Instructional Coaches' Perceptions of Principal Support in a K-12 Public School Division
Administrative support of the instructional coach is critical to the success of instructional coaches in each building (Hall and Simeral, 2008; Knight, 2011; Sweeney, 2018). Effective instructional coaches support the transfer of new skills into practice to positively impact student learning outcomes (Costa and Garmston, 1994; Desimone and Pak, 2017; Knight and Cornett, 2007; Kraft, Blazar, and Hogan, 2019; Showers and Joyce, 1996). The purpose of this study was to identify instructional coaches' perceptions of principal support and the factors that contribute to those perceptions. The study aimed to address the following research questions: 1) What do instructional coaches perceive as principals' knowledge of the role of the instructional coach? 2) How do instructional coaches perceive the actions of principals in support of their work? This descriptive study examined instructional coaches' perceptions of principal support given to instructional coaches in one large, suburban school division in Virginia. Data were collected through an online survey and optional participation in focus groups. Findings included a misalignment between the instructional coaches' knowledge of the role of an instructional coach and that of the principal. Findings indicated the instructional coaches perceived support from the principal as including a shared knowledge of the role of the instructional coach, including the instructional coach in the vision for the school, maintaining regular communication and meetings, following up with teachers after a professional development led by the coach, providing professional development opportunities for the instructional coach, providing access to instructional resources, providing feedback on the work of the instructional coach, and building a relationship with the instructional coach. Implications outlined in the study identify specific actions principals can take to positively impact the instructional coaching in schools.