Series: Interview - Cambridge Teacher Teams

Interview - Cambridge Teacher Teams

One of the silver linings teachers reported coming from the pandemic was forming a deeper connection with colleagues. Teachers came together virtually to share tips, plan lessons, relate challenges, and just check in. Now that we are back in-person, it is important to continue this collaboration, but the same questions that existed pre-pandemic still remains: How do teacher teams use their time to build their collective expertise in the practices that matter most for improving student achievement and how do we maximize the chances that a fine professional development experience translates into practice?

All the right factors were in place at Fletcher Maynard Academy in Cambridge, MA last year, and this month’s video interview with school coaches Kelly Rowan and Patricia Duggan tells the story. Guided by RBT Consultant Reena Freedman, the course instructor, and led by then Principal Maisha Rounds and the leadership team, this school achieved stunning results in student gains in both math and literacy by focusing on deep collaboration of teams in a new way.


Reena Freedman, Educational Consultant, Research for Better Teaching (

Patricia Duggan, Instructional Literacy Coach, Cambridge Public Schools (

Kelly Rowan, Instructional Math Coach, Cambridge Public Schools (

Patricia Duggan is currently an Instructional Coach for Cambridge Public Schools. She has held this school-based role at the Fletcher Maynard Academy for over 15 years, working with teachers in grades PK-5 to support their ongoing professional growth and learning, both as individuals and as members of grade level teams. With administration and fellow instructional coaches, Patricia guides the implementation of MTSS, analyzes and utilizes data to monitor student progress, and coordinates instruction. As part of her role, Patricia organizes assessment training for teachers, assessment scheduling, implementation and reporting. She is a member of the school’s Instructional Leadership Team and, in coordination with building administration, plans and facilitates meetings and after-school professional development sessions to build teacher capacity and effectiveness. Patricia has over 20 years of elementary and middle school education experience, holding various positions as a classroom teacher, special educator and as a Reading Specialist. 

Kelly Rowan is the Instructional Math Coach at the Fletcher Maynard Academy, and she has taught and coached in Cambridge Public Schools for 30 years. Kelly has skillfully facilitated adult learning of grade-level math content and practice standards. She coaches individuals and grade-level teams to support equitable practices in math instruction and meet the needs of all learners. Kelly has a deep understanding of mathematics content and pedagogy, and she coaches classroom teachers to improve student learning of mathematics, incorporate a variety of assessments/data in order to inform and modify instruction, and target both intervention and enrichment needs. Kelly is a member of the school’s Instructional Leadership Team and, in coordination with building administration, plans and facilitates meetings and after-school professional development sessions to build teacher capacity and effectiveness. 

Reena Freedman has been a consultant with Research for Better Teaching for the last decade, working with schools and districts across the country to achieve equitable access to high-expertise teaching for all students. Her teaching and coaching centers on cultivating strong teacher teams, developing instructional leadership, and building high-expertise instruction in classrooms. Reena has presented at national educational conferences on systems that support teacher development, including new teacher induction, instructional rounds, and other forms of team-based coaching. She has served as a coach with the Teacher Learning Project at Brandeis University and the Institute for University-School Partnership at Yeshiva University, and she has over 20 years of school-based experience, holding various positions as a Dean of Faculty, School Coach, Department Head, and classroom teacher. 

In this series:

1. Cambridge Teams Full Interview

In this interview with RBT Consultant Reena Freedman, Cambridge Public School Coaches Patricia Duggan and Kelly Rowan share how the Coaching High Impact Teacher Teams (TEAMS) course allowed their teacher teams to immediately implement practices that focused the entire staff on their shared school improvement plan goal of data-driven instruction that has had a positive impact on both the adult professional culture and student learning.  

2. Part 1: Cambridge Teams: Intro

An introduction to the overview of the High-Impact Teacher Teams course.

3. Part 2: Cambridge Teams: Implementation

Kelly Rowan and Patricia Duggan give a summary of how Fletcher Maynard rolled out the process of High-Impact Teacher Teams.

4. Part 3: Cambridge Teams: Role of Administration

Kelly and Patricia explain the important role the administration played in supporting the effort.

5. Part 4: Cambridge Teams: Flexibility and Impact

Kelly and Patricia discuss how the flexibility to choose where to start with the tools played an essential part in making the program work.

6. Part 5: Cambridge Teams: Shifts in Teacher Practice

Kelly and Patricia share the shifts in teacher practice as a result of their work with teams.

7. Part 6: Cambridge Teams: Impact on Students

Kelly and Patricia introduce how the shifts in teacher practice impacted students.

8. Part 7: Cambridge Teams: Math Data

Kelly shares students' extraordinary growth in math achievement.

9. Part 8: Cambridge Teams: Reading Data

Patricia shares the growth students made in reading.

10. Part 9: Cambridge Teams: What Kind of Data?

Kelly and Patricia explain how each teacher team identified what kind of data to examine.

11. Part 10: Cambridge Teams: Teacher Leadership

Kelly and Patricia speak about how the process was a success because it supported teacher leadership.

12. Part 11: Cambridge Teams: Staying the Course

Kelly and Patricia acknowledge how important it is to stay focused along the way.

13. Part 12: Cambridge Teams: Challenges

Kelly and Patricia reflect on the challenges along the way.

14. Part 13: Cambridge Teams: Success is SEL

Kelly and Patricia speak about how sharing success supported both teacher and student social emotional growth.

15. Part 14: Cambridge Teams: Role of RBT

Kelly and Patricia reflect on how important it was to have RBT's support and resources to make the process a success.