Great things start small. Regardless of size, the districts in our study on the Dynamic Learning Project pilot (DLP)1 that were able to implement DLP coaching most effectively all started small by piloting the program in select campuses before expanding. When districts begin by implementing a coaching program on a smaller scale, they have the chance to test the program in terms of its alignment with their culture, goals, and other initiatives. This lowers the stakes while providing the necessary experience to understand how they can iterate and improve the program moving forward. Moreover, when districts pilot coaching in a small number of schools and see a positive impact, stakeholders are more willing to allocate further resources for coaching and expanding to additional schools.
A rural school district in the southeastern U.S. composed of 18 schools decided to start small by piloting the Dynamic Learning Project in just three schools during the first year. In those schools, DLP coaches aligned their work with teachers to support an existing district goal of earning the designation of STEM certified by the state. At the conclusion of the pilot year, all three DLP schools had successfully earned state STEM certification. Encouraged by that success, district leaders decided to expand the program to the nearly all schools in the district. To support the expansion, the district identified the most successful pilot coach and principal and elevated them to the district office to oversee and support the coaching program across the district—one as a mentor for new coaches and one as an administrator to lead and manage the program across all schools.