Earning a teaching certificate is the start of a career in education, but a teacher’s learning never ends. One key strategy for supporting teachers in continuing to learn and improving teacher retention is through ongoing professional development. Research shows that professional coaching can improve teacher retention.
Bank Street released Coaching: How a Focus on Adult Development Leads to Improvements in Student Learning in 2018, which explores how their partnerships with schools, districts, and states address some of the nation’s most profound organizational challenges in education to improve system-wide, effective, and equitable teaching and learning. Bank Street pairs professional learning services, like coaching, with strategic planning supports that aid districts in creating, strengthening, and monitoring learning conditions so that investments in professional learning pay off in improved results.
Bank Street Invests to Improve Teacher Retention
With a century of research and experience working with children and adults, Bank Street has developed the concept of developing a “throughline of learning” as a way to create meaningful instructional change in classrooms, translate policy shifts made at the district level into shifts in teacher practice, and ultimately improve student outcomes. Adults need support in making these shifts into new ways of doing things. Ongoing professional coaching for teachers and leaders is one pillar of this approach that connects every layer of the school system, from the central office and pedagogical supervisors to teacher teams.
The Bank Street Education Center works with school system partners, including school districts across the country, to support large-scale instructional change. The Education Center tailors a range of professional development and coaching structures for each program’s leaders, teachers, and schools. The three example projects below demonstrate how the center develops programs to address district- and school-specific needs, tailoring professional development and coaching initiatives to leadership goals.
Collaborative coaching can transform each school “from a collection of classrooms to a learning organization that thinks and grows together.” Bank Street’s partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District helped increase coherence among schools, classrooms, and district leaders, setting the stage for improved teacher retention, a sense of accomplishment in their classrooms, and a better understanding of the district’s vision and goals.
With specialized coaching for pre-K educators, Bank Street has worked with Newark Public Schools to develop an integrated program expanding early childhood instructional capacity across the system. Additionally, when the New York City Department of Education began implementing its citywide Pre-K for All initiative, Bank Street partnered with them to provide professional learning supports during the new program’s rollout, which now serves over 1,800 early childhood learning locations.
Culture and Scale
The most effective and long-lasting benefits come when coaching is customized to support and reinforce the culture of a system. The Bank Street Education Center works with educators and districts across the country to improve teaching practice at scale through strategic guidance, professional learning, and coaching to ensure the unique racial and economic needs of each district are being met. Bank Street’s partnership with Yonkers Superintendent Dr. Edwin M. Quezada is a perfect example of a valued partnership that created “a culture of willingness.”
Tracy Fray-Oliver, Associate Vice President of Bank Street Education Center, points out that “continuous improvement is not only about equity, but commitment. We have to dismantle those old structures and focus on students who are historically marginalized. We have to do a lot of racial work around student and teacher mindsets…and examine how these beliefs show up in classrooms every day.”
Bank Street Prepares Teachers to Succeed
The Bank Street Graduate School of Education is invested in setting aspiring teachers up to succeed. Graduates are committed teachers and leaders who understand the importance of listening, collaborating, and adopting a progressive approach to teaching and student learning.
But teacher education doesn’t end at graduation. Bank Street also offers continued professional support and coaching that inspires the best in teachers and improves teacher retention. Pairing professional learning with strategic planning supports districts in creating, strengthening, and monitoring learning conditions—and these investments in professional education pay off with improved results.