Hot Off the Press! The Essential Guide for Student-Centered Coaching

Written by Diane Sweeney & Leanna Harris

With the release of our new book, The Essential Guide for Student-Centered Coaching: What Every K-12 Coach and School Leader Needs to Know, a question has arisen about how it fits in with the other books we have written on the subject. Each week we hear from leaders who share that coaching in their district has lacked consistency and clear outcomes. For this reason, they have decided to implement Student-Centered Coaching as their model for instructional coaching. We are not only humbled by these conversations, but we also take them as our cue to continue contributing resources that are timely, practical, and accessible. In this way, we hope to guide our colleagues to get the most out of their coaching effort.The Essential Guide for Student-Centered Coaching

Why This Book Now?

When we began writing this book, we envisioned a simple update of Student-Centered Coaching (2011) and Student-Centered Coaching at the Secondary Level (2013). We thought that it would be the easiest book we’ve ever written –  just cut and paste the good stuff and write a little bit more. But after hours of conversation at Leanna’s dining room table we realized that too much has changed over the past decade to take this approach. New standards and curriculum have been adopted, the Visible Learning research has become a driving force in understanding evidence-based instructional practice, and more districts are investing in instructional coaching than ever.

We decided to harness this opportunity and take a close  look at what we have offered in the earlier books, compare this to the questions we are frequently asked by coaches and leaders, and provide what is most essential. For example, we realized we had never written a chapter on coaching cycles or reflective dialogue, even though they are foundational to the model. We also found that our core practices weren’t clearly defined in our other books, so we set forth to address these gaps. The Essential Guide for Student-Centered Coaching is geared towards both the educator who has read everything that’s been written about Student-Centered Coaching, as well as those who are brand new to the model. Thus the title, ‘The Essential Guide’.

What About Our Other Books on Student-Centered Coaching?

The Essential Guide for Student-Centered Coaching is designed to work in conjunction with Student-Centered: The Moves (Sweeney and Harris, 2017) and Leading Student-Centered Coaching (Sweeney and Mausbach, 2018).

Student-Centered Coaching: The Moves is a how-to book that is chock full of tools, strategies, and videos of coaching in action. We love this book because it answers the question of, “What does it look like in practice?” Leading Student-Centered Coaching addresses the importance of building principal and coach partnerships that are aligned with school improvement processes. Without these partnerships, the impact of coaching will be diminished. Together, the three books build a comprehensive view of implementing Student-Centered Coaching. The following figure  provides more information about how each of the books fit together.

The Essential Guide for Student-Centered Coaching by Sweeney and HarrisStudent-Centered Coaching: The Moves by Sweeney and HarrisLeading Student-Centered Coaching by Sweeney and Mausbach
Who is the ideal audience for this book?Coaches, school leaders, and district leaders who support the coaching effortCoaches and district leaders who support the coaching effortSchool leaders and district leaders who support the coaching effort
When is the best time to read this book?We recommend starting here because it introduces the guiding principles and structures that are essential for Student-Centered Coaching to be successful.We recommend introducing this book when coaches are engaged in the implementation of the core practices for Student-Centered Coaching.Without a clear vision around the role of the school leader, coaching will fall flat. We recommend for leaders to read and refer to this book throughout the implementation process.
What does this book offer that the others don’t?A clear vision for the beliefs, practices, and structures that are necessary to successfully implement Student-Centered Coaching in your school or district.A clear vision of each of the core practices, including videos, coaching tools, and language stems to help coaches implement them successfully.A clear vision for the principal’s role in leading the coaching effort. This includes a Rubric for Leading Student-Centered Coaching that provides a success criteria for administrators.

What’s Coming Next?

As we engage with coaches and administrators around the country and beyond, our thinking about how to best serve students and teachers through a coaching effort continues to evolve. We enjoy sharing these new understandings through our blog, which we encourage you to follow.

The times we are currently experiencing due to COVID-19 are the most dynamic, innovative, and challenging that we have encountered in our decades as educators. As we continue to serve coaches and leaders, our recent work has focused on strategies for implementing Student-Centered Coaching in a distance learning environment. To achieve this, we are building a cache of best practices, videos, and stories from coaches who are finding success in their work. If virtual schooling continues into the 2020-2021 school year, we will continue contributing in this way. Stay tuned for updates!

© Diane Sweeney Consulting