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VPLC 2.0: A Virtual Professional Learning Community for Instructional Coaches

By Kristen Moreland, Instructional Coach, Pan American School of Porto Alegre and Julia Dennis, Instructional Coach, American School Foundation of Monterrey

*A version of this article first appeared in the December 2018 issue of the TIEonline Magazine.

“The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other.  Without collaboration, our growth is limited to our own perspectives. ”   ~Robert John Meehan

Pick up almost any book written about instructional coaching, and there is most likely a page or a chapter calling for more professional learning for the coach. In some systems, this can be arranged without too much difficulty; coaches in the same district or area can gather on a consistent basis to deepen their understanding of content standards, dive into relevant data, hone their facilitation skills, and benefit from the wisdom and experience of colleagues who might have insight into the ‘problems of practice’ faced by a coach. Kristen was fortunate enough to have participated in such a community in the United States; the power of this type of collaboration nurtured her development as a coach.

But when you are working in the isolation of an international school, with the closest coach being a city or country away, how does collaboration take place across time zones and geographic boundaries? Through the internet, of course.

Here in our region, coaches have been provided several training opportunities to deepen their practice such as workshops on Student-Centered Coaching (led by Diane Sweeney), Cognitive Coaching, and a variety of other sessions offered during the AASSA annual conference. Yet, just as we know that teachers need coaching support after a PD to make changes in their practice, coaches, too, need this ongoing support to keep their skills sharp in order to be able to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s teachers. In 2018, this was the inspiration for the creation of a Coaches Virtual PLC. Our goal was simple: provide a space where coaches can virtually connect to continue to deepen and expand their knowledge and application of coaching principles and techniques.

Are you a coach or do you fill that role in your school? We invite all of you to join us in reading Jim Knight’s Impact Cycle! The first virtual discussion over chapters 1 and 2 will be at the end of September. If you are interested in participating, please connect with Kristen directly and she will share more details: kmoreland@panamerican.com.br

Not quite ready to commit to a book study? Sign up for our weekly update by clicking here. This weekly newsletter shares articles and resources and other little gems to inspire and transform your coaching!

You can hear more of Kristen and Julia’s thoughts on coaching in Episode 6 of AASSA Rad

After 15 years as an English teacher on three different continents, Kristen transitioned to an instructional coach role in 2012.  She joined the Pan American School of Porto Alegre, Brazil, in July of 2018. Connect with her on Twitter @kmorekin or on Instagram @educatorsforhumanity

After teaching middle school math in Texas public schools, Julia moved abroad to continue teaching and later become an instructional coach.  This is her 5th year as an instructional coach and her second year at the American School Foundation of Monterrey, Mexico. Connect with Julia: julia.dennis@asfm.edu.mx

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