LIGHTHOUSE EDUCATOR ACADEMY
Westside Community Schools provides a comprehensive three-year professional learning and support induction program for all newly hired certified staff. Throughout the first three years, teachers attend Academy sessions that provide the foundation for Instructional Best Practices to improve student learning and positively affect the whole child. Each teacher receives support through an instructional coach, master mentor and/or curriculum contact, District training and individualized building support. Academy members participate in multiple classroom observations and reflective conferences with their instructional coaches, mentors and the Director of Professional Learning using the Framework for Teaching rubrics.
The mission of the Westside Community Schools District as an innovative educational system is to ensure academic excellence and to serve the unique needs of all learners. The Lighthouse Academy supports this mission by providing professional learning opportunities and support for non-tenured staff. The goal of the Academy is to support and grow world class teachers who are responsible for the whole child by ensuring maximum student engagement and achievement, building the capacity of all its educators, creating and maintaining an innovative and efficient educational environment, and cultivating a positive organizational culture that is inclusive, collaborative and trusting.
Master Mentors for Lighthouse Academy Members:
Westside Community Schools believes mentoring is building a personal and professional relationship in which an effective teacher provides quality instruction and guidance in order to help a newly hired teacher succeed. This relationship is based on mutual trust, respect, support, and collegiality. Teachers who are mentored are more than 2 times as likely to stay in the profession, are more likely to enjoy their job, become stronger instructionally and more skilled with classroom management, and have increased student achievement. Westside has established Master Mentors who have been trained to provide growth and reflection conferences, have a deep understanding of Instructional Best Practice, and receive ongoing training in the area of mentoring.
- Communicate with LEA members before the required contract day to provide a welcome and answer any questions.
- Meet with Academy Members on a welcome day and during pre-opening to discuss classroom management, content/grade level specifics and be the first line of support.
- Knowledge of best practice in education, including methodology, materials, and research with an emphasis in the Framework For Teaching.
- Plan and facilitate reflective conversations with Academy members about assigned District Instructional Best Practices and other content as deemed necessary.
- Facilitate communication between Academy members and grade level, building, and/or curriculum contacts.- Act as a liaison between Academy members and building administrators when appropriate
- Attend meetings with other Master Mentors and Director of Professional Learning as scheduled.
- Support Academy members with instructional best practices, training, and weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly meetings during the first year of an Academy member’s first year. Regularly scheduled meetings will be established by the mentor.
Instructional Coaches for Lighthouse Academy Members:
Instructional Coaches start every school year by greeting LEA staff on a welcome day and outlining how they will be supporting them by providing extensive support in the area of Instructional Best Practice, classroom management, lesson design, and lesson modeling. This is support is outlined during a LEA members first three years and continues into tenure at WCS. Coaches also act as a liaison between Academy members and building administrators and mentors when appropriate.
Our Instructional Coaching model is influenced first by the work of Cognitive Coaching by Garmston and Costa and the collaboration cycle by Charlotte Danielson. Other models are applied when appropriate. Coaches work from the following identity and skill set. (Garmston/Wellman)
- develop trust and rapport
- develop an identity as a mediator of thinking
- utilize conversation structures for planning, reflecting and problem resolving
- develop teachers’ autonomy and sense of community
- develop higher levels of efficacy, consciousness, craftsmanship, flexibility, and interdependence
- apply three of the four support functions: coaching, consulting, collaborating
- utilize the coaching tools of pausing, paraphrasing, and posing questions
- distinguish among the five forms of feedback
- use data to mediate thinking
Instructional coaches demonstrate strong content knowledge in the Framework For Teaching and Instructional Best Practices as outlined by the District. Instructional coaches assist all teachers with lesson reflections, classroom support, lesson design and facilitating a coaching cycle. Instructional coaches will support all staff for the entirety of a staff member’s tenure at Westside and adapt their coaching style to meet the needs of all staff members while providing the appropriate amount of support and resources. Instructional coaches continue to receive ongoing training and reflection opportunities. Past opportunities have included training with Anita Archer, Pete Hall, Alisa Simeral, Jim Knight, Jim Rickabaugh, and Sue Presler. Planning professional learning opportunities for staff is an integral part of being an Instructional Coach at WCS. Coaches are called upon at different times to research instructional best practices and plan and present professional learning opportunities to staff. Finally, coaches attend monthly meetings with other coaches and the Director of Professional Learning.
Curriculum contacts are assigned to assist Academy and veteran staff in the area of, but not limited to, common questions related to teaching District indicators and outcomes while assisting in providing and informing staff with the materials to support the teaching of our District indicators and outcomes. Levels of support have been established depending on the position and the amount of support that has already set in place for the teacher. Content chairs, team leaders, and department chairs are our most common curriculum contacts.