To Have or Not to Have Factors that Influence District Decisions about Literacy CoachesReport as inadecuate

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Literacy Coaching Clearinghouse

Across the nation, from large urban centers to small rural districts, many schools have turned to literacy coaching as a means to improve teaching and learning. While much has been written about the advantages of having a literacy coach on staff and there has been some research on school-level coaching practices little attention has been paid to the factors that influence the decision to have a literacy coach. To better understand the decision-making process, the author spent three years learning from district-level administrators in 20 Midwestern school districts that were considering hiring, and in some cases, already had hired, literacy coaches as part of their instructional improvement strategy (Mangin, 2009). These 20, demographically diverse districts were part of the same regional district, which actively advocated for literacy coach roles and provided free professional development on literacy coaching to any interested district. All 20 districts took advantage of this training opportunity, sending teachers, principals, reading specialists, department chairs, and other educators to learn about literacy coaching. Not all districts, however, decided to add a literacy coach to their staff. The author's on-going conversations, surveys, and annual interviews with district administrators in the 20 districts provided insights into the factors that influenced districts' decisions about literacy coaches. In this paper, she shares these insights.

Descriptors: Instructional Improvement, Educational Opportunities, Performance Factors, Influences, Literacy, Coaching (Performance), Educational Needs, Needs Assessment, Professional Development, Interviews, Administrator Attitudes, Mentors, School Districts, Organizational Theories, Decision Making, Administrative Principles

Literacy Coaching Clearinghouse. National Council of Teachers of English 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Fax: 217-328-9645; Web site:

Author: Mangin, Melinda


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