Making the Case for Instructional Coaches


By Heather Wolpert-Gawron, Educational Leadership author

Educational Leadership: The Many Roles of an Instructional CoachWith my more flexible time as an instructional coach, I’ve been able to brainstorm a new way to approach literacy instruction for long-term English language learners. Rather than running our speech and debate elective class next year, I will instead teach a language arts class that I’ve designed with the approval of my principal and district–one that allows me to leverage making and 3-D printing to teach literacy to these students who often lag behind in academic achievement.

If I were a classroom teacher with a full teaching load, I never would have had the chance to plan a course like this. Our administrators are working their hearts out, too. From meetings with families to student discipline, and data crunching to budgeting, they too have limited free time on their hands.

Which leads me to the role of the instructional coach–a position that fills in the gap between teachers and administrators, partnering with both stakeholders and helping to bring out the best in both.

In my article, “The Many Roles of an Instructional Coach,” in the Summer 2016 issue of Educational Leadership, I discuss how coaches are being used, present strategies for coaches to help their school communities, and make the case that this position is a vital one for any school.


Heather Wolpert-Gawron is an 8th grade English language arts teacher and a teacher on special assignment at San Gabriel Unified School District in Los Angeles, California.


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