Instructional Coaching

Instructional coaching in District 401 focuses on what it means to improve as a teacher.

Coaches and teachers work together in a partnership model, through embedded support and professional development, to have a profound impact on student learning. 

Why the Need for Coaching?

Since August 2016, District 401 has implemented a series of changes across its curriculum, beginning with the use of STEMscopes in grades K-8 science.

Other recent changes include the adoption of GO Math! for grades K-5 mathematics and ReadyGEN for grades K-5 English language arts (ELA), the use of interactive e-texts in Connected Mathematics 3 (CMP3) for grades 6-8 math, and the adoption of MyPerspectives for grades 6 and 9-12 English. (MyPerspectives is being piloted in grades 7-8.)

To assist teachers with the use of these and other new curriculum offerings, the District has established two instructional specialist positions: one in math and science, and the other in ELA and social studies. These positions took effect with the start of the 2018-19 school year.

Ms. Morgan Freeck, a former teacher at Elmwood Elementary School, is the District's instructional specialist for math and science. Ms. Jamie Kanas, also from Elmwood Elementary, is the District's instructional specialist for ELA and social studies.

What Is an Instructional Specialist?

The job of our instructional specialists is to provide support for teachers in the implementation of effective practices to ensure the high academic achievement of all students.

The specialist positions are designed to increase individual and collective teacher capacity to provide leadership for change.

Our specialists strive to develop a community of learners who are reflective decision makers, who can identify, grow and develop new strengths to create a superior instructional program in our schools. This is done by developing mutually productive and trusting relationships.

The ultimate goal of our specialists is to improve instructional expertise by working directly with teachers — but with the focus always on what is best for students and their learning.

"Parkside Chat" Podcast on Instructional Coaching

To learn more about instructional coaching in D401, listen to our "Parkside Chat" podcast on that topic, Episode 4: "Instructional Specialists," released on Nov. 5, 2018. 

The episode features a conversation about instructional coaching with Ms. Freeck, Ms. Kanas and Director for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Leah Gauthier.

Click below to listen. For a direct link to this episode on, please click here.