The Coaching Letter is written by Center staff member Isobel Stevenson, who has extensive experience as both a leader and a coach. The Coaching Letter’s perspective is that leaders could be a bit more successful if they thought and acted more like coaches, and coaches could be a bit more successful if they thought and acted more like leaders. Isobel draws on research and theory in organizational development, cognitive psychology, and behavioral economics, as well as her own experience, to suggest to leaders and coaches ways to think about their work that push them a little bit beyond their current mental models. The Coaching Letter is rich, thoughtful, personal, and funny.
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Hello, I hope you are well, and I hope you have power and internet. Last week was challenging, because Isaias was deceptive—it didn’t seem like a big storm, so I wasn’t really prepared to be without internet for several days. To be fair, I’m not sure what more I could have done to prepare for being without internet. Luckily, I didn’t have to go too far to get it—the local Starbucks, or the parking lot of the Community […]
It’s been a grueling few months, hasn’t it? I hope you are doing OK. Many of the people reading this Coaching Letter have really had no break at all since we shuttered the schools in March. And now we have to gear up for whatever happens next, and that too will be a ton of work—is already a ton of work. I realized that things were getting heavy when one of my oldest and best friends—a woman whom […]
Hello, I hope you’re well. This Coaching Letter is about planning for the fall the right way—by paying attention to the research and by not getting trapped in a deficit mindset.
As part of my principal preparation program—I mean, the one I took as a student myself—I had to take two courses in the C & I department. (This, amazingly enough, is not required in all principal prep programs, many of which start from the premise that everyone entering […]
Hi there. I hope you’re doing well. I don’t know if the end of the school year has provided you any respite or not–I know things are still very busy. I hope you do get to breathe a bt. Here in Connecticut it’s been ridiculously hot and muggy, and I am grateful that we have air conditioning. This Coaching Letter is about formative assessment and acceleration not remediation.
I’ve presented on planning teaching and learning for the Re-opening School […]
I had a Coaching Letter almost ready to go on Tuesday night. I can’t remember why I decided to send it on Wednesday morning instead, but on Wednesday morning it was nowhere to be found. Apparently I wrote the whole thing without saving? Stupid mistake. I was too annoyed and frustrated to try and re-create it, and now I barely remember what it was about. So much for grit.
I do know that I talked about how hard it […]
Friends, I hope this finds you well. My colleague Kerry Lord ran a Zoom session on wellness for 300 people today which expanded my thinking about what we mean by wellness—that it is not just about our emotional and physical health—we should also be talking about intellectual and social wellness. That all seems exactly right at the moment, when I for one am struggling to find equilibrium. There have been many moving and powerful statements written about the […]
Despite the fact that I have a book manuscript due on June 1, and a module for the Center’s re-opening school workshop to design, and other district projects I’m working on, I have found myself having to fight the urge to work on an article for the Kappan’s April 2021 issue: “Research, meet practice.” This Coaching Letter is me trying to figure out what I have to say about that.
First of all, I have written on […]
Friends, I hope this finds you well. I can’t believe it’s so long since I wrote a Coaching Letter, and I can’t believe that when schools closed several weeks ago I thought I was going to have more time to read books. I bought a pile of them from bookshop.org. A book purchase is never a waste, I always say, but still, I just feel silly that I thought I was going to have two weeks of […]
Friends, I hope this finds you well. I know there are people reading this who have been ill with covid-19, and others who know someone who has died. I am very sorry. I know also that people in education have plenty offers of help and resources coming at them, so I don’t want to add anything that I don’t know to be absolutely on point. I will tell you that at the Center we are working very hard […]
Hi, I hope you’re well. My dad reminded me that today is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 accident that nearly resulted in the loss of the spacecraft on its way to the moon. The book Lost Moon (Lovell and Kluger, 1994) and the movie based on the book, Apollo 13, are favorites of mine. I think we can learn a lot from the incident about leadership, and about systems, which are all that’s in the news at the moment.
The fault in the fuel […]