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We're all on the Same Team: A School Leader's Perspective with Rebekah Madrid


This week we’re chatting with Rebekah Madrid, Middle School Principal at Yokohama International School in Japan. Rebekah shares her perspective about coaching as a school leader, along with insights about making coaching work in a mid-sized school, as well as some very specific, strategic and smart ways for coaches to make themselves invaluable to any organization.

Bonus: Watch the video of this episode on YouTube!

Featured Guest(s)

Rebekah Madrid

Rebekah Madrid on twitter

Show Notes

Rebekah shares her perspective about coaching as a school leader, along with insights about making coaching work in a mid-sized school, as well as some very specific, strategic and smart ways for coaches to make themselves invaluable to any organization. Rebekah, Clint and I all worked together at YIS for several years, so this was a fantastic opportunity to get an inside look at how the school has developed in terms of coaching over the past few years.

What do you think coaches do?

Coaches have a varied role, goal is to figure out how to support teachers best: change agent, cheerleaders, support, teachers know what students need.
Leaders job to figure out where we need change and coaches job to figure out how to make that happen.
Having a coach allows the senior leaders to have impact in a positive way, without the evaluation.

How do you work with the coaches at your school?

Coach for the coaches;
Set up strategies for what works at YIS Strategic planning – coaches lead aspects where they are experts – supporting Action Groups;
Cheerleading, knowing when things are happening.

What are some good opportunities for coaches to work with you?

Important to remember that coaches need to push up – have to advocate for their positions / beliefs in what will improve student learning.
Can’t wait for leadership – send that calendar invite! Be the voice in the room.
Know what’s important to your school – you’re not going to change the big things (change curriculum, for example), if you know what learning looks like, you know what to advocate for & what learning leaders are looking for.
Dispositions can be more important.
Coaches need to think of themselves as leaders – develop not just coaching strategies, but also leadership, being a middle leader is awkward, the more strategies you have, the more confident you’ll be.

What do you do when you don’t have the opportunity to work with a coach?

Rely on Team Leaders (HODs), develop coaching strategies with them, official coaches can help train up middle leaders with coaching strategies – this relationship is important to improve student learning (coaches learn from leaders leadership strategies, and vice versa).

What are the essential elements for coaching success in a school?

Scaling a coaching model.
Vision: all coaches to have commonalities between how they coach and how they use time. Coaches have real power in co-planning – that’s a lot of meetings for teachers to have with all of the coaches.
Streamline / systemize conversations for teachers. Teachers are becoming more and more open to co-teaching.
Document evidence and data from student learning is a big one for coaches that she wants to see more from.

Where do coaches / does coaching fail? And what can we do about it?

When a person doesn’t have hustle and really good relationships with people and doesn’t know the kids.
They need to know their stuff and have thick skin.
Schedule the time to go into classrooms.
Ask for help when necessary.

What makes a coach invaluable to you?

Someone who will brainstorm ideas, when a coach makes their own connections – just ask for forgiveness rather than asking for permission, use your time wisely, make a change and ask for help when needed.
Helps when coaches are excited by learning, people need to be excited about working with coaches.
Enthusiasm to talk about learning.

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