Public School Education

The Guilford County Schools Executive Coaching Project

Instructional Leadership in Guilford County Schools
Human Resource Leadership in Guilford County Schools
Relationship between principal and coach - Guilford County Schools

Since 2007, The Cemala Foundation has partnered with Guilford County Schools, the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, and the Weaver Foundation to support executive coaching for novice principals. When Cemala began this support, over one half of the Guilford County Schools principals were under the age of thirty-five.

The mission of Guilford County Schools (GCS) Leadership Development is to develop future leaders equipped to assume leadership roles in 21st Century schools and to address leadership induction and support. The Executive Coaching experience is centered on identifying and nurturing the principal's individual strengths and helping her/him to reach new levels of professional success and satisfaction. It allows for ongoing, site-based, personalized professional development. This program is designed to increase the principal's capacity for effectively implementing GCS's seven standards for 21st Century School Executives:

  • Strategic leadership
  • Instructional leadership
  • Cultural leadership
  • Human resource leadership
  • Managerial leadership
  • External development leadership and
  • Micropolitical leadership

The goal of the coaching program is a collaborative, growth-oriented, learning-focused, relationship between the principal and the coach. Ultimately, such a relationship leads to improved student learning.

The supporting foundations have been pleased with annual assessments of the program in which principals and coaches indicate that this program is a success and that principals value the advice and mentoring of coaches enabling them to establish strong and effective cultures within their schools benefiting students, teachers, and staff.

Elements that have made this program successful include:
  1. Employing high quality coaches who are external to the district
  2. Providing sufficient time, a minimum of two (2) half-days per month for site-based interactions, with additional availability through email and telephone conversations
  3. Assigning principals and coaches in a ratio allowing for in-depth contact to develop a confidential, supportive, and productive environment
  4. Establishing a coaching program that works in concert with the district's initiatives and strategic plan
  5. Maintaining confidential relationships between the coach and the principal

The Cumulative Effect

UNC System and Guilford County Schools Mathematics Project
UNC System and Guilford County Schools Mathematics Project
UNC System and Guilford County Schools Mathematics Project
UNC System and Guilford County Schools Mathematics Project
UNC System and Guilford County Schools Mathematics Project

Since the 2006/2007 school year, The Cemala Foundation has been a partner in The Cumulative Effect, a multi-year pilot project to address the need for mathematics teachers and the quality of the mathematics program in select high schools in Guilford County. Partners are: Guilford County Schools, University of North Carolina General Administration, North Carolina A&T University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the NC Model Teacher Consortium, the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, the Weaver Foundation, and The Cemala Foundation.

The goal of the project is to recruit qualified mathematics teachers to targeted high schools in Guilford County, retain them, and improve student learning in mathematics by enhancing the quality of the learning environment.

There have been three primary strategies:

  1. Paying differential salaries comparable to the marketplace for college graduates in mathematics
  2. Offering professional development programs where success is measured by performance examinations
  3. Implementing a carefully designed mentoring program

Professional development and extensive mentoring were designed to help the teachers adjust to the urban classroom environment and to develop the skills and support system that would contribute to their retention in the system and the quality of mathematics instruction. All new math teachers in the selected high schools were to be mentored by UNCG or NCA&T and by full-time mentors in the Guilford County Schools.

UNCG provides ongoing evaluation. Additionally, it is to provide a final evaluation of the overall project.

Measurements of success have included:
  1. Number of teachers recruited and the number retained
  2. Increases in student learning in mathematics
  3. Mathematics courses selection by students
  4. Number of students enrolled in UNCG iSchool courses over the duration of the project

Former UNCG Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Ed Uprichard said,

"This project has the potential to transform not only the teaching and learning of mathematics in high schools in Guilford County but to serve as a model for teaching and learning in other disciplines in high schools in Guilford County and beyond. It is clear that if we are to solve the shortage of qualified teachers in high schools in high demand areas such as mathematics and science, then we need to think and work in new ways to recruit and retain talented individuals to the profession. Each of the strategies is necessary but not a sufficient condition for success. To my knowledge, this is the first time that they have been implemented in combination. This is what makes this project unique and increases the chances for success."

The high schools selected were those that Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning, Jr. identified at various times as not performing at an adequate level. It is hoped that if the plan demonstrates success, a combination of state and county funds will support the program in the future. This program was initiated in part to respond to former UNC Administration President Erskine Bowles' commitment to producing more high quality teachers, especially in high-need areas such as mathematics and science and to provide better instruction in North Carolina's schools in order to improve student performance and better prepare students for college.

For additional information about this project, visit the Mission Possible information and/or contact Tracey Howell, project Manager, The Cumulative Effect, UNC System and GCS Mathematics Project.