Region 7 ESC Curriculum and Instruction is implementing a new and unique way to mentor the region’s educators.
In November, Region 7 ESC will be offering Virtual Coaching and Mentoring to a select group of educators who previously attended the Texas Education Agency is Reading and Math Academies. ESC staff members offered this unique experience to educators who had previously attended the academies as an extended learning opportunity.
As an extension of the academies, TEA asked ESCs to develop a way to monitor the classroom implementation of the strategies taught during the academies. Region 7 ESC staff members developed a plan that was then presented to TEA, and received approval. The plan consisted of virtual monitoring, evaluation, feedback and coaching, all using the latest technology.
Each educator that has signed up to participate will receive a Swivl device, a digital marker, and an iPad. The iPad will dock in the Swivl and the educator will wear the marker. The marker acts as a microphone and allows the Swivl to follow the teacher’s movements as they move freely around their classroom. The iPad will record the instructional time. The video will be uploaded to the Cloud and reviewed by a designated ESC staff member. Based on the content of the video ESC staff will provide feedback addressing strategies that are supporting those set during the academies. This will also allow ESC staff to provide coaching and mentoring to educators based on actual classroom instruction.
With the approval of the educators, ESC staff will also use the videos when training, coaching and providing teaching strategies to other educators throughout the region. Educators will be given the devices next month and will keep them in their classrooms until May. Participating districts include, Alba-Golden, Center, Chapel Hill, Diboll, Kilgore, Lindale and Tatum.
One of the goals for ESC staff, is to compare the data collected during the fall semester with data collected at the end of the spring semester, review the information and provide support to the region’s educators. This will support the recent priorities that have been implemented by the TEA Commissioner of Education.
In 2015, the 84th Texas Legislature passed legislation directing the commissioner of education to develop and make available professional development opportunities to Texas public educators.
During the summer of 2016, Region 7 ESC began facilitating Reading and Math Academies under the direction of TEA. The commissioner adopted criteria for selecting teachers who are eligible attend the academies. Teachers who teach math and/or reading at certain grade levels at campuses at which 50 percent or more of the students are educationally disadvantaged were given priority and became eligible to attend the academies. TEA releases a list each year of eligible campuses.
The initial Reading academy was offered to Kindergarten and First grade teachers. The initial Math Academy was offered to second and third grade teachers. During the summer of 2017, teachers in grades 2-5 were offered Reading Academies and teachers in Kindergarten and First grade were offered the Math Academy.
ESC staff members are excited about the opportunity to provide this unique experience to its region’s educators.