This alternative model was approved for adoption by the Bradley County Board of Education during a meeting Tuesday.
“We have been looking at the process this year of how we can make this more efficient, more effective,” Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel said.
Project COACH was approved by the Tennessee Department of Education as an alternative to the state model and has been used by Hamilton County Schools for the past two school years.
“They’ve (Hamilton County) modified this, so we are going to benefit from their knowledge of ... the COACH model,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel said he felt the transition from the TEAM model to Project COACH would not be difficult.
McDaniel said many of the changes the school system wanted to the TEAM model were not allowed under state law.
“We like the COACH model. We feel it will be better for the teachers,” McDaniel said.
According to research compiled by Bradley County employee Angela Lawson, “Project COACH is a collaborative, coaching model based on brief — minimum of 10 minutes — unannounced observations over the course of the entire school year. Each observation is followed up with a feedback conference focused on actionable steps.”
“It’s more of a discussion and improvement model,” McDaniel said. “That’s why its called Project COACH because we are coaching teachers to get better in the way they deliver instruction.”
The model requires six observations a year for professional licensed teachers and eight for nonprofessional licensed teachers.
Under the COACH model, each teacher evaluates their teaching at the beginning of the year. Then, at the end of the year, an evaluator fills out the same form to gauge progress.
“I believe when we have conversations about where you are and good ideas about how to get better, that’s how people improve,” McDaniel said.
While the TEAM model was fully funded through state First to the Top funding, the Project Coach model is not. This alternative model will cost approximately $995 per school, according to McDaniel.
“That is really for the technology, to make it more user friendly for the principals to use their iPad or a laptop and do the walk-through and record the data while they are there in the classroom,” McDaniel said.
Board member David Kelley said he felt the new model would be more helpful to teachers and make it easier to understand what is expected.
The director of schools commented that the TEAM model set unrealistic goals, leaving teachers trying to cover too many objectives in a short amount of time.
McDaniel said he liked the alternative model because it has a shorter evaluation system rather than cramming too much data in at one time.
Board member Troy Weathers said he hopes the school system will be able to stick with the new format and not cause teachers any more stress by changing the evaluation system again in the future.