A Candidate's Experiences and Perspectives - The IIP and Coaching Components
This scenario describes how Jamal Jackson, an assistant principal and CASC candidate, remembers developing his IIP with the support is the university program chair and his induction coach, Gloria Sharp.
- The candidate's preparation for the initial IIP conversation
- The coaching conversations that led to the development and implementation of the IIP
New high school assistant principal Jamal Jackson and recently retired assistant superintendent, Gloria Sharp, engaged in an ongoing coaching relationship for 24 months. Coaching began with bi-weekly meetings, typically lasting from 60 to 90 minutes and evolving after 12 months into an "as needed" schedule as Jamal's leadership skills and self-confidence increased over time. After successfully completing his Individual Induction Plan (IIP) and all of the requirements for a Clear Administrative Services Credential, Dr. Tran, Jamal's CASC program advisor, sat down with him for an hour-long exit interview. His purpose was to capture Jamal's initial experiences with the IIP process.
As soon as I was hired in June, I contacted the educational administration department chair at a local university. She told me how the new Clear Induction Program worked, how to complete the induction program and university application requirements, and about the Individual Induction Plan requirement. That was really helpful, especially her description of the IIP. She said that it was basically about providing newly hired, first-time administrators with the support needed to transition smoothly and effectively from a teaching position to a leadership position. She also stated that the IIP would consist of a coaching component, a professional learning component, and various assessment information, and that the components were designed to support and reinforce one another. Finally, she described how the IIP was intended to reflect my individual learning needs as a new administrator while also addressing the particular requirements of my administrative position. She called it a 'hands-on, job embedded professional growth activity within a state credentialing program.
To get started, the chair suggested that I take some time to think about my strengths and areas needing further growth and write down some ideas about my professional learning needs. She also indicated that before the IIP was finalized, the program would do some initial assessments to determine what my areas of strength and areas needing additional growth were. She said that the results of the assessment and the specific requirements of my new administrative position would help to inform my IIP. So, even though I wasn't yet in a credential program or receiving coaching, I was already considering my professional learning goals and objectives. This advanced planning really helped me to hit the ground running as soon as I was formally admitted to the program.
So, when Gloria was assigned as your induction coach, what did you and she look at as you designed your IIP?
Gloria asked me if I had any assessments or materials from my Preliminary Program that described or illuminated my knowledge, skills, and dispositions. She explained that before we created an IIP we needed to have a clear understanding of my strengths and areas needing further development as a new administrator. Fortunately, I came to the meeting with my Preliminary Program portfolio and was able to share several assessment documents and other assignments with Gloria. Oh, one other thing. Before meeting with me, Gloria met with my principal to learn about the specific goals and objectives of the school and district. She wanted to be sure that there was close alignment between my needs and those of the school and district. After a good conversation, we decided that my IIP should emphasize team-building skills and collaborative problem solving. So. that's how we got things started. Gloria even came to campus and watched me as I led a portion of a parent orientation meeting before school started.
It sounds like you did some deep personal reflection and preparation prior to coming to this first coaching meeting.
Exactly. The last thing I wanted to do was come into this meeting unprepared. and I wanted to be sure that my IIP was going to be a meaningful and useful professional growth plan.
In subsequent meetings Gloria and Jamal crafted a detailed IIP that included clear objectives, a variety of relevant workplace activities that related to the objectives, professional learning activities such as readings and workshops, the coaching schedule, and formative assessment options and tools. Jamal's IIP was adjusted and revised as his learning experiences, job circumstances and skills evolved. Gloria ensured that Jamal's learning activities were closely aligned with the California Professional Standards for Education Leaders (CPSEL). Gloria was also instrumental in guiding Jamal in maintaining open and constructive communications among Gloria, the principal, and the program faculty member. Gloria wanted to be sure that Jamal's induction experience was meaningful for him while addressing the needs and requirements of his employer and CASC program. From the beginning, Gloria and Jamal agreed that the implementation of his IIP would be a team effort. Jamal noted that after his principal and program faculty member reviewed and approved the initial IIP, they all had a clear and strong focus on Jamal's leadership development outcomes and pathways.
- How did Jamal prepare for the initial IIP meeting?
- What did Gloria do to guide and support Jamal's goal setting and professional development decisions?
- As a CASC program supervisor, how might Dr. Tran use information from Jamal's interview?
Developing a Job Embedded Professional Learning Activity as Part of the Individualized Induction Plan
This scenario describes an IIP that is centered around an action research project: the School-wide Change Initiative (SWCI).
- How the IIP organizes the varied expectations Carlos must meet as an administrator in a district and as a CASC candidate.
- How the IIP serves to document formal and embedded professional learning and assessments
Carlos Sanchez had just been hired as an assistant principal in an urban school district. He was understandably ecstatic, but also a bit anxious, over his first administrative position. Carlos quickly enrolled in an administrator credential program at an accredited university and soon thereafter engaged in the planning process for his Individualized Induction Plan (IIP), including CPSEL-based objectives, professional development and coaching activities, and assessment options.
To an important extent, the stage had been set for Carlos's IIP. The district had a longstanding and deep partnership with the program provider around the development and support of "practice-ready" school leaders who knew how to facilitate school change initiatives by applying the skills of inquiry and evaluation. When Carlos met for the first time with his CASC coach, supervising principal, and program faculty representative, he knew that the basis of his IIP would center around an action research project called the School-wide Change Initiative (SWCI). Carlos and his supervising principal had been given three options by the superintendent from which to develop the SWCI, each was a key goal for the district at-large. They selected "Culturally Responsive Instruction." The team discussed how this choice fit expectations for Carlos in the district and CASC program.
By design, the SWCI was a rigorous and comprehensive action research project. It required the ability to craft both empirically based and contextually appropriate solutions to an urgent problem facing his school that would culminate in an actionable change initiative. Moreover, the SWCI required that Carlos engage in several important leadership activities that included:
- identifying the elements of the "problem" as it manifested itself at Carlos's school,
- gathering stakeholder input and support for the change initiative,
- gathering evidence that both supported the problem and its proposed solution,
- developing an educationally sound problem solution and rationale (ethically, legally, empirically),
- developing and initiating an implementation strategy, and
- designing an evaluation protocol to examine and judge the outcomes of the SWCI.
Carlos, his coach, supervising principal, and program faculty representative agreed upon an "action plan" (IIP) for the SWCI that included ongoing formative feedback, periodic checkpoints, and a rubric-based final assessment. Carlos was able to develop his leadership skills through multiple activities relating to school change leadership (e.g., developing a shared vision, working collaboratively with various stakeholders, using the skills of inquiry, bridging research and practice, evaluating program effectiveness, and communication skills), ongoing coaching support, and related professional learning. Most importantly, Carlos's IIP was anchored in real-world problems and circumstances that were directly connected to the needs of his school while also meeting the program provider's credentialing requirements.
Elements of Carlos's SWCI Action Plan:
The SWCI was designed around four themes:
- Problem identification
- Stakeholder and data analysis
- Problem solution (and implementation)
- Assessment and evaluation
Carlos received formative (developmental) feedback from his supervising principal during weekly meetings, and from his coach through bi-monthly conversations that helped Carlos monitor district and CPSEL progress. Moreover, his coach and principal communicated monthly to ensure that they were working together in support of Carlos's work (and not at cross purposes). His program faculty representative was kept in the loop through quarterly meetings with Carlos, his coach, and supervising principal.
In Carlos's case, his SWCI project unfolded over a 24-month period and was informed and supported through periodic formative assessments. Once his SWCI had been developed, implemented, and evaluated his program faculty representative asked him for three final "products:"
- A 20 page written narrative, including a bibliography that described how he engaged in each of the required elements of the SWCI. This was formally graded using a performance rubric designed by the program provider and the district.
- A written action plan for his school and a 45-minute formal presentation of the collaboratively developed action plan before Carlos's principal and faculty. This was formally graded using a performance rubric designed by the program provider and the district.
- A five-page reflective essay in which Carlos described how the SWCI had influenced his leadership knowledge, skills, and dispositions, including his feelings of confidence as a leader.
- Describe some differences between Jamal's and Carlos' IIP development process. What are possible advantages of each process?
- Which IIP process most resonates with you (as a coach. candidate, program or district person?) Is there a blended approach that you would prefer?
- How could the CPSEL and Descriptions of Practice be used in Carlos' SWCI IIP process?
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