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IES Grant

Title: The Coaching Model: A Collaborative Pilot Program
Center: NCER Year: 2005
Principal Investigator: Riedlinger, Brian Awardee: School Leadership Center of Greater New Orleans
Program: Education Leadership      [Program Details]
Award Amount: $1,482,155
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305E050082

Purpose: In the context of high-stakes school accountability policies, school principals are increasingly expected to provide instructional leadership that promotes student achievement, in addition to fulfilling managerial and administrative responsibilities. The purpose of this project is to develop, implement, and evaluate a coaching model for new principals in several Greater New Orleans school districts. The impact of the coaching model program on student achievement and school climate will be assessed as well as the impact on principals' understanding and ability to perform in their jobs, their persistence in leadership positions, and their perceived levels of job stress and sense of isolation in their roles.

Setting: Public school districts in Louisiana; with a focus on the six Louisiana parishes located in the Greater New Orleans area.

Populations: The treatment population includes all first year principals assigned to a school during the 2005-2006, 2006-2007, and 2007-2008 school years in six Greater New Orleans school districts and teachers and students in these principals' schools. Additional first year principals from other Louisiana parishes will also participate for purposes of comparison.

Intervention: All first-year principals in the six Greater New Orleans parishes will receive the following "Coaching model" treatment. Each principal will be assigned a coach. At each participating school, the principal will work with his coach to develop a personal leadership statement of beliefs about teaching and learning and will develop the leadership skills necessary to support those beliefs. Twice a year, the principal, his administrative team, and coach will perform a two to three hour walk through the school to observe classroom practice. Following the observations, the administrative team and coach will suggest 2-5 focal points for the principal to act on throughout the year. In addition, two to four times monthly, coaches will observe the meetings of the schools' leadership team and faculty meetings and will meet afterwards with the principal for discussion. Outside of school hours, each principal will participate in small cross-district group meeting for the purpose of sharing and problem solving amongst peers. Four times a year, the multi-parish group of principals will gather for professional development days. As required by Louisiana's leadership certification, principals will assemble a standards-based portfolio demonstrating their leadership skills, abilities, and dispositions. Additional training, networking opportunities, and professional development will be provided by the parishes and the School Leadership Center. Incumbent school leaders in each school system will be involved as mentors for the new administrators.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will use a mixed methods design to determine which coaching mechanisms and support structures best enable school systems to develop needed leadership capacity. The implementation of the coaching model will provide a six-case study that will provide data on the implementation of the coaching program. Researchers will also use a quasi-experimental design to compare the treatment group with a comparison group of other new Louisiana principals on measures of principal disposition (job satisfaction, perceived levels of stress, and perceived degrees of isolation), general school climate, teachers' perceptions of leadership, and student achievement in this study. Propensity score matching will be conducted to assemble the treatment-comparison principal pairs. School pairs will be matched using the following predictors: size of school, school level, metropolitan status, proportion of minorities, student socioeconomic status, and student achievement.

Comparison Condition: The comparison group consists of first year Louisiana principals who will receive the standard treatment for new administrators provided by the Louisiana Department of Education.

Key Measures: The outcome measures will include three scales measuring the administrator's dispositions, one instrument reflecting teachers' perceptions of school climate, one scale addressing teachers' perceptions of leadership, and student achievement data as measured by the Louisiana School Performance Score (SPS).

Data Analytic Strategy: For the case study, all sources of qualitative data will be coded using a "start list" and will go through subsequent yearly analyses such as pattern coding and cross-case analyses using site-oriented meta-matrices. Time-ordered matrices will be used to display the results across years. For the equivalent group design, two-factor ANCOVA model will guide the analyses of data collected from principals and teachers with pretest scores, used as covariates. For the analysis of student achievement data, changes across the years in a school's SPS will be analyzed.