Restart Recharge Podcast

214 - Coaches Checklist to Start the School Year

August 30, 2022 Forward Edge Season 2 Episode 14
Restart Recharge Podcast
214 - Coaches Checklist to Start the School Year
Show Notes Transcript

The beginning of the school year can be really hectic. Teachers are meeting their new students, administration is making the final adjustments for a great school year, and students are getting acclimated to their new classes. So how does a coach tackle the opening weeks of the school year? In this episode, we’ll be discussing with two coaches, one who is jumping into a new school district and one who is returning to their school district, to create a coaches checklist on the important tips one should have for the start of school.

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Podcast Team


Hosts- Katie  Ritter & Justin Thomas

Editing Team- Michael Roush, Justin Thomas 

Social Media/ Promo Team- Annamarie Rinehart, Lisa Kuhn, Maggie Harris

Creative/Content Team- Justin Thomas

Producers- Justin Thomas

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Justin Thomas:

As the school year begins, don't forget to earn your badges with edu The website has a brand new look for the upcoming school year. navigate easily across the new interface to learn strategies for using your favorite edtech tools in your lessons, check out the new curated collections and climb the edgy leaderboard. Visit the new look edgy badges.com today.

Katie Ritter:

Aloha, I'm Katie Ritter.

Justin Thomas:

And I'm Justin Thomas. And this is the restart recharge podcast, a podcast by coaches for coaches. We bring the tips and tricks to help you in your everyday work as instructional coach or whatever they call in your school district.

Katie Ritter:

So hopefully you're gonna leave this episode with us today feeling just a little bit less on your own coaching Island.

Justin Thomas:

And for today's episode, we know that school is just the gun for a lot of us here and at the Ed Tech world at the beginning of the school year can be really hectic, teachers are meeting with their new students administration's making the final adjustments for a great school year, and students are getting acclimated to their new classes. So how does a coach tackle the opening weeks of the school year? In this episode we're going to discuss with two coaches, one who is jumping into a new school district and one who is returning to their school district to create a coach's checklist on the important tips one should have for the start of the school year. And we have a newbie on the podcast here.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah, first time around the pod.

Justin Thomas:

How about that? Let's introduce her. This is Megan Rubel and Megan is going to be in her second school year of coaching. Prior to entering the coaching role, Megan taught fifth grade in Northern Virginia. She is originally from Pennsylvania where she attended Penn State University after college Megan moved to Washington, DC area where she began her teaching career and outside of work, Megan loves to travel, run and spend time with her dog. So welcome in for the first time.

Maegan Wrubel:

Megan, thanks for having me. Yeah,

Katie Ritter:

don't be nervous. Megan. We're glad to have you here. And I have the pleasure of reintroducing a coach that you've heard from many times in the past. We have Tracy Keo, with us today who was a classroom teacher for 11 years in second grade, and also fifth through eighth grade setting before taking on the role of an instructional design coach with us for the last four years. Are you kidding me? Tracy? Four years? Wow. Yeah, hear? Oh, my goodness. Okay. I have her microphone from her. So you didn't hear her say yes. But it is the fourth year I can't believe that time flies with a focus on technology in the classroom. Currently, she is a coach in a more rural school district in Ohio. And as a coach, she has worked with educators to help them achieve their classroom and educational goals through coaching and mentorship is one of our mentor coaches here at forward edge as well. As a coach. She's constantly on the go, if that wasn't enough with a four very active kiddos, and she listens to restart recharge done to fill the time in the car. Welcome back. Tracy.

Tracee Keough:

Thank you very much. I'm excited to be back.

Justin Thomas:

Alright, so she is back on the podcast. She is also back in her school district. I feel like we need like Guess who's back back back Tracy's back. But, Tracy, see we're going are just diving right into this. Tracy, you're back at the same school district that you were last year. So we're exactly you're going to pick back up? And also what are you excited about to continue on with from last year into this year in coaching.

Tracee Keough:

So I'm really excited to be back with my school district. Because we've made a lot of really great relationships first year out that was my whole goal was building those relationships with teachers across all four schools. So K through high school, we ended the year going through a series of admin meetings to determine like, what do we need for the end of the year? What are we going to do over the summer? How are we going to start the beginning of next year with trainings and different things like that. So I have a few things that we are picking back up such as our continued focus on the four C's and differentiation. And some of those trainings that we ended the year with in those last couple PD days that we are rolling back over into the new year, as well as the continuation of like copier tabloids and some different ways to reach our teachers where they're at. And coaching cycles and all the fun things that those bring, because it was really great to see so many teachers get excited for lessons or units again last year with just having somebody to talk to. That's awesome.

Katie Ritter:

Nice. And Megan, you started with us in the middle of the school year last year had to hit the ground running like a whirlwind. And so now this year, you are actually going to be starting with a new district new for you, but they've had a coach now for a number of years. So you're you're gonna kind of be the new person on the block in this district. So how do you plan to kind of tackle and approach and sort of hit the ground running as a new coach this school year in that district?

Maegan Wrubel:

Yeah, so I'm definitely excited about not having to start from scratch. Brooke has laid awesome groundwork at the school district that I'll be at so I'm excited to kind of follow in her footsteps. Be able to kind of like, see what role she's taken on and be able to continue that, especially like, getting to know the teachers and continuing her positive relationships with admin. And yeah, so just kind of like, already knowing kind of what I'm walking into is definitely a little bit more of like a security for me, especially being a new coach and just kind of having that as like a model to kind of like add my own flair and just continue to do what has been going really well there.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah, what are you most excited about as a new coach in this district coming up? Um, I think

Maegan Wrubel:

I really like having changes of scenery. So like being able to go to like a new school and like, be on one campus for all of the different school and classes, I guess. Yeah. But being able to, like meet new people as well, I love to talk. And I couldn't like talk to anybody. So being able to work with these teachers and like, build some more of those positive relationships is definitely another one.

Katie Ritter:

I love it. And I feel like we forgot part of Megan's bio. Speaking of talk, she also loves to tick tock, she's been helping us on the team.

Justin Thomas:

She really asked me teach me a few tricks. So not to brag, but I'm a bit of a pro at this. Okay. I do have a song for her to you know, new coach on the block has a lot of tricks, you know, like New Kids on the Block. Oh, thank you. I should have led with

Katie Ritter:

the tune Justin,

Justin Thomas:

chickened out a little bit.

Maegan Wrubel:

Jenny from the block. Are we making that connection?

Justin Thomas:

No, no, no, not quite. But yes, Megan is definitely showing us a lot of tick tock trends. So that's good. I'm trying to keep it fresh on the restart, recharge, tick tock scene. But we know that one of our important things that we do in our coaching is our coaching cycle. So Tracy, you mentioned a little bit getting kind of back into that for your district here that you're coming back to. But Megan, you're obviously starting in a newer district, but it has had coaching before. So how are you both looking to get into coaching cycles for the school year and get all those other initiatives started as well?

Tracee Keough:

Sure, I'll jump in no tic tac star over here, but have some ideas. So talking to teachers last year, we're going to do a theme this coming year for coaching cycles. So we are going to be the year of the rubber duck. And as they complete coaching cycles and different skills within that they'll get to select their own fun little rubber duck fit might have a hat on or outfits or selling

Katie Ritter:

like a Jeep thing. Yeah. Oh, so cool.

Tracee Keough:

I mean, maybe you have to sign up for a cycle. I'll do get him a little podcast bumper stickers, yes. It'd be really fun. So that is my goal is to like start coaching cycles with something fun that people earn. And then it becomes a talking point of like, Why do you have a fireman rubber duck on your desk and get people talking about different things?

Katie Ritter:

That's amazing. How did you come up with that?

Tracee Keough:

When I was teaching, we did a rubber duck contest for a week. And when your rubber ducks number got called you had to race to the front office to pick out the best gift card. So by the end of the week, it was like full blown Daytona like teachers trying to tackle each other in the hallways. But it just felt really good culture and camaraderie and fun. And I was like, Well, that could be really fun to have some fun rubber ducks around. I love that. And where do you buy these Oriental Trading or Amazon has like 50 pack of all the fun things. So it's kind of my goal is to like start with something fun have a theme to bring in coaching cycles and other elements throughout the year of like, earn your rubber duck by meeting with Tracy.

Justin Thomas:

I'm sold. I want a rubber duck. My mind is going right now. That's awesome.

Maegan Wrubel:

Yeah, my idea looks like that's a really good idea. I might have to steal that one. But, um, I don't know, I was kind of thinking along those lines, like Tracy had mentioned about using like, copier Chronicles and stuff like that, because it's something simple that teachers can just look at at their own time not really have any pressure. And then it's also kind of a talking point, if you run into them in the hallways, or if you're doing like a pop in, it's like a question they might be able to ask you and just kind of a conversation starter, which would hopefully lead into coaching cycles.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah. Well, because Megan, you're also you know, with a, we've mentioned a couple of times, but your district has had a coach for a number of years, but you're going to be a brand new face now. So you're going to kind of be back to like Tracy mentioned back to building relationships, establishing those relationships, right, and probably a little bit of reminding to clarify your role like new face. Sometimes it's like all of the work that maybe a previous coach has done may or may not kind of be out of sight out of mind. So you'll be definitely like back at that stage too. Or yeah, for sure. Yeah. Okay, well, before we jump in, we're going to talk more about building relationships. As soon as we get back from our sponsor break,

Justin Thomas:

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Katie Ritter:

Okay, welcome back. Thanks for sticking with us there for that last minute. Welcome back to the restart recharge podcast, we are talking with Tracy Keough and Megan Rubel about getting the year up and running as a coach who might be returning to the same district. And as a coach who might be brand new to a district this year. So we left off kind of just teasing on talking about the importance of building relationships. But as our loyal listeners know, we're very big on that here on the restart, recharge podcast, and how important building relationships are to really make waves with your teachers. So thinking about a new year, whether or not you know, you know, Traci, you're returning they're gonna recognize your face, but there's undoubtably going to be lots of new faces with teachers this year. So even if you are a coach returning to the same district for maybe the 20th year in a row, there's still going to be new faces for you to meet. So how are you going to go about making those new connections with those new teachers or, like, if you're a brand new coach to a building with everyone in the building, Megan will kick it off with you this time first.

Maegan Wrubel:

Um, so obviously, I feel like being like that new kid on the block, we'll stay on that theme. Making sure that I'm like really out within the first like two weeks of school just like making those like face to face connections of reminding people who I am again, because I feel like those first like two weeks is really about like people making sure they know who I am. And then we can get into the instruction a little bit after that. I also when I first started here, I think it was Lisa maybe said like get to know everyone in your building, whether it's the secretaries, whether it's the custodial staff, like make sure that like you feel part of that school community. So definitely making sure that like everyone knows who I am. And really building that comfortability so that they are feeling like they're able to approach me. And I feel like another easy not easy one. But it's to really like kind of go after those brand new teachers of like, I'm here for you, like, utilize me because I want to make sure that you're feeling supported. So yeah,

Katie Ritter:

I love that. Those are good. Tracy, what about you?

Tracee Keough:

I'm just going to add, so you won't be the only new kid on the block, there will be new kids on the block that you can all make friends with. And they all have a lot

Maegan Wrubel:

of tricks and flicks and yeah, trends and yeah,

Tracee Keough:

things. I know, for me making connections is a real big part. And I know at one of my schools, I have nine brand new teachers coming to campus this year in a school setting of 35. That's a big turnover. So really meeting with them popping in just letting them know that support is there. And for me, it's listening to listen when they're talking. So I really want to make sure that I'm making sure that I am catching even the small details like I have one teacher from last year. Who did taco Wednesdays not Taco Tuesdays. So I always was on campus on Wednesdays and made a point of stopping by to be like, Okay, so what's on the taco menu tonight, like just starting with something fun and easy and light had no seriousness. And those are the moments that stick with them versus like, Hey, did you see the new book that came out or the new tool or I heard that it's been a rough week. So trying to build those connections, starting with something simple and fun that they can relate to is, I think a really good starting point, especially when you have those new teachers fresh out of college really eye opening experiences for them, just getting to know them on that level helps.

Katie Ritter:

I love it and who doesn't love tacos on any day of the week.

Tracee Keough:

It's always a good day for

Justin Thomas:

me to talk with any point in time throughout this whole time, but obviously both of you are in a different setting but very similar and coming back to the school year here. And as Katie very well knows we love to wrap things up with our top three tips. So Megan, and Tracy, what are your top three tips for starting the school year in a school year or school that you've been in and one that you're trying to make kind of a new impression and get into and involved with?

Tracee Keough:

So I will say one of my top three and some of these may be the same for Megan, something I learned at Coaches camp this year. I I'm was having like the standing desk in the hallway to kind of always be present as I love that all the time, especially those first couple weeks of school so I'm not like hidden off in my server closet. Even though I'm popping around during plan I think it's still nice to just be more present during passing time and all of that.

Katie Ritter:

Do you remember who said that just so we can shout them out and give them credit for that idea? Danae I think it was Danae Acker. Yeah, yes, I believe it was, so shout out to Danae in South Carolina. Okay, Danae, correct us if we're wrong, but we think it's South Carolina

Tracee Keough:

today. Yeah, so that was a big one that really has stuck with me is just being present all the time, not just during their planned times. And being available. Really just listening and making those connections and finding something in common, even the smallest detail that you can then check on them with and just be a person to them, not just that coach that's there to maybe possibly tell the principal something. So getting through that boundary.

Justin Thomas:

Yeah, especially because the first couple weeks of school you can always be just crazy, you got you know, new kids coming in, you got kids that are switching classes and things like that. And it's helpful for the teachers to know they can go to you for some quick ideas on lessons,

Tracee Keough:

ideas, an extra set of hands, like, hey, if we're still trying to get our second graders to log in, like, I'll come in and sit in here and take the back half and just really be present throughout the day, not just during their planned times. Megan,

Maegan Wrubel:

one of mine was similar of just being there to listen and not dominating the conversations. Another one would be to really market your role and over communicate how they can get in touch with you, for sure. Yes,

Katie Ritter:

exclamation mark.

Maegan Wrubel:

Um, and then one of the other ones I had was to really be using social media, especially like, if your school district has one. So that like, even admin, they don't have the chance to go into the classroom every day or every week. But if you're posting it online, and like the school's re sharing it, they're able to see the good work that like their teachers are doing.

Katie Ritter:

I love that, um, something that you guys said to made me think. I think it's Tyler that always says this, but also especially like at the beginning of the year, like just be in the hallway. Like during those class time changes. Tracy, I think that's what you said that made me think of it. But you know, when it's chaos, and kids are lost, and you know, teachers are feeling frantic, and everything's going on and reminders of all the routines we have to get back into like just being in the hallway, I think can be really helpful and make sure that you're just like very visible to.

Tracee Keough:

And another shout out to Tyler, one of the things he talks about, and started doing last year, which is helpful, I think, at the beginning of the year, anytime during the year is doing those video messages to specific teachers. Because again, the first couple weeks of school are chaos, and they may not have time to like have you pop in and have a really good conversation, but just sending that quick video message like Hey, I saw you this morning running in with your coffee. Hope it's gonna be a great day. I'm here to help you if you need it. Just a quick video message to let them know you're there without interrupting time. Oh, that's cute.

Katie Ritter:

I like that. Yeah. Um, I'm curious. I know this was supposed to be the last but some that just made me think of something else too. I'm wondering like, particularly I think maybe more for you, Tracy, just because you've been in this district now in and you have been a returning coach in previous districts before. But what does like a checklist look like for teachers for getting started? Like to get started with the year particularly with like an LMS? Or getting up and running? Like, do you have anything like that that you have done? Or do you have for them still

Tracee Keough:

working on that Cummings putting together something with our team here to try and figure that out? Knowing that I'm supporting a huge group of fresh to the educational world? But yes, definitely getting familiar with your LMS understanding the Gradebook, we talked about testing, and how that's going to look just to give those new teachers like a heads up that you will have to use this testing site, we will go over it, it will all be okay. And really having a checklist at the end of every quarter to to kind of reflect on how that quarter went as a teacher as well. Like what went really well. What can I keep what can I get rid of moving into the next quarter. And if needed, meeting with the coach to kind of walk through how they felt about things, I think is another great one.

Katie Ritter:

I like breaking that down by quarter just so it's not like I mean, especially for those that group that you're talking about. That's not only like new district new role, but also like brand new to the profession, essentially. That could be super overwhelming. So I like how you're breaking that down by quarter for them to like continuously revisit.

Tracee Keough:

I think it's easier to view things in smaller chunks, especially if you're in your first five years of teaching. Things don't come as naturally so by breaking it down into smaller chunks, you don't feel as overwhelmed and hopefully don't get stressed out but it's just I get through this eight weeks. What went well, what am I changing at any grade level that works? So

Katie Ritter:

nice. Well, thank you for sharing.

Justin Thomas:

Yeah, yeah. Do you like that idea and especially to going back to kind of what we mentioned before, you know, when those things were really just present in the hallway, you might have a student that, you know, comes up and says, I'm not sure what this is. And if you're in Tracy's case, and we're like, oh, well, let's go down here, it's down here. If you're making a sketch like, I don't know, either, let's figure it out together. And then you can go and meet with like a teacher or something like that, in that you can use that later on is a Hey, thanks for helping with that student. You kind of use it as another kind of check in point. Absolutely. All right. So this one is a little shorter episode, but that's quite okay. We got some really good ideas for us to be putting out

Katie Ritter:

there. It's August. Nobody has time for a long episode in August.

Justin Thomas:

That is true. As we mentioned, it is hectic and crazy and chaotic. So the good news is, is that we are right back in the thick of things, as you know, with our schedule here. And our next episode is going to be really interesting. We're going to have a couple folks on we're going to have Anna Marie Reinhart and also going to have Paige on to as well from our marketing department page gravy, gravy, yes, coming on. And they're going to talk a little bit more about how you can kind of market yourself and use some of those marketing tools and skills to build some really creative visual elements to put out there for for you to kind of, you know, market yourself to

Katie Ritter:

take one of Megan's top tips and go a little deeper.

Justin Thomas:

go a little deeper. Yeah. So you know, that was we just started on the same wavelength. That's what happened with that case you're wondering.

Katie Ritter:

So I think that's it here for this episode. Today. Megan and Tracy, thank you so much for being with us. Always love getting some quick insights to what our coaches are putting into practice. And be sure to subscribe to restart recharge wherever you listen to podcasts so that you can listen to all our episodes through the rest of this school year to help get you through. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and tick tock thanks to Megan and Justin but they are all at our our coach

Justin Thomas:

cache. You actually would have maybe seen Megan on one of the latest pie or excuse me with a tick tock Yeah, little cameo Look at that. We got her on the TIC tock first and then loaded into the actual podcast itself. But feel free to reach out to us on any of those social media outlets and let us know what topics you want to discuss if there's anything on your mind. We'll be happy to, you know, brainstorm on and bring some folks on and we'll talk about here on the restart recharged podcast. Also to Don't forget you heard it from Brooke and our last episode, but the AAU coach network is waiting for you to join. So you can go to www.edu Coach network.com to join this amazing network of resources and connections for coaches.

Katie Ritter:

So press the restart button,

Justin Thomas:

recharge your coaching batteries and leave feeling equipped and inspired to coach fearlessly with a restart recharge podcast,

Katie Ritter:

a tech coach collective collective we're officially back in session!