Inspiring! Reached the core of my beliefs! Elena Aguilar challenged everyone attending the Art of Coaching: Effective Strategies for School Transformation workshop to be courageous and demand equity for all students. Aguilar uses transformational coaching to serve students. She has developed a comprehensive guide to coaching for educators, such as myself, working toward transformation and equity in our schools. I especially appreciated Aguilar’s nonlinear design that provides best practices in coaching, yet it allows the coaching process to be authentic. Teachers will transform their practices when they are supported by a coach who can foster courage and humility. Coaches must be very intentional and skilled at helping teachers reflect on their beliefs and how those beliefs influence outcomes for our students.  This clearly aligns with Ferguson-Florissant’s charge to provide rigorous instruction and conceptual learning for our students.

In order to make sure all students have the experiences and knowledge to dream big, live a good life, and achieve unthinkable goals, educators must believe in every student they serve. Throughout Aguilar’s workshop, I reflected on the role of the principals and coaches in our district. What are our beliefs in Ferguson-Florissant, and are those beliefs allowing us as educators to give every student what he and she needs to be successful? In Aguilar’s book she states, “As coaches, you must understand the beliefs of those you are coaching in order to help them transform their actions.” She also points out, “We all have beliefs, and they drive our actions. We experience our beliefs as truths, and we can usually find evidence to support them. Our truths create boundaries around what we think we can and can’t do…. Sometimes our beliefs contradict each other or our core values. The good news is that beliefs can be updated or changed.” How our staff thinks about the work and service to Ferguson-Florissant students greatly impacts the growth of our students.

The Art of Coaching: Effective Strategies for School Transformation workshop and book provided a great toolkit for coaches. It will allow coaches to take an adaptive approach and reach the core of beliefs within educators, which will get to a deeper self-reflection and change within practices. Principals, teachers, coaches and anyone serving students will find The Art of Coaching helpful.Adrienne Bland