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Calling on Coaches

A school district in Indiana is investing more than $1 million on 20 math and literacy coaches for the 2009-2010 school year to help provide teachers an opportunity to reflect on their teaching methods, according to a column in the Indianapolis Star.

The coaches in the Warren Township district are responsible for helping teachers in the elementary and middle schools examine data and enhance instructional practices. .
"It's not that the coach is the expert," said Betsy Snapp, who serves as the district's math coordinator and gets to manage the coaches.

"It's just the fact that they provide teachers a resource. They give teachers the opportunity to reflect on the teaching methods and what's working. It's colleagues coming alongside each other to help support instruction," she said.

Third-grade teacher Laura Koomler, in her fourth year of teaching, appreciates the freedom provided by the coaches.

"They don't have a classroom full of students to work with and take care of," said Koomler. "In some ways, they have it easier than the classroom teachers, but they also feel a lot of pressure for our test scores."

Diane Buchanan was one of the district's first teachers to switch over from classroom teacher to math coach, and she is happy in her new position.

"I get the best of both worlds," Buchanan said. "I get to go into classrooms and work with teachers and be around kids, but I also have the flexibility of being outside the classroom and really digging deep into mathematics instruction and devoting a lot of energy to finding the best practices on how to teach math."

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