Our second feature school is Rocky Mountain Prep, an innovative, public charter school in Denver, Colorado boasting a blended-learning curriculum for students grades Pre-K-5. Let’s find out how Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Jenni Reese (JR) and her coaches and teachers implement SmarterCookie at Rocky Mountain Prep!
SC: What structures have you established to hold everyone accountable for recording and uploading videos and providing consistent feedback?
JR: SmarterCookie is an integral part of our coaching framework at Rocky Mountain Prep. Coaches use it to provide consistent feedback as well as to establish common language around advice they relay to teachers. Typically, coaches record each lesson they observe and immediately upload the video to SmarterCookie. Then, teachers complete a self-reflection and refer to the video as a tangible artifact during the in-person debrief. Teachers are able to work toward specific goals and use SmarterCookie as a tool for self-reflection and resource/feedback sharing with one another. Although coaches do the majority of the recording, teachers will also videotape themselves and analyze their progress during and as a follow up to strategic professional development.
SC: How has video helped ground coaching conversations?
JR: We typically use video as a way for teachers to see what we see and drive their own development to establish individualized goals. Let's say I observe a lesson with too much teacher talk and I want the teacher to work on increasing student talk and engagement. We can view the video together and I can ask a probing question to drive the teacher to recognize the area of growth and establish a relevant goal grounded in the teacher’s own reflection.
SC: How specifically have you used video to drive instructional growth? Have you differentiated based on teaching experience?
JR: Video is a great way for teachers to view their lessons from an outside perspective; doing this allows them to notice actions and outcomes they weren't able to while teaching. Coaches also use video as a proof point for when teachers aren't self-reflecting on their practice accurately. Teachers have really appreciated being able to re-watch their lesson, pause, and reflect with their coach. Based on teaching experience, some teachers do more self-reflecting while others participate in more consistent guided reflections alongside their coach.
SC: Have you seen remarkable growth in educators that can be attributed to video coaching?
JR: The most remarkable growth has been with teachers struggling with behavior management as they often didn’t notice when students were not meeting expectations. With video footage, they are able to clearly see who is not meeting expectations. The use of video has pushed teachers to recognize and successfully address the undesirable behavior to increase the achievement of all students.