P21 Best PD Best Practice Award

The following article appeared in the DPI Connect Ed online newsletter from Aug.1, 2011.

Peer Coaching Program Honored

Wisconsin won a national award for a project to help teachers coach their colleagues on effective teaching methods and use of technology in the classroom. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills honored Wisconsin’s Leadership Coaching Professional Development Program with a P21 Best Practice Award at the group's annual summit. The program trains teacher "coaches" to help colleagues by
  • providing training or resources,
  • co-planning learning activities,
  • modeling effective teaching,
  • observing colleagues, and
  • reflecting on this observation.
The coaching is built around research-supported factors for raising student achievement, focusing on:
  • improving lesson design
  • integrating digital classroom tools and resources
  • developing collaboration and communication skills around the lesson improvement process

Mary Lou Ley, Tony Evers, and Donna Steffan with a hand-sized award
Mary Lou Ley, Tony Evers, and Donna Steffan with a hand-sized award

Independent consultant Mary Lou Ley, State Superintendent Tony Evers, and DPI Education Consultant Donna Steffan. Steffan and Ley partnered to build this peer mentoring program.
The collaboration between coaches and peers is structured to provide optimal feedback to teachers without making them feel a need to explain reasons for current work or student work samples. Since June 2009, more than 25 Wisconsin districts have trained teacher leaders in peer coaching as part of their Enhancing Education through Technology grant projects.