Coaching within Tiered Support Models

Coaching within Tiered Support Models

Resource Type
Developed By
National Center on Intensive Intervention and Rhode Island Department of Education

Broadly defined, coaching is “a form of professional learning within the classroom or school that helps [educators] develop and apply new knowledge, make strong plans for instruction and assessment, obtain feedback, refine their practices, and examine results” (The University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning, Learning Forward, & Public Impact, 2016, p. 5). In simpler terms, coaching provides educators with the support they need to apply a newly learned skill within their own context (Horner, 2018). Coaching differs from training or traditional professional development (PD) workshops that serve the purpose of developing new knowledge, because coaching focuses on the application of new knowledge over time. Coaching plays a vital role in the implementation of tiered support models to ensure fidelity of learned practices by educators and within systems (i.e., structures or supports provided by those individuals in leadership roles).

The purpose of this document is to provide content-specific examples of how to structure educator-level and/or systems-level coaching as a mechanism to ensure ongoing professional learning to support tiered intervention. This document provides examples of coaching supports, models, and functions within the context of tiered intervention (e.g., RtI, PBIS, MTSS) and data-based decision making (e.g., data-based individualization [DBI]) for educators who already have foundational knowledge and/or experience with coaching.

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This document was originally developed through a collaboration between the Rhode Island Department of Education and the National Center on Intensive Intervention. A Rhode Island specific version is available for Rhode Island educators. The document has also be adapted to support all states interested in implementing coaching to support ongoing professional learning within tiered support models.

The sections of the guide can also be used independently based on need. To view a specific section of the guide, click below.

Coaching Within Tiered Support Models Overview.This overview introduces the differences between educator-level and systems-level coaches within the context of coaching tiered support models.

Coaching and Implementation. These tables overview stages of implementation and implementation drivers.

Contextualizing Coaching Support at the Local Level. This table suggests how an LEA can provide ongoing coaching through different approaches, depending on available resources, personnel, and/or time.

Considerations for Providing Ongoing Coaching Support. Coaching occurs across a continuum of high, medium, and low intensity. These levels of intensity are defined by data indicating a specific need. This section reviews the different levels of intensity and provides an example.

Coaching Skills, Attributes, and System-Level Components for Tiered Support Models. Effective coaches have a dynamic skill set that encompasses content, organizational, and relational expertise. This table details key skills needed in each implementation stage, as related to tiered support models and DBI.

Matrix of Coaching Support Models. This table presents several coaching support models; the defining features of each model; and examples of how intensity levels within the model can differ, based on available resources.

Coaching Cycle Components and Functions for Educator-Level Coaching.The table in this handout outlines the coaching cycle (plan, act, reflect) and functions for educator-level coaching and definitions across low, medium, and high levels of intensity, as described in the Matrix of Coaching Support Models.

Coaching Cycle Components and Functions for Systems-Level Coaching. The table in this handout outlines the coaching cycle (plan, act, reflect) and functions for systems-level coaching and definitions across low, medium, and high levels of intensity, as described in the Matrix of Coaching Support Models.

Coaching Selection Criteria and Training.This content reviews coaching selection criteria, a self-assessment, and training and preparation.

Evaluating Coaches and Coaching Programs. When LEAs invest in coaching, they must also invest in evaluating the effectiveness of both the programs and the coaches. This section suggests some considerations for evaluating coaches and coaching programs.


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Coaching Resources

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DBI Process
Multi-Tiered System of Support
Implementation Guidance and Considerations
Training Materials
Trainers and Coaches
State and Local Leaders