Unleashing the power of video coaching with TREE

What if teachers could experience continuous, meaningful professional development without even leaving their classrooms? What if that professional development was tailored to target each teacher’s individual growth? Learn about Tools TREE video coaching from educators who are using it and loving it.

The challenge


What we heard from teachers and administration at after implementing Tools at

Unleashing the power of video coaching with TREE


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The process

Committee search to choose the right curriculum

Selection of Tools of the Mind curriculum & professional development

Tools training and implementation for all relevant staff

Teaching and learning review and outcomes

Not just “one more thing”

Teachers are busy. They have a lot of things to think about and many competing priorities to juggle. Ann Kreft, Director of Preschool Programs at Roanoke City Public Schools, coaches and supports preschool teachers in 15 schools. She wants anything she asks those teachers to do to be unquestionably beneficial; she doesn’t want to waste their time. When she began asking her teachers to upload short videos of their teaching to get feedback from Tools coaches, she knew it could be valuable and hoped they didn’t see it as just “one more thing” to add their plate. 

Finding momentum

Kreft soon found that any trepidation her teachers may have felt at first was quickly replaced by nearly universal buy-in. Roanoke teachers were blown away by how relevant and personally meaningful the feedback was, how positive and strengths-based it felt, how the coaching cycle encouraged them to be more reflective and intentional in their practice and how the growth they saw (in themselves and their children) motivated them and gave their teaching momentum.

“I received excellent feedback and suggestions to support the diverse learners in my classroom. It was nice to look back and see the growth in the students and in myself.”
- Keturah Marsh, PreK Special Education Teacher, Roanoke City Public Schools

At Tools first annual TEACH conference, Kreft and Angie Alvis, Director of Partnership Development, led a riveting session about Tools video coaching. Listen in as they emphasize how powerful the model is. It is all made possible through a sophisticated yet surprisingly accessible Tools-developed app nicknamed TREE, an acronym for Teachers Reaching Educational Excellence.

Watching the TREE grow

Using TREE, teachers film a targeted activity in their Tools day, upload the video to the app and receive feedback on it from their coach. Coaches are able to provide private comments for the teacher, time-stamped to the exact moment in the activity that inspired the comment. The teacher can then watch back the video, reflect on next steps they might want to take going forward to apply Tools’ practice in their classrooms, make some changes and come back to post a new video of the same activity later on. Then they get another set of comments, which rounds out the cycle. Kreft’s teachers found the video coaching cycle incredibly powerful and loved watching their growth portrayed through the visual dashboard on the app: the graphic of the tree grows and becomes more beautiful as a direct reflection of teachers’ own growth. 

Tools Takeaways

  • Video coaching can be a powerful way to connect teachers with timely, personally meaningful feedback
  • Teachers are motivated to participate because the experience is so positive for them
  • Scaffolding teachers’ learning is just as impactful as scaffolding children’s learning