A middle school is discovering that instructional coaches provide new strategies for learning, allowing both teachers and students to improve understanding of concepts.

Lucky Seeing Eye Puppy was Adopted by a Life Skills ClassAt Merrillville Intermediate School, instructional math coach Mike Ewing used a pizza pie to explain fractions as he moved quickly around the room. There are two coaches at Merrillville Intermediate, Ewing and Nikki Laird, the English/language arts instructional coach. They travel in the school to different classrooms, working with the teachers and students.

Kara Bonin is the new principal at the intermediate school this year.  She formerly was director of elementary curriculum in the central office and now is doing what she really wants – working directly with children.  She is a former principal at Salk Elementary School.

“Our ultimate goal is to be a Four Star, Blue Ribbon School,” she said.  Previously, the Indiana Department of Education had graded the Intermediate School a C.

“In order to do that, we have to improve our ISTEP achievement scores. Right now, we know our scores dropped, so we are looking at our instructional practices in the classroom. Research says the best way and most impactful way to improve instruction in the classroom is to use instructional coaches.”

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