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Research Brief: Springfield Public Schools’ Effective Educator Coach Program
Checkoway, A., Comstock, M., Harless, E., Gallagher, H.A., and Gamse, B.C. (2015). Springfield Public Schools’ Effective Educator Coach Program. Menlo Park: SRI International in partnership with Abt Associates.
This research brief examines Springfield Public Schools’ Effective Educator Coach (EEC) program. The EEC program is a comprehensive mentoring program in which experienced teachers support new or struggling teachers. The EEC program was studied as part of a larger evaluation of a Massachusetts’ Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant implemented in the Springfield Public Schools (SPS); SRI International and Abt Associates conducted the study on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The brief describes the following key implementation findings for the EEC program:
- The autonomy to determine content, structure, and timing of coaching activities was important to both EECs and mentees.
- Expanding the program to serve all schools districtwide meant changes to the program’s structure, which in turn led to challenges with coaches’ capacity.
- Principal involvement in the program varied across schools, from schools whose principals’ roles were primarily to identify potential EECs to schools whose principals were actively engaged in EEC-related activities and decisions throughout the school year.
The brief then presents key considerations for districts interested in learning about a coaching program.