In response to the 1/14/14 post, “The Power of Instructional Coaching – Round 2,” a LYS Assistant Principal replies:

LYS AP Response Thanks for giving us something to look for.  It seems that Number 5 (Teachers not Closing the Lesson) is what we need to keep working on.  We just found an example of “the problem behind the problem.” 

SC Response Again, a proof point of the power of PowerWalks and the understanding and coaching that it drives… 

The first devastating assumption we make as instructional leaders is the belief that because our staff works hard and have a good attitude that they must be implementing the practices that we have agreed to and received training. 

I made this mistake a number of times in my career.  Changing old practices and implementing new practices is a process.  Staff having a good attitude and the willingness to work hard only facilitates engaging in the process; it does not mean that they are doing the new practice. In fact, at scale, the only safe assumption is that they are not doing it yet.

The second devastating assumption is the belief that because you have seen A staff member do the new practice, that ALL staff members are doing the practice.

Again, a mistake that I repeatedly made early in my career and that all too many instructional leaders fall for, daily.  This occurs is because we trust our brains, when we should not. Our brains like to fill in the blanks when it thinks it sees a pattern. When it does this, without realizing it, the brain lies to you.  Here is what this looks like on a campus. The instructional leader / coach goes to visit a couple of classrooms, while doing so she observes a teacher doing the new practice (initially a random occurrence). She also observes three other teachers working hard, but doing the typical practice.  When the observer later reflects on what she observed, what stands out in her memory is hard work and the new/novel practice, which she then attribute to the entire staff.

When a campus adopts the PowerWalks system of observation and coaching, the two devastating assumptions are negated.  First, the high volume, specific cueing of PowerWalks provides the specific support teachers need in order to build new instructional habits and routines.  Without this, change is a slow, arduous and ultimately futile process.

Second, the high volume of observations and ongoing data analysis prevents your brain from filling in the gaps with false positives.  As a result, the coaching and support you are able to provide is based on the reality of the situation, not a happy falsehood.

Once you realize and then experience this, it becomes exceedingly clear why LYS campuses and educators consistently outperform their peers.

Keep up the great effort at your campus and the great results won’t be far behind.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on! 
  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “Look at Me: A Cautionary School Leadership Tale” Individual copies available on! 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Plans (Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Tool); PW Lite (Basic PowerWalks Tool); PW Pro (Mid-level PowerWalks Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: NASSP National Conference (Multiple Presentations); TASSP Summer Conference (Multiple Presentations); NEASP National Conference; The Fundamental 5 National Summit (Keynote Presentation) 
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