Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching — A Partnership Between the Annenberg Foundation and the Pennsylvania Department of Education
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IU PIIC Mentors work with instructional coaches to focus on increasing student engagement and improving student achievement through the implementation of the PLN framework and other evidence-based literacy strategies.

The Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching (PIIC)

PIIC, a partnership of the Annenberg Foundation and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), is a statewide resource for developing and supporting consistent, high-quality instructional coaching in Pennsylvania schools.

PIIC builds on the work of the Pennsylvania High School Instructional Coaching Initiative (PAHSCI), which established a model for instructional coaching in 26 high schools in 16 high-needs districts.   PIIC takes a different approach: creating the position of “instructional mentor” to support coaching in each of the state’s 29 Intermediate Units (IUs) and providing resources and professional development for mentors, coaches, teachers, and administrators.

The PIIC Approach:  PIIC’s approach to instructional mentoring and instructional coaching reflects the growing consensus about what constitutes good professional development for teachers. It is:

  • Ongoing and job-embedded, recognizing that teachers want and need strategies for continuous improvement in their work.
  • Linked to state standards, curriculum, and assessment, so that teachers build knowledge and skills directly related to what their students need to learn.
  • Confidential and non-evaluative, so that teachers can work honestly and openly with their coaches and colleagues on self-improvement.
  • Founded on evidence-based strategies for improving instruction, to offer teachers practical, classroom-focused assistance.

 The PIIC Program:  Supporting one-on-one coaching is the heart of PIIC. To be successful, coaches need skillful mentoring, and both coaches and mentors need ongoing professional development to help teachers improve student achievement.  PIIC provides an infrastructure of training and resources by offering:

  • An ongoing program of study on instructional coaching, mentoring, and teacher professional development.
  • Online resources for mentors and coaches, including toolkits, guides, and training curricula.
  • Materials and training for school leaders to build their capacity to support coaching.
  • Specific training, as appropriate, in the Penn Literacy Network’s evidenced-based strategies for developing reading, writing, and comprehension skills across the curriculum.
  • Research and evaluation to analyze the effectiveness of instructional coaching and gather data to support continuous improvement.

Mentors: Each IU will have an instructional coaching mentor, a position funded by PDE. Mentors will work with districts, schools, and coaches to make mentoring an integral part of the instructional coaching system in Pennsylvania. Mentors will:

  • Collaborate with coaches, teachers, and school leadership to identify needs.
  • Analyze appropriate data and develop goals and a plan of action.
  • Provide support for coaches individually and in groups, on-site or by email and videoconferencing.
  • Create a “coaching community” within the IU.
  • Participate in PIIC training to expand their instructional coaching knowledge and skills.
  • Organize a variety of professional development activities for coaches and other school staff.

Coaches: Instructional coaches provide one-on-one, “over-the-shoulder” assistance to teachers, helping them master strategies to strengthen their classroom practice. Coaches will:

  • Have the opportunity to participate in PIIC professional development activities.
  • Work one-on-one with teachers in classrooms, offering confidential, non-evaluative feedback.
  • Foster a collegial learning network of teachers and coaches in the district.
  • Work with school administrators and leadership teams to support the coaching program.

PIIC Technical Providers: In addition to the Annenberg Foundation and Pennsylvania Department of Education, PIIC draws on the special talents and resources of the following technical assistance and research team:

  • FHI 360 and Senior Advisor and Evaluator Elliott Medrich, who are conducting research on the implementation and outcomes of PIIC.
  • The Penn Literacy Network, which provides an evidence-based literacy professional development program to IUs across the state.
  • The Philadelphia Foundation, which provides administrative and management support to PIIC.
  • Capital Area IU 15, which provides administrative and management support to PIIC.

More Information

For more information about PIIC, browse this website, check out our brochure, or 484-278-4147.

For more information about PAHSCI, click here.

For more information about instructional coaching, visit our instructional coaching page and our newest online resource, The Instructional Coaching Resource Guide