Learning coaches program to be altered

It’s a plan to maximize current resources and enhance support for all schools.

Administrators on Tuesday night gave Lawrence school board members an update on how they will restructure the district’s learning coaches, who provide support to teachers, including those newer to the profession.

“What we have tried to do is bring those coaches together under one umbrella and under one framework and try to address a variety of needs,” said Kim Bodensteiner, chief academic officer for the district.

The district has coaches who work with novice teachers and also in subjects such as math and reading or technology, special education and English as a second language.

The coaches generally focus on helping teachers with instruction, observing them in the classroom and also examining data such as student test scores.

Of the state’s 10 largest school districts, most already have a similar plan in place, administrators said. They have studied the issue for the past year and plan to roll out the new coaching framework in the fall.

At elementary schools, generally three coaches will work as a team to support five or six schools. Currently, some schools have access to many coaches while others have little, administrators said.

“It will look different within each family (of schools) based on what the students need,” said Angelique Kobler, the district’s division director of instructional services.

It will also allow for more collaboration among coaches in different subjects, who may work with the same schools.

Among the junior high schools, four learning coaches will support all four schools, and the high schools will each use a team of three coaches.

Administrators have also mentioned the current restructuring and removed from the table $1.3 million worth of budget requests for new coaches.

School Board President Linda Robinson said the district would need more learning coaches in the future. She said that down the road district leaders should think about funding and partnerships with universities for possible expansion.