displayed in Appendix D. From this activity, two major themes were discovered: "students must feel comfortable to take more risks" and "students must speak in English as often as possible." After these themes were 120

PAGE 139

shared, the participants were given an opportunity to share their reflections on this professional development approach with one another. The literacy coach explained that the purpose of modifying the final meeting in this way was to inform her of the effectiveness of the process and to provide the participants with a sense of closure to the process so that they would have a clearer starting point for the following school year. At this time, it is unclear precisely what that starting point will be; however, it is clear that the coach has been provided with much data to utilize in determining future steps for this community of practice. Alterations to individual coaching. The alteration which the literacy coach found the most disappointing occurred during the individual coaching. During the school year, the coach observed each of the teachers participating in the community of practice ten to eleven times. These observations occurred every other week, with the exception of September, November, December, March, and May, when holidays and assessments interfered with-individual coaching. After each observation, the coach held a post-observation conference with each teacher for one 45-minute class period. This time also served as a pre-confen:m:c during which time the teacher would discuss their plans for the next observation. As the coach explained, "these would serve as our pre and post because we had the same schedule that we would continue with every other week. At the end we would talk about next time and what you want me to look for, and the next time I came in I would refer back to that." In addition to referring back to her notes from previous 121

PAGE 140

observations, (as previously explained in this chapter) the literacy coach's intention was to use the data recorded on the exit tickets to inform her one-on-one coaching sessions with the participants, thus reinforcing the work of the community of practice with each teacher individually. As she explained during the final interview on June 81h: The other deviation from what I really intended was my follow-through in coaching. I want to be more careful next year as I was hoping to have my coaching tied more directly to what they said they wanted to do as a result of the learning lab, and sometimes we got side-tracked on other things they wanted to do in their classrooms. I want to try to improve on following what they specifically said on their exit tickets. Interaction was something all the teachers wanted to work on so it came up very naturally in our coaching just about every time, and they would bring up things that happened in lab that had to do with things they'd seen around interaction or tried with interaction, but I think for SlOP strategies I would have had more improvement, more of a focus on some ofthose, ifl'd been more aware of it when we met I should have made that link more clearly. As the literacy coach explained, she intended to address teachers' comments on their exit tickets during individual coaching, but often became side tracked and focused instead on the immediate concerns of day-to-day classroom instruction. For this reason, the majority of these individual coaching sessions 122

PAGE 141

focused on the teachers' main area of concern, interaction, rather than moving on to SlOP strategies. This fact likely helped to inform her decision to spend time discussing SlOP strategies in greater detail during the final meeting of the community of practice. Summary The professional development model implemented at Hardin High School during the 2010-2011 school year represents one example of collaborative coaching. This professional development model was intended to include three focal sessions, five learning labs, and five collaborative planning meetings; however, two of the focal sessions, one of the learning labs, and one of the collaborative planning sessions were cancelled. The learning labs were the only portion of the model that incorporated a distinct protocol, used at each meeting. The community of practice intended to focus upon the SlOP categories of interaction, strategies, and building background; however, strategies was the focus of only one learning lab and building background was cancelled entirely. In addition, though the individualized coaching was intended to align directly with _the participants' foci as stated in the community of practice meetings and on the learning lab exit tickets, this was often not the case as the coaching conversations tended to get "side-tracked." 123

PAGE 142

124

PAGE 143

CHAPTER V RESULTS: INSTRUCTIONAL CHANGES The professional development model implemented at Hardin High School was intended to consist of three focal sessions, five learning labs, and five collaborative planning meetings. The actual implementation consisted of one focal session, four learning labs, and four collaborative planning meetings. Each of these meetings was observed and analyzed in order to determine what potential instructional changes were undertaken by the participants. Over the course of the year, the target teachers' classrooms were observed four times. These observations were spread across the course of the school year so that incremental growth could be observed and correlations between learning lab realizations and instructional change could be carefully analyzed. The timelines of these observations and learning labs are displayed below in Figure 8. As this community of practice engaged in learning labs during the mornings and Sept I Oct I Nov I Dec I Jan I Feb I March I April I May Labs I 1 I 121 I 3 I 14 I Pbservations I 1 I 121 13 I 141 Figure 8: Time lines of Learning Labs, Collaborative Planning, and Observations collaborative planning meetings during the afternoons, the dates for both activities are the same. 125

PAGE 144

The target teachers were observed by the primary researcher on October 6, 2010, December 7, 2010, March 18, 2011, and May 19,2011. The learning labs and collaborative planning meeting were held on October 20, 20 I 0, November 17, 2010, February 3, 2011, and May II, 2011. As Figure 8 displays, the first two learning labs were held in the time between the first and second observations, the third was held in the time between the second and third observations and the final learning lab was held in the time between the third and fourth observations. The purpose of this chapter is to respond to the second research question: To What Extent Do the Instructional Practices of the Target Teachers within this Community of Practice Change? In order to display the correlations between the instructional changes observed and the instructional realizations discussed during the community of practice meetings with greater lucidity, this chapter will examine the timeline of each target teacher separately. The dates of each observation and learning lab as well as the host and SlOP focus of each learning lab are displayed in Figure 9. In addition, all perceived changes in target teacher instruction were triangulated across three data sources as explained in Chapter 3: the fieldnotes from the community of practice observations, the learning lab exit tickets, the informal interviews with target teachers or the reflection papers composed by the target teachers. Of the four teachers targeted by this research, two participated in all four learning labs and were present for all four observations. One of the target teachers was only able to attend the second and third learning labs and was absent from the 126

PAGE 145

third observation. The fourth target teacher was present at all four learning labs, but was absent from the first three observations. Thus, the first three teachers' Observation 1 October 6, 2010 Samuel Harris Selma Halka Pilar Cruz Observation 2 December 7, 2010 Samuel Harris Selma Halka Pilar Cruz Observation 3 March 18, 2011 Selma Halka Pilar Cruz Observation 4 May 19,2011 Samuel Harris Selma Halka Pilar Cruz Jocelyn Collins Learning Lab 1 October 20, 2010 Host: Pilar Focus: Interaction Learning Lab 2 November 17,2010 Host: Selma Focus: Interaction Learning Lab 3 February 3, 2011 Host: Jocelyn Focus: Interaction Learning Lab 4 May11,2011 Host: Non Target Teacher Focus: SlOP Strategies Figure 9: Observations and Learning Labs Summarized 127

PAGE 146

instructional growth will be analyzed fully in response to the second research question above, though the data set of the third teacher is somewhat incomplete. As the fourth teacher was absent from three of the four observations, her data set is insufficient for analysis. Though her instructional growth will not be discussed in detail in this chapter, the literacy coach's numerical analysis ofher growth according to the SlOP will be included. Selma Halka Selma is an experienced teacher who had been with the Hardin High School Social Studies Department for sixteen of her eighteen years in the classroom at the beginning of this study. Selma's first language is Spanish, and she was the geography teacher for the cohort of 91 h graders shared by the target teachers in this study. Selma explained that her status as a Spanish speaker is both a benefit and a detriment to her teaching because it is natural for her to use Spanish when speaking with her students. "We fall into our tendencies based on conversation partners, using the language that both partners understand the best." This problem is, at times, compounded by the fact that Selma is not entirely fluent in English and tends to make minor mechanical errors in her writing. These errors are often evident in the writing she shares with her students, including but not limited to the language and content objectives posted in her room: "Students do a gallary walk on how defferent families use oil." Selma is quite aware of this issue and spoke of it as one of her key concerns in hosting the second learning lab: "I was concerned about how well I was going to perform in front of group of peer 128

PAGE 147

teachers when English is not my first language." Selma has the most years of teaching experience amongst the community of practice participants and her seniority is a subject of humor for the group. As the teachers were introducing themselves to me at the first focal session, Selma quipped "I'm the boss." Analysis ofthe fieldnotes from Selma's observations revealed three distinct changes to her instructional practices: (a) language used to interact with students, (b) use of sentence stems, and (c) use of group work. Each of these alterations, along with their correlations to community of practice work, will be discussed here. Following this discussion, there will be a description of Selma's growth according to the 40-point SlOP rubric, as analyzed by the literacy coach and me. Language Used to Interact with Students I first observed Selma's classroom on October 6. The desks were aligned in a horseshoe formation, and the sixteen students present were guided through a lesson on writing strategies during which they reviewed two model paragraphs, beginning with a paragraph containing many mechanical errors. Selma corrected these errors for the students and then proceeded to display a more ext:mplary model paragraph on the same topic. Selma discussed key features of this paragraph, and the students were told to incorporate these features to the best of their abilities as they constructed their own paragraphs on the same topic. All student questions were answered in the language in which they were asked, 129

PAGE 148

generally Spanish. Selma also translated her instructions to Spanish three times during the lesson as students appeared confused. On October 20, Selma met with the community of practice to engage in the first learning lab and collaborative planning meeting. During this meeting, Selma repeatedly discussed the fact that the students were using English rarely and her concern that this would prove a hindrance to their growth. Throughout the day, Selma mentioned this concern four times and shared it during the pre-brief as the stated focus she would be using during the day's learning lab: "getting students to practice their English with each other, since they all speak Spanish they speak Spanish in their groups." During the debrief portion ofthe learning lab, Selma returned to this focus to share a realization. "We need to have a set system that we can use to establish that [English-only] culture in all of our classes. English only. For example, when we go to Vail they need to practice this." Referring to an upcoming field trip as an example, Selma expressed her belief that their classes needed to be "English-only," a comment that somewhat contradicted the practices displayed in her classroom on the first observation. During this first meeting, the community of practice determined that the students required a clear approach in all their classrooms to using English in common discussion, so they collaborated to create "a list of sentence starters that [the students] need based on what they use all the time and post these in all of [their] rooms." Along with her colleagues, Selma developed a list of sentence starters that included the following ten: (a) May I go to the: clinic, office, 130

PAGE 149

restroom, library, room# ___ ; (b) Please help me with ____ ; (c) I don't understand ; (d) Can you repeat that please?; (e) What is ___ for?; (f) How do you say in English?; (g) Where can I find ____ ?; (h) What does mean?; (i) When is due?; (j) How do you spell _____ ? The community of practice had previously discussed the importance of creating classroom environments during this first learning lab. As Selma explained, "We have to force the kids to speak English in this school's culture because they all prefer Spanish." Though this list does not necessarily consist of academic vocabulary, the members ofthe community of practice felt that they needed to overcome the students' usage of the most common Spanish phrases in order to create an English-only environment. During the second learning lab on November 1 7, Selma served as the host with the same cohort of students observed in early October. Prior to hosting this learning lab, Selma met twice with Alice to eo-plan her presentation lesson, during which time they focused on interaction. In the pre-brief ofthis learning lab, Selma emphasized her belief in the importance of an English-only classroom culture. When asked in which area she would like the community of practice to provide her with feedback, Selma said: "Incorporating more English into the class. As soon as they find out you speak Spanish, forget it. Especially when you have to keep up with content in other classes." In the lesson Selma presented, students were grouped in pairs and asked to present travel brochures to one another in English. These pairs shifted every five minutes, so that students could 131

PAGE 150

practice their language skills repeatedly over the course of the class. After the lesson, the community of practice provided feedback to the host on the students' use of English during the lesson. One participant "noticed 100% participation, even amongst students who [were] not generally engaged in ELD class." This participation translated to more speaking time, as another participant noticed: "I heard three groups speaking English more than once and one pair request, in English, that the other pair speak in English to them and the other pair did." Though the community recognized the increased participation, it was clear that this had still not become an English-only atmosphere. Another participant explained that she "saw one student use English after Selma encouraged her, but returned to Spanish in the next round." This practice of returning to Spanish when unsupervised was reiterated by two of the other participants. At the conclusion of each learning lab, the coach asks all the participants, including the host teacher, to complete an exit ticket with a series of seven questions: (a) Whttt are your next steps from this lab?, (b) What specifically will you implement in your classroom as a result of this experience?, (c) How will what you learned today impact student achievement?, (d) Did your beliefs about teaching and learning shift in any way?, (e) What was the best part of the lab experience for you?, (f) What was the worst part of the lab experience for you?, (g) Do you have any suggestions for how we could make the learning lab process better?, (h) Do you have any suggestions of next steps for the group based on our experiences today? After participating in the first lab, Selma explained that she 132

PAGE 151

intended "to use sentence starters" to increase English usage in her classroom. After hosting the second lab, Selma responded to the second question: What specifically will you implement in your classroom as a result of this experience? By stating that she "will use more sentence starters have a large vocabulary word bank so students can choose from there." In addition, when responding to the fourth question: Did your beliefs about teaching shift in any way? Selma explained: "Yes, I know my students will use more English." During the first two learning labs and collaborative planning meetings, Selma clearly maintained her focus on the importance of an English-only classroom and stated the ways in which her practices and beliefs had shifted due to her participation in this community of practice. On December 7, I observed Selma's instruction with the same group of geography students. During this lesson, Selma slowly led the class through a discussion of the countries of Eastern Europe using a map projected onto her Smartboard. A large, laminated poster including the ten sentence starters developed in the first learning lab was posted in the front of the classroom. The field notes from this observation highlight a clear shifL in her instructional practices around this focus. Though seven ofthe students spoke in Spanish during this lesson and a few addressed the teacher in Spanish, Selma only responded in English regardless of the language in which the question was asked. This decision to respond to student questions solely in English marked a clear shift in her instructional practices from the first observation. When asked what the impetus 133

PAGE 152

for this change was, Selma explained that the "labs help me remember to emphasize students speaking English. It seems obvious, but it's very easy to overlook." Based upon Selma's statements and my observations, it is clear that her increased use of English during instruction in the fall semester was connected to her participation in this community of practice and, specifically, her engagement in the first two learning labs. On February 3, Selma participated in the third learning lab with this community of practice. Though her stated focus during this lab was using technology to increase students' academic vocabularies, her continued interest in engaging students in English conversation at all times was evident in her observations of the host lesson. Two of the three observations that Selma shared during the debrief were "I saw many students struggling with speaking English" and "I heard the teacher repeating what students said slowly." Selma's discussion of the problem: "students struggling with speaking English" and the instructional strategy used as a solution: "the teacher repeating what students said slowly," highlighted her recognition of another approach to making content comprehensible to ELL students in English. The effect of this observation on Selma's instructional practices was displayed clearly on her exit ticket from this third lab. On the question: Did your beliefs about teaching and learning shift in any way? Selma responded by simply writing: "speak slower." Though it is unlikely that Selma had not encountered this approach in her years in the classroom, her reiteration of its importance on the exit ticket displayed the 134

PAGE 153

continued significance she placed on all-English interaction through the learning lab process. During learning lab three, it is also noteworthy that Selma introduced a new concept to the community of practice on the topic of all-English classroom interaction. As the participants were discussing the extreme struggles of specific students in language acquisition, Selma recommended the introduction of an "oral language development class." Selma expressed her belief that such a course should be required for students who are not exhibiting success in language development. Her introduction of a programmatic approach to addressing oral language development also displayed the value she placed on English-only interaction while exhibiting her willingness to innovate in order to increase this interaction. As observed on March 18, Selma's instructional practices regarding student interaction continued to become increasingly focused upon an English only classroom culture. During this lesson, Selma placed students in groups and asked them to participate in a gallery walk in which they would view images of families from across the world. As they viewed these images, students were asked to record certain cultural facts about these families. As students circulated during the gallery walk, many approached Selma to ask for assistance. When three Spanish speakers approached Selma from two separate groups and began asking for assistance in Spanish, she explained that she "[would] only understand English" for all to hear. One of these students silently returned to his group while 135

PAGE 154

the other two assisted each other to determine how to ask their question in English, finally deciding on "Miss, this is petroleum?" while pointing to an object in one of the posters. Selma's insistence upon English as the sole language of communication between her students and herself in this lesson emphasized the effect her work in this community of practice continued to have on her instruction. On May 11, during the fourth and final learning lab, the charts which had been used during the first three labs to record observations, implications for practice, and beliefs were placed on the back wall and the participants were asked to review these in order to determine any themes that were repeated throughout the learning lab process. One theme noted by all, including Selma, was the belief that "students must speak in English as often as possible." This theme was present in Selma's observations of the host lesson as well, prompting two of her three comments to focus specifically on student interaction in English: "I saw students explaining to others what to do in English" and "I also saw many students speaking in Spanish when they did not have to." This second observation represented the first time Selma was critical of stuut:nts speaking Spanish with the other participants of the community of practice. This is interesting to note as it implies a shift in Selma's expectations of how students are expected to interact in the classroom. As this fourth learning lab was conducted late in the school year, the exit ticket had been changed to reflect the impact the learning lab process was intended to have on instruction into the future. Thus, one of the questions was: 136

PAGE 155

What do you think is the most important work for this group to engage in next year? A question which Selma responded to by writing: "Work in how to help ELA kids in always speaking English." During the final week of classes, I observed Selma for the fourth time on May 19. When the students entered the room, Selma was standing at the door, formally inviting them into her classroom in English: "Good morning, Mr. _. Please enter." Though this was the fourth observation ofher first period class, this was the first time Selma began class in this manner. The class was a review for the final exam, during which time students completed a review sheet by reading through specific portions of their textbooks aloud, answering the questions together, and then recording them individually. Though the majority of the interaction was in English, Selma translated for students four times over the course of the lesson and asked for one student to translate to others another three times. Near the end of the lesson, one student read a paragraph from the text which appeared to be above his level as he repeatedly paused, repeated specific words, and required Selma's assistance. However, once he completed the paragraph the other students in the class began to clap and congratulate the reader in English, displaying the importance of English interaction as viewed by the students. When observed in October, Selma spoke Spanish when replying to all questions asked in Spanish. However, as the year progressed Selma shifted her instructional practices to the point where she was often ignoring questions that 137

PAGE 156

were asked in any language other than English. Her comment after the second lab that she "knew her students would speak more English" displayed her realization of the importance of this alteration. This realization was again emphasized by Selma for the future as she expressed her belief that the community of practice's most important work for the following school year was to determine "how to help ELA kids in always speaking English." At the end of the school year, Selma composed a reflection paper, addressing the effects which her work in this community of practice had on her instruction. Due to her involvement in this form of professional development, Selma explained: I kept encouraging my students to use more English, and work in groups. I have asked students more often to read to the class in English as well as translate from English to Spanish. I had observed that close to 80% of my students feel good about showing how much English they are learning and using in classes. In the last unit we did in class about Monsoon Asia, 60% my students were able to read and write in English the material and 90% of my students passed the test in English." Based on her own explanation, it is clear that Selma's belief in the importance of an English-only classroom developed over the course of the year, and she is now able to support this belief with the results of her own classroom assessments. 138

PAGE 157

Use of Sentence Stems A second alteration to Selma's classroom instruction was the increased use of sentence stems to provide scaffolding for her students' writing in English. The clearest example of this shift was the addition of the sentence stem chart between the first and second observations. Displayed at the front of the room, directly next to the Smartboard and objectives, this chart was explicitly referred to twice during the second observation. Though the chart itself was collaboratively created by the community of practice during the debrief portion of the first learning lab, its necessity was discussed by Selma throughout the meetings of the fall semester. During the prebrief of the first lab, Selma explained one of her instructional goals: "I want to use more sentence starters and modeling." After the completion of this first lab, Selma recorded this desire with greater specificity on her exit ticket: "I will incorporate more sentence stems with a vocabulary bank each day. Have at least three sentence stems each day and incrementally add more." Here, Selma not only committed herself to the use of the sentence starters developed by the community of practice, but explained her wish to add to this list by consistently providing scaffolding for her students to use English with increasing regularity in her classroom. Three of her responses on the exit ticket following the second learning lab also focused on the use of sentence starters in her classroom. As mentioned in the previous section, Selma recorded her intention to "use more sentence starters and 139

PAGE 158

have a large vocabulary word bank so students can choose from there," a fact which added to her shifting belief that "students will use more English" with this strategy in place. In addition, in response to the final question on the exit ticket: What, if anything, would you change about the lab to make it more beneficial to you? Selma explained that she would "encourage students to use sentence starters." Though this question was intended to have participants reflect upon the learning lab process itself, Selma's response referred to the way in which she would utilize the sentence stem chart more explicitly if given the opportunity to host the same lesson again. Again, Selma's response displayed her belief in the value of this chart for her instruction. When asked about the impetus for the sentence stems chart and her perception of its importance in her instruction, Selma explained that the "question stems help a little bit, but I still always have to point to them for the students to use them." Over the course of the second semester, Selma continued to display this sentence stem chart, referring to it twice in the third observation. Moreover, her third lesson involved a use of sentence stems beyond those on the chart. Prior to the gallery walk, students were given five copies of the following sentences, the first of which was completed collaboratively by the class as a model. The name of the country is __ It's in __ The family has_ members. The family has __ made of petroleum. The family lives very __ .The impact of the family on the world: 140

PAGE 159

These students were then asked to complete the remaining four sets during the gallery walk. In addition, Selma introduced an exit ticket during the learning lab lesson she hosted in November which included sentence stems. This approach was also used during the third observation in March, in which students ended the class by completing a brief exit ticket, working from sentence stems. At the conclusion of this lesson, Selma explained her use of this instructional strategy. "[Our literacy coach] tells me to use gap fills and stems, so I do, but feel like it may be too easy for some of my students." Though Selma clearly had misgivings about the value of this approach, her work with her coach within this community of practice convinced her to adopt this strategy. Though the lesson Selma presented was co-planned with Alice, the coach's work with Selma on the use of sentence stems occurred more regularly during individual coaching. As Alice explained: "We all spoke often about it because I'm pretty big on sentence stems so there were very few post-observation conferences where I didn't say, 'Oh, a sentence stem would have worked great right there,' so that was very important in our discussions." In her end of the year reflection, Selma explained her use of these sentence stems as an assessment tool. "Students completed the charts that were expected and by the end of the class they were able to explain in an exit ticket that they had understood and completed the task." Though Selma questioned the rigor inherent within the use of sentence stems, she clearly valued their incorporation to a certain extent and explicitly 141

PAGE 160

made use of the sentence stem chart developed by the community of practice. Based upon these observations as well as her specific statements, it is clear that Selma's use of sentence stems in her classroom was closely associated with her work within this community of practice. Use of Group Work A third alteration that was clearly noticeable in Selma's classroom was the steady increase in the use of collaborative groups. The first clear example of this was the change in the formation of the desks from the first to second observations. During the first observation, students were situated in a horseshoe pattern and the class consisted mainly of teacher-led instruction. During the second observation, though the teacher still led the majority of the instruction using a large map of Eastern Europe to direct the students through the region, the classroom was arranged in five stations with four desks at each. In the pre-brief of the first learning lab, Selma explained her concern that the students spoke Spanish within their groups far too often and, thus, were not provided with sufficient time to practice their English with one another. Though ELL students often achieve higher growth when given the opportunity to collaboratively process complex concepts in their native languages, when insufficient time is provided for practicing English, language objectives are rarely met (Echevarria et al., 2004; Guarino et al., 2001; Hill & Flynn, 2006; Proctor, Dalton, & Grisham, 2007). The problem of insufficient English discussion was reiterated by the English teacher, Jocelyn, who explained that this lack of English 142

PAGE 161

was true "even in an English class." For this reason, when the participants were sharing their recorded beliefs with one another prior to observing the lesson, Selma explained that "working on the grouping" was a key concern of hers. After the participants observed the lesson, they shared their observations with the group. Selma explained that she "saw [a student] working when he thought we weren't watching. It reinforced the positive ramifications of mixed ability groups." Selma felt that her observation reinforced the effects of mixed-ability grouping as described by Sheltered Instruction (Echevarria et al. 2004). In response to this statement, Jocelyn suggested: "Maybe we could talk about how we're grouping these kids" which received general agreement. Although the community of practice did not return to the manner in which they were grouping the specific students, the discussion clearly had an effect upon Selma. On her exit ticket, Selma responded to the question: What was the best part of the lab experience for you? by simply writing "grouping." During the pre-brief of the second learning lab, one of the participants discussed the importance of having specific goals for grouping students. For this teacher, the question was "How does the grouping support MY objective-not simply grouping for the sake of grouping." Many participants responded to this comment, sharing their perception that heterogeneous grouping was often overused in classrooms and completed without valid instructional intent. Selma admitted that she had often struggled with the value of using small groups during instruction, but incorporated it into the lesson she was hosting during the second 143

PAGE 162

learning lab because "Alice [the coach] said it was good." Despite this reticence, after the presentation, Selma explained that she was impressed by the balance she felt between the group work and the instruction and that the lesson she hosted reminded her of the organization she had seen in the first learning lab. She felt that this was a successful approach because "[Students] often clarify better to each other than we do." Selma's recognition of the value of intentional grouping was reinforced by her response on her exit ticket to the question: How will what you learned today impact student achievement in your classroom? Selma stated: "I will continue to use groups and I feel that students will try more." Selma's comments regarding her changing perspective on the value of group work after hosting a learning lab directly addressed the literacy coach's claim that coaching the host teacher is critically important. During Selma's two co-planning meetings with Alice, the focus on student interaction led them to very specific discussions of intentional grouping. These discussion prompted Selma to incorporate strategies that she admittedly questioned prior to her work in this community of practice. When discussing the impetus behind rearranging her classroom to create stations, Selma explained, "I did start using more group work because Alice said it was good and I saw Pilar and myself doing good work with them [the groups]." Selma's statement implies that the coach was the initial impetus for experimenting with grouping in her classroom, particularly for the learning lab Selma hosted. This statement was confirmed by the literacy coach, who explained 144

PAGE 163

that group work was a major focus of her individual work with each of the four target teachers: Almost all of them were working on getting better and more effective groups, so that was just a natural thing that came up over and over again in labs and coaching as well. That was really on their minds, so it wasn't something that I had to remind them of. It was very genuine. However, though Selma was hesitant to introduce group work to her classroom initially, her observations of Pilar's work with groups in the first learning lab convinced her of its value. In her reflection paper, Selma explained her reaction to Pilar's use of group work in the learning lab Pilar hosted: Pilar had groups of students already set up to make sure that they had different abilities. Students started to work in groups as Pilar had instructed them. They were then able to use the posters as well as the fill in-the-blank graphic organizer that Pilar had prepared in the wall. We walked around and noticed that students were teaching each other and asking questions about what they did not understand. Not every single student started well but within minutes of the start of the activity they got involved. Students rotated from station to station and explained the information to the group and showed that they understood the content. Students completed the charts that were expected and by the end of the class they were able to explain in an exit ticket that they had understood and complete the task. For me, the learning lab in Pilar's class helped me 145

PAGE 164

to take more risk in allowing students to work in groups. As I planned for my classes for the following weeks I kept in mind the learning lab that Pilar had hosted. I had several gallery walks ; I used her strategies to group students to work on assignments in my classes. Students got more used to working in the assigned groups. In addition, Selma utilized group work in the lesson she hosted during the second learning lab. She felt this experience was so effective that she changed the formation of her classroom to better facilitate group work throughout the year. As she explains in her reflection paper: Teachers were very impressed with my class. [The teachers] learned to push students to work in groups and hold each other accountable I felt very good about the work that I had put into the learning lab. The lab built on my confidence and I used the same activity in my other two geography classes. I kept encouraging my students to use more English, and work in groups Selma s experience highlights the collaborative nature of her instructional growth during her participation in this professional development. Selma was initially pushed to incorporate group work by her literacy coach, Alice. She was somewhat skeptical, but once she observed the success one of her colleagues, Pilar, had with intentional grouping during the first learning lab, she began to believe in the value of this approach. When she herself hosted a learning lab and experienced success with grouping, the experience "built on [her] confidence" 146

PAGE 165

and eventually convinced her to alter the formation of her classroom. The individual coaching, the observation of her colleague, and her own presentation were all necessary steps to guide Selma in transforming her instructional practices during the fall semester, a transformation which continued into the spring. During the debrief of the third learning lab in February, Selma explained her belief that the host teacher's "grouping of mixed ability made students more successful." On her exit ticket at the end of this learning lab, Selma referred to this realization twice. In response to: How will what you learned today impact student achievement? Selma explained that "I am and will continue to use mix groups." Then, in response to: What was the best part of the lab experience for you? Selma wrote "I learned to plan differently for each group." This response was likely due to the fact that Jocelyn (who hosted the third learning lab) presented a lesson in which students worked in heterogeneous groups to develop a series of questions. These questions were then spoken into a microphone and played for the class who was asked to respond to the questions in writing. Prior to this lesson, Jocelyn had worked with Alice to develop roles for each student, making sure that the weaker students were assigned the task of pronouncing the information, so that their groups would be able to help them practice their pronunciation. As one of the teachers mentioned in the debrief, "students in groups helped each other do better with pronunciation." Though Selma had already begun to incorporate heterogeneous grouping into her lessons, her experiences in the third lab emphasized the fact that she needed to "plan 147

PAGE 166

differently" for the different groups she created. However, in order to achieve this she would need to accommodate unanticipated changes in her classroom demographics. At the end of the fall semester, five students from the cohort taught by the target teachers transferred out of district and nine new students arrived. Of the nine new students, eight spoke Vietnamese as their first language and one spoke Spanish. These alterations transformed the cohort from an entirely Spanish speaking (ELA-S) classroom with one Vietnamese speaker to a pejoratively Spanish-speaking classroom with nine Vietnamese speakers. Many of the new Vietnamese students spoke very little English, so Selma chose to group them with other Vietnamese students in order to provide translation opportunities. For this reason, Selma removed the stations from her classroom and grouped students on two separate sides of the classroom with the Vietnamese students on one side and the Spanish speakers on the other. Though this new classroom organization was less conducive to group formations, Selma continued to develop lessons which utilized a great deal of group work. During the third observation of Selma's classroom in March, the students spent the majority of the lesson engaging in a gallery walk in heterogeneous groups. With one exception, these groups included both Vietnamese and Spanish speakers. In addition, this lesson was the first time I observed Selma's class doing the majority of their learning in groups rather than through whole-class instruction. 148

PAGE 167

As Selma explained during the first learning lab, working on grouping was a key concern of her instruction. During the fourth learning lab, Selma was provided with an opportunity to explain her increased use of group work. I have learned to not control so much but allow students to work in groups effectively. I have learned to be open to see what works in different situations. I found out that students can work in groups to address one another's deficiencies. They are really, really good at helping each other and it is much faster having them help each other to fix their problems. Also, they learn a lot more when they explain it to other students. I also plan to use the students who understand the most to practice with the lowest kids until they feel like the lowest ones are ready. Then they say, is ready, miss," and I can come and quiz them myself. ---Many teachers view the classroom as a rigidly structured environment and see the alternative as a form of chaos (Smith, 1998). From this perspective, strategies of collaborative teaching often appear irresponsible. Selma's direct address of the fact that she "learned not to control so much" displays the new insight which her work within this community of practice provided n.:garding group work. In a later conversation during this fourth learning lab, Selma went further in her explanation of the value of group work and student-centered activities. While discussing interdisciplinary education with two other teachers, Selma suggested groups engage in much larger shared assignments in the future: 149

PAGE 168

Selma: We could find ways to get them credit for the work they're doing in one class for both. Pilar: But getting credit isn't the same as co-teaching. Selma: You're right; they need to do the work in both classes. Jocelyn: We could have students create a portfolio. Pilar: Like project-based learning? Selma: We could give assignments that are completed for all classes with different portions that are focused upon specifically in certain classes. This conversation depicts a much different stance from that which Selma held at the beginning ofthe school year. Initially, she doubted the value of student centered approaches and was only willing to use strategies such as collaborative grouping because "Alice said it was good." This belief was visible in her classroom which was organized into clear rows and her instruction that was based almost entirely upon a lecture format. The implementation of student stations within the classroom by observation two displayed an early step in the transformation of her beliefs. However, the fact that Selma was proposing interdisciplinary, project-based learning assignments in May displays how dramatically her belief in a teacher-led classroom shifted to a belief in the value of instruction utilizing student-led activities. Project-based learning is considered an extremely student-centered, active learning experience that requires a great deal of collaboration amongst both students and teachers (Boss, Krauss, & Conery, 2008). Selma's recommendation of incorporating a collaborative strategy that 150

PAGE 169

requires such a personal time commitment was indicative of her new belief in the value of student-centered instruction. In her reflection paper, Selma summarized the effects which the community of practice had on her understanding of the value of group work. "Since I participated in the learning labs I have looked for more ways to incorporate grouping in learning, SlOP strategies, and search new ways to have fun with my students." It is important not to overlook the significance of Selma's new perspective on the relevance of student-centered instructional practices. Though she specifically focused her responses on grouping, her initiation of a conversation on interdisciplinary, project-based learning, her decision not to "control so much," and search for "new ways to have fun" all imply a philosophical shift that extends beyond group work alone. Though Alice claimed that she "didn't know if[she] was having that much of an effect on [Selma] as a coach," she clearly recognized a transformation occurring in all of her work. "I feel like she was really rejuvenated about the learning labs and trying new things and she told me she reflected more this year as a teacher than she ever had before." Alice explained that this was a sharp contrast to Selma during previous years who "was definitely one who always pulled out her lesson plans from the year before, so yes-it was new." Based on these statements, observations of her classroom, and her actions during the community of practice meetings, it is clear that Selma's alteration of her classroom formation, the increased incorporation of group work in her 151

PAGE 170

lessons, and her new perspective on student-centered instruction were direct consequences of her work in the community of practice. As Selma explained in the final section of her reflection paper: I feel that one of the most important things I have done as a teacher in the last ten years is to participate and host learning labs. I have learned to be open and to learn new strategies and activities with my classes. Since I participated in the learning labs I have looked for more ways to incorporate grouping in learning, SlOP strategies, and search new ways to have fun with my students. I feel that at any given day any administrator or teacher from any school as well as my own school can visit my room and I will perform well. I look to participate in one or two learning labs a year in my future years as a teacher. SlOP Growth After my initial observation of Selma's instruction on October 6, she scored a fourteen average out of forty possible points on the three-part SlOP rubric used by the coach and me for observational analysis. Two months later, after participating in the first two learning labs and l:ollaborative planning meetings with her community of practice, Selma scored a twenty-four out of forty on the same rubric. By the end of the spring semester, after completing the learning lab process with her community of practice and working with her literacy coach throughout the school year, Selma scored a twenty-eight point five average out of forty. The scoring results are displayed in Table 6. 152

PAGE 171

Table 6: Selma's SlOP Scores SlOP 9.29.10 10.6.10 12.7.10 3.18.11 5.17.11 5.19.11 Focus Homer Hessee Hessee Hessee Homer Hessee Concepts explicitly linked 1 1 2 2 3 3 to students' background experiences Links explicitly made 2 2 2 2 3 3 between past learning and new concepts Key vocabulary 2 0 2 2 2 2 emphasized Building Background 5 3 6 6 8 8 Total/ 12 Provides ample 2 1 2 3 3 2 opportunities for students to use strategies Consistent use of 1 2 3 4 3 3 scaffolding techniques throughout lesson Teacher uses a variety of 2 1 2 3 2 3 question types, including those that promote higher-order thinking skills Strategies Total/ 12 5 4 7 10 8 8 Frequent opportunities 1 1 2 4 4 3 for interaction and discussion between teacher/ student and among students Grouping configurations 1 1 3 2 3 2 support language and content objectives Consistently provides 1 1 3 2 2 3 sufficient wait time for student respon se Ample opportunities for 3 2 3 3 4 4 students to clarify key concepts in Ll Interaction Total/ 16 6 5 11 11 13 12 Total/40 16 12 24 27 29 28 Horner/Hessee 14 24 27 28 5 Average Though Selma's average scores improved in all ofthe ten separate areas, when viewing these scores by category, it becomes clear that the greatest 153

PAGE 172

improvement was evident in the area of interaction where Selma's total score increased by more than one hundred percent. The observations discussed previously displayed three distinct changes to Selma's instruction with regards to: (a) language used to interact with students, (b) use of sentence stems, and (c) use of group work and connected each to Selma's participation in the community of practice. It is noteworthy that all of these alterations were made with the goal of increasing student interactions in English, according to Selma herself. Selma's increased use of instruction in English and her incorporation of sentence stems were intended to increase student use of English when addressing the teacher and the more student-centered instructional approach was intended to increase student use of English amongst one another. As the SlOP category interaction refers to developing opportunities for students to communicate with the teacher and with one another in English, it should be of no surprise to see that Selma's gains in this area outpaced all others during 2010-2011 school year. As Selma's aforementioned instructional alterations are closely tied to her work within the community of practice and these alterations appear to be connected to improvements in her instruction based upon the SlOP, it is reasonable to conclude that her work in this community of practice is associated with an increase in her SlOP score. Moreover, as students of teachers who score highly on the SlOP have been shown to outperform students in control classes on writing exams, one now wonders if formative and summative assessments of Selma's students will show a similar level of achievement (Guarino et al., 2001 ). 154

PAGE 173

Pilar Cruz Pilar Cruz is an experienced educator who served as the earth science teacher for this cohort of students. As a native of Puerto Rico, Spanish is Pilar's first language and she is fluent in both English and Spanish. Pilar is one of the more vocal members of this community of practice and is quite eager to participate in the group's activities. During the first meeting, she readily volunteered herself as the host of the first learning lab. From the observations of Pilar, three distinct changes to her instructional practices were noticeable: (a) expectations oflanguage use, (b) use of sentence stems, and (c) use of group work. Each of these alterations, along with their triangulation with community of practice work, will be discussed here. Following this discussion, a description of Pilar's growth according to the 40-point SlOP rubric will be provided. Expectations of Language Use On October 6, I observed Pilar teaching an earth science lesson to the students on the nature of volcanoes. Though her room was a laboratory classroom with tables and natural gas outlt:ts in the back, earth science is not a lab class, so these students sat in a horseshoe near the front of the room. Her walls were decorated with class information, science standards and parts of speech in English. In addition, there were multiple inspirational quotes in both English and Spanish. During this lesson, students were asked to move into groups, read aloud from their textbooks, and respond to questions on specific features of volcanoes. 155

PAGE 174

As Pilar circulated throughout the groups, she assisted the students with their reading, helped translate complex vocabulary, and responded to questions. Though the majority of the students' questions were asked in Spanish, Pilar consistently responded in English, displaying her intention to interact with her students solely in English. This English-only interaction grew as it became a focus ofher community of practice work during the learning labs. Though the language which the students used to address their instructor was not a focus for Pilar during the first learning lab, when she participated in the second learning lab, it became much more prominent. This lab was hosted by Selma and involved students working in pairs to sell vacations to one another in English using brochures. Each pair was given approximately five minutes to explain each deal, then the class shifted and the students would present to a new partner. After observing this class, Pilar made two observations regarding the students' use of English: "I saw one student use English after Selma encouraged her, but returned to Spanish in next round" and "One student tried English the first time, then went back to Spanish. So did two other strong students." Her observations ofthe students' use of Spanish, particularly in the cases ofthe two "strong students," highlighted her concern with the students' decisions and their impact upon learning. In the next round of the debrief, when discussing the impacts her observations might have upon student achievement, Pilar explained that it was "hard to find something that really stuck with [her]," but she wanted to focus on the fact that "language acquisition does not occur unless received from a 156

PAGE 175

variety of sources, so we always have to be providing opportunities for English, especially for speaking." Pilar's increased interest in providing opportunities for English acquisition through speaking was emphasized again in her exit ticket from this learning lab. In response to the question: Did your beliefs about teaching shift in any way? Pilar wrote: "Need to figure out ways for students to do more oral language development." Based on this explanation of her changing beliefs, her experiences in this learning lab led to an increased interest in developing her students' oral use ofEnglish. On December 7, when I observed Pilar teaching this group again, she was leading an interactive lesson on earthquakes and fault lines. Students were again working in groups, reading portions from the text aloud, working with blocks to display specific fault lines to one another, and recording their discoveries in writing. As they worked on this activity, Pilar circulated and provided assistance and answered questions. However, when students asked questions in Spanish, Pilar would pretend not to understand them. Often she would ignore the question entirely and three times she clearly stated, "I'm sorry, I don't understand Spanish." After making this statement, she would continue to stand at the desk of the group who asked the question and the students, in every case, eventually repeated their inquiries in English. At the end of the fall semester, I asked Pilar if she was aware of any changes in the ways she used English to interact with her students and how her 157

PAGE 176

work in the community of practice may have impacted such changes. As Pilar explained: I usually try to NEVER talk to the ELA-2 students in Spanish and make a big effort to "not understand" anything they say in Spanish. The labs informed my decision because according to my expectations, they need to be speaking English more often. What I learned in the labs was that when students are processing the content, it is ok for them to speak in their native language. It has allowed me to accept them speaking in Spanish for a portion of the time they are learning. Though her explanation would imply that she made "a big effort" to respond only to comments made in English, it was clear from the first observation that this was not necessarily true in the beginning of the semester. As Pilar explained, one of the reasons for this apparent contradiction was the fact that she increased her expectations for student interaction over the course of the year. In this response, Pilar also addressed an instructional shift in the way she allowed stt1dents to process information in the first language, which will be discussed in detail later in this chapter. During the third and fourth observations, Pilar continued this practice of refusing to respond to any comments in Spanish. In the third observation, one student asked a question in Spanish and received no response, so he switched to English. Another student began to ask a question in Spanish, stopped herself, laughed, and asked: "Miss, can we use our notes?" During the fourth observation, 158

PAGE 177

none of the students were heard speaking Spanish to Pilar. These students would often interact with their groups in their first language, discussing the course content and activities in the clearest way possible, but when Pilar would approach them they would make all of their comments to her in English, regardless of content. Thus, one student asked if he was folding his paper correctly to prepare for the class activity on creating ellipses by saying, "Like this, miss?" Another requested to go to the drinking fountain by asking, "Can I get water?" The importance of this common use of English was emphasized by Pilar during the third and fourth learning labs and in her reflection paper. Though student use of English in this manner was not Pilar's instructional focus in the third or fourth learning lab, it was an issue which she consistently brought to the community's attention. In the third learning lab, Pilar discussed the community's observations of the host lesson by highlighting two implications for student learning. She explained her belief that "increased opportunities to speak increased confidence for [the students) as speakers of English. Students can speak better than they can write and this must be addressed." In addition, Pilar shared that "speaking happens first, then they grow as writers." Pilar's is not the only voice in education that supports the idea that oral acquisition of language occurs first (Wolf, 2007). Her stated emphasis of this fact explains her insistence on her students' use of English to express their thoughts to her, regardless of whether or not they pertain to the content of the course. In the fourth learning lab, Pilar committed to an instructional change that regarding the manner in which she 159

PAGE 178

interacted with her students during the first observation. "Next year, my students will read, write, speak, and listen in English from day one instead of beginning to demand English more over the course of the year." This statement continued her earlier explanation that she increased her expectations of English interaction as the school year continued. Pilar addressed the impetus for this commitment to change directly in her reflection paper at the end of the school year: "After hearing ELA-S students in Jocelyn Collins' class [learning lab three] I realized I need to get ELA-S level I 's speaking in English from Day 1." Thus, this alteration is a direct effect of Pilar's experiences with the community of practice. Pilar's perception of the importance of oral English was also supported by the first learning lab which she hosted. "After observing my students, I was so proud of them. I felt they exceeded my expectations by taking risks creating a poster, writing in English, and presenting orally in English and working with each other while being observed by so many teachers." Over the course of the school year, Pilar began to expect her students to address her in English more regularly. By the second observation in November, she was ignoring all comments in Spanish and by the final observation in May, her students had ceased attempting to address her in any language other than English. Though Pilar explained that this approach to increasing her expectations is not highly unusual, she also shared her revelation that these expectations need to be altered for future years and that her students need to be expected to speak 160

PAGE 179

English consistently "from day one," a realization which she connect directly to her work in the third learning lab. Use of Sentence Stems A second alteration to Pilar's classroom instruction was the increased use of sentence stems to provide scaffolding for her students writing in English. Much like Selma's classroom, the clearest example of this shift was the addition of the sentence stem chart between the first and second observations. As explained in the previous section, the second observation also displayed a shift away from students successfully addressing Pilar in Spanish, regardless of whether or not their questions pertained to the content of the course. As the sentence stem chart specifically addressed non-content specific student comments, it is necessary to analyze Pilar's comments regarding the incorporation of this chart to determine its impact upon this change. After the community of practice entered into an extended conversation in order to determine what the sentence stem chart would include in the first lab, Pilar referenced it specifically on her exit ticket. In response to the question: Do you have any suggestions of next steps for the group based on our experiences today? Pilar wrote: "Get posters!" In addition, Pilar addressed the value of making alterations to the learning lab protocol during community of practice work. In response to the question: Do you have any suggestions for how we might make the learning lab process better? Pilar wrote: "Flexibility to work on things like we did today-sentence starters (discuss ways to improve things right now)." 161

PAGE 180

Here Pilar simultaneously emphasized the perceived importance of the sentence stem chart for her instruction, as well as the immediate value of engaging in the type of practical conversations that produce such documents as the stem chart. Pilar's interest in the use of sentence stems was apparent on the second learning lab's exit ticket as well. In response to the questions: What are your next steps from this lab? What specifically will you implement in your classroom as a result of this experience? Pilar wrote that she intended to "use sentence stems/starters in ELA-S immediately. Using background vocabulary for fill in blank." During the second observation of Pilar's instruction, she pointed toward the chart when a student was beginning to ask a question in Spanish, but the student did not continue. Though it was unclear whether the student opted not to translate her request or Pilar possibly misunderstood the student's intention, Pilar and her students were clearly aware of the chart's presence in the classroom. At the end of the first semester, when asked if this chart increased her use of sentence starters and how the community of practice work had informed this decision, Pilar explained: I have used the question chart on the wall to remind students to ask me questions and make statements using complete sentences in English. I have continued to use sentence starters. How the labs have informed my decision is that I am using sentence starters earlier in the school year in order to accelerate students' writing in English. 162

PAGE 181

Unfortunately, as student work was not discussed by the community of practice and Pilar's students' writing was not discussed during individual coaching sessions, the level to which she was able to accelerate her students' writing based on classroom data is unknown. However, much like Pilar's decision to increase her expectations of students' use of English from day one, her work with this community of practice led her to believe that she should expect her students to use sentence starters earlier in the school year. Based on these community of practice experiences, she explained her belief that this alteration would serve to increase her students' writing abilities. The importance of sentence starters in Pilar's classroom continued throughout the second semester. Pilar referred to the chart itself twice, both times in the third observation, and sentences starters were used in her instruction as well. In the second, third, and fourth observations, Pilar used sentence stems to guide students in recording content during activities. For example, in lesson two Pilar asked students to determine which fault line was associated with which force through reading and collaborative activity. They then filled in the absent parts of the sentence: When the force is __ the type of fault is called a __ fault. In the third lesson, she provided sentence stems to prepare students for a group activity in which they shared clues to a content-specific term with one another in English and then hazarded guesses as to what the word was likely to be, supporting their determinations with the clues shared. The following sentence stem was displayed for student use: Based on __ the word is __ In the 163

PAGE 182

fourth learning lab in May, Pilar discussed the value of sentence starters and the stem chart to her instruction. As she explained the ways in which her work within the community of practice had changed her teaching, she shared: "I also started using the poster of sentence starters, and now I use it every day (Miss, can I go to the bathroom.)" In addition, she explained: "I learned that my level ones are ready to use sentence starters in English all the time." Finally, her reflection paper clearly addressed these alterations, their causes, and their sustainability in her instruction: This experience impacted my work in various ways. After using sentence starters in the Gallery Walk in the learning lab lesson, I began to use sentence starters routinely to get ALL students to participate in writing in English. After watching Selma Halka's ELA-S students use sentence starters in English, I realized that I needed to begin using them from Day 1 next year with ELA-S students. My new learning will affect my future practice in a number of ways. I will try to use sentence starters in English including ELA-S (Level 1) students from Day 1 to read, speak, write, and listen in English. As Pilar stated, both hosting a learning lab where she introduced a new approach and observing this approach implemented in a learning lab hosted by another teacher caused her to realize the importance of sentence starters for her students from "day one." 164

PAGE 183

Use of Group Work Much like Selma's experiences in the community of practice, Pilar's most complex instructional alteration throughout this process regarded the way in which she implemented student-centered activities. Unlike Selma, however, Pilar was not reticent about the use of collaborative, heterogeneous grouping in her classroom. In fact, during the debrief of the learning lab which Pilar hosted, Selma stated that her observations "reinforced the positive ramifications of mixed ability groups." Thus, Pilar's use of student-centered activities led, in part, to Selma's decision to adopt this approach and eventually call for even larger student-centered work such as project-based learning. During Pilar's first observation, she presented two mini-lessons to the class and provided the rest of the time for them to complete activities in groups. The first mini-lesson explained specific information about volcanoes and the second described a writing organization called TAG, which stands for: "Transform question into a sentence, Answer question, and Give details." The students were asked to respond in writing to the lesson's questions using the TAG approach. As Pilar circulated, she ensured that each student was completing this in the correct order and provided the students with specific ways to state their thoughts. Students were asked to share their responses and who made errors in were corrected immediately. During the second observation, Pilar again provided the majority of the class period for students to complete an activity on earthquakes and fault lines in 165

PAGE 184

groups. However, when she brought the groups together to share their responses near the end of the first portion of this class, a new approach was evident. After previewing the chapter on faults and reading one portion of it aloud in groups, Pilar asked the students what they thought the term fault meant? Two different students volunteered their responses, both of which were slightly inaccurate, and Pilar repeated these. She then asked a volunteer to read a second section aloud to the class. "Based on this reading, what is a fault?" One student volunteered, then hesitated and Pilar asked the class to discuss this question with their groups. The same volunteer then defined this term accurately, and Pilar clarified this definition, displayed it on the Smart Board, and translated it to Spanish. "Fault the surface (translated) along which ground breaks and moves." The use of eliciting responses through increased wait time rather than correcting students immediately was a clear instructional change from observation one to observations two. Throughout the first two learning labs, Pilar made many comments regarding approaches to group work and changes she wished to make. When asked to comment on implications for student learning during the debrief of the first lab, Pilar explained that "differentiation of task allowed Ss to feel success and build motivation. For example, __ did this work on her own and had never been comfortable doing it before. We tried last week and she didn't do it." Pilar continued to comment on the implementation of group work in the second lab. Again, while discussing implications for student learning, Pilar explained her "aha 166

PAGE 185

at group types." Here Pilar referred to a text shared by the community of practice prior to the lab and said that she seemed to use the same groups regularly, giving the lesson from the first learning lab as an example. She then wondered aloud if there should be more variety in her groups. Finally, she explained her concerns regarding the number of students she placed in each group and its impact on interaction. "When I did my lab, I had one kid speaking, three listening. I think [the learning lab two] set up of two kids listening, two kids speaking and switch is a more effective pairing for using English. It increases assistance and accountability." This concept of greater intentional grouping was repeated in her exit ticket from the second learning lab, where she explained the alterations she wished to make in her group's composition. "Homogeneous: same level groups for heterogeneous. Boy/girl balance. Levels of 2 (homogeneous/heterogeneous)." These comments primarily addressed changes to group composition which would not be evident until the third observation. For this reason, in our mid-year interview I asked Pila1if she had been intentionally increasing wait time and group autonomy over the course of the year and, if so, what had caused her to make this change. She explained: The learning lab is an opportunity to try new things. Since we are usually trying out new things with our students, we are not sure how long they are going to take. I wanted the students to have an opportunity to be successful. The learning labs have provided me a safe place to try new things with the feedback of my colleagues. 167

PAGE 186

Though Pilar addressed this question partially here, her response cannot show that this alteration was due to her work in the community of practice with certainty. However, in the reflection paper which Pilar wrote at the end of the school year, she spoke of the impetus for this change: Another thing that I learned from a reading Alice Horner brought to the Learning Lab was that it is OK for students to process content in their native language and then to transfer this into English. In the past, I would perhaps not allow any processing in Spanish and therefore no results were produced. Pilar also spoke of the effect hosting a learning lab had on this instructional change during the fourth learning lab: I noticed that the students in the class I hosted were processing the knowledge in Spanish, then sharing it in English. I thought that they couldn't speak in Spanish at all, so I wanted to make them speak only English, but after talking with A1ice and reading some research article she shared with me, I realized that it's okay for them to process in Spanish and that it is actually a strung way to get them to English conversation. This explanation was confirmed by Alice who explained: Pilar definitely was like, "they gotta use English; they gotta use English." She always had a lot of success teaching students to acquire English, but this was sometimes sacrificing the opportunity for them to discuss things 168

PAGE 187

at a higher level in Ll or using that [their native languages] as a tool for mastering content, so we discussed that quite a bit. The concept of students utilizing their native languages to process content is an important approach used within Sheltered Instruction to ensure that students meet the content objectives of the course. Processing content should not be confused with translating, where a few students explain information from instruction or reading to less proficient peers, thereby limiting their opportunities to achieve language objectives. Pilar recognized the reading Alice provided at the beginning of the second learning lab as the source of her realization that students could "process content in their native language." In addition, she explained that this was a clear shift from previous years during which she would not allow such processing, severely affecting results. This is noteworthy as it represents the first time a target teacher's instructional alteration can be directly connected to their work within the community of practice outside of the learning labs themselves. Here it is evident that the time spent reviewing professional texts and research before the pre-brief is also a valuable source of instructional change. By the time of the third observation, Pilar's classroom had witnessed the same demographic shift as apparent in Selma's. The class had lost four Spanish speakers and gained eight Vietnamese students. During this lesson, students were placed in heterogeneous groups of four. Each group received four members, lettered A through D, to share four different clues and the entire group had to determine the subject of these four clues. As Pilar explained, these letters 169

PAGE 188

corresponded to the levels ofthe students; As and Bs had the simplest clues while Cs and Ds were assigned clues which required a greater depth of understanding. Many As and Bs had clues such as "It begins with the letter ."The students were told not to read each others' hints but to listen to one another to solve the problems. Though the groups were not evenly balanced in terms of gender, each group contained at least one Vietnamese and one Spanish speaker. This formation of differentiated assignments for two specific levels within heterogeneous groups of four marked a clear shift in Pilar's classroom practices and can be connected back to the statements Pilar made in earlier labs, particularly her decision on the exit ticket following learning lab two: "Homogeneous: same level groups for heterogeneous. Boy/girl balance. Levels of2 (homogeneous/heterogeneous)." This group formation can also be connected to Pilar's comments in learning lab three. During the debrief of this lab, Pilar addressed her interest in planning specific tasks for specific members of groups in her observation, "I saw Jocelyn had groups pre-formed heterogeneously" as well as her explanation of how this observation impacted student learning, "increased opportunities to speak increased confidence for them as speakers of English.'' Cleariy, Pilar's experiences during the first three learning labs connected closely to her decision to pre-arrange the groups and their individual assignments in her class. During the fourth learning lab, Pilar continued to discuss the importance of increasing differentiation, "Not just teach to various strategies (auditory, kinesthetic, etc.) but teaching students to know what learning approaches they 170

PAGE 189

prefer. I would love to get them to that point." In this final learning lab, Pilar addressed a new concept for the group, providing students with the strategies necessary to differentiate themselves. This caused her to question some of the community's shared practices: We teach Cornell notes as a strategy to all of the kids; should I be teaching more flexibility in note taking systems so that Ss can figure out what works best for them? Should we just give them the flexibility to use approaches that work for them? These comments represent a continuation of Pilar's earlier reflections on ways to best compose groups and develop differentiated assignments within those groups. In these statements, Pilar is moving beyond ways to provide students with differentiation and contemplating instructional approaches that could teach students how to choose strategies that work best for them. This transformation of Pilar's understanding of student-centered work connects directly to her participation within this community of practice. Can I Just Do Learning Labs Every Day Next Year? In order to more fully describe Pilar's participalion in this community of practice over the 2010-2011 school year, it is necessary to include a few of her comments that do not link as directly to observable instructional changes. Though these comments do not directly correlate to recorded changes in her classroom practices, omitting them would decrease the ability of this study to richly describe 171

PAGE 190

Pilar's experiences as a community of practice member. For this reason, a brief portion of Pilar's reflection paper has been included here: I have seen so many new things that I am now wanting to try in my classes. For example, I saw recording of student voices in Collins' class and Spanish students writing sentences in English/Spanish in Halka's class. This has informed me that we can begin to push students toward English sooner. I see value in investing in the time to teach strategies which are common across all of our classrooms. It used to be Avid strategies or whatever, but now I really see why it's important, and I can recognize how well it works when I do it authentically with my students. I gained a deeper respect for my fellow teachers and the work they are willing to do to increase their students' knowledge. In addition, I think these learning labs have helped develop my relationship with my students. I thought building background was lame, and now I realize I need to get a lot better at it. Also, I want to find and have begun researching-ways to better teach academic vocabulary. I gained a deeper respect for my fellow teachers and learned how wonderful, professilmal and exceptional they are with our students. This experience positively impacted my students. I saw that their behavior was excellent during the Learning Labs. I felt proud of my students during Learning Labs, and I feel that this increased their self confidence and improved the quality of our relationships. Students were able to practice reading, writing, speaking, and listening in English. I can 172

PAGE 191

see that our continued focus on SlOP strategies will help our students become more successful and motivate them to take more risks in learning English. Finally, this experience has increased my respect, understanding, trust and admiration of my colleagues. I love my colleagues and I love my students!!! During her time as a member of this community of practice, Pilar experienced a number of revelations that she perceived as positively impacting her instruction, relationships, and student achievement. When asked if she would like to continue with the learning labs next year, Pilar wrote: "YES DEFINITELY!" SlOP Growth After the initial observation of Pilar's instruction on October 6, she scored a thirty average out of forty possible points on the three-part SlOP rubric used in this study for observational analysis. Six months later, after participating in the first three learning labs and collaborative planning meetings with her community of practice, Pilar scored a thirty-four out of forty on the same rubric. By the end of the spring semester, after completing the learning lab process with her community of practice and working with her literacy coach throughout the school year, Pilar scored a thirty-three average out of forty. Her ratings are displayed in Table 7. Over the course of the school year, Pilar's SlOP score increased by ten percent. Though Pilar's growth on the SlOP rubric was somewhat limited, this 173

PAGE 192

was, in part, due to the fact that her initial scores were quite high, leaving her less room to grow than her colleagues. The fact that she was able to consistently Table 7: Pilar's SlOP Scores SlOP 9.29.10 10.6.10 12.7.10 3.18.11 5_..17.11 5.19.11 Focus Horne r Hessee Hessee Hessee Horner Hessee Concepts explicitly linked to 1 1 2 2 2 3 students' background experiences Links explicit l y made betw ee n 2 3 2 3 3 3 past learning and new concepts Key vocabulary emphasized 3 4 4 4 4 4 Building Background Total/ 6 8 8 9 9 10 12 Provide s ample opportunities 4 4 3 3 3 3 for students to u se strategies Consi s tent use of 3 3 3 3 4 4 scaffolding techn iqu es throu g hout lesson Teacher uses a variety of 3 3 3 4 2 3 question types, inc lud ing those that promote higherorder thinking skills Strategies Total/ 12 10 10 9 10 9 10 Frequent opportun i ties for 3 3 3 4 4 3 interaction and discussion between teacher / student and among st udents Groupin g configurations 4 4 3 4 3 3 support language and content objectives Consistent l y provides 3 3 3 4 3 4 s ufficient wait time for student response Ample opportu niti es for 3 3 4 3 4 4 students to c l ar ify ke y concepts in Ll Interaction Total/ 16 13 13 13 15 14 14 Total/40 29 31 30 34 32 34 Horner/Hessee 30 30 34 33 Average 174

PAGE 193

display growth in these sections of the SlOP when initially scoring at such a high level, speaks to the changes that occurred in an already high-functioning ELA classroom. It is also significant that Pilar's areas of instructional alteration were quite similar to Selma's, a reasonable outcome from individuals working within the same community of practice and sharing the same goals. Samuel Harris Samuel Harris is a second year mathematics teacher who joined Hardin High School at the beginning of the spring semester during the 2009-20 I 0 school year. Samuel is the least experienced member of the community of practice, and the only educator who was participating in the learning lab process for the first time. Samuel is a soft-spoken Caucasian who does not speak Spanish, and he served as the Algebra teacher for this cohort of students. During the 2010-2011 school year, Samuel's participation within the community of practice was sporadic. He was absent for two of the four learning labs (the first and the last). In addition, he was unexpectedly absent for the third observation. For this reason, his data set is somewhat incomplete. Despite these missing data, certain alterations in Samuel's teaching were observed. There were two distinct changes to his instructional practices: (a) use of a peer translator and (b) use of group work. Both of these alterations, along with their correlations to community of practice work, will be discussed here. Following this discussion, I will provide a description of Samuel's growth according to the 40-point SlOP rubric, as analyzed by the literacy coach and me. 175

PAGE 194

Use of a Peer Translator When I observed Samuel's class for the first time on October 6, he was teaching a lesson on the slope equation to a group of twenty-eight students. This group of students included the majority of the cohort taught by Selma and Pilar along with another nine students of varying English abilities. His class was arranged in islands with twelve desks standing alone. Students sat according to preference with one another or by themselves. Samuel reviewed the slope equation, y = mx + b, presented a model equation, and showed students how to create the graph from this equation. The students were then asked to do the same for the next three equations, completing the following sentences in their responses: "The slope is ___ because __ The y-intercept is __ because ___ .Therefore, the graph of the line looks like this. (Show your graph)." Despite the clarity of the instruction and the model provided, many students appeared confused and more than half of the class did not begin when asked to do so. As Samuel was circulating, answering questions, he attempted to explain certain directions in Spanish, which did not appear to simplify matters for the students. At the end of the allotted time, only eight students had completed the objective. These students shared their responses. For the second half of the class, Samuel had prepared a gallery walk with nine graphs posted throughout the room. The students were told to go to each of the nine graphs and use the graph to determine the slope equation for the line. As the students began moving from graph to graph, they spoke with each other in 176

PAGE 195

Spanish exclusively. Though many of these conversations focused on the content of the course, the majority were social in nature. By the end of the allotted time, nineteen of the students had completed the line equations, and these were shared. During the debrief of the second learning lab on November 17, the first which he attended, Samuel made the following observation after Selma hosted her lesson: "[student] translation was helpful to make sure all students understood goals." During my second observation of Samuel on December 7, the class was working on transforming word problems into equations which they could solve. After posting the first word problem and displaying steps to change it into an equation, Samuel asked for a volunteer to translate these steps into Spanish for the rest of the class. As a technical difficulty then caused his Smart Board to power down, the majority of the students were unable to copy these notes, but this strategy of utilizing a whole-class peer translator was attempted two more times over the course of the lesson. During the mid-year interview, I asked Samuel if this increased use of a peer translator was intentional and how his work in the community of practice may have influenced this decision. He explained: "I try to use the kids to help clear up concepts that seem hard to undt:rstand. In Selma's lab I saw a lot of students helping each other in their native language, but I did it some before, too. They definitely need that support." Samuel's interest in utilizing students to assist in translation was again a focus ofhis observations in the debrief following learning lab three. After watching Jocelyn host a lesson on February 3, Samuel commented that, "links 177

PAGE 196

between Spanish and English words were made by students for clarification. Clarifying the meanings and sharing their knowledge." This interest was evident in the final observation of Samuel's class on May 19. During this lesson, Samuel prepared the students for the final exam by reviewing the work they had done over the course of the year. As Samuel's class had also undergone the demographic shift of this cohort of students, he repeatedly requested a volunteer to translate to the Vietnamese students. In addition, he asked for a student translator in Spanish twice. Unfortunately, Samuel did not complete a reflection paper and was absent from the fourth learning lab, where the participants shared their reflections on the work of the community of practice over the school year. Though he stated in his mid-year interview that he observed the increased use of a translator having a positive effect in Selma's class, he also mentioned that it was a strategy which he had used previously. For this reason, it is not possible to state with confidence that Samuel began to incorporate this strategy due to his work in the community of practice. Use of Group Work As previously mentioned, during Samuel's first observed lesson he had the classroom arranged for the majority of the students to be seated in groups, but there was no clear intention behind this arrangement. For this reason, students worked with whomever they pleased or entirely by themselves, as they saw fit. Although he made no clear mention of this problem during the second learning 178

PAGE 197

lab, on the exit ticket from the second learning lab, Samuel recorded two responses to questions which specifically addressed intentional groupings. In response to the question: How will what you learned today impact student achievement in your classroom? Samuel wrote: "Putting groups together in a way that students are challenged to achieve." Also, in response to the questions: What are your next steps from this lab? What specifically will you implement in your classroom as a result of this experience? Samuel wrote: "Concentrate on encouraging interdependence within the groups." Based on these responses, it is clear that Samuel perceived the students in the second learning lab working in groups that facilitated interdependence and high expectations and that Samuel wished to foster these characteristics in his own classroom by developing groups strategically. In addition, the concept of group dynamics and formation was central to Samuel's work in the third learning lab. When asked what his focus would be during his observation of the host lesson, Samuel explained that he would be focusing on "fostering interdependence." When the literacy coach asked him what that might look like, he explained that he would be looking for "strategies that make kids dependent upon and accountable to each other." Though Samuel did not utilize group work during the second observation of his instruction, this was a clear component of his classroom by the final observation. After Samuel reviewed a few of the major algebra concepts from the course, he handed out a worksheet covering the year in detail and told students to "get into their groups" and complete the worksheet together. During this time, the 179

PAGE 198

majority of the students worked entirely with their groups, though four students shifted from group to group, requesting assistance from other students and reporting back, and one student refused to join any group at all. Each group contained either Spanish speakers or Vietnamese students only; a fact that Samuel explained was used to facilitate translation. When asked ifhis work in the community of practice had affected his instruction in any way, Samuel explained: "I try to use groupings more often so that students are supported from all sides. That is definitely not something I was doing with ELA classes, or planning on doing, at the beginning of the year." Based on the observations of the way in which group work was used over the course of the year in his class and his own explanation of the impetus for these changes, it is likely that Samuel's work within the community of practice, though limited, was directly connected to this instructional shift. SlOP Growth After the initial observation ofSamnel's instruction on October 6, he scored an eighteen average out of forty possible points on the three-part SlOP rubric used for observational analysis. By the end of the spring semester, after completing the learning lab process with the community of practice and working with the literacy coach throughout the school year, Samuel scored a twenty-five out of forty on the same rubric. This scoring process is displayed in Table 8. Samuel's average scores improved in half of the first six separate areas and decreased in two. As these areas represent building background and 180

PAGE 199

Table 8: Samuel's SlOP Scores SlOP 9.29.10 10.6.10 12.7.10 3.18.11 5.17.11 5.19.11 Focus Homer Hessee Hessee Hessee Homer Hessee Concepts explicitly linked to 0 1 2 Absent 1 1 students' ba c kground experiences Links explicitly made between 3 2 2 Absent 2 3 past learning and new concepts Key vocabulary emphasized 3 3 1 Absent 3 1 Building Background Total/ 6 6 5 -6 5 12 Provides ample opportunities 2 3 2 Absent 2 2 for students to use strategies Consistent use of 2 2 1 Absent 3 2 scaffolding techniques through-out lesson Teacher uses a variety of 1 1 3 Absent 2 2 question types, including those that promote higherorder thinking skills Strategies Total/ 12 5 6 6 -7 6 Frequent opportunities for 1 2 1 Absent 3 2 interaction and discussion between teacher/ student and among students Grouping configurations 2 1 1 Absent 3 3 support lan g uage and content objective s Consistently provides 1 2 1 Absent 2 2 sufficient wait time for student response -Ample opportuniti es for 2 2 2 Absent 4 3 students to clarify key concepts in Ll Interaction Total/ 16 6 7 I 5 -12 10 Total/40 17 19 16 -25 21 Horner/Hessee 18 16 -23 Average implementation of strategies, his scores represent a lack of growth in these areas. However, the four separate scores within the category of interaction all improved markedly and Samuel's overall performance in this area increased by nearly one 181

PAGE 200

hundred percent. It is noteworthy that the alteration Samuel made in his use of group work was based on student interaction. As the SlOP category interaction refers to developing opportunities for students to communicate with the teacher and with one another in English, it should not be surprising to see that Samuel's modest gains were primarily in this area during 2010-2011 school year. Much like Selma and Pilar, Samuel displayed instructional changes alterations regarding group work. Samuel's explanation that this shift was primarily due to his work within the community of practice reinforces the concept that this group of educators, working within a community of practice, developed shared goals that were evidenced in the outcomes of all of their classes. Jocelyn Collins The fourth target teacher in this community of practice was the English teacher, Jocelyn Collins. Jocelyn is a highly energetic, experienced teacher at Hardin High School who taught Introduction to Literature to this cohort of students. Jocelyn is a Caucasian female and native English speaker with limited proficiency in Spanish. Though Jocelyn was present for all four of the learning lab meetings of the community of practice, unexpected circumstances caused ihe majority of her observations to be unsuccessful. On October 6, Jocelyn administered a district assessment to her students and, thus, no instruction was observable. On December 7 and March 18, she was unexpectedly absent due to illness. Though the primary researcher was able to observe Jocelyn on May 191 h and confirm inter-rater reliability with the literacy coach regarding her SlOP exit 182

PAGE 201

score, the fact that her instruction was not observed earlier in the year precludes this study from being able to address any directly observable instructional alterations in her teaching. However, as communities of practice work toward shared goals developed by and for the participants and the primary goal of this community of practice in the 2010-2011 school year was improving student interaction as defined by Sheltered Instruction, this study uses Jocelyn's own comments during community of practice meetings, combined with the testimony of her literacy coach to determine if she, too, altered her instruction to increase student interaction. In addition, the target teachers analyzed by this study exhibited instructional changes around three main areas: (a) use of group work (three ofthree target teachers), (b) use of sentence stems (two of three target teachers), and (c) oral language use (two of three target teachers). Based on these data, the field notes from the community of practice meetings, as well as the exit tickets, were coded to determine if Jocelyn was reflecting upon or intended to introduce any of these three instructional alterations. Thus, any comments Jocelyn made that displayed realizations regarding new and valuable approaches 1u inslruction using group work, sentence stems, or oral language use were highlighted. For data that were sufficient to support the belief that Jocelyn had intended to alter her instruction, questions were formatted for the literacy coach. In the final interview with the literacy coach, she was asked to verify any evidence found to support data from community of practice field notes that Jocelyn had altered her instruction in any 183

PAGE 202

of these three areas. This section details the results of this analysis in each of the three areas. Oral Language Use During the pre-brief of the first learning lab on October 20, Jocelyn stated her focus aligned with Selma's. Thus, when Selma explained her focus as "getting students to practice their English with each other, since they all speak Spanish they speak Spanish in their groups." Jocelyn responded by saying: "That's what I wrote. Even in an English class." Jocelyn repeated this concept throughout the lab, engaging another member of the community of practice in a discussion on using positive reinforcements to encourage English conversation amongst students. Teacher I: So maybe giving them little rewards when they're speaking together in English in groups? Jocelyn: Yeah, I see that in my room. I started doing that and when I come around they say 'English, English!' to get it. Though Jocelyn was addressing an instructional strategy which she had used in the past, her interest in increasing the use of English interaction with her students aligned with Selma and Pilar, both of whom discussed the importance of an English-only classroom and both of whom made alterations to their instructional approaches regarding interaction due to their participation in this community of practice. Thus, Jocelyn exhibited a focus shared by the community of practice as a common goal. 184

PAGE 203

In learning lab two on November 17, Jocelyn again spoke to the importance of an environment in which oral English was a prominent feature. In the debrief of this learning lab, hosted by Selma, Jocelyn spoke to the implications of the community's observations on student achievement. She stated that it was "important to incorporate as much English as possible-the more they hear, the faster they learn." This focus on oral English translated into the purpose of the third learning lab lesson, which Jocelyn hosted. During the pre-brief of this learning lab, Jocelyn provided an overview of the lesson and its purpose to the community of practice: The focus is about speaking and increasing speaking opportunities. The students constructed questions yesterday. Today, using Vocaru, they will speak their two questions into the microphone, and it will be posted on Posterns where they will listen to one another's questions. So, these students tend to be very shy, so please leave space for the kids to work. After the class all listens to the questions off ofPosterus, the students will answer those questions on an exit ticket. In the debrief of this lesson, Jocelyn was highly pleased with the confidence which her students displayed when recording their questions into the microphone. She believed this was essential to increasing their speaking abilities. As she explained, "Gaining confidence promotes risk-taking which leads to moving forward." 185

PAGE 204

Jocelyn clearly maintained her focus on oral language usage throughout the school year, a focus shared by the majority of the target teachers in this community of practice. As she discussed her strategies and beliefs with the community, it was unclear if these were new concepts to her practice or concepts that she was beginning to perceive differently. However, she displayed a clear interest in increasing opportunities for interaction and volunteered to host a learning lab with a focus on "speaking and increasing speaking opportunities." These actions are indicative of alterations made in order to increase student interaction. The literacy coach claimed that growth was "evident" in her expectations of students' use of English. Use of Sentence Stems During the first learning lab debrief, Jocelyn played a central role in the development of the sentence stem chart. As the group was discussing ways to provide support for ELLs in language acquisition, Jocelyn asked, "What if I provided stems for all students in group conversations?" This question led directly to a conversation about what sentence stems should be provided to the students in all of their classrooms to encourage common discourst: in English. As the community of practice began to brainstorm stems, Jocelyn became the recorder, writing each stated idea and reviewing the list with the group at the end to ensure a consensus had been reached. Jocelyn also referred to this chart during the debrief of the second learning lab. When Selma was discussing the ways that she worked with the literacy coach to develop her English-only classroom, Jocelyn 186

PAGE 205

simply pointed to the sentence stem chart which was posted in the conference room. This sentence stem chart was also posted in Jocelyn's classroom during the learning lab she hosted on February 3. As the chart was a creation of the community of practice's work during the school year, this was clearly a new addition to Jocelyn's instruction. In the final observation of Jocelyn's instruction on May 19, this poster remained prominently displayed, with "May I borrow __ ?" added in marker at the bottom. Though this chart was not explicitly referenced during the lesson, the literacy coach verified that Jocelyn regularly referred to it during her observations. In addition, the fact that it had been altered to incorporate an eleventh stem displayed its value as a living document within her classroom and its likely role as a common feature of her instruction. Due to the fact that the community of practice was the origin for the sentence stem chart and it was ultimately added to Jocelyn's classroom, it is clear that this alteration was based upon Jocelyn's work within this community of practice. Use of Group Work Just as Selma, Pilar, and Samuel focused upon implementation of activities designed for small groups of students during their participation in this community of practice, Jocelyn also made this a key feature of her community of practice work. In the debrief of the first learning lab on October 20, Jocelyn and the community of practice spent a significant amount of time discussing individual student needs on a case-by-case basis. In response to these comments, 187

PAGE 206

Jocelyn suggested, "Maybe we could talk about how we're grouping these kids. What if I provided stems for all students in group conversations?" As previously stated, this comment regarding differentiation within small groups, led to the formation of the sentence stem chart. During the guided reading which preceded the second learning lab on November 17, Jocelyn addressed alterations to instruction she was interested in making based on what the community of practice had read from Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners (Hill & Flynn, 2006). After commenting on the implications for student achievement she believed could exist in "maintaining groups throughout the year," Jocelyn explained: "I've always done high-low, now I'm thinking of doing similar levels in groups. Also, groups can create anxiety and I need to be aware of that." During the debrief of this learning lab, Jocelyn stated two observations that focused upon the use of groups: "At the beginning of the class, I saw one student alone with the assistant" and "I noticed during the second round [of the activity], that the lone student was involved in a group." When discussing the perceived implication for student learning, Jocelyn highlighted her growing belief in the importance of intentional grouping. "[The teacher] needs dynamic lessons, hands-on activities, student-led stuff, so you get more engagement. The more you plan, the more you get out of the kids. Really planning your groups carefully makes instruction more effective." Though it is possible that this realization was not entirely new to Jocelyn, her commitment to executing this work in her classroom was increased through her 188

PAGE 207

community of practice work. In response to the question: How will what you learned today impact student achievement in your classroom? on the exit ticket from this learning lab, Jocelyn wrote: "Specific grouping/intentional grouping." The effects of this commitment were verified by the literacy coach in our exit interview, during which she explained that: At the start of the year [Jocelyn] was more of a get-with-a-partner kind of person, and by the end of the year she would plan who the partners were and grouped them really thinking about why that person. She also started to experiment quite a bit with heterogeneous and homogeneous groupings in her classroom. This second comment aligns with Jocelyn's explanation after the second learning lab's professional reading when she explained that she was "thinking of doing similar levels in groups." Based on Jocelyn's interactions in the community of practice meetings and her statements on the exit ticket, her perceptions of the best -ways to facilitate group work changed due to her work in the community of practice. Jocelyn's interest in focusing upon group work during community of practice work was shared by all four of the target teachers and became a focus for each of these teachers during their individual coaching. As Alice explained: I might have pushed [Jocelyn] a little on it, but it's definitely something that she wanted to change over the year and she focused her work on it. I think all of[the target teachers] were interested in group work and that 189

PAGE 208

was why I was pushing them on it and bringing it up in coaching, asking them probing questions about why they used the group work they did, even if they didn't bring it up. So, I think there is kind of a balance in it being a true interest of theirs and me not letting them forget to keep focusing on it. SlOP Growth Though Jocelyn's classroom instruction was observed only once by the primary researcher, Table 9 also contains the SlOP scores given by the literacy coach at the beginning and end of the school year. After her initial observation of Jocelyn's instruction on September 29, she scored a twenty average out of forty possible points on the three-part SlOP rubric for observational analysis. By the end of the spring semester, after completing the learning lab process with the community of practice and working with the literacy coach throughout the school year, Jocelyn scored a thirty out of forty on the same rubric. Summary Over the course of the school year, each of the four target teachers' scores on the SlOP rubric improved. Selma, the teacher with the lowest initial score of fourteen, more than doubled her score and Pilar, the teacher with the highest initial score, improved by ten percent, the smallest improvement of the group. On average, these four teachers improved from twenty-one point five after the October sixth observations to a score of twenty-eight point five after the final 190

PAGE 209

Table 9: Jocelyn's SlOP Scores SlOP 9.29.10 10.6.10 12.7.10 3.18.11 5 17.11 5.19.11 Focus Homer Hessee Hessee Hessee Homer Hessee Concepts explicitly linked to I Testing Absent Absent 3 3 stu d ents' backgr o und experiences Links explicitly made between 2 Testing Absent Absent 2 3 pa s t learning and n ew concepts Key vocabulary emphasized 3 Testing Absent Absent 4 4 Building Background Total/ 6 ---9 10 12 Provides ample opportunities I Testing Absent Absent 3 2 for s tudent s to use strategies Consistent u se of 2 Testing Absent Absent 3 4 scaffolding techniques throu gh out lesson Teacher uses a variety of 0 Testing Absent Absent 3 2 question types, inc lud ing those that promote hig herorder thinking skills Strategies Total/ 12 3 ---9 8 Frequent opportunities for 3 Testing Absent Absent 3 3 interaction and discussion betwe e n teacher / student a nd among students Grouping configurat i ons 3 Testing Absent Absent 3 3 s upport language and content objectives Consistently provides 2 Testing Absent Absent 2 2 s ufficient wait time for -s tudent response Ample opportunities for 3 Testing Absent Absent 4 4 students to clarify key conceets in Ll lnteraction Total/ 16 11 ---12 12 Total/40 20 --30 30 Horner/Hessee 20 -30 Average observation on May 19. These changes are displayed in Table 10 and charted by area in terms of percentage growth in Figure I 0. 191

PAGE 210

Table 10: Average SlOP Scores of the Four Target Teachers SlOP 9.29.10 10.6.10 12.7 10 3.18.11 5 04.11 5.19.11 Focus Homer Hessee Hessee Hessee Homer Hessee Concepts ex plicitly linked to .75 1 2 2 2.3 2.25 students' background experiences Links explicitly made between 2.25 2.3 2 2.5 3 2.75 past learning and new concepts Key vocabulary emphasized 2.75 2.3 2.3 3 2.3 3.25 5 .75 5 6 6.3 7.5 7.6 8.25 Building Background Total 5.6 6.3 7.5 7.9 Provides amp l e opportunities 2.25 2.7 2.3 3 2. 7 2.25 for students to u se strategies Consistent use of 2 2.3 2.3 3.5 3 3.5 scaffolding techniques through-out l esson Teacher uses a variety of 1.5 1.7 2.7 3.5 2.7 2.25 question types including those that promote higher-order thinking sk ill s 5 .75 6 7 7.3 10 8.4 8 Strategies Total 6.2 7.3 10 8.2 Frequent opportuniti es for 2 2 2 4 3 3 interaction and discussion between teacher / student and among st ud ents Grouping configurations 2.5 2.3 2.3 3 3 2.75 s upport lan g uage and content objectives Consistently provides 2 2.3 2.3 3 2.7 2.5 sufficient wait time for student response Ample opportunities for 3 3 3 3 3.7 4 students to clarify key ... i concepts in Ll 9.5 I 9.6 9.6 13 12.4 12.25 Interaction Total 9.6 9.6 13 12.3 Total/40 21 21.9 23.2 30.5 28.4 28.5 Horner/Hessee 21.5 23.2 30.5 28. 5 Average 192

PAGE 211

85 80 75 70 l:.l co: = 65 --Building Background < .a. 60 Q. --Strategies --Interactions 55 50 45 40 Date Figure 10: Average SlOP Growth of the Four Target Teachers Of equal significance is the way in which these teachers altered their instruction. All four of the target teachers decided to focus on use of group work in this community of practice, a decision that the literacy coach believed originated from their shared choice to work on the interaction portion of Sheltered Instruction, but was also a classroom instructional feature that they all "authentically wanted to work on." For some ofthese teachers, this focus meant altering the group work they had been doing in years past to ensure interdependence and intentional groupings with differentiated task for each member. For others, it meant a philosophical shift away from a teacher-centered instructional style to a student-centered classroom. In addition, from the very first learning lab, three of the four teachers committed themselves to incorporating sentence stems into their instruction on a regular basis, as evidenced by the use of 193

PAGE 212

the sentence stem chart in all of these teachers' classrooms. Finally, the common use of oral English in these classrooms became increasingly prevalent over the course of the school year. Though this approach to steadily expecting more oral English may be a strategy these teachers had adopted previously, the repeated commitment to demand that students use English "from day one" was clearly created in the community of practice. As these three instructional alterations were directly connected to work within the community of practice and these alterations appear to be connected to improvements in the target teachers' overall instruction based upon the interaction category of the SlOP, this research has built the case that the teachers' work in this community of practice, supported by individual coaching, was associated with an increase in their SlOP scores. Moreover, as students of teachers who score highly on the SlOP have been shown to outperform students in control classes on writing exams, it is reasonable to believe that the cohort of students served by these teachers, who share an increased average SlOP score, would exhibit greater achievement than their peers (Guarino et al., 2001). This concept is addressed in the next chapter which displays the results of the analysis to the third and tinal research question: To what extent does the literacy achievement of these teachers' students change? 194

PAGE 213

195

PAGE 214

CHAPTER VI RESULTS: STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT The ultimate goal of any professional development model is to improve student achievement. However, research on literacy coaching often struggles to display connections between instructional change and student outcomes due to the multiple factors which influence students' reading and writing growth (Brown et al., 2008; Kannapel, 2007; Marsh et al., 2008; Puig & Froelich, 2007; Rainville, 2007). As public perception of educational excellence is largely based upon the outcomes of student test scores, the absence of this connection increases the fragility of literacy coaching programs throughout the nation. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the connection between the professional development model implemented at Hardin High School and student achievement by responding to the third research question: To what extent does the literacy achievement of these teachers' students change? Literacy achievement was chosen as the focus area for student growth due to the community of practice's chosen focus upon language objectives rather than content in their collaborative work. In addition, English language learners who have teachers with higher scores on the SlOP have been shown to outperform students of teachers with lower SlOP scores on literacy assessments (Guarino et al., 2001). The connection established between Hardin's professional development model and SlOP growth for the four target teachers in 196

PAGE 215

the previous chapter predicts gains in student achievement on literacy assessments. This chapter examines the link between coaching within a community of practice and student achievement through the analyses ofthree sets of reading and two sets of writing assessment data: the Colorado English Language Assessment (CELA), the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP), and the Acuity assessment. In order to focus upon growth, assessment data for each of the three tests was analyzed only for those students who took the 2010 and 2011 assessments. In addition, assessment data was only analyzed for students who were enrolled in at least three of the four target teachers' courses to minimize other influences upon these students' literacy instruction: 28 students met these criteria on the CELA assessments, 38 on the CSAP assessments, and 52 on the Acuity assessment. Prior to conducting the analyses, the assumptions oft-tests (normality, homogeneity of the variance and independence) were assessed via simple univariate statistics, and no issues were identified. When this study compared the student cohort group's score on CSAP/CELA reading and writing against the school, the district, and the state, it was determined that the cohort group underperformed on all the categories analyzed. Despite the fact that these students displayed growth, they did not improve as rapidly as their peers at the school or district, and were outpaced by their peers at the state in all but one area. Though the Acuity assessment displayed that the students in this cohort outperformed their peers in terms of percent 197

PAGE 216

proficient, the fact that all Acuity data indicated a decrease in reading proficiency causes one to question the reliability of these results. What follows is a more complete explanation of the results of each analysis. CELA Results The Colorado English Language Assessment is a standardized paper pencil assessment administered each spring in each school to students deemed to be English language learners by their families or by school personnel. The reading test contains multiple choice items, and the writing test contains both multiple choice and constructed response items. Interrater reliability is used randomly on all test items and the discrepancy percentage is under seven percent in 2010 (McGraw-Hill 201 0). More information on the CELA is provided in chapter III. As scale scores on this assessment shift annually, the district's recommended approach to performing a comparative analysis using CELA data is to focus upon median growth percentiles which are provided by the state for this purpose. An alternative method would be to look at raw scores for comparison; however, the district assessment office discourages this approach because the performance bands are redefined by the shifting scon:s annually, causing a specific raw score to have a different definition each year. In order to compute growth percentiles, each year the state of Colorado compares students who received similar scale scores and runs a goodness of fit analysis to ensure enough students are included in each grouping. Within these groups, students' scores on the following year's assessments are compared to one another and each student is 198

PAGE 217

assigned a growth percentile based upon his/her relative performance. By definition, the state-wide median growth percentile is 50. By determining the average growth percentile of a group of students and comparing this to the median growth of the school, district, and state, it is possible to determine the relative growth of one group of students. Results of these analyses are displayed in Table 11. Table 11: CELA Reading and Writing Growth Percentiles of Comparison Groups Median Average Growth Growth Percentile Median Median Number of Percentile of Hardin Growth Growth Test Cohort of Cohort High Percentile Percentile Category Students Students School of District of State CELA Reading 28 52.50 66 56 50 CELA Writing 28 48.82 57 53 50 As shown in Table 11, 28 students in the cohort group were assigned growth percentiles based on their performance on the CELA Reading and Writing assessments in 2010 and 2011. The average growth percentile ofthis cohort in reading was slightly higher than the state median growth percentile, meaning that these students' reading growth on the CELA outpaced over 52 percent of their peers. However, the median growth percentiles of Hardin High School and the district were higher than the average growth percentile of this cohort of students, showing that students at the school and district level improved more rapidly between 2010 and 2011 than the students in this cohort. On the CELA Writing 199

PAGE 218

examination, the average median growth percentile for this cohort of students was 48.82 percent, meaning that their average growth on this assessment outpaced the growth of 48.82 percent of their peers. Based on these results, these students did not improve at the same rate as their peers at the school, district, or state levels. A more detailed analysis of these results follows. CELA Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to School: One sample T -test The median growth percentile on CELA Reading for Hardin High School was 66. Thus, the population test value on CELA Reading growth percentiles for the school was M = 66. To test the hypothesis that the cohort students scored higher than the school a one-sample t-test was performed (M = 52.50, n = 28, SD = 32.83) for students in the cohort group and tested against the hypothesized test value of the corresponding school population for CELA Reading (M = 66). The number of students and the standard deviation for the school are not reported here because the number of students within this cohort at the school level and their individual scores were not reported by the district. The results indicate a significant mean difference of 13.5 between students in the cohort group and the school. These results show the cohort had a significantly lower Reading CELA average growth percentile [t (27) = -2.176, p < .05] when compared to the school population. The 95% confidence interval of the difference in the means ranged between-26.23 and -0.77; the mean difference was-13.50. Thus, the average growth percentile of this cohort of students was 13.5 lower than the median growth percentile of the students at Hardin High 200

PAGE 219

School, and one can be 95 percent confident that this difference is between -26.23 and -0.77. CELA Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to School: One sample T-test The median growth percentile on CELA Writing for Hardin High School was 57. Thus, the population test value on CELA Writing growth percentiles for Hardin High School was M = 57. To test the hypothesis that the cohort students scored higher than the school a one-sample t-test was performed (M = 48.82, n = 28, SD = 29.056) for students in the cohort group and tested against hypothesized test value of the corresponding school population for CELA writing (M =57). The number of students and the standard deviation for the school are not reported here because the number of students within this cohort at the school level and their individual scores were not reported by the district. The results indicate a mean difference of 8.18 between students in the cohort group and the school. Although the mean difference is lower (M = -8.18) for the cohort group when compared the school on CELA Writing, the difference is not statistically significant [t (27) = -1.489, p > .05]. While not statistically significant, the 95% confidence interval of the difference in the means ranged from -19.45 and 3.09. Thus, the average growth percentile of this cohort of students was 8.18 lower than the median growth percentile of the students at Hardin High School, and one can be 95 percent confident that this difference is between -19.45 and 3.09. 201

PAGE 220

CELA Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to District: One sample T -test The median growth percentile on CELA Reading for Hardin High School's district was 56. Thus, the population test value on CELA Reading growth percentiles for the district was M = 56. To test the hypothesis that the cohort students scored higher than the district a one-sample t-test was performed (M = 52.50, n = 28, SD = 32.83) for students in the cohort group and tested against hypothesized test value of the corresponding district population for CELA reading (M = 56). The number of students and the standard deviation for the district are not reported here because the number of students within this cohort at the district level and their individual scores were not reported by the district. The results indicate a mean difference of3.5 between students in the cohort group and the district. Although the mean difference is lower (M = -3.50) for the cohort group when compared the district in CELA reading, the difference is not statistically significant [t (27) = -0.564, p > .05]. While not statistically significant the 95% confidence interval of the difference in the means ranged from -16.23 and 9.23. Thus, the average growth percentile of this cohort of students was 3.5 lower than the median growth pt:rcentile of the students in the district, and one can be 95 percent confident that this difference is between -16.23 and 9.23. CELA Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to District: One sample T-test The median growth percentile on CELA Writing for Hardin High School's district was 53. Thus, the population average test value on CELA Writing growth 202

PAGE 221

percentiles for the district was M =53. To test the hypothesis that the cohort students scored higher than the district a one-sample t-test was performed (M = 48.52, n = 28, SD = 29.056) for students in the cohort group and tested against hypothesized test value of the corresponding district population for CELA writing (M =53). The number of students and the standard deviation for the district are not reported here because the number of students within this cohort at the district level and their individual scores were not reported by the district. The results indicate a mean difference of 4.18 between students in the cohort group and the district. Although the mean difference is lower (M = -4.18) for the cohort group when compared the district on CELA writing, the difference is not statistically significant [t (27) = -0.761, p > .05]. While not statistically significant the 95% confidence interval of the difference in the means ranged from -15.45 and 7.09. Thus, the average growth percentile ofthis cohort of students was 4.18 lower than the median growth percentile of the students in the district, and one can be 95 percent confident that this difference is between -15.45 and 7.09. CELA Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to State: One sample T -test The median growth percentile on CELA Reading for the state was 50. Thus, the population average test value on CELA Reading Growth Percentiles for the state was M = 50. To test the hypothesis that the cohort students scored higher than the state a one-sample t-test was performed (M = 52.50, n = 28, SD = 32.83) for students in the cohort group and tested against hypothesized test value of the 203

PAGE 222

corresponding state population for CELA Reading (M = 50). The number of students and the standard deviation for the state are not reported here because the number of students within this cohort at the state level and their individual scores were not reported by the district or the state. The results indicate a mean difference of 2.5 between students in the cohort group and the state. Although the mean difference is higher (M = 2.5) for the cohort group when compared the state on CELA Reading, the difference is not statistically significant [t (27) = .403, p > .05]. While not statistically significant the 95% confidence interval of the difference in the means ranged from -10.23 and 15.23. Thus, the average growth percentile of this cohort of students was 2.5 higher than the median growth percentile of the students in the state, and one can be 95 percent confident that this difference is between -10.23 and 15.23. CELA Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to State: One sample T-test The median growth percentile on CELA Writing for the state was 50. Thus, the population average test value on CELA Writing-Growth Percentiles for the state was M = 50. To test the hypothesis that the cohort students scored higher than the state a one-sample t-test was perfom1ed (M = 48.82, n = 28, SD = 29.056) for students in the cohort group and tested against hypothesized test value of the corresponding state population for CELA writing (M =50). The number of students and the standard deviation for the state are not reported here because the number of students within this cohort at the state level and their individual scores were not reported by the district or the state. 204

PAGE 223

The results indicate a mean difference of 1.17 between students in the cohort group and the state. Although the mean difference is lower (M = -1.17) for the cohort group when compared the state on CELA writing, the difference is not statistically significant [t (27) = -0.215, p > .05]. While not statistically significant the 95% confidence interval of the difference in the means ranged from -12.45 and 10.09. Thus, the average growth percentile of this cohort of students was 1.17 lower than the median growth percentile of the students in the state, and one can be 95 percent confident that this difference is between -12.45 and 10.09. CSAP Results The CSAP is given each March to students in grades three through ten, assessing reading, writing, and mathematics. The assessments are developed, scored, and scaled by CTB/McGraw-Hill, LLC and are intended to measure student proficiency in terms of the state content standards (McGraw-Hill, 2009b). This standardized, paper-pencil test is administered to each student in his/her own school by the faculty of that school in grade-specific groups. Both the reading and writing assessments contain multiple choice and constructed response items. "Reliability for constructed-response items [is] typically examined by calculating indices of interrater agreement-the reliability with which human raters assign scores to student responses" (McGraw-Hill, 921 ). For this analysis, five percent of student responses are scored by two raters. In order to ensure validity, the department of education conducts comprehensive curriculum reviews. All assessment items are then developed to measure the 205

PAGE 224

content standards and are subject to numerous levels of scrutiny, both internal and external, before their operational use (McGraw-Hill, 2009b). More information on the CSAP is provided in chapter III. Much like CELA results, scale scores on the CSAP shift annually, so the district assessment office's recommended approach to performing a comparative analysis using CSAP data is to focus upon median growth percentiles which are provided by the state for this purpose. As with CELA data, an alternative method would be to look at raw scores for comparison; however, the district assessment office discourages this approach because the performance bands are redefined by the shifting scores annually, causing a specific raw score to have a different definition each year in terms of proficiency. In order to compute growth percentiles, each year, the state of Colorado compares students who received the same scale score to one another and assigns each student a growth percentile based up their relative performance. By definition, the state-wide median growth percentile is 50. By determining the average growth percentile of a group of students and comparing this to the median growth of the school and district, it is possible to determine the relative growth of one group of students. The results of these analyses are displayed in Table 12. As Table 12 displays, 38 students in the cohort group were assigned growth percentiles based on their performance on the CSAP Reading and Writing assessments in 2010 and 2011. The average growth percentile of this cohort in reading was 41.63, 206

PAGE 225

Table 12: CSAP Reading and Writing Growth Percentiles of Comparison Groups Median Average Growth Growth Percentile Median Median Number of Percentile of Hardin Growth Growth Test Cohort of Cohort High Percentile Percentile Category Students Students School of District of State CSAP Reading 38 41.63 54 52 50 CSAP Writing 38 48.11 52 53 50 meaning that these students' reading growth on the CSAP from 2010 to 2011 outpaced over 41.63 percent of their peers. The median growth percentiles of Hardin High School, the district, and the state were all higher than the average growth percentile of this cohort of students, showing that students at the school and district level improved more rapidly between 2010 and 2011 than the students in this cohort. On the CSAP Writing examination, the average median growth percentile for this cohort of students was 48.11 percent, meaning that their average growth on this assessment outpaced the growth of 48.11 percent of their peers. Based on these results, these students did not improve at the same rate as their peers at the school, district, or state levels. A more detailed analysis of these results follows. CSAP Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to School: One sample T -test The median growth percentile on CSAP Reading for Hardin High School was 54. Thus, the population average test value on CSAP Reading Growth Percentiles for the school was M = 54. To test the hypothesis that the cohort 207

PAGE 226

students scored higher than the school a one-sample t-test was performed (M = 41.63, n = 38, SD = 25.88) for students in the cohort group and tested against hypothesized test value of the corresponding district population for CSAP reading (M =54). The number of students and the standard deviation for the school are not reported here because the number of students within this cohort at the school level and their individual scores were not reported by the district. The results indicate a significant mean difference of 12.37 between students in the cohort group and the school. These results show the cohort group had a significantly lower Reading CSAP average growth percentile [t (37) =-2.946, p < .05] when compared to the school population. The 95% confidence interval of the difference in the means ranged between -20.88 and -3.86; while the mean difference was -12.3 7. Thus, the average growth percentile of this cohort of students was 12.37 lower than the median growth percentile of the students at Hardin High School, and one can be 95 percent confident that this difference is between -20.88 and -3.86. CSAP Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to School: One sample T -test The median growth percentile on CSAP Writing for Hardin High School was 52. Thus, the population average test value on CSAP Writing Growth Percentiles for the school was M = 52. To test the hypothesis that the cohort students scored higher than the school a onesample t-test was performed (M = 48.11, n = 38, SD = 28.03) for students in the cohort group and tested against hypothesized test value of the corresponding school population for CSAP writing 208

PAGE 227

(M = 52). The number of students and the standard deviation for the school are not reported here because the number of students within this cohort at the school level and their individual scores were not reported by the district. The results indicate a mean difference of 3.89 between students in the cohort group and the school. Although the mean difference is lower (M = -3.89) for the cohort group when compared to the school on CSAP writing, the difference is not statistically significant [t (37) = -0.857, p > .05). While not statistically significant the 95% confidence interval of the difference in the means ranged from -13.11 and 5.32. Thus, the average growth percentile ofthis cohort of students was 3.89 lower than the median growth percentile of the students at Hardin High School, and one can be 95 percent confident that this difference is between -13.11 and 5.32. CSAP Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to District: One sample T -test The median growth percentile on CSAP Reading for Hardin High School's district was 52. Thus, the population average test value on CSAP Reading Growth Percentiles for the district was M = 52. To test the hypothesis that the cohort students scored higher than the district a one-sample t-test was performed (M = 41.63, n = 38, SO= 25.88) for students in the cohort group and tested against hypothesized test value of the corresponding district population for CSAP reading (M = 52). The number of students and the standard deviation for the district are not reported here because the number of students within this cohort at the district level and their individual scores were not reported by the district. 209

PAGE 228

The results indicate a significant mean difference of 10.3 7 between students in the cohort group and the district. These results show the cohort had a significantly lower Reading CSAP average growth percentile [t (35) = -2.469, p < .018] when compared to the district population. The 95% confidence interval of the difference in the means ranged between -18.88 and -1.86; while the mean difference was -1 0.3 7. Thus, the average growth percentile of this cohort of students was 10.37 lower than the median growth percentile of the students in the district, and one can be 95 percent confident that this difference is between -18.88 and -1.86. CSAP Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to District: One sample T -test The median growth percentile on CSAP Writing for Hardin High School's district was 53. Thus, the population average test value on CSAP Writing Growth Percentiles for the district was M =53. To test the hypothesis that the cohort students scored higher than the district a onesample t-test was performed (M = 48.11, n = 3 8, SO = 28.03) for students in the cohort group and tested against hypothesized test value of the corresponding district population for CSAP writing (M =53). The number of students and the standard deviation for the district are not reported here because the number of students within this cohort at the district level and their individual scores were not reported by the district. The results indicate a significant mean difference of 4.89 between students in the cohort group and the district. Although the mean difference is lower (M =-4.89) for the cohort group when compared the district CSAP writing, the 210

PAGE 229

difference is not statistically significant [t (37) = -1.076, p > .05]. While not statistically significant the 95% confidence interval of the difference in the means ranged between -14.11 and 4.32. Thus, the average growth percentile of this cohort of students was 4.89lower than the median growth percentile of the students in the district, and one can be 95 percent confident that this difference is between -14.11 and 4.32. CSAP Reading Growth Percentiles Compared to State: One sample T -test The median growth percentile on CSAP Reading for the state was 50. Thus, the population average test value on CSAP Reading Growth Percentiles for the state was M = 50. To test the hypothesis that the cohort students scored higher than the state a onesample t-test was performed (M = 41.63, n = 38, SO= 25.88) for students in the cohort group and tested against hypothesized test value of the corresponding state population for CSAP reading (M = 50). The number of students and the standard deviation for the state are not reported here because the number of students within this cohort at the state level and their individual scores were not reported by the district or state. The results indicate a significant mean difference of 8.36 between students in the cohort group and the state. These results show the cohort had a significantly lower Reading CSAP average growth percentile [t (37) = -1.98, p < .05] when compared to the state population. The 95% confidence interval of the difference in the means ranged between -16.98 and -.14, while the mean difference was 8.36. Thus, the average growth percentile of this cohort of students was 8.36 211

PAGE 230

lower than the median growth percentile of the students at the state level, and one can be 95 percent confident that this difference is between -16.98 and -.14. CSAP Writing Growth Percentiles Compared to State: One sample T-test The median growth percentile on CSAP Writing for the state was 50. Thus, the population average test value on CSAP Writing Growth Percentiles for the state was M = 50. To test the hypothesis that the cohort students scored higher than the state a onesample t-test was performed (M = 48.11, n = 38, SO= 28.03) for students in the cohort group and tested against hypothesized test value of the corresponding state population for CSAP Writing (M =50). The number of students and the standard deviation for the state are not reported here because the number of students within this cohort at the state level and their individual scores were not reported by the district or state. The results indicate a significant mean difference of 1.895 between students in the cohort group and the state. These results show the cohort had a significantly lower Writing CSAP average growth percentile [t (37) = -.411, p < .05] when compared to the state population. The 95% confidence interval of the difference in the means ranged between -11.11 and 7.32, while the mean difference was -1.895. Thus, the average growth percentile of this cohort of students was 1.895 lower than the median growth percentile of the students at the state level, and one can be 95 percent confident that this difference is between 11.11 and 7.32. 212

PAGE 231

Acuity Results The Acuity reading assessment is a predictive test aligned with the focus of the CSAP and was administered in Hardin High School's district in September and January ofthe 2010-2011 school year. This computer-administered assessment is somewhat unique in that the actual scores obtained at the time of testing (scale score and performance band broken by quartile) are not the focal point; rather, the focus is the prediction of how well the student is likely to score on the state assessment. The test is standardized in that administration and scoring procedures do not vary from student to student. The test is neither purely criterionnor norm-referenced as it contains elements of both. These assessments contain both multiple choice and constructed response items and the reading test is intended to be completed in a forty-minute time period (McGraw-Hill, 2009a). As the Acuity reading assessment was specifically administered by and within Hardin's school district, there are no state results to which the cohort can be compared.-In addition, the district does not compute growth percentiles for student achievement on the Acuity reading assessment, so the cohort's average growth percentiles could not be compared to the median growth percentiles of the school or district. However, as student scores are broken into four proficiency bands (unsatisfactory, partially proficient, proficient, and advanced), it is possible to compare the change in percent proficient of this cohort of students from the first assessment in September to the last assessment in January to the change in percent proficient over the same time span at the school and district. The results 213

PAGE 232

of these analyses are displayed in Table 13. An alternative method would be to analyze growth in terms of raw student scores. Though this approach would show specific changes within performance bands, the district assessment office highly discourages this approach as the Acuity assessment performance bands shifted dramatically over the two-year period during which it was used by the district and raw scores did not retain their same meaning. Table 13: Change in Percent Proficient on Acuity Reading of Comparison Groups Change in Number Change in Number Percent Number of Cohort Percent of School Proficient of District Change in Students Proficient Students of Hardin Students Percent Test Tested of Cohort Tested High Tested Proficient Category AlB Students AlB School AlB of District Acuity 534/509 -14% 4513/429 -5% Reading 47/52 -0.1% 4 As Table 13 displays, in September of2010, 2,442 ofthe 4,513 students who completed the Acuity assessment within the district scored proficient or above (54%). On the second Acuity reading assessment in January of2011, 2,106 of the 4,294 students who completed this exam within the district scored proficient or above ( 49% ). Thus, the overall change in percent at or above proficient across the district on the Acuity reading assessment was -5%. On the first Acuity reading assessment in September of 201 0, 268 of the 534 students who completed this exam at Hardin High School scored proficient or above (50%). On the second Acuity reading assessment in January of 2011, 183 of the 509 students who completed this exam at Hardin High School scored 214

PAGE 233

proficient or above (36%). Thus, the overall change in percent at or above proficient at Hardin High School on the Acuity reading assessment was -14%. On the first Acuity reading assessment in September of 201 0, 1 of the 4 7 cohort students who completed this exam scored proficient or above (2%). On the second Acuity reading assessment in January of2011, 1 of the 52 cohort students who completed this exam scored proficient or above (I .9%). Thus, the overall change in percent at or above proficient for this cohort on the Acuity reading assessment was -0.1 %. Though this cohort of students displayed a decrease in percentage of students at or above proficiency, they outperformed students at the school and district who decreased more significantly. Limitations The results of these analyses do not match those predicted in the previous chapter. Though the instruction of the target teachers as measured by the SlOP improved over the course of the school year, their students' achievement did not show the effects of these instructional improvements. Three major factors likely influenced these results: (a) the time period ofthe study, (b) the focus ofthe professional development model with respect to the data collected, and (c) difficulties inherent within the assessments. Though these results were unanticipated, when viewed within the context of similar studies connecting embedded professional development models to ultimate goals such as student achievement, it becomes clear that they should not be surprising. 215

PAGE 234

Time Period The most serious limitation to the quantitative analysis portion of this study is the time period over which this study was completed. As this study focuses upon a professional development model being implemented during the 20 I 0-20 II school year, attempting to ascertain the effects of this model on student growth during this same school year proves complicated as the instructional development was only initially being realized. For example, though Selma's instruction improved significantly over the course of the study, her students only received this improved level of instruction for a portion of the school year. Due to the complexity of analyzing the ultimate outcome in an analysis with multiple cause-effect relationships, many researchers argue that correctly implementing a coaching program in any field takes years to yield significant results (Fixsen, Naoom, Blase, Friedman, & Wallace, 2005). For this reason many studies that intend to connect professional development to student achievement do so over a three to four-year time span (Biancarosa, Bryk, & Dexter, 201 0; Marsh et al., 2008; Matsumara, Gamier, Correnti, Junker, & Bickel, 201 0; Stephens & Morgan, 2007). In their analysis of the effects of the Literacy Collaborative (LC) on 17 schools, Biancarosa et al. (201 0) considered the first year of the LC implementation as year one and looked at student scores during this year as a baseline for comparison to the future years. Matsumara et al. (2010) explain that: "Numerous studies in the social sciences indicate that at least this 216

PAGE 235

length oftime [three years] is needed for complex multilevel interventions to influence desired outcomes" (56). As these researchers explain, other scholars analyzing the ultimate outcomes of complex models of professional development such as coaching within a community of practice should not be surprised to discover that student data do not display the anticipated effects of instructional change within the initial year of implementation. This study would be likely to display greater correlations if completed over the course of three or more years. The Professional Development Focus Previous research highlights the direct connection between the foci of professional development models and their results (Bean & Zigmond, 2007; Kannapel, 2007; Richardson, 2008; Sweeney, 2003). In a study of Georgia Reading First schools, literacy coaching models which focused upon student achievement in terms of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) assessment showed marked increase on the results of this assessment but no increase and even decreases on other assessment measures of similar content and skills, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) (Richardson, 2008). As the focus of this professional development model in practice was primarily instructional, and student work was absent from the community of practice meetings, it should not be surprising that the results are limited to instructional improvement. Additionally, as interaction as defined by sheltered 217

PAGE 236

instruction became the primary focus of these instructional improvements and interaction refers, in part, to oral English language usage, an analysis of oral assessment data may have yielded different results. Though student achievement proved elusive in this study, it is worth noting that the implementation of a professional development model such as Hardin's with a focus upon student work, particularly as connected to specific assessments, would be much more likely to yield results pertaining to student achievement. Assessment Difficulties Hardin High School's school district purchased the Acuity assessment as a predictor for student CSAP scores. As the CSAP is given annually, the district believed that the Acuity could be given two to three times a year as a formative assessment to inform teachers' instruction regarding areas of student need. Unfortunately, as these test data show, the results of this assessment indicate a low level of reliability as 91 h grade student proficiency decreased from 54% to 49% district-wide and from 50% to 36% at Hardin High School specifically. According to statements made by district assessment leaders, this drastic decrease in proficiency rates from the fall to early spring semesters ofthe 2010-2011 school year was primarily caused by errors in the implementation of the assessment. These individuals feel that the rollout of this assessment was handled haphazardly by the district, causing the majority of the schools to proctor the exam prior to fully understanding its purpose. This, in turn, caused many schools to de-emphasize the importance of the examination to teachers and students, 218

PAGE 237

which led to unreliable test scores. In certain schools, students were not even allowed the full time to complete the assessment as recommended by Acuity and the district. After two years of use, this assessment has been removed by the district at the time of this study's completion. The problems inherent with the Acuity data should cause skepticism regarding any implications drawn from these data. In addition, this discovery lends itself to a conversation regarding the value of standardized formative assessments and the importance of the management of their implementation. In addition to the problems which arose during the implementation of the Acuity assessment, other difficulties are inherent within literacy assessments used to determine the proficiency of English language learners. As Solano-Flores (2008) explains, the definition of performance bands (unsatisfactory, partially proficient, etc.) overlook the incredible diversity oflanguage abilities within each band, thereby limiting the descriptive abilities of the assessments (Solano-Flores, 2008). In addition, the assessments rarely capture information on the student's first language, impairing the assessments' abilities to determine whether they are testing the students' proficiency in their first language, in English, or both. Finally, he explains that academic language is generally the focus of these assessments, and academic language development occurs at a reduced pace during the beginning of a student's language acquisition: "ELLs can develop basic conversational skills in a relatively short time after being immersed in an L2 219

PAGE 238

environment, but they need considerably more time to develop the academic language in L2" (Solano, 2008, 192). As many of the students in this study were beginning language learners, it is possible that these assessments captured their reduced growth in academic language development while overlooking any growth in terms of conversational skills. Overall, there is reason to believe that literacy assessments used to measure the performance of English language learners contain limitations. Although these tests often include specific accommodations for English language learners, "the limited extent to which testing accommodations can address language makes it unlikely that they contribute significantly to producing valid test scores for ELLs" (Solano, 2008, 191 ). 220

PAGE 239

221

PAGE 240

CHAPTER VII CONCLUSION This analysis of coaching within a community of practice as a professional development model took place during the 2010-2011 school year in a large urban high school in a western state, serving grades nine through twelve. The purpose of this study was to examine this school's implementation of a specific coaching model integrating a community of practice. The features and purposes of this professional development model were analyzed in order to clearly describe the activities of the community of practice at this high school and its effects on the classroom instruction of four target teachers. Finally, the state assessment scores of students in the classrooms of the four teachers chosen for this study were analyzed in order to determine the effects of any observed instructional changes on reading and writing test scores. Findings As the purpose of this study was to define the professional development model and describe its effects on teacher instruction and student achievement, the findings of this study pertained to these three areas. The Professional Development Model During the initial interview with Alice Horner, the literacy coach directing this community of practice, the specific goals ofthe professional development 222

PAGE 241

were defined. According to Alice, "the quality of instruction for our ELA students will improve" and "the achievement ofthese students will improve." She explained that the instructional improvements would relate to "strategies that teachers would use to work with English learners and that promote English language development." Thus, this model was intended to improve the ELA instruction of the members of this community of practice. Accordingly, the model intended to display improvements in student achievement on language specific assessments such as the CELA and literacy specific assessments such as the reading and writing portions of the CSAP and the Acuity tests developed as predictors for the CSAP. These effects, as determined by this study, on teacher instruction and student achievement were specifically addressed in chapters V and VI, respectively. Instructional Changes In order to analyze the changes in the target teachers' instruction over the course ofthe school year, a portion of the SlOP rubric was utilized during observations. Each of the four target teachers' scores on this SlOP rubric improved by an average of seven out of forty points, or 28%; over a seven month period. Ofthe areas of focus chosen by this community of practice and analyzed within this abbreviated SlOP rubric, interaction among students to achieve language growth in English received the most attention during meetings and learning labs. Indeed, this was the largest growth area by the target teachers in the 223

PAGE 242

study. All four of the target teachers decided to focus on use of group work with their classes as a means to encourage student talk and interaction in English. In addition, three of the four teachers committed themselves to incorporating sentence stems into their instruction on a regular basis. Finally, the common use of oral English in these classrooms became increasingly prevalent over the course of the school year. The fact that the instructional focus which received the most emphasis during the community of practice work was also the area of instruction in which the target teachers exhibited the most growth in their classroom practices is noteworthy. This connection between community of practice work and individual instruction implies that this professional development model was, in fact, affecting classroom instruction at Hardin High School. Student Achievement As discussed in chapter 6, while the student cohort made gains, the comparison of the student cohort group's score on CSAP/CELA reading and writing with the school and district displayed that the cohort group underperformed in reading and writing growth. No other findings through the set of analyses conducted determined improvement of the student cohort group on CSAP/CELA reading and writing when compared to the school and district population. Modest gains were recognized when the cohort group was compared to the state. Analysis of Acuity reading data reveal a decrease in the percent of cohort students achieving proficiency; however, this decrease was noticeably smaller than the decreases in percent proficient on the same assessments at the 224

PAGE 243

school and district levels. Overall, this study found little to no evidence of a connection between community of practice work and student growth. Though this implies that this professional development model did not have an atypical, large effect on student achievement at Hardin High School, a number of specific limitations to the study contextualize these results and suggest approaches likely to show sounder results in future research. Limitations As mentioned in chapter 3, the transferability of the results of this research depends on the interpretation of readers and the similarities of the study to their contexts. As this analysis focused solely on one community of practice, the instructional growth of four target teachers, and the test scores of the students in these teachers' classrooms, its transferability is limited by the scope. Three contextual aspects of this professional development model which were outside the scope of this study serve as limitations: (a) the coach's role, (b) the non-target teachers, and (c) the perspectives. The Coach's Role During the 2010-2011 school year, Alice Homer workt:d as a half-time coach at Hardin High School and was responsible for the school's professional development around teacher instruction concerning English language acquisition. As nearly 80% of Hardin's 1728 students were considered English language learners at the time of this study, this was a daunting task which involved a wide array of professional duties. This study analyzed her work with one community of 225

PAGE 244

practice through the learning labs, and then focusing primarily on the development of four of its members. All duties that Alice fulfilled beyond her interactions with this group lay outside the scope of this study. For this reason, the results of this research are limited to this set of activities within the coaching role and not the overall effectiveness of this position. Additionally, this study did not include any direct observations of Alice's individual work with the target teachers. Though Alice met with all of these teachers multiple times over the course of the school year and discussed instructional issues connected to the work of the community of practice, this work also lay outside the scope of the study and little can be stated regarding its effects on these teachers' instruction. What was observed in detail, however, was the coach's role in facilitating the learning labs. The NonTarget Teachers In order to perform an in-depth analysis of the intended effects of this professional development model, it was necessary to limit the breadth of this study. For this reason, only four of the-ten participating educators from the learning lab were chosen as target teachers. These teachers were chosen based on the fact that they served the same students in their classrooms each day, thus increasing the likelihood that any changes in student achievement were likely to be a result of changes in their instruction. However, by focusing on only these four target teachers, this study intentionally overlooked the remaining six members ofthis community of practice and is unable to discuss the impact ofthis professional development model on any of these educators. 226

PAGE 245

The Students' Perspectives The ultimate goal of this professional development model was increased student achievement. This study was able to determine the effectiveness of that goal by analyzing a variety of district and state assessments taken by these students. By choosing to focus upon these test scores, this research overlooked classroom-specific formative assessment growth as well as the students' own perspectives on the professional development model. No data were collected regarding the students' growth over time on teacher-constructed interval assessments. For this reason, specific areas of student growth, beyond reading and writing, cannot be addressed. In addition, a richer description of student growth would be possible if the students' perspectives of the instructional alterations (e.g. group work, sentence stems, language usage) were included. As no data were collected regarding student perspectives, this also limits the generalizability of the results ofthis study. Shifting Beliefs: A Possible Explanation for the Results The second research question specifically addressed the extent to which the instructional practices of the teachers within this community of practice changed. Though the intention of this study was to determine change in instructional practices, one additional finding was the fundamental pedagogical shift which occurred in teachers' beliefs. This shift in beliefs can be most clearly seen in how Selma engaged in the process and is also suggested by the analysis of Pilar's and Jocelyn's behaviors. As Samuel was absent from two of the four labs, 227

PAGE 246

he is the only target teacher for whom there is insufficient evidence to suggest a shift in pedagogical beliefs. As stated in Chapter 2, community of practice members mutually constitute the group's identity through their shared practices, experiences, and distributed cognition with the guidance of a more knowledgeable other (Gee, 1992; Rogoff, 2003; L. S. Vygotsky, 1978). This group identity provides the members with a new perspective from which to view and reflect upon their instructional practices. Over the course of the 2010-2011 school year at Hardin High School, community of practice members altered their practices based upon their shifting beliefs, as they often stated explicitly in their learning lab exit tickets. Selma, in particular, viewed this professional development model as a transformative experience, explaining to her coach that "she reflected more this year as a teacher than she ever had before." As a veteran teacher of 19 years, she had clearly considered student-centered teaching strategies in the past, but she had never altered her classroom instruction to incorporate these approaches. Selma's instructional alterations regarding student-centered classrooms and active learning imply a major change in her pedagogical beliefs. Other research on the subject of teachers engaging in learning Jabs indicates that such activities have the potential to significantly alter teachers' pedagogical beliefs and that these results are not unique to this study (Brancard & QuinnWilliams, 2011; Vanderburg & Stephens, 2010). As Brancard and QuinnWilliams (2011) explain: 228

PAGE 247

We found multiple examples in the data indicating that teachers changed their beliefs about students and their roles as teachers. Teachers changed some of their beliefs about what students can do and how they learn. They made changes in their beliefs about teacher roles in the classroom and their views of teacher collaboration and professional development. These amended ways of thinking corresponded with new classroom practices for many ofthe teachers (Brancard & Quinn Williams 2011, 7). Though unanticipated, these results are of great importance and deserve further explanation. However, a challenge has been to find a model of adult learning that might explain these changes in teacher beliefs. One useful method for describing such changes is provided by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey (Kegan, 1994; Kegan & Lahey, 2001, 2009). Their most recent work addresses the illusive nature of sustainable change and the factors which serve as major impediments to meaningful change. One concept that arises quite early in their work is the notion of the "big assumption." According to these authors: An assumption is 'big' if we do not actually take it as an assumption but instead as the truth. The dictionary tells us that an assumption is something whose truth status is uncertain; it may or may not be true. But Big Assumptions are the ones we take as true .... Assumptionstaken-as-truth are what we mean by Big Assumptions. They are not so 229

PAGE 248

much the assumptions we have as they are the assumptions that have us (Kegan & Lahey, 2001, 68). They go on to explain that these big assumptions are the underlying beliefs we utilize to build our understandings of the world around us. Though these assumptions often cause severe difficulties in our personal and professional lives, they are such fundamental constructs to the ways in which we perceive the world that it is no simple task to dispose of them even when they are detrimental to our existence. As the authors explain, "most people are carrying on about as bravely and effectively as they can within the world of their assumptive designs" (68). One reason these big assumptions are so difficult to move beyond is because the person who is held by the assumption believes that the consequences of not following the assumed design would be "quite dire" (74). In order to clarify the nature of this immunity to change for the individual, the authors developed a four-column conceptual map which addresses the big assumption and its stagnating effects on the individual's ability to change. These four columns are: (a) commitment-I am committed to the value or the importance of ___, (b) personal responsibility-what I'm doing or not doing that prevents my commitment from being fully realized; (c) competing commitment -I may also be committed to___; and (d) the assumptions we hold-I assume that __ 230

PAGE 249

Selma's Shift In Table 14, the four-column map is used as a tool to display Selma's difficulties in developing a student-centered model of education in her classroom. Based on the comments in her reflection paper, it was clear that Selma struggled with finding ways "not to control [her students] so much." Though the group focus through much of her work in the community of practice was interaction and her focus at the very first learning lab was finding ways to get students to practice their English with each other, her classroom instructional practices clearly contradicted this goal. From observing Selma's instruction, participation in the community of practice, and reading her reflective pieces, it became clear that, though she was committed to a student-centered classroom environment, the fact that she depended upon a lecture-based instructional model in which student voices were silenced and active learning practices were entirely absent prevented this commitment from being realized. Her need to control student behavior and learning served as a competing commitment which impeded the success of her primary commitment to increasing student-centered activities in her class. This competing commitment existed because Selma, like many other educators, viewed the alternative to a highly-structured classroom environment as ineffective chaos, as described in Chapter 5. Thus, Selma's big assumption that a structured classroom environment was critical to student 231

PAGE 250

learning served as a direct impediment to her ability to change even when intrinsically motivated to do so. Table 14: Selma's Four-Column Map Act i ve learn i ng and a studentce n tered classroom. Avoiding student centered activities and small-gr o up work. Over-structuring the classroom environment. Depending upon lectures as primary mode of instruction Managing Students classroom require a structured Controlling environment in student learning order to learn. and behavior Unstructured classroom environments lead to chaos. Selma's big assumption, developed over eighteen years in the classroom, had made her practice immune to change, regardless of origin. However, as Kegan and Lahey (2001) explain, steps can be taken "to look at rather than through our big assumptions" (81). One important step to analyzing such an assumption is to look for experiences that cast doubt on the assumption's validity. In the very first learning lab, Selma found such an experience. During the pre-brief of this learning lab, she was provided with the opportunity to clarify her beliefs for herself. As Selma stated, she was 232

PAGE 251

reticent about group work because her students "speak Spanish in their groups" and fail to achieve the language objectives. After clarifying this belief, she observed Pilar's class working in groups in order to determine if her belief, or big assumption, was entirely valid. After observing how effective this student centered approach was in Pilar's class, Selma began to alter her big assumption. "The learning lab in Pilar's class helped me to take more risk in allowing students to work in groups. As I planned for my classes for the following weeks, I kept in mind the learning lab that Pilar had hosted." As Selma explained, the observation of Pilar's classroom provided her with the opportunity to begin challenging her own big assumption. Kegan and Lahey (2001) describe another step in this process: Another crucial step in challenging and transforming the big assumption involves inviting group members to design a modest and safe test of their Big Assumptions .... This involves the first real action in the world ... for purposes of seeing what happens, that is, gaining information that can be reflected upon, individually and within the group, in light of the Big Assumption (85). For Selma, this next step occurred when she decided to host the second learning lab. This was a modest test as it only involved dismissing her big assumption for one class period on one school day. It was also a relatively safe test due to the facilitation of the literacy coach. Not only did Alice meet twice with Selma to guide her in preparing an effective lesson to present to her peers, 233

PAGE 252

she also served as Selma's reliefifanything were to go wrong. As Selma clearly explained that she was implementing a student-centered approach during the lesson she hosted because "Alice said it was good," the accountability for the effectiveness of the lesson rested on Alice's shoulders as much as Selma's. Should the lesson have proven ineffective, Alice's poor instructional advice would have been the cause. However, this lesson appeared effective to Selma and successfully allowed her to dismiss her big assumption in planning for future lessons. As Selma explained, "The lab built on my confidence, and I used the same activity in my other two geography classes. I kept encouraging my students to use more English, and work in groups." It is important to note that Selma did not achieve this transformation in isolation, but altered her instruction while working toward the shared goals of the community of practice as a whole. Kegan and Lahey (2009) explain that "addressing one's individual change challenge within the context of a group's efforts to improve may provide the strongest source of motivation and support to successfully complete the work" (146). Selma not only received the support and assistance of the entire community of practice, but also was provided with a safe context in which she continually reflected upon her instructional practices and underlying beliefs. As Pilar explained after hosting her learning lab, "The learning labs have provided me a safe place to try new things with the feedback of my colleagues." Kegan and Lahey's conceptual approach to overcoming an individual's immunity to change in the context of a supportive group effectively 234

PAGE 253

describes the ways in which Hardin High School's community of practice helped Selma overcome a big assumption she had held for many years. Pilar's Shift As the target teacher with the highest score on the SlOP rubric initially, Pilar had already implemented many of the collaborative approaches with which her colleagues were struggling. However, Pilar also engaged in instructional activities which contradicted her commitments. One example of such a contradiction was in her insistence upon an English-only classroom. As Pilar explained in her final reflection at the end of the school year, "I thought they couldn't speak in Spanish at all, so I wanted to make them speak only English." Though she was generally pleased with her students' actions during the learning lab she hosted at the beginning of the school year, she exposed a degree of shame afterward. "I noticed that the students in the class I hosted were processing knowledge in Spanish, then sharing it English." Though Pilar does not specifically state her reaction to this observation here, it was clear that she was displeased with what she perceived as a failure on the part of her students and, by extension, her instruction. Thus, though Pilar consistently addressed content standards with her students and was clearly committed to their mastery of this information, she regularly enforced an English-only classroom which caused her students to struggle with content mastery. Based on her reflective comments, it is reasonable to assume that her commitment to an English-only classroom was based upon a misguided belief that this was the only way she would be able to 235

PAGE 254

help them acquire the language she was attempting to teach. This is displayed through a four-column map in Table 15. Table 15: Pilar's Four-Column Map Students mastering content Forcing them to speak English at all times Never allowing students to process content in their native languages An English-only classroom Controlling student language usage at all times Students must practice English constantly to learn the language If I do not enforce an English-only classroom, I will be deemed an unsuccessful language instructor The practice of allowing students to engage in discussions in their native languages in order to comprehend content at a higher level was not discussed openly during the learning labs, but it was introduced in a reading presented to the community of practice by the literacy coach and discussed by the members prior to the learning lab. This conversation clearly impacted Pilar, who later explained that, "I learned from a reading ... that it is OK for students to process content in their native language and then to transfer this into English. In the past, I would 236

PAGE 255

perhaps not allow any processing in Spanish and therefore no results were produced." Particularly, her recognition of the fact that "no results were produced," displayed her realization that the competing commitment was in direct contradiction to her primary goal. The experience provided Pilar with the opportunity to look at rather than through her assumptions regarding an English-only classroom. Though Pilar was not able to test her assumption in front of her colleagues by hosting another learning lab, the fact that she altered her practice during the observed lessons displays that she did eventually test her assumption and discard it. Though it is unclear whether this was done during individual instruction or in the presence of the literacy coach, she did address the importance of the community of practice in providing the safe environment necessary to test and reflect upon these assumptions. As she explained at the end of the year, "the learning labs have provided me with a safe place to try new things with the feedback of my colleagues." As Kegan and Lahey (2001) explain, safety is a necessary component of the test which the individual uses to determine the potentially invalid nature of the big assumption. In the community of practice work, Pilar perceived the creation of an environment conducive to collaborative "deconstructive criticism," or criticism whose "central intention is neither to tear down nor build up but instead disassemble, and the object of attention is not first of all the other but our own evaluation or judgment" (Kegan & Lahey 2001, 133). 237

PAGE 256

Jocelyn's Shift As Jocelyn was unavailable for the first three observations, determining the nature of her shifting beliefs based upon contradictions between commitments and actions cannot be accomplished through directly observable behaviors. Despite this lack of observational data, a shift in her beliefs is suggested through her participation in the community of practice and the literacy coach's description of her classroom instruction over the course of the year. As the English teacher of the group, Jocelyn felt an increased responsibility for the students' language development. This was clearly displayed during the pre-brief of the first learning lab. After Selma explained that her focus for the observation of the lesson would be "getting students to practice their English with each other," Jocelyn responded by explaining that she had the same problem, "even in an English class." As Jocelyn's exit ticket displayed, she was committed to "increasing opportunities for her students to practice their English," using approaches such as group work. However, during Alice's initial observations of Jocelyn's classroom, it was clear that she was "a get-with-a partner kind of person" rather than a teacher who utilized intentional grouping. Jocelyn's instructional practice of randomly pairing students contradicted her commitment to increasing English-speaking opportunities for her students and was likely a product of the competing commitment of time management. Table 16 displays this process through a four-column map. 238

PAGE 257

Table 16:jocelyn's Four-Column Map Increas ing opportu nities for my students to practice their English Randomly pairing students Not planning intentional groups to challenge and support student language acquisition Conserving planning time to prepare for other courses, grade, and d o work I deem more important. The way in which I group students is less important than my other duties. Perhaps I doubt my expertise in accurately grouping students to achieve language uisition. Though Alice explained that Jocelyn had not been dedicating her time to intentional grouping, after observing Pilar host the first learning lab, she entered into a lengthy discussion of individual student needs with the community of practice in which she suggested that, "we could talk about how we're grouping these kids." Although the group did not specifically address grouping during this meeting, it maintained its prominence in Jocelyn's mind. During the pre-brief of the second learning lab, Jocelyn shared that she had been "thinking of doing similar levels in groups" or "maintaining groups throughout the year." Though 239

PAGE 258

grouping was not Jocelyn's stated focus for her observation in this learning lab, during the debrief, she shared the following implications for student learning: "Really planning your groups carefully makes instruction more effective." On the exit ticket for the second meeting of the community of practice, in response to the question: How will what you learned today impact student achievement in your classroom? Jocelyn wrote: "Specific grouping/intentional grouping." If Jocelyn previously believed that the way she was grouping her students was less important than her other duties, her observations in the second learning lab provided her with the opportunity to doubt the validity of that assumption. Jocelyn was able to run a safe and modest test of her assumption during the third learning lab when she hosted a lesson focused on "speaking and increasing speaking opportunities." This lesson involved students working in groups to develop questions, taking turns in these groups to record the questions on a digital program, and shifting into new groups in order to listen to the recordings and determine the answers to the questions posed during the first half of the lesson. As both sets of groups were planned before the lesson, Jocelyn had clearly spent time preparing inteutional groups. The pleasure Jocelyn expressed during the debrief of this learning lab displayed her recognition of the error inherent in her big assumption, an assumption that was discarded according to her literacy coach. "By the end of the year she would plan who the partners were and grouped them really thinking about why that person. She also started to 240

PAGE 259

experiment quite a bit with heterogeneous and homogeneous groupings in her classroom." As previously mentioned, results which indicate shifts in belief amongst educators involved in literacy coaching work are by no means unique to this study. Cantrell and Hughes (2008) addressed the sense of self-efficacy created by the secondary literacy coaching model which they analyzed. In their analysis of the South Carolina Reading Initiative (SCRI), Stephens and Morgan (2007) explained that eighteen of the teachers involved discussed how their beliefs regarding the ways in which children learn and effective teaching practices changed based on their work with the literacy coach as part of their SCRI study groups. Recommendations for Practice Hardin High School's approach to coaching within a community of practice represents one of many types of collaborative coaching models recommended by recent research in secondary literacy coaching (Brown et al., 2008; Marsh et al., 2008; Shanklin et al., 2009; Stephens & Morgan, 2007). Many of these models have been recommended based upon their potential for developing sustainable change as well as their relative cost-effectiveness. For individuals interested in implementing professional development models similar to Hardin High School's, this study highlights a variety of factors worthy of consideration. Prior to discussing these factors, it is important to note that this community of practice entered into the majority of its collaborative work in the 241

PAGE 260

form of learning labs. Though focal sessions and collaborative planning meetings were initially intended to comprise eight of the thirteen meetings, the second and third focal sessions were cancelled and the collaborative planning time was not specifically dedicated to the collective goals determined by the community of practice. For this reason, many of these recommendations focus upon activities in which participants engaged during the learning labs. Based on the findings of this study, recommendations for practice will be made in the following seven areas: (a) determining focus, (b) being flexible with protocols, (c) incorporating professional readings, (d) determining student growth through assessment, (e) coaching individually, and (f) altering collaborative planning time. Determining Focus During the first meeting of this community of practice, the participants democratically determined the three areas of focus for their collaborative work from the eight components of the SlOP. Of the three areas chosen, interaction was determined to be the most significant area of interest. According to Echevarria et al. (2004), interaction includes instructional techniques and structures which provide opp01tunities for students to use English to "interact in their collaborative investigation of a body of knowledge" (99). These authors explain that a sheltered instruction classroom in any content area should provide ample opportunities for student to interact with one another using academic English language in their speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Over the course of the year, the majority of the community of practice's work was dedicated to this component. For this 242

PAGE 261

reason, three of the four learning labs specifically focused upon instructional approaches meant to increase interaction in English within the classroom. Due to this work, the target teachers' greatest gains were in the area of interaction on the SlOP rubric. In addition, the most common classroom alterations addressed the incorporation of group work, sentence stems, and oral English, all of which are directly connected to interaction as a SlOP component. The fact that the primary focus chosen by the community of practice was also the area in which the most changes were made instructionally speaks to the importance of determining an appropriate focus for the community of practice. Had the literacy coach chosen a focus of lesser value or chosen a focus that was not fully supported by the participants of the community of practice, the gains may have been much less significant. For this reason, this study recommends that the facilitator of the professional development model determine the most valuable areas of focus based on student data and allow the participants to choose the most relevant to their classrooms well in advance of the first learning lab. Being Flexible with Protocols To review, learning labs begin with the community of practice meeting together prior to the observation to prepare for the experience through the use of a five step pre-brief led by the facilitator. The host teacher provides the lesson overview; the observers ask questions; observational foci on non evaluative observations connected to each teacher's personal work are identified. Each observing teacher then determines how sjhe will gather 243

PAGE 262

evidence around his/her focus during the observation and takes notes to review during the debrief. After the host teacher has presented the lesson to the observing teachers, the group meets again and follows a six step debrief to help participants reflect on what they observed and what they will take away from the experience for their own practice. First, the observers review their recorded evidence and make silent annotations. These notes are then shared by all, and the host teacher responds when all have finished. After an open discussion, all the participants record implications for student learning that they are taking away from the experience. Finally, the individual participants return to their earlier journal entries regarding pedagogical beliefs to determine if these beliefs were supported or questioned in any way over the course of the learning lab. As these discussions are intended to engage all participants in the evolution of their own instructional practices and evaluation of their underlying beliefs, adherence to the protocol during pre and debriefs is of great importance. During three of the four debriefs at Hardin High School, observing participants made statements regarding implications for student learning in the host classroom that were not clearly supported by data recorded during observation. On each of these occasions, the literacy coach questioned the participants, allowing them the opportunity to support or retract their statements. By doing so, the literacy coach ensured that participants' realizations were factually based, and teachers were urged to 244

PAGE 263

recognize, question, and test their beliefs. For this reason, this study recommends conscientious adherence to the learning lab protocol. However, it is also important to note that one of the changes observable in three of the four target teachers' classrooms, the incorporation of the sentence stem chart, was a product of a clear deviation from the debrief protocol. When the literacy coach attempted to push forward with the prescribed steps during this first learning lab, members of the community of practice protested and she relented, allowing them to continue what they viewed as important collaborative work. After the learning lab, in response to the exit ticket question: Do you have any suggestions for how we might make the learning lab process better? Pilar recommended, "Flexibility to work on things like we did today-sentence starters (discuss ways to improve things right now)." For this reason, this study recommends allowing for deviations from the prescribed protocol when collaborative opportunities appear valuable to the participants themselves. Incorporating Professional Readings Though two of the three focal sessions were cancelled, the professional readings intended for these meetings were incorporated into the pre-briefs of the learning labs. These readings served as starting points for the community of practice's conversations, but also directly affected the instruction of the teachers. Pilar, the target teacher with the highest initial SlOP score, explained that one of the professional readings addressed the importance of students' processing 245

PAGE 264

knowledge in their native languages in order to successfully acquire content prior to displaying this knowledge in English. Based in part on this reading, Pilar altered her classroom expectations and instructional approach to allow for this processing to occur. Pilar's reaction implied that the time spent reviewing professional texts and research before the pre-brief can be a valuable source of instructional change. This study recommends incorporating professional readings and their discussion into community of practice meetings, whether focal sessions are maintained or not. Altering Collaborative Planning Time One factor which must be considered when implementing a professional development model similar to coaching within a community of practice is the cost of such a program. As previously mentioned, this study finds that the role of the literacy coach as facilitator of the learning labs is of extreme importance; however, the value of this role for sustained individualized coaching of all members of the community of practice is outside the scope of this study and must be determined by the stakeholders implementing the professional development. In addition to the cost of a parttime literacy coach, Hardin High School also paid for class coverage for all participating members of the community of practice for all four learning labs. In total, this was a cost of thirty-five full days of class coverage during the 2010-2011 school year. 246

PAGE 265

In an attempt to minimize these costs, one aspect of the community of practice work which could be altered is the collaborative planning time. These meetings were implemented with the intention of providing participants with the opportunity to specifically plan ways to use ideas from learning labs to develop future lessons. As the literacy coach explained in her first interview: There is a value to it because people get so many ideas from labs but then you go right back to your day to day teaching and you leave the ideas behind, whereas if you have a little more time to discuss those ideas with a colleague, I think it's much more likely that those ideas are going to go into practice. Based on the findings of this study, however, it did not appear that collaborative planning time was consistently used for this purpose by the majority of the participants. Over the course of the three afternoon meetings, teachers regularly left the meetings to prepare for their classes in isolation or met with one another to discuss other subjects. During the fourth full-day meeting of the community of practice, collaborative planning time was replaced altogether with a reflection activity. Alice, the literacy coach, readily admitted that the value of these meetings was debatable: "If a school didn't have the collaborative planning time attached to the learning lab, I think it would be fine." For this reason, this study recommends finding more time-effective methods to providing collaborative opportunities amongst participants. 247

PAGE 266

Determining Student Growth through Assessment As mentioned in the previous chapter, assessments currently fail to capture the complexity ofliteracy proficiency for English language learners. As Solano (2008) explains, the diversity of abilities within a performance band, the rate at which language learners develop academic language, and language learners' proficiencies in their first language are three factors that complicate assessment approaches. Though literacy assessments attempt to accommodate for English language learners through strategies such as orally reading written questions, these accommodations are insufficient to develop complete pictures of students' abilities (Solano-Flores, 2008). For these reasons, future assessments should strive to account for measurement error inherent within testing students within this population. Coaching Individually At the onset of this study during the preliminary interview with the literacy coach, Alice explained that coaching the host teacher for each of the learning labs was of extreme importance: One thing I've found to be critical: you have to coach that teacher that is hosting the lab. You have to coach them, you have to eo-plan with them; you can't put too much emphasis on that piece. I usually try to start coaching two to three weeks ahead, three if I'm unfamiliar with the class, so that I can get to know the class a little so that as we're co-planning I'll know who we're planning for, I know the audience. I try and have two or 248

PAGE 267

three times to eo-plan together, so we could use three weeks. I feel like most host teachers walk away saying that was the best part of the lab for me, having that time to eo-plan because most teachers don't have that time to plan and every lab that comes out it's wow-planning. The more you plan the more you get out of your students. As she explained in her exit interview and as the target teachers attested to when they addressed the success of the lessons they hosted, the time this literacy coach spent co-planning with the host teachers was significant. Not only did these hosts present lessons that they agreed were highly successful, but the guidance of the literacy coach helped to develop a safe environment in which the target teachers were able to implement best practices that challenged their assumptions about classroom instruction. In addition to individually coaching the hosts prior to the lesson, this study recommends stakeholders consider utilizing a literacy coach to work with each member of the community of practice in his or her classroom. Based on the testimony of Selma and Pilar and the literacy coach's explanation of the substance of the individual coaching, there is reason to believe that the collaborative instructional discussions led to personal realizations that affected changes in the target teachers' instruction when they were supported by individualized coaching. This study urges literacy coaches working in communities of practice to build upon teachers' collaborative work by specifically referring to this work during individual coaching sessions. Literacy coaches have the opportunity to align the 249

PAGE 268

work of the community of practice with their individual coaching cycles by engaging teachers in the work to which they committed during individual coaching, tracking the progress made during these coaching sessions, and using this information to help guide the teachers during community of practice work. The potential value of analyzing the effects of these individual sessions when coupled with collaborative coaching models will be addressed in the recommendations for future research. Recommendations for Future Research It is critical to continue research in the area of professional learning and development so that literacy instruction, particularly in urban areas, can improve and continue to reduce the gaps in educational quality (J. E. Taylor, 2008). This study of a small group of educators in an urban school provides an explanation of how to utilize a collaborative coaching approach to engage teachers in practices which can enable them to question, test, and ultimately alter their underlying beliefs and assumptions regarding classroom instruction. However, as this study was intended to track changes in teacher instruction over the course of the year and the focus ofthe professional development model itself was teacher instruction, this study's ability to display changes in student achievement on standardized assessments was limited. As student achievement is and will likely remain the ultimate standard by which professional development models are judged, it is of great importance that future research be completed connecting collaborative coaching models to student 250

PAGE 269

growth. One potential approach to bridging this divide would be a longitudinal study in which instructional change is the focus of the first year and student growth is determined through a comparative analysis of student achievement before and after the same teachers have participated in the professional development model. Another interesting concept to consider would be teacher generated formative assessments, administered at regular intervals, which could be utilized to determine student growth more regularly throughout the course of the school year and adjust instruction accordingly. Regardless of the method chosen, student data must be successfully incorporated into future research if program goals, and thus sustainability, are to be achieved. A second area for future research which became quite apparent during the course of this study is the role of the literacy coach. Though an increasing body of research has been conducted on literacy coaching roles, the growing prevalence of collaborative coaching models in which groups of teachers cooperatively engage in professional development with the guidance of a literacy coach presents a significantly different role for the coach to fill (Kannapel, 2007; Knight, 2007; Marsh et al., 2008; Neufeld & Roper, 2003; Poglim:o et al., 2003; Rainville, 2007; Shanklin et al., 2009; Stichter et al., 2006). Exploring questions related to the most effective roles and responsibilities for literacy coaches in collaborative coaching environments is essential to the future of these professional development models. Questions to consider in future research include: 251

PAGE 270

What are the roles and responsibilities of a literacy coach working within a collaborative professional development model? Which of these roles and responsibilities have the greatest impact on instructional change? Which of these roles and responsibilities have the greatest impact on student achievement? What is the cost of employing a literacy coach to fill each of these roles? Can greater shifts in practice be achieved when follow through from collaborative work to individual coaching is more intentional? Can greater shifts in practice be achieved when there is greater emphasis on discussion and analysis of student work? What is the most effective way to choose the participants, foci, and hosts of these collaborative groups, and how should the literacy coach be involved in these choices? Examining the responsibilities of literacy coaches in collaborative professional development models will provide stakeholders with a clearer understanding of the financial cost and educational value of these roles so that they may make more informed decisions in developing faculty who can bring about school improvement and reform. Finally, multiple approaches to increasing the rate of instructional change and student achievement must be analyzed in order to determine a broader set of 252

PAGE 271

professional development practices for schools such as Hardin to implement. Potential areas of focus for professional development should include ways to involve students', families' and community stakeholders' perspectives on instruction and student achievement. In addition, future research would be wise to study professional development models in which clear and achievable goals were determined by the community of practice regarding student achievement. By focusing on such models, future research will be better able to address the effectiveness of these models in terms of student outcomes. Implications The results of this study hold many implications concerning both the implementation of collaborative coaching models and their potential effects. Though the initial intention of this study was to examine the effects of this professional development model on teacher instruction and student achievement, unexpected outcomes regarding the satisfaction, engagement, and personal beliefs ofthe teachers participating within this community of practice speak to the possibilities inherent within collaborative coaching models. Implementation Throughout the course ofthe 2010-2011 school year, a group often teachers and a literacy coach at Hardin High School formed a community of practice which engaged in collaborative activities as a form of professional development. These community of practice activities, however, were not the only form of professional development in which these teachers engaged. In addition to 253

PAGE 272

ensuring that these collaborative activities are directly connected to the individual coaching of each of the participants, it is also highly important to draw connections between the community of practice work and the professional development occurring throughout the school. As Sweeney (2011) explains when describing the activities of a literacy coach she views as successfully implementing learning labs: The coach worked to determine a shared focus for teacher learning that would connect to the professional development activities that were taking place already [in the school]. With these changes, the labs didn't feel disconnected but rather fit nicely into a comprehensive system of support for teachers ( 117). By incorporating the work of these communities of practice into the broader professional development activities of the whole school, one can eliminate a sense of isolation while increasing the support provided to the participants who recognize the community of practice work as a larger interwoven tapestry of professional development (Sweeney, 2011). Potential Regardless of need, professional development initiatives are not consistently perceived as beneficial by the faculties of public schools (DuFour & Eaker, 1998; Freedman et al., 1999; B. R. Joyce & Showers, 1988). For this reason, approaches which are accepted as highly effective in one context may be rejected in another. In addition, due to the economic fragility of many embedded 254

PAGE 273

professional development programs, the sustainability of any instructional change must be considered when choosing a professional development model. Stakeholders would thus be wise to look for approaches that have more additive effects on teachers than temporary adoption of new instructional practices. Brancard and Quinn Williams (2011) refer to professional development models with such effects as "transformative" and explain that they are "required for teachers to make sustained changes in their practice to support the learning of English language learners" (Brancard & Quinn Williams 2011, 4). Participant engagement and additive effects are two areas in which communities of practice which engage in learning labs hold great potential. Participant engagement. Though Hardin High School's faculty has displayed reluctance regarding many professional development activities, the learning labs in which this faculty has engaged have regularly been described as the most positive professional development experiences by the teachers. At the conclusion of the 2009-2010 school year, 73 members of the faculty completed a questionnaire about the cross content professional development in which every faculty member engaged over the course of the preceding school year. The questionnaire asked teachers to rate the extent to which the various aspects of this collaborative work supported their professional learning on a 4-point Likert scale (1 = not at all supportive of my learning; 2=somewhat supportive of my learning; 3=supportive of my learning; 255

PAGE 274

4= very supportive of my learning; n/a= unable to evaluate). Based on the unpublished results of this questionnaire: Mean scores ranged from 2.68 to 3.4, with the value of the learning lab experience receiving the highest rating. Standard deviations ranged from .76 to 1.0, indicating a relatively high variability in teachers' ratings. The median score for the learning lab experience was 4. The median score for all other aspects of the professional development was 3. Teachers rated having a shared team focus, opportunities to share teaching ideas with team members and the learning lab experience with a mean score greater than 3. They rated the action research project, reading of articles and strategy descriptions, and examination of student work with a mean score less than 3. These results are displayed in Table 17. In addition, when teachers were asked whether they desired the opportunity to participate in learning labs during the following school year, 44 of 58 respondents said they would. This level of participant engagement was again reflected in another survey completed by the school's faculty at the conclusion of the 2010-2011 school year. This survey requested that the faculty respond to each professional development activity with regards to three specific statements: (a) the content of this professional development supported my professional growth, (b) I applied what I learned from this professional development, and (c) I would like to learn more about this topic. Teachers responded to the level at which they agreed with each 256

PAGE 275

Table 17: Hardin 's 2010 Professional Development Questionnaire Aspect of Cross-Content Team Mean Standard Median PD Score Deviation Score 1. Cross-content teams identified a SlOP element as 3.08 .76 3 a shared focus for their learning. 2. Each participant worked on an action research project 2.78 .82 3 related to the team's shared focus 3. Each session provided opportunities for team 3.14 .8 7 3 members to share teaching ideas. 4. Participants read articles, book excerpts, and strategy 2.68 .86 3 descriptions related to their team focus 5. Participants brought student work examples to sessions 2.76 1.0 3 and discussed the work following protocols. 6. Each team participated in a learning lab. 3.4 .80 4 of these statements using a 4-point Likert scale. Of the eleven different professional activities addressed, engagement in learning labs received the highest mean score for each of the three areas of response. No other professional development activity had a mean rating of three or above in any area. The results of this survey are displayed in Table 18. In the open-ended response section at the end of this survey, nine comments were made by individual teachers regarding their experiences during learning labs: 1. Great use of strategies and use of technology for student engagement. 257

PAGE 276

2. Getting support, researching and testing new strategies, feedback/reflection, collaboration. Insightful and inspirational. 3. Gives courage and support to try new things. 4. Opportunity to learn from other teachers and to evaluate my own methods of teaching. Table 18: Hardin's 2011 Professional Development Survey The content of this PD supported my professional learn more about this Strongly Disagree 4.2% Disagree Agree Strongly Agree 12.5% 50% 33.3% Rating Count Average 3.13 24 24 24 5. Hosting the lab was a confidence builder and allowed me to get specific, immediate feedback about my instruction from my colleagues. 6. Collaboration with other teachers. 7. I liked doing it cross content better from the year before. It was nice to see the teachers who also teach our kids. 8. Live experience ... direct experience. 9. Enjoyed watching my peers. 258

PAGE 277

The fact that each of these comments speaks positively of the learning lab experience reinforces the value ofthis form of professional development from the perspective of the teachers. As a professional development activity with a consistently high level of engagement, learning labs have the potential to be highly effective in communities of practice. Additive effects. Many schools contain cultures that are not conducive to collaborative work and within which teachers tend to work in isolation (Deal & Peterson, 1999). Based on the results of this study, it is reasonable to believe that professional development models such as Hardin High School's have the ability to utilize community of practice work and the learning lab protocol to develop a culture of collaboration. Over the course of the school year, it was clear that Selma and Pilar developed a relationship both professionally and personally that was conducive to their mutual reflection. As the year progressed, they were increasingly likely to be together during lunch and off-periods. As the literacy coach explained, relationships such as these were not uncommon products of community of practice work. Alice explained her belief that these relationships were based, in part, on the clarity provided for instructional discussions amongst peers after viewing one another's classrooms. As she discussed during an interview: What makes [learning labs] powerful is that we've all seen the same thing. So often, as teachers, we talk about things and we think we're talking 259

PAGE 278

about the same thing, but we're not. 'Oh yeah, I do reciprocal teaching' and 'oh yeah, I do reciprocal teaching, too. It's awesome.' Well, reciprocal teaching could look totally different in my class than in your class but we would never know it because we don't know what we're talking about; we've never seen it. This is the only time when teachers are really talking about this common thing and they've all seen it. I think that's a really rare opportunity for teachers, seeing things and calling them by a common name. Thus, one additive effect of this type of professional development is its ability to develop professional relationships in which teachers can continue to collaboratively reflect on their practices beyond the confines of the community of practice meetings. Another unanticipated effect of this professional development is its ability to enter educators into reflective work that eventually transforms their pedagogical beliefs and In their ongoing study of the work done by teachers and coaches in the South Carolina Reading Initiative, Vanderburg and Stephens (20 I 0) have found that teachers working in collaborative coaching models "reported shifting their philosophy ofteaching," including eighteen of thirty-five teachers in one study who "specifically discussed how their beliefs about how children learn and effective teaching practices changed" (Vanderburg & Stephens 20 I 0, I 57). As described earlier, the results of this study support these effects on three of the four target teachers. However, in order to achieve 260

PAGE 279

these effects, it is important to carefully consider which elements of the learning lab protocol to embrace. One specific round of both the pre-brief and debrief protocol used at Hardin High school requested participants to reflect upon their own beliefs. During the initial interview with the literacy coach, she discussed the value ofthis belief protocol: I did a lab a little while back where the facilitator ran out of time for [the belief protocol], and I thought, 'oh, don't worry about it; we'll loop that back in during the debrief.' The debrief that time was very brief, and ... the third round (when we ask the teachers how this did or did not support your beliefs) the facilitator and I were the only ones with something to say. They didn't have the opportunity to go back and see what they wrote [during the pre-brief] and reflect on whether they did or did not actually confirm that belief in their observations. I discovered that the belief portion of the pre-brief is a vital component if you want them to reflect on their beliefs at the end. At the time of this interview, Alice was not entirely convinced that she did believe it was essential for the teachers "to reflect on their beliefs at the end" in light of the many competing protocols suggested, such as analysis of student work. However, in light of the results of this study regarding the potential effects on teacher beliefs, this portion of the learning lab protocol is likely important to achieving the full potential of coaching within a community of practice. 261

PAGE 280

Epilogue: Where Are They Now? At the time ofthis study's completion, Hardin High School has begun the 2011-2012 school year. In order to complete the full description of this professional development model, it is important to view a snapshot of the school's professional development currently, focusing specifically on the community of practice, the literacy coach, and our four target teachers. Hardin High School's Professional Development: 2011-2012 Based on the results of the previous year's survey and the perceived effects on instruction, Hardin High School has decided to utilize communities of practice engaging in learning labs as their primary form of professional development. At the beginning of the school year, each teacher was asked to choose an instructional focus and an accompanying professional text (provided by the school). Based on text selections, teachers were placed into one of seventeen different communities of practice and asked to determine a -shared focus for their collaborative work. The professional texts are intended to be used as readings to support the community of practice work throughout the school year. The main activity in which these groups will engage is the learning lab. The school intends for each group to complete two learning labs over the course of the school year. Though the hosts of the learning labs will receive individualized coaching during their preparation, the learning labs themselves will be facilitated by one of the members of each 262

PAGE 281

community of practice. These seventeen facilitators have already been chosen and will be trained by the literacy coach. In order to successfully complete 34 learning labs over the course of one school year, Hardin High School has decided to implement a more financially feasible approach. Each community of practice will hold its prebrief and debrief during after-school professional development time previously built into the schedule. Thus, the observation of the host lesson will be the only time teachers will require class coverage. In order to accomplish this, it will be necessary for the pre-brief, observation, and debrief to be held on three different days. Though the effects of this altered timeline are yet to be seen, if the approach proves effective, it will hold major implications for schools interested in engaging in similar practices without major financial investments. The Community of Practice -Ofthe seventeen communities of practice created at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, only one was predetermined: the English language acquisition group which served as the focus of this study. The school decided to continue with this community of practice given Alice's suggestion that their work over the past year had built a collaborative culture that could be utilized over the course ofthis school year. This group will be focusing upon academic language and differentiation within their classrooms. As one of the teachers is no longer with the school, the individual 263

PAGE 282

currently teaching in this role will serve as the tenth member of this group. Though the dates for the learning labs have not yet been determined, the group has decided that these learning labs will be facilitated by Pilar. The Target Teachers As Alice has already had the opportunity to observe all of the ten members of the ELA community of practice during the first weeks of the school year, it is possible to briefly discuss their current situations. In addition to serving as a learning lab facilitator, Pilar Cruz has also started the year differently in her own classroom. Alice explained that she is working with more sentence stems, including those on last year's chart which is still prominently posted within her classroom. In addition, she has increased her expectations for oral English language usage much earlier than in past years, but is still allowing students the opportunity to process content knowledge in their first languages during group work. It is clear to Alice that the community of practice's effects on Pilar last year have been incorporated into her current instruction. Jocelyn Collins has also continued to build from the lessons of last year. The sentence stem chart remains at the front of her classroom, and Alice claims to have already seen her refer to it during instruction. In addition, Jocelyn's growth from an educator using random pairings to one who incorporated intentional groups over the course of the previous school year continues during 2011-2012. Her students have already been placed in 264

PAGE 283

groups of three to four based on a variety of data, and she intends to maintain these groups for the foreseeable future. Though these two target teachers serve as examples ofthe potential of this professional development model, Samuel Harris represents an educator who was not reached by this approach. At the end of the school year, Hardin High School decided not to renew Samuel's contract. He is currently working in the private sector outside of education. Though the reason for his dismissal is confidential, Alice explained that he was aware of the decision prior to the end of the school year, and this likely influenced his decision to be absent from the final meeting of the community of practice. Samuel stands as a reminder that these professional development models do not yet have the ability to reach all teachers. More disturbing still is the news of Selma Halka. Said to feel overwhelmed by a course load of five different classes, a new teacher evaluation system, and personal factors, Selma has reverted to what Alice describes as a perceived "safety zone." Her classroom stations and group formations have been removed, replaced by desks in neat rows and daily whole-class instructional style. Though Selma reportedly claims to feel that in her present situation any experimentation with group work or gallery walks would be unwise, Alice is working with her to convince her to embrace the revelations which seemed to have once had such a resounding effect upon her pedagogical beliefs. 265

PAGE 284

Finally, Alice Horner continues to work at Hardin High School as a part-time literacy coach. This year her duties include individually coaching the ten members of the ELA community of practice, coaching the learning lab hosts, and working with another literacy coach to train the seventeen learning lab facilitators. Her ability to build capacity within the school to run these collaborative teams will be of great importance this year, as she intends to be on leave for the majority of the spring semester. Though the sustainability of this professional development model will thus be tested quite soon, Alice is firmly optimistic. Like all endeavors in urban education, Alice believes this will be a significant challenge with critical outcomes, but knows that her teachers are aware of the potential within their collaborative work. Individually they will struggle; collectively they will persevere. 266

PAGE 285

APPENDIX A GLOSSARY OF ACRONYMS ACT -American College Testing A YP -Adequate Yearly Progress CELA Colorado English Language Assessment CREDE-National Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence CSAP -Colorado Student Assessment Program DIBELS-Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skill ELA English Language Acquisition ELL English Language Leamer FCA T-Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test IDZ-Intermental Development Zone LC-Literacy Collaborative LEARN Act-Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation Act NAEPNational Assessment of Educational Progress P AHSCI Pennsylvania High School Coaching Initiative PEBC Public Education and Business Coalition PLC -Professional Learning Community Project RAISSE-Reading Assistance Initiative for Secondary School Educators 267

PAGE 286

SlOP Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol Weft QDA-Qualitative Data Analysis ZPD Zone of Proximal Development 268

PAGE 287

APPENDIXB INITIAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: LITERACY COACH 1. What are the goals of this professional development model and how will these be achieved? 2. How often will this community of practice meet and what will be the purpose of each of these meetings? 3. How often will you be working with each of the target teachers one-on-one and what will be the purpose of these meetings? 4. What are the defining features of this professional development model? 269

PAGE 288

APPENDIXC FINAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: LITERACY COACH 1. In what ways did the work of the community of practice deviate from the model and why? 2. In what ways did your one-on-one coaching with the four target teachers deviate from the model and why? 3. What effects do you believe these deviations had on the goals of this professional development? 4. In what ways do you think the model did and did not work? 5. Will you use this model again? 6. How would you implement it differently? 270

PAGE 289

APPENDIXD LEARNING LAB CHARTS . Learning Lab 1 Focus: Specific student-tostudent interaction Getting students to Qractice their English w I each other Include higher level thinking and how it s incorporated w / interaction Various groupings keeping them on task Incorporating writing Sufficient wait time Beliefs: Hard to get students to practice their English with each other I have a hard time on grouping because they have a hard time staying on task. Students do really want to learn, but we need to get the buy in. I was pretty resistant to incentives and rewards because they should want to do their work, but I need to balance that and give them candy or tickets for doing good work It s positive to give them little rewards when they re speaking together in Eng in groups Saw Heard, Noticed: I saw 15 students starting their warm up before 8:40 I saw groups referring to the sentence starters constantly Saw teacher e x plain purpose of the Warm Up I saw teacher speaking all the time in Eqglish and the Students understand I saw students write on the posters from memory not using graphic orgamzers I saw students helping each other I saw Maria giving all her directions orally and in writing I heard 1 student answer most of the whole class questions I heard a student question a student and he justified his answer I saw the teacher connecting prior learning to reinforce understanding I saw the students attempting to speak English nervously but he bec a me clearer when he had to teach the group I heard students practice speaking in complete sentences I heard one student explaining better the 2"d time he had a chance When students were doing the gallery walk, I heard them discussing in Spanish, but using the key vocab and answers orally in English Saw the teacher model each activity step-by-step 271

PAGE 290

I saw the students being taught being relied u on in both her gt:oups I saw students complete higher-level tasks T asks students uestion @ warm u and students co ied on pa e ..... I saw visual aids and sentence starters near posters I saw doing other students parts for them _________ 1 I saw lots of students using the supports around the room I saw 3 girls in the gt:OUQ tell the 1 boy what to write Saw Maria give directions of how to do a gallery walk and explain where the term comes from Teacher bad assigned tasks on the posters already and students were comfortable ap_P.roachin the assi ent and discuss which answer was right then the teacher ____ _____ waited for others to do his part I saw the timer go off after 5 minutes and teacher said they needed more time and gave all groups time to finish their posters ImP.lications for Student Learning: students know rituals and routines for starting class students can perform multi-tasked lessons when given clear instructions and teacher models Students can better practice Eng when give specific boundaries and parameters according to the task All the students practiced writing, speaking, listening because of the structure of the activity Students smoothly moved from 1 to activity to another When Students are put into groups, one natural leader rises out of it When Students are give a spe.cific role they do what s asked of them I think the Students learn to grasg models of what they are expected to do Supports create a safe environment to practice English Inclusion ofRIW in all content areas reinforces what they learn in Eng class I think they 'll retain this information longer having justified and explained their answers Beliefs Revisited: Having Students rely on one another builds internal buy in Higher level questioning really does work. Incorporating higher level tasks assists deeper understanding Interaction essential for language learning w / structure and guidelines can promote higher-level tasks and a safe environment I need to model all the time Groups are a challenge when your higher level kids are discipline problems. I saw working when he thought we weren't watching reinforced the positive ramifications of mixed ability groups. 272

PAGE 291

Need to push them to higher levels Differentiation of task allowed Students to feel success and build motivation. Learning Lab 2 Focus: How to have higher levels in classroom Are students taking risks in English s eaking English vocabulary incorporated into the class Work on planning a variety of in 1 lesson How does the grouping su port the objective Interdependence and accountabilitY. How is English used by the students and teacher Incorporating more English into the class Beliefs: Importance of using English as often as possible by students and teacher. Maybe even getting s.12ecific things that the hear over and over How are our classes getting students college-ready? Saw, Heard, Noticed: Students read objectives aloud in English and translate in chorus I heard a Ss say: "you will eat chickens" I saw the classroom divided into two rows, each row of 4 desks together I heard a student speak some words in English I saw that groups were organized boy / girl I saw modeling At the beginning of group work I saw 1 student alone with assistant I saw students look at the sentence stems on board I heard teacher speak English during model I saw para read language objective aloud I saw role-playing, roles written on desks / paper l saw teacher ask about vocab I saw the groups were organized for easy rotation so outside groups could move easily I heard a student use very lively adjectives to describe trip in Spanish I noticed the 2nd round lone student was involved in group and 10 students went off task during model when back turned I noticed students having fun: laughing, smiling, and being silly while on task I noticed in ALL pairs both students were speaking during presentations I heard 1 student using English on her own asking if they could "switch" I saw 1 student use English after teacher encouraged her but returned to Spanish in next round 273

PAGE 292

I heard a timer sound I heard the teacher speak Spanish and English: vocab board words, modeling sentence stems objective in English I saw that students used the model for role playing I saw students complete the task in groups, following steps I heard 7 students SP.eak English when they felt me around I heard 3 groups speaking English more than once and 1 pair request in English, that the other pair speak in English to them and the other pair did ,_......,.,.. I noticed 100% participation, even amongst students who are not generally engaged in I noticed 6 students ask specific questions 1 student tried English the 1st time t"'='h e n w e n t'"='b a c-:k to Spanish Implications for Student Learning: I noticed students having fun, laughing, so fun lends itself to higher engagement safe environment Sentence stems. Visuals are necessary to help them use English Prompting: students are more likely to take risks when pushed, but stay in comfort zone otherwise For me I would include background vocabulary in English to prompt them to use more English to complete sentence stems Students were able to rotate, spent less time on confusion of groups and further instruction, thus more time for learning Interdisciplinary opportunities are important for teachers and students Need dynamic lessons hands -on activities, student led stuff, you get more engagement The more you plan the more you get out of the kids "Speak time" for students is extremely important Translation was helpful to make sure all students understood goals This kind of modeling helps students feel more comfortable in translating by providing feeling of success choral translation Planning your groups carefully makes instruction more effective Beliefs Revisited: Important to incorporate as much Eng as possible the more they hear the faster they learn Students do take more risks and feel safer when we incorporate Eng in all classes Student s and teachers need to be able to take risks and make mistakes for students to learn English Students need to speak, write, and read in English all the time to acquire English Dual nature of language and content objectives: There should be a way to 274

PAGE 293

increase rigor in content while building the language. Perhaps ideas could be stated in English and explained /s upported through Spanish. Language stems maybe reinforced in all classes I wasn ) sure that you could reach the highest order in small groups. I now believe that with the right groupings, you can achieve that level, even if it's in Ll Learning Lab 3 Focus: Using technology in a meaningful way (to address higher-level skills) Using tech to make learning fun Using tech to increase vocabulary Using tech in math to improve vocab Fostering interdependence Using tech for engagement Efficiency in using tech saving time and being organized Feedback on difficulty level of tech to im lement __ Tech used to provide scaffolding while promoting higher-level thinking for the higher achieving students Strategies to get students to speak in English more Beliefs: When students have more vocabulary they tend to write more & better Vocab increases motivation as students feel more comfortable Kids need an opportunity to talk. Like we read in the last lab, building opportunities to speak into lesson plans adds to development, much as practicing an instrument improves ability Saw, Heard, Noticed: I heard the teacher read objectives aloud Pacing allowed for students to complete each portion English speaking charts on the wall I saw teacher help when the students try to create Qs from cards I saw the teacher getting whole class attention before giving instruction I saw visuals hyperlinked into objectives I saw teacher give visual and oral explanations w/ hand and facial expressions I saw teacher complimenting students saying excellent perfect etc. I heard the teacher use Spanish for clarification I saw students participate w/ oral responses I heard a buzzer I saw kids working in pairs: 1 q and 1 A I saw teacher act energized I saw many students struggling w / speaking English 275

PAGE 294

I heard a higher-level student helping a late student I saw students willing to record their Qs on a mic I saw teacher had grou s P,re-formed heterog_,eneously I observed 1 group not writing, speaking communicating I saw the teacher rovide multi leo for SP,eaking/writing I saw teacher give students points for speaking English I saw kids smile at each other's voices I hear teacher repeating what students said slowly I saw students who had little writing success look successful w / recording I saw students respond positively to activities (no moaning) I saw even::one artici ating when making guestions w/ cards I saw para giving out candy Implications for Student Learning: Tech can be used effectively toT ELLs The hyperlinked visuals tie into objectives for vocabulary at higher levels The students knew they would be recorded at the end which increased accountability Grouping of mixed ability made very students more successful Students in groups helped each other do better w / pronunciation and writing Links between Spanish and English words were made by students for clarification. Clarifying the meanings and sharing their knowledge Small classes w / several adults gives personal attention to assist struggling students Technology provided instant feedback for students to help them see if they were meeting objectives Oral practice w / a well-structured lesson you can have a lot of meaningful talk time Increased opportunities to speak increased confidence for them as speakers of English Strategies (scaffolding) used by teacher for ELLs are good for all s tudents Having students read objectives aloud helps them connect to what and why th e y re doing Beliefs Revisited Confirmed belief that students who are given the opportunity to speak often become more engaged and proficient. Added that confidence increases, too. Belief that tech should be readily available for enrichment confirmed. Provided multiple opportunities to speak write listen It's important for ALL students to use tech so tat we don t increase or add new gaps Personal attention from teachers very important Gaining confidence promotes risk-taking which leads to moving forward 276

PAGE 295

Use of tech can increase accountability for students Tech important, but using a variety of strategies can help students reach goals who have not before Students can speak better than they can and must be a ddre s sed. Speaking happens first, then they grow as writers. Belief change! Tech is often used as novelty and could be omitted, but here tech was used to simplify and increase students' abilities to critique each other, thus achieving a higher level Incorporating all4 parts (reading writing speaking listening) adds success 277

PAGE 296

Hardin High School ELA Learning Labs EXIT TICKET Name APPENDIXE LEARNING LAB EXIT TICKET ---------------------------------------------------------Date ______ Current Focus: ---------------------------------------------1. What are your next steps from this lab? What specifically will you implement in your classroom as a result of this experience? 2. How will what you learned today impact student achievement? 3. Did your beliefs about teaching and learning shift in any way? 4. What was the best part of the lab experience for you? 5. What was the worst part ofthe lab experience for you? 6. Do you have any suggestions for how we could make the learning lab process better? 7. Do you have any suggestions of next steps for the group based on our experiences today? 278

PAGE 297

APPENDIXF SlOP RUBRIC The Sheltered Instruction Observer(s): _____ Teacher: Date: School: ------Observation Protocol (SlOP) (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2000, 2004) Grade: ________ Class/Topic: ESL Level: ______ Lesson: Multiday/Single-day Total Points Possible: 120 __ Total Earned: __ Percentage Score: __ Directions: Circle the number that best reflects what you observe in a sheltered lesson. Cite under "Comments" specific examples of the behaviors observed. I. Preparation 4 11. Clearly defined content objectives for D students 12. Clearly defined language objectives for 0 students Setting Objectives and Providing D Feedback (Yields a 23%ile gain) 13. Content concepts appropriate for age and D educational background level of students 14. Supplementary materials used to a high degree, making the lesson clear and 0 meaningful (e.g., computer programs, graphs, models, visuals) 15. Adaptation of content (e.g., text, assignment) ro all levels of student 0 proficiency 16. Meaningful activities that integrate lesson concepts (e.g., surveys, letter writing, simulations, constructing models) with D language practice opportunities for reading, writing, listening, and/ or speaking Comments: II. Instruction 4 1) Building Background 17. Concepts explicitly linked to students' D background experiences 279 Highly Evident 3 D 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 Somewhat Evident 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 D D D D D 0 0 0 0 Not Evident Nl A 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 N/ A 0

PAGE 298

18. Links explicitly made between past 0 0 0 0 0 0 learning and new concepts 19. Key vocabulary emphasized (e.g., introduced, written, repeated, and 0 0 0 0 0 0 h!ghl_!ghted for students to see) Comments: Com__rehensible Input 20. Speech appropriate for students' proficiency level (e.g., slower rate and 0 0 0 0 0 0 enunciation, and simple sentence structure for beginners) 21. Explanation of academic tasks clear 0 0 0 0 0 0 22. Uses a variety of techniques to make content concepts clear (e.g., modeling, 0 0 0 0 0 0 visuals, hands-on activities, demonstrations, gestures, body languagtl Comments: :fr Stratc:g_ies 23. Provides ample opportunities for 0 D 0 0 0 0 students to use strategies 24. Consistent use of scaffolding techniques through-out lesson, 0 0 0 0 0 0 assisting and supporting student understanding, such as think-alouds 25. Teacher uses a variety of question types, including those that promote 0 0 0 0 0 0 higher-order thinking skills throughout the lesson (e.g., literal, ana!.ztical and interpretive Identifying similarities and differences 0 0 0 0 0 0 lYields a 45%ile gain) Summarizing and Note Taking (Yields a 0 010 0 0 0 Nonlinguistic Representations (Yields a 0 ojo 0 0 0 27%ile _g_ain) Generating and Testing Hypothesis 0 D 0 0 D D lYields a 23%ile gain) 4l Interaction 26. Frequent opportunities for interaction and discussion between teacher I student and among students, which 0 0 0 0 0 0 encourage elaborated responses students, which encourage elaborated about lesson 27. Grouping configurations support 0 D 0 0 0 0 lan_g_ua_g_e and content oblectives of the 280

PAGE 299

lesson 28. Consistently provides sufficient wait D D D D D D time for student response 29. Ample opportunities for students to D D D D D D clar!fy concepts in Ll Comments: 5) Practice1A.!Jication 30. Provides hands-on materials and/ or D D D D D D manipulatives for students to practice using_ new content knowled_g_e 31. Provides activities for students to D D D D D D apply content and language knowledge in the classroom 32. Uses activities that integrate all D D D D D D language skills (i.e., reading, writing, listening, and speaking) Lesson 33. Content objectives clearly supported D D D D D D delivery 34. Language objectives clearly supported D D D D D D by lesson 35. Students engaged approximately 90% D D D D D D to 100% of the period 36. Pacing of the lesson appropriate to the D D D D D D students' ability level Comments: Ill. Review I Assessment 4 3 2 I 0 Nl A 37. Comprehensive review of key D D D D D D vocabulary_ 38. Comprehensive review of key content D D D D D D concepts 39. Regularly provides feedback to D D D D D D students on their output (e.g., lan_g_ua_g_e, content, work) 4 0. Conducts assessment of student D D D D D D comprehension and learning of all lesson objectives (e.g., spot checking, group response) throu_g_hout the lesson Comments: 281

PAGE 300

REFERENCES ACT. (2005). Crisis at the core: Preparing all students for college and work [Electronic Version]. Retrieved July 31, 2006. Bean, R. M., & Zigmond, N. (2007). A three year journey: The evolution of coaches and coaching in reading first schools. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Biancarosa, G., Bryk, A. S., & Dexter, E. R. (2010). Assessing the value-added effects of literacy collaborative professional development on student learning. The Elementary School Journal, 111(1). Biancarosa, G., & Snow, C. E. (2006). Reading next: A vision for action and research in middle and high school literacy A report to Carnegie Corporation of New York (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education. -Boleman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2003). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. San Francisco, CA Jossey-Bass, Inc., Publishers. Boss, S., Krauss, J., & Conery, L. (2008). Reinventing project-based learning: Your field guide to real-world projects in the digital age. New York: International Society for Technology in Education. Bowman, J. (1999). The graduates [Electronic Version]. National Review. Retrieved June 27, 2008. 282

PAGE 301

Bran card, R., & Quinn Williams, J. (20 11 ). Learning labs: Collaborations for transformative teacher learning. Brown, D., Reumann-Moore, R., Hugh, R., Christian, J. B., & Riffer, M. (2008). Links to learning and sustainability: Year three report of the Pennsylvania High School Coaching Initiative. Philadelphia, P A: Research For Action. Brozo, W. G., & Simpson, M. L. (2007). Content literacy for today's adolescents: Honoring diversity and building competence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merril/Prentice Hall. Cantrell, S.C., & Hughes, H. K. (2008). Teacher efficacy and content literacy implementation: An exploration of extended professional development with coaching. Journal of Literacy Research, 40,95-127. Carnegie Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy. (20 1 0). Time to act: An agenda for advancing adolescent literacy for college and career success. New York, NY: Carnegie Corporation ofNew York. Casey, K. (2006). Literacy coaching: The essentials. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. City, E. A., Elmore, R. F., Fiarman, S. E., & Teitel, L. (2009). Instructional rounds in education: A network approach to improving teaching and learning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. 283

PAGE 302

Clary, D., Oglan, V., & Styslinger, M. (2008). It's not just about content: Preparing content area teachers to be literacy leaders [Electronic Version]. Literacy Coaching Clearinghouse. Colorado Department of Education. (2009). 2009 growth and achievement report. Denver: Colorado Department of Education. Colorado Department of Education. (20 1 0). Colorado academic standards. Denver, CO: Office of Standards and Assessments. Conchas, G. Q. (2006). The color of success: Race and high-achieving urban youth. New York: Teachers College Press. Connors, S.C., Challendar, A., Proctor, J., Robinson, E. H., & Walters, B. (2009). Public Education and Business Coalition: Report of evaluation 20082009. Denver: University of Colorado Denver School of Education and Human Development. Costa, A. L., & Garmston, R. J. (2002). Cognitive coaching: Afoundationfor renaissance schools (Seconded.). Crehan, K. (2002). Gramsci, culture and anthropology. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among jive approaches (Seconded.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Darling-Hammond, L. (1997). The right to learn. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass. 284

PAGE 303

Darling-Hammond, L. (2000). Teacher quality and student achievement: A review of state policy evidence. Education Policy Analysis Archives. v8 nl Jan 2000. Deal, T. E., & Peterson, K. D. (1999). Shaping school culture: The heart of leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers. Delpit, L. (1995). Other people's children. New York: The New Press. Desimone, L. M., Porter, A. C., Garet, M.S., Yoon, K. S., & Birman, B. F. (2002). Effects of professional development on teachers' instruction: Results from a three-year longitudinal study. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 24(2), 81-112. Donaldson, M. L., Johnson, S.M., Kirkpatrick, C. L., Marinell, W., Steele, J. L., & Szczesiul, S. A. (2008). Angling for access, bartering for change: How second-stage teachers experience differentiated roles in schools. Teachers College Record, 110(5), 1088-1114. DuFour, R., & Eaker, R. (1998). Professional/earning communities at work: Best practices for enhancing student achievement. Bloomington, IN: National Educational Service. Echevarria, J., Vogt, M., & Short, D. J. (2004). Making content comprehensible for English learners: The SlOP model (Seconded.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. 285

PAGE 304

Ezarik, M. (2002). For the love of the game: Instructional coaching. District Administrator, 71, 34-47. Faggella-Luby, M. N., Ware, S.M., & Capozzoli, A. (2009). Adolescent literacyReviewing adolescent literacy reports: Key components and critical questions. Journal of Literacy Research, 41(453-475). Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2007). Implementing a schoolwide literacy framework: Improving achievement in an urban elementary school. Reading Teacher, 61(1), 32-43. Fixsen, D. L., Naoom, S. F., Blase, K. A., Friedman, R. M., & Wallace, F. (2005). Implementation research: A synthesis of the literature. Tampa, Florida: University of Southern Florida, Louis de Ia Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, The National Implementation Research Network. Foord, K. A., & Haar, J. M. (2008). Professional/earning communities: An implementation guide and toolkit. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education. Freedman, S. W., Simons, E. R., Kalnin, J. S., & Casareno, A. (1999).Jnside city schools: Investigating literacy in multicultural classrooms. New York: Teachers College Press. Gee, J.P. (1990). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses. London: The Falmer Press. Gee, J.P. (1992). The social mind: Language, ideology, and social practice. New York: Bergin & Garvey. 286

PAGE 305

Gee, J.P. (2004). Discourse analysis: What makes it critical? In R. Rogers (Ed.), An introduction to critical discourse analysis in education (pp. 19-50). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Graham, S., & Perin, D. (2007). Writing next: Effective strategies to improve writing of adolescents in middle and high schools A report to Carnegie Corporation of New York. Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education. Guarino, A. J ., Echevarria, J ., Short, D. J ., Schick, J. E., Forbes, S., & Rueda, R. (2001). The sheltered instruction observation protocol. Journal of Research in Education, 11(1), 138-140. Hall, L., & McKeen, R. L. (1991). Peer coaching as an organization development intervention in the public schools. Education, 111(4), 553-559. Heath, S. B. (1983). Ways with words: Language, life, and work in communities and classrooms (Vol. Cambridge, MA): Cambridge University Press. Hessee, G. (2009). What roles do the humanities facilitators fill at the high school level? Paper presented at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry Hill, J. D., & Flynn, K. M. (2006). Classroom instruction that works with English language learners Washington, D.C.: Association for Supervision and Curricul Development. Hinchman, K. A., & Sheridan-Thomas, H. K. (Eds.). (2008). Best Practices in Adolescent Literacy Instruction. New York: The Guilford Press. 287

PAGE 306

Hirsh, S. (2006). NSDC standards provide a richer definition of professional development than does NCLB. Journal ofStafJDevelopment, 27(3). hooks, b. ( 1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. New York: Routledge. IRA. (2006). Standards for middle and high school literacy coaches. Newark DE.,: Carnegie Corporation ofNew York. Joyce, B., & Showers, B. (1980). Improving inservice training: The messages of research. Educational Leadership, 37(5), 379-385. Joyce, B. R., & Showers, B. (1988). Student achievement through staff development. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. Joyce, B. R., & Showers, B. (2002). Student achievement through staff development. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. Kannapel, P. J. (2007). The adolescent literacy coaching project (ALCP) year 1 evaluation report. Kegan, R. (1994). In over our heads: The mental demands of modern life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. (2001). How the way we talk can change the way we work. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 288

PAGE 307

Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. (2009). Immunity to change: How to overcome it and unlock the potential in yourself and in your organization. Boston: Harvard Business Press. Killion, 1. (2008). Assessing impact: Evaluating staff development (Second ed. ). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Knight, J. (2007). Five key points to building a coaching program. Journal of Staff Development, 28(1 ), 26-31. Lareau, A. (2003). Unequal childhoods: Class, race, and family life. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press. Lee, C. D. (2007). Culture, literacy, and learning: Taking bloom in the midst of the whirlwind. New York: Teachers College Press. Lee, J., Grigg, W., & Donahue, P. (2007). The nation's report card: Reading 2007. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Lindlof, T. R., & Taylor, B. C. (2002). Qualitative communication research methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation Act, House of Representatives(2009). 289

PAGE 308

Little, J. W. (1988). Assessing the prospects for teacher leadership. In A. Lieberman (Ed.), Building a professional culture in schools (pp. 78-1 06). New York: Teachers College Press. Louis, K., & Miles, M. (1990). Improving the urban school. New York: Teachers College Press. Marsh, J. A., McCombs, J. S., Lockwood, J. R., Martorell, F., Gershwin, D., Naftel, S., et al. (2008). Supporting literacy across the sunshine state: A study of Florida middle school reading coaches. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation. Matsumara, L. C., Garnier, H. E., Correnti, R., Junker, B., & Bickel, D. D. (201 0). Investigating the effectiveness of a comprehensive literacy coaching program in schools with high teacher mobility. The Elementary School Journal, 111 ( 1 ). McGraw-Hill. (2009a). Acuity technical report. Monterey, CA. McGraw-Hill. (2009b ). Colorado student assessment program: Technical Report. Monterey, CA. McGraw-Hill. (201 0). Colorado English language acquisition assessment program. Monterey, CA. Mercer, N. (2000). Words and minds: How we use language to think together. London: Routledge. 290

PAGE 309

Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A.M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. National Center for Education Statistics. (2007). Mapping 2005 state proficiency standardsonto the NAEP scales (NCES 2007-482). Washington, DC: US Department of Education. National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition. (2002). The growing numbers of limited English proficient students. Washington, DC. Neufeld, B., & Roper, D. (2003). Growing instructional capacity in two San Diego middle schools: Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, New York, NY. No Child Left Behind Act(200 1 ). Orr, M. T., Byrne-Jimenez, M., McFarlane, P., & Brown, B. (2005). Leading out from low performing schools: The urban principal experience. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 4, 23-54. Poglinco, S.M., Bach, A. 1., Hovde, K., Rosenblum, S., Saunders, M., & Supovitz, J. A. (2003). The heart ofthe matter: The coaching model in America's Choice Schools. Consortium for Policy Research in Education. Porter, A. C., Garet, M.S., Desimone, L., Yoon, K. S., & Birman, B. F. (2000). Does professional development change teaching practice? Results from a three-year study (No. DOC-2001-0 1 ): Department of Education, Washington, DC. Office of the Under Secretary. 291

PAGE 310

Proctor, C. P., Dalton, B., & Grisham, D. L. (2007). Scaffolding English language learners and struggling readers in a universal literacy environment with embedded strategy instruction and vocabulary support. Journal of Literacy Research, 39(1), 71-93. Public Education and Business Coalition. (2001). Thinking strategies for learners: A guide to PEBC's professional development in reading, mathematics, and information literacy. Denver. Puig, E. A., & Froelich, K. S. (2007). The literacy coach: Guiding in the right direction. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. Rainville, K. N. (2007). Situated identities, power, and positioning: Inside the practices of three literacy coaches in New Jersey. Unpublished Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. Rampey, B. D., Dion, G. S., & Donahue, P. L. (2009). NAEP 2008 trends in academic progress. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Reiman, A., & Peace, S. D. (2002). Promoting teachers' moral reasoning and collaborative inquiry performance: A developmental role-taking and guided inquiry study. Journal of Moral Education, 31 ( 1 ), 51-66. Richardson, J. (2008). Hope is not a strategy: Coaching is effective at closing the gap in Georgia school. The Learning Principal, 4( 1 ). Robbins, P. ( 1991 ). How to plan and implement a peer coaching program. 292

PAGE 311

Solano-Fiores, G. (2008). Who is given tests in what language by whom, when, and where? The need for 11robabilistic views oflanguag j.\.. E em Ule testmg of nghsh language learners Ed . ucatwnal Res h stake R. E. (2006) . earc er, 3 7( 4) Multzple case stud Stephens, D. & Y N Morgan, D. N ew Yor'" NcrE (2007) Th The G s read . e S ll '] mg in. t' ul c Urbana, IL. I Iative as a l l Caror h Stevens, 1. p Ncn;. .statewide Iaa, (2oo7 ) st New lntei?Jz J Stichter Oric L ediate eJo J. P awre &{ 8, 1' l!r/6, 'I h { J "ui/J "'"'. fJ, 1 81iJ" "e al]t. ., ilicL !Js& 0'/e, ve "'C Oc. r ; I 1Jt o ede r, At iiJt, Utn. ., j,, rl (J I College Press.

PAGE 312

Rogoff, B. (2003). The cultural nature of human development. New York: Oxford University Press. Rosenholtz, S. J. (1991). Teachers' workplace: The social organization of schools. New York: Teachers College Press. Shanklin, N. L., Zucker, M., & Hessee, G. (2009, 02/24/09). Recent dissertations in ProQuest on MS/HS literacy coaching. Paper presented at the International Reading Association, Phoenix, AZ. Smith, F. ( 1998). The book of learning and forgetting. New York: Teachers College Press. Solano-Flores, G. (2008). Who is given tests in what language by whom, when, and where? The need for probabilistic views of language in the testing of English language learners. Educational Researcher, 37(4). Stake, R. E. (2006). Multiple case study analy3is. New York: The Guilford Press. Stephens, D., & Morgan, D. N. (2007). The South Carolina Reading Initiative: NCTE's reading initiative as a statewide staff development project. Urbana, IL: NCTE. Stevens, J. P. (2007).lntermediate statistics: A modern approach (Third ed.). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Stichter, J.P., Lewis, T. J., Richter, M., Johnson, N. W., & Bradley, L. (2006). Assessing antecedent variables: The effects of instructional variables on > student outcomes through in-service and peer coaching professional 293

PAGE 313

development models. Education and Treatment of Children, 29(4), 665692. Strauss, A. L. (1987). Qulaitative analysis for social scientists. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Sweeney, D. (2003). Learning along the way: Professional development by and for teachers. Portland, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers. Sweeney, D. (2011). Student-centered coaching: A guide for K-8 coaches and principals. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Taylor, J. E. (2008). Instructional coaching: The state ofthe art. In M. M. Mangin & S. R. Stoelinga (Eds.), Effective teacher leadership. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Taylor, R. T., Moxley, D. E., Chanter, C., & Boulware, D. (2007). Three techniques for successful literacy coaching. Principal Leadership, 7(6), 22-25. Toll, C. A. (2005). The literacy coach's survival guide. Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Vanderburg, M., & Stephens, D. (2010). The impact ofliteracy coaches: What teachers value and how teachers change. The Elementary School Journal, 111(1). Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 294

PAGE 314

Vygotsky, L. S. (1986). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Walpole, S., & McKenna, M. C. (2004). The literacy coach's handbook: A guide to research-based practice. New York, NY: The Guilford Press. Weaver, C. (1996). Teaching grammar in context. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers. Wolf, M. (2007). Proust and the squid. New York: Harper Perennial. Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods (Fourth ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 295