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Coaches help intermediate school district (ISD), district, and school personnel implement and sustain the use of effective innovations so that they will endure over time. In order to do this, coaches must develop relationships, have knowledge of the core components of the effective innovation, possess proactive teaching skills and effectively communicate. 


Systems coaching focuses on developing a leadership team’s capacity to effectively implement and sustain the use of Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). 

  • The integrated MTSS program includes three effective innovations: Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), School-wide Reading Model, and Secondary Content Area Reading Model.
  • The Promoting Positive School Climate program focuses on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). 

Installing and working towards implementing with fidelity requires regular work outside of a training session. The coach prepares to support the team beginning with installation activities, then during initial implementation and through cycles of continuous improvement, with the end goal being improved student outcomes. 

Coaching Support Sessions

Coaches attend coaching support sessions to deepen their knowledge about core features and critical components of the work. Trainers offer coaches an opportunity to preview and use tools and resources and identify how best to contextualize the information for their team. Coaches prepare to facilitate team discussion around activities at the upcoming professional learning session and anticipate any barriers that could impede the team’s efforts.

Prerequisite Knowledge for Coaching Behavior Systems and Practices - School Level

  • Knows about Applied Behavior Analysis and/or agrees all behavior serves a purpose and can be changed.
  • Understands that in order to change student behavior, it is necessary to alter the environment and adult interactions with the student.
  • Actively seeks to alter “role-bound authority” beliefs (e.g., students should just behave because the adults told them to).
  • Experience with successful PBIS implementation (preferred) or willingness to observe successful implementation sites and learn how to effectively replicate the success.
  • Can provide evidence of intervening to prevent and reduce misbehaviors as opposed to resorting to suspending students.
  • Shows willingness to devote additional time to deepen personal knowledge of an integrated behavior and reading MTSS model as well as specific components related to behavior supports, coaching techniques, and data analysis.

Prerequisite Knowledge for Coaching Reading Systems and Practices - Elementary

  • Familiar with and supportive of the finding of the National Reading Panel (NRP) Report.
  • Experience with or awareness of MTSS and reading-specific Institute of Education Science (IES) Practice Guides (e.g., “Assisting Students Struggling with Reading”).
  • Experience with the successful implementation of:
    • A core reading program that was structured to teach the Big Ideas of Reading to mastery using a combination of whole group, small group, and individual student instructional supports.
    • School-wide systems designed to improve reading achievement (e.g., use of 90-minute reading block, provided additional intervention to struggling students within the general education setting).
    • Administering and scoring Curriculum Based Measures (CBMs) such as Acadience Reading.
    • Data analysis to inform instructional adjustments for students (e.g., grade level, below grade level, intensive needs students).

Prerequisite Knowledge for Coaching Reading Systems and Practices - Secondary

  • Familiar with the Big Ideas of Adolescent Reading and the recommendations outlined in secondary reference materials (e.g., IES Practice Guide for Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices).
  • Willing to develop implementation plans for core subject area teachers to teach common reading strategies in content area classes.
  • Able to review and action plan using Early Warning Indicator data for all students and curriculum-based measures for students with intensive needs.
  • Shows willingness to devote additional time to deepen personal knowledge of an integrated behavior and reading MTSS model as well as, specific components related to reading supports, coaching techniques, and data analysis.

Coaching Responsibilities

  • Develop an individualized coaching service delivery plan for each team the coach supports based on data.
  • Participate as a member of the leadership team.
  • Prompt the team to monitor the activities within their implementation plan.
  • Provide assistance with installing the structures and tools necessary to implement MTSS components with fidelity and sustainability through modeling, consultation, and feedback.
  • Develop the team's fluency around resources, assessment tools, and data use.
  • Enhance the team's skills and assist them in adapting the MTSS components to fit the culture and context of the district or school.
  • Facilitate team meetings and specific agenda topics with the goal of developing the team's collective capacity to fulfill those functions.
  • Remain open to giving and receiving feedback for the purpose of refining coaching skills.

Coaching Data Review

Coaches play a critical role in supporting the School Leadership Team in their review of school-wide data within the four-step problem-solving process. Coaches will make a recommendation of which problem-solving worksheet their team should use during the data review and provide a rationale for the recommendation. The table below provides guidance to coaches in the selection of the most appropriate problem-solving worksheet. The problem-solving worksheet can be found under tools and resources on the right-hand side of this page.

Year 2: Winter

We recommend focusing on Tier 1 Behavior for your first round of problem solving.

Your team is still working to install many of the Tier 1 Reading components of your plan and grade level teams are just beginning to meet to problem solve around their DIBELS data.

Your team will still review your Tier 1 Reading data, the status of your Tier 1 Reading installation activities and identify any barriers to moving this work forward that need to be addressed by the DIT, but your problem solving should stay focused on what your school has started to implement, Tier 1 of School-wide PBIS.

Year 2: Spring

Year 3: Fall

We recommend focusing on Tier 1 Integrated Reading/Engagement and Behavior for problem solving.

This is the second or third data review for your team and your school has likely started to implement at least some of the Tier 1 Reading components (e.g., universal screening, teaming processes). The Tier 1 Integrated worksheet will examine the same behavior data as the Tier 1 Behavior worksheet but will also fold in reading student outcome and fidelity data, along with engagement outcomes at secondary.

Your team will still review your Intervention System data, the status of your Intervention System installation activities, and identify any barriers to moving this work forward that need to be addressed by the DIT, but your problem solving should stay focused on what your school has started to implement: Tier 1 of School-wide PBIS and Tier 1 of School-wide Reading/School-wide Content Area Reading.

Year 3: Winter, & Beyond
  1. Are your Tier 1 Fidelity scores for Reading and Behavior at or near criterion? Y or N
  2. Are you starting to see improvements in student outcomes for reading/engagement and discipline referral rates below the national median or moving in a downward trend towards the national median? Y or N

If no to either or both #1 and #2 (and data appear accurate), then we recommend focusing on Tier 1 Integrated for problem solving.

A strong Tier 1 is critical to being able to adequately support your Intervention System. It is important to keep problem solving around Tier 1 until both fidelity and student outcome data are looking strong.

If your Tier 1 fidelity scores are at or near criterion, but your school is not seeing improvements in student outcomes, your team's problem solving may need to focus on a more thorough analysis of (a) Tier 1 teams using the PBIS Cultural Responsiveness Field Guide and/or (b) classroom implementation variables at Tier 1 (e.g., teaching and monitoring of classroom expectations and routines, implementation of the core reading program, use of a common set of content area reading strategies).

If yes to both #1 and #2 (and data appear accurate), then we recommend focusing on the Intervention Systems for problem solving.

Both fidelity and student outcome data indicate that your school has established strong Tier 1 supports in both reading and behavior allowing your team to turn its attention to strengthening the Intervention System.

If this is your team's first time using this worksheet, you may want to consider narrowing your team's focus to only reading or behavior intervention supports and then expand to include both types of support in the future data reviews.

Special circumstances: If there has been a major turnover on your School Leadership Team, and your team needs to relearn the data review process, your team may elect to complete the Tier 1 Behavior worksheet at its first data review as a new team. Subsequent data reviews should follow the guidance noted above.


Coaching Service Delivery Plans

A coach’s use of data to inform supports will increase the likelihood that teams will continue to work to implement with fidelity and that the work will be sustained. A Coaching Service Delivery Plan (CSDP) outlines the concepts that will be intentionally coached, the continuum of coaching strategies to be used, types of information that will be used to determine the effectiveness of the coaching, the frequency of coaching, coach preparation and guidelines for providing feedback to the team. The development of a CSDP allows for differentiated coaching supports based on the team’s stage of implementation and context.  MIBLSI has created Coaching Service Delivery Plan templates (see the Tools and Resources sidebar) to outline the concepts to be coached at the ISD, District and School Level. Step by step directions (i.e., “cheat sheets”) for developing the CSDP are also provided. 

This video provides a brief overview of how to develop an individualized Coaching Service Delivery Plan:

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