Evaluation of the Early Literacy Specialist (ELS) Coach Initiative

About the Initiative

Early Literacy Specialist (ELS) coaches support students by promoting and supporting the implementation of research-based teaching practices; improving K-3 teacher content knowledge, instructional practices, classroom environments, and structure; and providing content-focused coaching and resources.

During the 2015-16 school year, 40 District elementary schools serving approximately 14,000 K-3 students received a literacy coach (Cohort 1). In 2016-17, an additional 53 schools serving 15,400 K-3 students received a literacy coach (Cohort 2). In 2017-18, the remaining 57 schools, serving approximately 18,500 students, received a literacy coach (Cohort 3).

About the Evaluation

The Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) is conducting a four-year evaluation of the implementation and outcomes of the Early Literacy Specialist Initiative. The evaluation instruments include satisfaction and implementation surveys administered to principals, teachers, and ELS coaches; teacher focus groups; coach activity logs; school-level literacy block implementation data; and a longitudinal analysis of student outcomes.

Research questions include:

  • Was ELS coaching implemented as intended?
  • What were the primary successes and challenges of implementing coaching in a large urban school district?
  • Were coaches, teachers, and principals satisfied with the ELS coaching initiative?
  • What do teachers and principals perceive to be the benefits of coaching?
  • In what ways did schools improve their literacy instruction as a result of coaching?
  • In what ways did student outcomes change?

For More Information

Contact Kristyn Stewart, Senior Research Associate: kstewart@philasd.org.

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