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March 4, 2024

Inside Pear Deck Learning's Certified Coach Community

Embarking on a journey with Pear Deck Learning's Certified Coach Community opens doors to a world of opportunities for educators, enriching their professional lives and empowering them to foster greater engagement and learning in their classrooms.

Let’s take a deeper look into how Pear Deck Learning’s Certified Coach community has touched the lives of other educators and created endless growth opportunities for classroom leaders across the nation. 

Growing a community of educators 

The Pear Deck Learning Certified Coach Community, led by Advocacy Manager Amber Trout, has become a beacon for educators seeking to enhance their classrooms with technology. 

Amber, with her extensive background as a former educator of 11 years, spearheaded this initiative to address the urgent need for educators to integrate effective tech tools into their teaching methodologies.  

In her previous role as a technology coach, Amber recognized the need for educators to utilize tech tools in their classrooms to streamline and engage students. This led her to start a Google Education Group to share free professional development with educators on all the tech tools best used for remote learning - including Pear Deck.

After becoming part of the Pear Deck Learning team, she recognized the urgent demand for knowledge of best practices for tech tools in classrooms. Drawing from her prior experience, she focused on developing Coach programs to significantly enrich the classroom experience for both students and teachers.

Photo of Amber at a Coaching event
Amber Trout (on left)
“In taking over this long-standing community of Pear Deck Coaches, I had an overall vision to create a space where educators could grow, learn, and collaborate all over the love of a tech tool. I started with ~350 Pear Deck Coaches and expanded it to over 1,000 Coaches across multiple products. The impact that’s created when passionate educators come together to support one another through technology is immeasurable.” - Amber Trout, Manager, Customer Marketing
Amber in a group photo at a coaching event
Pear Deck Community with Amber Trout (front)

Meet the team

The Pear Deck Learning Certified Coach Training program launched in 2018 focusing solely on our flagship product, Pear Deck. Educators and Pear Deck aficionados from across the country applied to seasonal cohorts to earn their shiny new Coach badge and join our growing educator community.

Coaching team of Gary, Mary Alys, and Amber
Coaching Team featuring Gary, Mary Alys, and Amber

Mary Alys Foutz and Gary Giordano, both former educators who obtained their Pear Deck Coach certification, are now actively involved in leading and expanding our Coach programs. Their transition to supporting the development of a more robust program completes a full circle, utilizing their firsthand experience to enhance it further.

“I consider myself to be one lucky educator!” said Mary Alys. Her story with Pear Deck began many years ago with its inception. She used Pear Deck all day, every day in her third-grade classroom, and fully believes it revitalized her teaching. “I loved being able to have real-time feedback from my students to guide my lesson while I was in it.”

She constantly looked for opportunities to be more involved in the Pear Deck Learning community and was lucky enough to be among one of the initial cohorts of the Pear Deck Coach Program. “I remember thinking how cool it was to be among an elite group of educators who became an additional personal learning network to me. I also absolutely loved digging deeper into the pedagogy behind why Pear Deck was created. To understand Pear Deck was created by teachers for teachers with sound best practices made me want to share my passion for Pear Deck with others even more.”

Little did she know she would one day be working for the very company she held so near and dear to her heart. Her career with Pear Deck started as a Product Trainer during the heart of the pandemic in 2020, and about a year later, she transitioned to help manage the Coach Program. 

“It is such an honor to continue to share my passion with educators, learn from amazing teachers, and help nurture the Coach Program into what it has become today - a program that has expanded to incorporate the entire Pear Deck Learning product suite. The Coach Program is not only an amazing way for educators to learn more about Pear Deck Learning tools, but it also allows educators to engage with other teachers, gain new and practical ideas, and have opportunities to share their love of learning with a larger community.”
Mary Alys with coaches at an event
Mary Alys and Amber Trout at a Pear Deck Learning event

Gary echoed these sentiments, stating that becoming a Pear Deck Certified Coach provided him with much more than just knowledge of how to use a tool in his social studies classroom that he and his middle school students already loved. 

“I was exposed to so many practical use-case scenarios during the training that pushed me to think beyond the four walls of my classroom. How can you use Pear Deck with littles? In the high school math setting? For vocabulary instruction? For social-emotional learning? With homework help for families who may speak a different language? All questions I had never thought to ask myself before, but now suddenly found myself wondering about and unlocking answers to,” he elaborated.

As a result, he graduated from Coach training with a new superpower. He was now able to successfully support teachers in his own school building, across different grade levels, subject areas, and varying levels of teaching experience, with the implementation of Pear Deck in their classrooms. 

“I could see new ways to apply broader application strategies with the advanced features I was exposed to during the Coach training, such as Immersive Reader, Reflect & Review, and using Student Paced Pear Decks for differentiation. Best of all, I could explain it to my colleagues in a way that felt natural and could fit their immediate needs,” he explained. 

He listened to colleagues share the very real pain points they were experiencing in their classroom, whether it was a lack of student participation, struggling to get a better pulse of student understanding while the lesson was still in flight, or all of the above. He would strategize with the educator and find immediate solutions in the Pear Deck tool that were practical and actionable steps they could take without adding any major work or effort to their already overflowing plate. The Coach training afforded him a new lens for broader implementation and provided the resources to elevate not just his own instruction, but also support that of others.

Once he transitioned to the Pear Deck Learning team, he found it a natural fit to use this same pragmatic approach when building and expanding Coach training offerings with Amber and Mary Alys. 

“We thoughtfully designed the Coach training in a sequential fashion that gradually released knowledge in a scaffolded manner. Balancing conceptual knowledge (the why) with procedural knowledge (the how), while providing opportunities to experiment and learn in the training would allow educators to walk away with the ability to use the Pear Deck Learning tool to its fullest potential,” he stated.

But the real indicator of success for Coaches would be igniting that same feeling of immense joy he had felt when transferring his own knowledge and learning of Pear Deck to others, both students and teachers alike. As educators graduated from the Coach training feeling prepared and confident to roll out the tool with their students, the team knew they got the job done. 

“After we saw the immense enthusiasm and drive of Coach after Coach return to their schools, present to their teacher besties, departments, or principals about the power of a Pear Deck Learning tool and share their success story with us, our team knew we had something really special and lasting.”
Gary at a coaching event
Gary and Amber at TCEA

A Coach equipped for Pear Deck Learning

Over the years, the Coach program has continued to expand.

Additional Coach training programs have been launched for other products, including the GoGuardian Teacher Certified Coach Program in 2021 and the Pear Assessment (formerly Edulastic) Certified Coach Program in 2022. Regional cohorts have also been organized for various school districts, such as Denver Public Schools, where team members hosted in-person Coach training sessions. These sessions, filled with advanced and accelerated professional development, enabled educators to leave with their certification badges and a collection of new tips and tricks to enhance the learning experience in their schools and classrooms.

Coaching event with coaches working on their computers
Pear Deck Coaching Community

Praise from participants

The praise for Pear Deck Learning's Coach training programs is a testament to their effectiveness and impact on educators' professional development. Their feedback highlights the transformative experiences and newfound skills gained through these comprehensive training sessions.

"I had minimal experience using Pear Deck with my elementary students and knew I already loved this tool for both in-person and online learning. I signed up for this training to gain a deeper understanding of its capabilities and also how I can help other teachers use this tool. I love Pear Deck even more and I am so glad I was able to sign up for this session!” - Naomi, Elementary Teacher

"I loved this training! I am so excited to try new things and share resources with my school." - Eva, Spanish Teacher

"The energy was amazing and so contagious! Appreciate that! The pace was appropriate and the structure was well planned! Great teaching and learning!” - Lori, High School Teacher

"This event was amazing. The information was intentional and incredible that not only someone new could learn – but someone advanced could learn as well. The staff was amazing!” - Landon, High School Teacher

“The Pear Assessment Coaches Training and certification is an excellent way to ensure you have a solid understanding of all the dynamic features Pear Assessment has to offer.  This will support your understanding when trying to train staff to embrace using this in their classrooms.” - Anne, Math and Science Instructional Coach 

“Pear Deck offering this training experience has been an energizing breath of fresh wind into my teaching. I have used Pear Deck for the past two years and believe in its power to engage students of this decade into learning in a way that nothing else does.  However, I had many frustrations with the product because it made my job of assessing these lessons time-consuming and harder. Well, that was only because I didn't know the gamut of applications Pear Deck was capable of. In taking the time to work through the Pear Deck Coaches Training, I now know everything Pear Deck is capable of and how to master all applications. I now know it’s a time-saving tool for assessment and teacher feedback (even in real-time) that empowers my instruction and students' learning. All I had to do was take this course and now Pear Deck works for me more than I work to use Pear Deck! Win!” - Michaela, High School English and Theatre Teacher


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