Training Method Options, Part 6: Live On-Site Professional Development — Observation and Coaching Day

Sep 19, 2022 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


Making Excellent Writing Teachers through Individual Coaching

IEW’s Observation and Coaching Day supports classroom teachers and administrators during implementation of the Structure and Style methodology after initial training (either live or video) has taken place and teachers have practiced the techniques in their classrooms. An IEW Implementation Coach visits the school site, observes four to seven classroom teachers teaching a writing lesson, and provides individual feedback and coaching. Schools may purchase two consecutive Observation and Coaching Days to include more teachers.

Like IEW’s Demonstration and Coaching Day, the Observation and Coaching Day helps a school build and sustain progress as it implements Structure and Style. We asked Mr. Rick Mingerink, principal at Adams Christian School in Wyoming, Michigan, to share his school’s experience with teacher coaching.

Adams Christian School has received frequent professional development services from Mrs. Linda Mikottis, our IEW Implementation Coach. I can’t stress the importance of this service enough. A couple days a year, Mrs. Mikottis visits our school to observe teachers as they teach a writing lesson in their classroom. This is always followed up with individual coaching sessions with each teacher. By building this relationship with our Implementation Coach, the teachers and I know we have someone we can turn to with questions and support at any time of the year.


Benefits of the Observation and Coaching Day

  1. Teachers receive individual coaching to fine-tune their understanding of the Structure and Style process and how to use the classroom lesson plan materials.
  2. The teacher-coach relationship promotes opportunities for self-reflection and facilitates improvement in each teacher’s practice as he or she implements the Structure and Style method.
  3. By reinforcing teachers’ successful attempts in the right direction and building on those through positive feedback and helpful suggestions for improvement, the focus is aimed at steady and continual progress in becoming an excellent writing teacher.
  4. The Observation and Coaching Day demonstrates the school’s commitment to its teachers that outstanding writing instruction is important and that effective professional development is ongoing, not a one-shot deal.
  5. The Implementation Coach works with the administrator to develop a team of teacher leaders and writing mentors to provide ongoing support to the rest of the staff. Potential mentor teachers learn effective practices and the language of impactful mentorship, modeled by the IEW coach.
  6. After the Observation and Coaching Day is complete, the Implementation Coach consults with the administrator to provide feedback about teacher progress (Who is doing well? Who needs additional support? Which teachers are potential mentors?) and makes recommendations about potential next steps. This maintains momentum and promotes sustainability.
  7. Through sustained professional development and coaching over a three-year period, IEW assists schools in developing a confident and cohesive group of teachers and team leaders who support new staff, thereby building a culture of mentoring from within. These mentors continue to work with IEW as needed to come alongside their new colleagues for continued success with IEW.


Challenges to Consider

Live professional development may be too expensive for small schools or those with a limited budget for training. However, private schools, charter schools, and small school districts may make use of funding through their local school district or county office of education or seek out grant money for professional development. Many schools implementing IEW across the United States have made what seemed impossible possible by taking advantage of Title funds for professional development.

  1. The trainer’s travel expenses are not included in the seminar price; however, IEW selects an Implementation Coach for a school based on the proximity of the school and the coach.
  2. The day requires some advance planning; however, IEW provides emailed instructions approximately four weeks prior to the event, including templates to create a schedule.

Principal Mingerink describes the impact coaching has had on his school’s progress in reaching its goals for writing instruction:

[The Observation and Coaching Day] adds accountability and fidelity to our writing curriculum. Accountability because not only do we receive constructive feedback on our implementation of the curriculum, but we know that when Mrs. Mikottis returns later in the year, we all have goals we want to reach before she returns. Fidelity because this service ensures we are implementing the curriculum effectively through Mrs. Mikottis’s ongoing coaching and support.

Institute for Excellence in Writing consistently demonstrates this coached practice model as fundamental to our methodology. When administrators choose a live Observation and Coaching Day for their school, their IEW Implementation Coach is a partner in supporting teachers as they teach Structure and Style effectively in their classrooms.

For more information or to schedule an Observation and Coaching Day, contact the IEW Schools Division and ask for one of our Educational Consultants.


IEW Educational Consultants


Sharyn Staggers                     Beth O’Connor

Schools Division Director        Senior Educational Consultant

Educational Consultant                  800.856.5815 x5506

800.856.5815 x5510


Andrea Pewthers                    Evan Smith

Educational Consultant          Educational Consultant       

800.856.5815 x5501               800.856.5815 x5040


Other blogs in this series:

Training Option 1: Video Training through Individual Streaming

Training Option 2: Group Training with DVDs or Video Streaming

Training Option 3A: Virtual Primary Writing with Structure and Style Writing Workshop

Training Option 3B: Virtual Structure and Style Writing Workshop for Teachers 3-12

Training Option 4A: Live On-Site Professional Development — Primary Writing with Structure and Style Two-Day Seminar for Grades K–2

Training Option 4B: Live On-Site Professional Development — Teaching Writing: Structure and Style Two-Day Seminar for Grades 3–12

Training Option 5: Live On-Site Professional Development – Demonstration and Coaching Day

Jean brings 34 years of classroom experience to IEW, having taught grades 1–6 in New York, Virginia, and in California, where she taught sixth-grade language arts in the Rocklin Unified School District. She was introduced to IEW in 2001 when a colleague shared Student Writing Intensive videos at weekly school staff meetings. As a result of student progress and teacher enthusiasm at her school, RUSD brought Andrew Pudewa to Rocklin many times over the next several years to train district teachers, resulting in improved student writing and test scores district-wide. Named Rocklin’s “Elementary Teacher of the Year” in 2001, Jean was also included in the 2004 and 2005 editions of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

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