How a Nationally Recognized School Updated Their Professional Development by Adding Video Coaching into Observation Cycles

Cornerstone Academy, a K-6 charter school in San Jose, Ca., is recognized by Building Excellent Schools as a school that consistently demonstrates strong academic results, sound organizational practices, and a genuine ability to close the achievement gap in their communities.

If you ask Marion Dickel, Academic Director of Cornerstone Academy, part of their success is a product of their commitment to quality teacher professional development – something they enhanced last spring by partnering with Edthena to provide teachers with video coaching.

Marion has led the implementation of video at the school. Since adopting video, she said, Cornerstone’s already powerful PD processes have gotten even stronger.

How has video changed the culture around professional development at Cornerstone?

Cornerstone uses video for feedback with all staff members, including the leadership team.Marion Dickel, Cornerstone Academy

Because the use of video is so ubiquitous, staff members consider it the norm and simply see it as another tool for growth, and teachers are able to access other teachers’ videos, making teacher practice much more public and giving teachers many more opportunities to see each other teach and learn from each other.

This use of video has helped teachers focus more clearly on improving and analyzing their teaching techniques, along with the techniques and accomplishments of their peers.

Before teachers and coaches at the school started using Edthena, what did the observation process look like?

Observations were in person and coaches would take notes on various types of observation logs.

As for teachers seeing each other in action, Leadership Team members would cover for teachers so they could observe each other. This was not a very efficient process.

What have you heard from the coaches at the school about their experience using video?

Video has allowed coaches to be in two (or more) places at once, and they appreciate that. They report that it is also an effective way to show teachers their practices and how scholars respond to their practices.

Edthena has also allowed our principal to coach coaches on coaching – the principal and coach can review a coaching video, analyze it, and plan next steps.

Would you recommend that other K-6 schools adopt video? How would you recommend they use it?

Absolutely. I would recommend using both in-school produced videos and videos from outside sourcesCornerstone Academy

Video is an important tool for our coaches and teachers. It gives teachers a chance to “step outside” of the teaching moment and analyze their teaching from another perspective. Because they have more time to reflect, they are better able to focus on the teaching choices they are making, and how the students in their classes are responding.

Reviewing video with a coach who can point out specific strategies is even more useful.