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Volume 20, Number 4
July/August 2004

School-Based Coaching

A revolution in professional development—or just the latest fad?


After years of disappointing results from conventional professional development efforts, and under ever-increasing accountability pressures, many districts are now hiring coaches to improve their schools. These coaches don't use locker-room pep talks to motivate their teams, but they do strive to improve morale and achievement-and raise scores-by showing teachers how and why certain strategies will make a difference for their students.

The professional development strategy known as school-based coaching generally involves experts in a particular subject area or set of teaching strategies working closely with small groups of teachers to improve classroom practice and, ultimately, student achievement.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


For Further Information

For Further Information

Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools, 6 Beacon St., Suite 615, Boston, MA 02108; 617-227-8055.

D. Burney, T.B. Corcoran, and J. Lesnick. “A Review of Research on Instructional Coaching” (working title). Philadelphia: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania (forthcoming).

B. Neufeld and D. Roper. “Coaching: A Strategy for Developing Instructional Capacity: Promises and Practicalities.” Washington, DC: Aspen Institute Program on Education and Annenberg Institute for School Reform, 2003. Available online at

S.M. Poglinco, A.J. Bach, K. Hovde, S. Rosenblum, M. Saunders, and J.A. Supovitz. “The Heart of the Matter: The Coaching Model in America’s Choice Schools.” Philadelphia: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania, 2003.

A. Richard. “Making Our Own Road: The Emergence of School-Based Staff Developers in America’s Public Schools.” New York: Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, 2003.