During challenging and difficult times, like a worldwide pandemic, you need someone who will support and encourage you. An instructional coach can be a lifeline, providing tremendous support through new waters of eLearning, hybrid, and virtual learning platforms.
Jody Allison is an Instructional Coach at Greenville Middle Academy in Greenville County, South Carolina. Jody not only strives to strengthen and improve her skill set, but also to leave her school community a better and joyous place to learn and work. Jody is a teacher at heart and an enthusiastic learner. As the instructional coach, she shares her knowledge of teaching practices and engages with teachers to help them engage, challenge, and support all students in the classroom.
Jody utilizes coaching cycles with teachers at Greenville Middle Academy to assist teachers with reflecting on student data as well as to engage teachers with identifying ways to better address student needs. This monumental task can only be done by having established trusting relationships with teachers throughout the school. Conversations have led to stronger instructional practices in the classroom that directly relate to engaging students with content in innovative ways. Students are growing and making strides academically. In addition, Jody has served as a mentor to new instructional coaches and LEAD participants. LEAD is a program developed by Greenville County Schools to train master teachers to provide instructional support and leadership to their schools and colleagues.
After participating in the Personalized Learning Cohort through the South Carolina State Department of Education, reading books like the one from Caitlyn Tucker, Balanced with Blended Learning, and conducting a school visit to Saluda Trail Middle School, Jody really considered how to personalize professional development this school year, and as a result, initiated Greenville Middle’s Priority/Passion Projects. With Priority/Passion Projects, teachers take the lead over their professional development, selecting a priority or project they want to research, implement, and share with colleagues.
When asked to explain why they selected the pathway they selected, teachers at Greenville Middle responded,
Clea Garner, 7th Grade ELA, Pathway Selected - Relationships
“I feel establishing relationships with children this year is essential to getting them to fully participate in elearning in a way that will allow them to grow academically.”
Graham Love, 8th Grade Social Studies, Pathway Selected - Technology
“With so much of what we are doing in the classroom being technology based, both in person and virtually, I believe this is a way to improve student learning and my teaching practices. While I use technology in the classroom, I believe that many times I rely on using the same technology. This is a way to incorporate new technology into the classroom, while improving student learning and engagement.”
Jenna Bryant, 6th Grade Math, Pathway Selected - Differentiation
“I selected this pathway, so I can focus on how to reach each of my students' individual needs. Differentiation is crucial this year with the crazy hybrid schedule and how unstable each student ended the previous school year; they each entered the new school year completely different from their peers.”
Jody continually demonstrates through her actions and words that she is a collaborator, a supporter, a teacher’s teacher, and a coach. She truly cares about the teachers, students, and staff at Greenville Middle Academy and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure teachers and staff feel heard, supported, and encouraged to do their best. Jody’s positive attitude and enthusiasm for learning has contributed to the school community in so many positive ways.