Joplin School district administrators take part in cognitive coaching training. School board to vote on funding it for more teachers. 

Joplin School district administrators take part in cognitive coaching training. School board to vote on funding it for more teachers. 

The Joplin school board tonight hears a revised pitch for professional development dollars. The proposal for cognitive coaching has been tweaked to answer board concerns. But some are already training in the program.

” It ‘ s framing in a positive way. What you’re doing is framing hope, ” said National trainer Toni Prickett. She calls it brain chemistry and the key to cognitive coaching.
More than sixty Joplin and McDonald county administrators and teachers took a class to learn how to listen and use words that are empathetic not judgmental.
Prickett gave an example when talking to a student, “So, you’re frustrated cause the kids wouldn ‘ t let you play on the team.”

The class included what words and phrases can be used to move staff or students from their existing state to a desired state.

Prickett explained, “We tend to wallow in things that have happened instead of saying, it happened, we recognize it, now what are we gonna do about it?”

Trainer and Carl Junction Intermediate school principal Gretchen DeMasters has put it to work training all her teachers.
She said, “The payoff for me as a principal is humungous. My teachers are more self-directed, having more confidence in making decisions on their own, um, their communication with parents is better, communication with students is better. I ‘ m not putting out fires all day.”

Joplin Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Jennifer Doshier said, “It ‘ s very powerful. It really is. Rather than top down control and central office control or leadership control, it ‘ s about being at the site level, building level and the classroom where really it should be.”

The concept of cognitive coaching was brought to the district by interim superintendent Dr. Norm Ridder who says he’s seen it work elsewhere and says its already paying off with principals in their buildings. Now the district wants to train more people to become trainers of other teachers.

Chairman of the Joplin Professional Development team Stephen Gilbreth said, “So that can be done in house, so it ‘ s a whole lot more economical for us financially.”

Three from Joplin are already training to be trainers. But in the revised professional development proposal that number would be upped to around ten with a minimum of eight days training out of twenty-four total to take place in the summer so teachers aren ‘ t so frequently pulled from the classroom.

The board will also be asked tonight to approve plans for $179-thousand dollars in state provided professional development dollars.
Those would go to building principals to use for mentoring and training teachers to reach five year strategic plan goals. If unspent the district loses them.