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2016 Has Been Our Best Year Yet!

Lynn Bagwan


Here we are again, nearing the end of yet another banner year at Torsh. And what a year it’s been! We’ve added some stellar employees, welcomed new clients, launched Coaching Corner (thanks to our incredibly talented development team), and continued to establish Torsh TALENT as THE go-to tool for teacher professional development. It’s time to celebrate some great wins. And what better way than with a list, by no means comprehensive, of how clients have used Torsh TALENT this past year. Thanks to everyone who made 2016 our best year yet. We hope these ideas will inspire you to think of different ways you can use TALENT in the new year. Cheers to a 2017 filled to the brim with what really matters in education – better teachers and outstanding student outcomes!

1.Remote Coaching

Stanford’s Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET) uses TALENT to facilitate the remote coaching of their Hollyhock fellows. The Hollyhock program identifies promising new teachers across the country and provides them with additional training through a fellowship that combines time spent at Stanford and ongoing online access to resources and a community. CSET takes advantage of TALENT’s coaching and video observation functionalities to consistently work with Hollyhock fellows as they continue to teach in schools nationwide.

2.Peer-Based Coaching

As a part of its Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant award, the State of Massachusetts Early Education and Care Department funded a pilot to develop a Peer Assistance and Coaching (PAC) model to support the professional growth of early educators and increase program quality. PAC mentors use TALENT to virtually interact with a variety of mentees in a range of settings (in home day care, center based, in school, etc). Initial findings show that coaches and mentees who uploaded and reviewed videos 15 or more times showed higher post assessment ratings (on the early childhood assessment PreK CLASS) than those Mentees and Coaches who used video less frequently.

3.Teacher Residency Programs

KIPP DC uses Talent as a part of their Capital Teaching Residency (CTR) program a nationally recognized, highly selective teacher training program that provides a pathway for aspiring teachers to develop into outstanding educators prepared to serve in high-need schools in Washington, D.C. Through TALENT, CTR residents can easily see into each other’s classrooms which helps KIPP DC develop their desired culture of feedback among peers.

4.Training Highly-Effective Coaches

The Lastinger Center at the University of Florida (UF) offers a Certified Instructional Coaching Program to teachers who are interested in becoming coaches. The program is offered to teachers in Florida and is a blended program where teachers spend several days at the UF campus and then return to their districts where they complete their training virtually. TALENT is the core of Lastinger’s online platform for providing teachers with an online community where they can share videos and receive feedback from professors and colleagues.

5.Teacher Preparation

Tufts University’s School of Education uses TALENT as part of their teacher certification programs. TALENT allows professors the ability to see into student teacher classrooms and provide coaching and feedback without the need to be there in person for an observation. They also support peer and larger classroom discussions and feedback.

6.Teacher Hiring

Laureate Academy Charter School is an approved K-8 tuition-free and open enrollment charter school in Jefferson Parish, LA. In addition to using TALENT for coaching and feedback, Laureate Academy uses TALENT to support its hiring process to find exceptional teachers. TALENT also allows teacher candidates to see into Laureate classrooms.

7. Teacher Support

Valor Academy is a 5th through 8th grade charter school in Los Angeles. At Valor, the primary purpose of TALENT is to provide additional support for teachers outside of the normal face-to-face coaching and support services. Coaches can give teachers further support and feedback through TALENT’s coaching and video observation features.

8.Self-Reflection and Growth

Commonwealth Children’s Center, an early education center in Massachusetts, primarily uses TALENT for teacher self-reflection. Teachers utilize TALENT to easily upload videos and reflect on their teaching practice. How were my interactions with students? How can I connect the teaching I’m seeing here with effective teaching practices? How successful was I in implementing new curriculum? Was I able to successfully engage struggling students?…

9.Showcasing Exemplars

The Volusia Center for Excellence in Education (VCEE) is an effort to develop and improve teacher effectiveness by building deeper core subject knowledge and improving field experience for pre-service K-5 teachers. The VCEE has an innovative project to record highly effective teachers in the classroom. The project involves the creation of content learning modules by content area experts and eight demonstration teaching classrooms for real-time modeling, as well as the capacity to record and analyze best practices in teaching core content at the elementary level.

10. Following Up to In-Person PD

The Accelerating Campus Excellence schools at Dallas Independent School District focuses on incentivizing top teachers and principals to relocate and work at some of the district’s lowest-performing schools. At these ACE schools, principals use TALENT as a follow-up to assess whether or not strategies and skills discussed during Professional Development sessions are being implemented in the classroom and at what level of fidelity. The TALENT video gives coaches a way to actually track success of PD and follow-up with teachers where needed.

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