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Superintendents ’ Network Welcome! Apprentice Facilitators And Coaches. Superintendents’ Network. Instructional Rounds Overview For Apprentice-Facilitators. Goals of Instructional Rounds.

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superintendents network welcome apprentice facilitators and coaches
Superintendents’ Network


Apprentice Facilitators



superintendents network

Superintendents’ Network

Instructional Rounds Overview



goals of instructional rounds

Goals of Instructional Rounds

Build skills of network members by coming to a common understanding of effective practice and how to support it.

Support instructional improvementat the host school by sharing what the network learns and by building skills at the local level.

an instructional rounds network
An Instructional Rounds Network

Is Not

  • Learning in isolation
  • A method to evaluate teachers and principals
  • An instructional audit to determine if teachers are engaging in a specific practice
  • A “walkthrough”
  • A program
  • A way for network members to learn supervision skills
  • Reading about or listening to someone describe effective teaching practice and how to support it
  • Working alone to “figure it out” for one’s own system


  • A learning community
  • A method to examine the system
  • A method to analyze student learning and student tasks
  • An in-depth analysis of the instructional core observed in classrooms
  • A process
  • A way for network members to objectively describe teaching and learning
  • Developing, through shared experiences in real classrooms, a common understanding of effective teaching practice and how to support it
  • Collaboration to create coherence around instructional improvement at scale
statewide participation

Statewide Participation

130 Superintendents

16 AEA Leaders

2 Department of Education Representatives

5 Professional Organization Representatives (SAI, IASB, ISEA)

1 Higher Education Representative

what superintendents are saying
What superintendents are saying…
  • I am skilled at using evidence to discuss and analyze observation data. 97%
  • I learn better ways to improve instruction in my district by working with others from outside my district. 82%
  • I value collaborating with other superintendents to improve teaching and learning. 97%

“Superintendents can be and need to be instructional leaders.” – Iowa superintendent

comparison of rounds and walkthroughs
Comparison of Rounds and Walkthroughs


  • Checks for implementation of district programs
  • Normative mode (looking for something preconceived)
  • Assesses presence-absence of practices specific (‘there’ or ‘not there’)
  • Evaluative
  • Specific to a single classroom


  • Addresses a problem of practice
  • Descriptive-analytic-predictive mode
  • Develops common norms of practice
  • Part of a broader improvement strategy
  • Builds a theory of action
  • Evidence-based, non-judgmental
  • Identifies patterns across classrooms

The Instructional Core





The relationship between the teacher and the student in the presence of content


a n instructional rounds visit

An Instructional Rounds Visit

An Inquiry Process

A Disciplined Practice


Host identifies

Problem of Practice

Focusing Questions

Theory of Action (often later)

Network observes practice in classrooms

Network debriefs observations

Network generates reflective questions for host’s Next Level of Work

Host and network follow-up to implement and support the Next Level of Work (share data, take action, learn more)

sample t heory o f a ction

Sample Theory of Action

If the district leads professional learning on Cognitively Guide Instruction (CGI) and provides organizational supports (use of formative and summative data, time, resources, leadership, participative decision-making); then teachers will acquire CGI knowledge and skills.

If teachers engage in learning opportunities with leadership support, plan lessons with peers, deliver lessons with coaching, and examine student data; then teachers will transfer master CGI instructional strategies.

If teachers routinely deliver CGI practices with fidelity, and if students have opportunities to acquire skills in higher order mathematical thinking, and apply skills to solve real world problems; thenstudents’ mathematical problem solving skill will improve.

sample p roblem o f p ractice
Sample Problem of Practice

Teachers have been receiving professional development and studying Cognitively Guide Instruction (CGI) practices during the past school year. Teachers model a variety problem solving strategies in the classroom. Classroom walk through data and analysis of unit assessment data indicate that students in grades 2 and 3 still struggle to solve word problems and story problems and explain their own thinking.

sample focusing questions

Sample Focusing Questions

What kinds of problem solving tasks are students asked to do?

What are students doing to solve a problem?

How does the teacher model problem solving?

How does the teacher know what students are doing to solve problems?

learning a new way to observe


Focus on all three elements of the instructional core

Learning a New Way to Observe
observing and describing the learning task

Observing and Describing the Learning Task

Look down, not up

What are students actually doing? (not what the teacher thinks s/he is asking them to do)

Task predicts performance

debrief process
Debrief Process
  • Description
  • Analysis
  • Prediction
debriefing classroom observations description
Debriefing Classroom Observations:Description

On your own:

  • Read through your notes.
  • Star data that seem relevant to the Problem of Practice and/or data that seem important.
  • Select 5-10 pieces of data and write each on an individual sticky note.
debriefing classroom observations description1
Debriefing Classroom Observations:Description

With your observation team:

  • Use your sticky notes to share the observations you identified as important. Help each other stay in the descriptive (not evaluative) voice. Stick to evidence!
  • On one of your charts, sort your ‘stickies’ according the Focusing Questions.
  • Look for patterns and summarize them in the appropriate column on your second chart.
debriefing classroom observations analysis
Debriefing Classroom Observations:Analysis

With your partner group:

  • Look at the “pattern” charts from each group and share what patterns you see.
  • Ask each other: after observing several of the same classrooms, did we come up with similar patterns?

Disagreement is an opportunity for learning!

debriefing classroom observations analysis1
Debriefing Classroom Observations:Analysis
  • Partner groups share patterns and contrasts with large group.
  • Large group listens for similarities.

What trends are emerging?

debriefing classroom observations prediction
Debriefing Classroom Observations:Prediction

If you were a student at this school and you did everything you were expected to do, what would you know and be able to do?

n ext l evel o f w ork
Next Level of Work

Are our reflective questions:

  • anchored by visit data?
  • relevant to hosts needs (POP)?
  • likely to guide robust conversation and learning?
  • comprehensive enough to engage teachers and administrators?

Have we considered reciprocity (the resources and support the organization will need to provide if changes are expected)? Are our ideas practical?

Less is more!

continuous learning

Continuous Learning

Establish processes and expectations for follow-up

Hold each other accountable

instructional rounds
Instructional Rounds

What is our intent? Is it…

… going into classrooms to learn about the instructional core (interaction of students and teachers and content)? THIS IS ROUNDS


… going into classrooms to check up on teachers

(“instructional audit”)?


shared inquiry
Shared Inquiry

“Rounds are supposed to be about puzzles and shared inquiry and seeing every piece of data as a learning opportunity and as a guidepost on the Road to Support, not as thinly-disguised accountability. We don’t do rounds to other people. We do rounds for ourselves and for our students. We do rounds together. If it feels like it’s being done to someone, it needs tuning.”

Instructional Rounds In Education, City, Elmore, Teitel and Fiarmann, page 108

learning from rounds
Learning from Rounds


  • We learn to do the work by doing the work, reflecting on the work and critiquing the work
  • Separate the person from the practice
  • Learning is an individual and a collective activity
  • Trust enhances individual and collective learning
  • Learning enhances individual and collective efficacy
improving schools
Improving Schools

“We learn the work by doing the work.

Instructional improvement is the work.

We do everything else to support the work.”

Richard Elmore


Statewide Coordinator:

  • Bonnie Boothroy,

School Administrators of Iowa