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Washington DC Swears by Teacher Coaches – Are They The Solution to Common Core Woes?

In Washington, the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) is hoping for even more from its coaching program. Having retained the controversial reforms put in place by former superintendent Michelle Rhee, such as using test scores to rate teachers and as grounds to fire the lowest-performers, DCPS is counting on a cadre of educators, not only to help make the transition to Common Core, but also to transform the city’s long-struggling public schools. These instructional coaches are tasked with observing teachers’ classes, helping them plan lessons and — particularly for newer teachers — helping them become more comfortable in front of a classroom. In turn, DCPS evaluates coaches, in part, through whether the teachers’ students improve.