How federal funding is helping Red Oak ISD teachers reach new heights

Red Oak, TX - Red Oak ISD is using some of its federal funding to help teachers up their game.  On Monday, Susanna Campbell, the district’s director of elementary curriculum, updated the ROISD Board of Trustees on how Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds have enhanced its instructional coaches program.

Districts receive ESSER funding from the state as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was signed into law in March of 2020.

Campbell said instructional coaches work with teachers to help them improve their teaching and learning.

“Instructional coaches are one tool that we use to make sure we are constantly making our good better and our better best,” Campbell said.

Campbell said ROISD had five instructional coaches at the elementary school level (one per campus) in the 2020-21 school year and four instructional coaches working at the secondary level – one each for social studies, science, math and English language arts.

She said with the ESSER funding ROISD was able to add five instructional coaches at the elementary level for 2021-22, giving each campus two coaches. By doing that one coach can focus their time on math and one focusing on English language arts.

“We’ve already gotten feedback from our principals that this was a valuable added position,” Campbell said.

She said an instructional coach provides professional development through observing classroom instruction and providing feedback.

“We look at our behaviors as how does that impact student learning, how does that impact what students do?” Campbell said.

Other responsibilities include facilitating lesson planning, modeling lessons and instructional strategies, and leading analysis of student performance data.

“We may see instructional coaches lead a team of teachers look at student data,” Campbell said. “How did students do on a test or a particular type of question? And then how do we change our instruction to make that better than it is already?”

Campbell said through research district leaders have identified five attributes that help teachers grow – content focused, active learning, coherence, sustained duration and collective participation. She said adding the additional coaches has helped teachers reach all of those qualities.

Campbell said knowing the importance of the coaches and knowing that the ESSER funding is likely limited, district leaders are starting to look ahead.

“We’re looking at how can we continue that position beyond the ESSER funding,” Campbell said. “What are some other funding sources and considering how we can continue that.”

Source: Waxahachie Daily News