How one district is using AI to improve teacher performance

a woman on video waving her hand including text Using AI to Improve Teacher PerformanceCan AI coaching help districts provide timely instructional coaching for all teachers? According to Dr. David Baker, Professional Development Coordinator for St. Vrain Valley Schools, the answer is Yes.

By leveraging AI, St. Vrain is doing what would have been considered unrealistic just a few years ago. The district is providing personalized coaching for more than 2,000 teachers.

During the Colorado Association of School Executives’ Winter meeting, David discussed the district’s challenges, his experience deploying Edthena’s AI Coach platform to improve teacher performance, and why he’s now an advocate for AI in education.

Click below to watch the video, or continue reading for key takeaways.

Table of contents

Why AI coaching is critical for improving teacher performance

David outlined three reasons the district is focused on helping teachers improve their performance including the importance of building out the teacher pipeline, increasing teacher retention, and improving teacher performance.

He noted that research has shown the marked impact that coaching has in helping improve teacher performance.

According to Joyce and Showers (PDF), coached teachers:

  • Practice more frequently and develop greater skill
  • Use new strategies more appropriately
  • Exhibit greater long-term retention of knowledge and skill
  • Are more likely to explain new strategies to their students
  • Exhibit greater cognition about purpose and use it to think with new strategies

For David, coaching is effective, but providing in-person coaching for more than 2,000 teachers is not a realistic goal. There would need to be many more coaches to fulfill that need.

So, how could he provide more coaching?

David discovered a solution with the AI Coach platform. The platform guides teachers through self-observation, goal-setting, and action-planning for their classrooms.

With AI Coach, he found a way to deliver on-demand, personalized coaching at scale for all of St. Vrain’s teachers. That was a game-changer.

In the clip below, David walks through how the AI Coach platform helps his teachers think about their practice.

Impact of AI coaching on teacher performance

AI Coach significantly amplified the district’s professional development capacity. A big benefit for David is that AI Coach can scale across the district’s teaching community overcoming traditional constraints like timing and logistics.

The district is using AI Coach to support new teacher induction, professional learning, and as part of targeted coaching. David describes each use case in the clip below.

David and other administrators are seeing benefits like accelerated teacher professional learning, enhanced self-reflection, and improved teacher performance in the classroom with students.


Accelerating professional learning to improve teacher performance

In-person coaching is powerful and effective but can take 2-3 weeks to complete a cycle and is limited to individual coaching capacity.

AI Coach sped the process up for St. Vrain, by allowing teachers to engage with personalized, timely instructional coaching on their schedule. They no longer had to wait for a scheduled coaching session or in-service training to reflect on and improve their practice.

a white background with blue text that says, "AI Coach allows us to touch every single teacher, allowing them to focus on exactly what they need when they need it. "

“What used to take two weeks is now on-demand,” David said. “AI Coach allows us to touch every single teacher, allowing them to focus on exactly what they need when they need it.”

Enhancing self-reflection to improve teacher performance

For St. Vrain, AI Coach has allowed for effective coaching across many educators, addressing specific individual needs and fostering professional growth through self-reflection.

a quote on a white background. Teachers who are reflective implement more deeply. They make a difference.

“Teachers who are reflective implement more deeply. They make a difference,” David said.

By enabling teachers to observe and reflect on their classroom activities, AI Coach helps deepen their understanding and awareness of instructional practices and student engagement.

With AI Coach in place, David said teachers are demonstrating increased noticing skills and decreased cognitive loads to complete the reflections because they can engage when they’re mentally ready. This is all, leading to improved educational outcomes for students.

“AI Coach is not just a tool, it’s a partner in thinking. It’s something that … can make a real difference in how we educate our kids,” he said.

Embracing AI to improve teacher performance

Initially apprehensive about AI, David shared his journey of embracing it as a tool for educational leadership and improving teacher performance.

“When we first started talking about AI, it kind of was one of those scary things… but it’s about how the tool helps me as a professional deepen my work,” he said.

He reflected on his transition from skepticism to advocacy, emphasizing the importance of staying current with technology to enhance educational practices.

“I knew I had to transform my practice if I was going to help teachers transform their practice,” David said. By embracing AI, he transformed from skeptic to advocate.

While David advocates for using AI and other technology to advance education and improve teacher performance, he emphasized that AI tools are designed to complement, not replace, the human elements of teaching and coaching.

Supporting educational goals with AI and doing it safely

Looking forward, David underscored the critical need for continuous adaptation among educators to keep pace with technological advancements. He stressed the importance of AI in supporting educational goals, including teacher retention and improving teacher performance.

If your school or district is interested in accelerating teacher learning and enhancing instructional practice through AI-enabled self-reflection, we’d love to help.

Contact us today to get started.

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