Jean Childs Young Middle School: Creating a Culture of Feedback Through Teacher Coaching

2 min read
Mar 12, 2021 8:00:00 AM

How Jean Childs Young Middle School built a culture of success through effective teacher coaching and development.

Location: Atlanta, GA
Website: Jean Childs Young Middle School
Enrollment: 870
Demographics: NCES Data

The Challenge

In Fall 2018, when Kara Stimpson took over as principal at Jean Childs Young Middle School in Atlanta, Georgia, she had her work cut out for her.

The school had been underperforming for several years, and in addition to poor academic performance, student behavior and discipline issues were a constant struggle. Principal Stimpson was determined to improve Young Middle School and build a culture of success with students and teachers while building leaders’ instructional capacity among teachers.

So in the 2018–19 school year, they began doing classroom observations and giving teachers feedback on a regular basis.

“We used a Google doc I built and did glows and grows and next steps with teachers, and we kept that running all year,” said Stimpson. “But I have a large leadership team, which means a lot of people giving feedback to a lot of teachers, and I quickly realized we needed something to help us better manage that.”

The Solution

In Summer 2019, Stimpson and her leadership team attended Relay GSE, an instructional leadership program. There they were introduced to SchoolMint Grow, previously known as Whetstone.

After several product demos, team discussions, and visiting another school in her district to see how they used the platform, Young Middle chose Grow to support the teacher observation and feedback work they were doing.

In September 2019, Young Middle School began using SchoolMint Grow. They were very intentional with how they rolled out the platform, beginning with only giving feedback once per month.

After that, coaches began giving bite-sized pieces of feedback that teachers could quickly and easily implement, and started using action steps to encourage progress and continual improvement. In addition to observations and feedback, Young Middle School also used Grow for meeting planning and recording minutes in weekly data meetings and PLCs.

The Results

Coaching Touchpoints: 1,996
Action Steps Marked as Mastered Since 2020: 64%

“We wanted to get everyone on board from the beginning, and to do that, we had to build trust in each other and the platform and make feedback non-threatening,” said Stimpson. “I’m encouraged by the results we’re seeing already. Instructionally speaking, we are in the best place we’ve been in several years. Teachers who struggled with instruction have built their instructional capacity. Our feedback process is resulting in improved instruction.”

This year, Stimpson started using Grow with her leadership team to support and strengthen capacity.

“Grow allows me to be as purposeful and intentional with feedback to my leaders as my leaders are in their feedback to teachers,” she said. “We are building a culture of success grounded in feedback, and that kind of culture transfers well to any learning environment. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made thus far.”

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