It takes dedicated support to make professional learning not just inspirational but effective. West Texas’s Lubbock Independent School District pairs instructional coaching with content focus strands to close the knowing-doing gap.
About Lubbock ISD
Situated south of Amarillo, TX, Lubbock Independent School District’s 2,000 teachers serve just shy of 28,000 students every day. 65% of students are economically disadvantaged, while 48% are “at risk” by the state-defined criteria.
As president of Learning Forward Texas, Lubbock ISD’s Director of Leadership and Professional Development Anna Jackson is no stranger to the importance of high-quality professional learning. Lubbock was already investing in innovative, sustained, and job-embedded PD. But they knew simply providing high quality supports wasn’t enough: they had to close the knowing-doing gap.
Lubbock’s professional learning office employs a content focus model, so participants are assigned to a range of pathways according to both their content area and level of capability. Throughout the year, teachers receive need-based instructional coaching — which means the coaches themselves need detailed information to focus effectively.
The Lubbock office had previously done some of this work manually, but the complexity of managing 2,000 teachers across content strands made it hard to turn data into timely next steps. The district needed an automated process that sped up the process and consolidated the feedback into high-level, actionable strategy.
“It was really, really important for us to collect high-quality data,” says Jackson. “We had a wealth of offerings for professional learning, but weren’t seeing the implementation in classrooms that we wanted to see.”
Jackson’s goals were to:
- Provide campus- and teacher-specific supports based on individual need
- Keep track of how coaches are spending their time and align it to the areas of greatest need
- Inform large-scale content focuses year over year
- Assess the effect on instructional practice in real time
Jackson discovered KickUp while reviewing feedback from her 2018 Learning Forward conference presentation. “Right away it was like a lightbulb went off,” she says. “We’d already been doing some alignment work, but seeing how intuitive it was to slice and dice the data myself — the different ways we could use KickUp became clear almost immediately. Not just with providing learning, but understanding if teachers are taking that knowledge back to the classroom.”
KickUp worked closely with Lubbock to build a feedback loop and coaching log system that’s simple enough for widespread use but provides powerful data crunching underneath: