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State Program Facilitates the Sharing of Instructional Technology Coaches Among Districts

The Learning Technology Center (LTC), a program of the Illinois State Board of Education, provides edtech services, support, and professional learning for K-12 Illinois schools, educators, and technology leaders. Recognizing that many small and medium-sized school systems could not afford a full-time instructional technology coach, the LTC developed the LTC Instructional Technology Coach Program. The program leverages an innovative cost-sharing model, allowing multiple districts in a similar geographic area of the state to “share” the costs of an instructional technology coach for a predetermined number of days throughout the school year. This program allows them to access the benefits of coaching without adding staff or committing to a full-time employee.  

In the spring of each year, the LTC works with districts to identify their instructional coaching needs, determine the number of days they would like support from a coach (from 10-170 days), and pairs neighboring districts. Together, the LTC and the districts interview and select a coach with pedagogical and technological experience. Even though the coach is an LTC employee, it is essential that the districts feel the coach is a fit for their culture. Districts then complete an onboarding document that helps situate the coach regarding the district’s goals, daily procedures, and technology. Doing so allows the coach to enter classrooms on day one to build relationships and support educators.  

The instructional technology coaches support teachers through coaching cycles. Teachers identify an area of need, and coaches work 1:1 with teachers to set goals, create an action plan, and support them through that action plan. The coaching cycle includes time for reflection, where coaches sit down with teachers, identify the impact that they have had on student learning, and plan how to carry that through in future lessons.  

In 2022-2023, the LTC had eight coaches working across 75 school buildings in Illinois. In those buildings, over 2000 teachers are impacting more than 26,000 students. The instructional technology coaching program helps even the smallest school systems make the most of their technology investments while providing their teachers with personalized, job-embedded professional development.