How Clinical Coaches Support Candidate Development: Examining the role of clinical coaches at CSU Fullerton to improve teacher preparation

by Alix Gallagher; Ashley Boal; Melissa White; Naa Ammah-Tagoe

Jan 1, 2017

The New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI), funded by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, seeks to strengthen the current teacher preparation system in California so that new teachers enter the workforce prepared to implement Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The Foundation has developed a theory of action to guide reform that focuses on five Key Transformation Elements: partnership, prioritized skills, practice-based clinical preparation, formative feedback on prioritized skills, and data-driven continuous improvement.

WestEd and SRI International are conducting a formative evaluation to track NGEI implementation and outcomes at the CSU campuses that received comprehensive grants in Phase 1. Based on site visits in spring 2016, we produced an Evaluation Cycle Memo on NGEI Phase I comprehensive grantees' clinical practice reforms. Drawing on that Evaluation Cycle Memo, this "NGEI Innovation Highlight" features one reform element at CSU Fullerton -- the introduction of clinical coaches -- that stood out for its high regard among informants during our spring 2016 data collection.

While the development of the clinical coach role and related improvements to the performance feedback cycle are new and some specifics are being refined, in this NGEI Innovation Highlight we share information about the nature and reception of these reforms, as well as related resources for those interested in adopting similar reforms. Specifically, we describe the role of the clinical coach, how clinical coaches established relationships with candidates and cooperating teachers, and the new approaches to giving feedback to candidates afforded by this role.