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Implementing a Coaching Cycle


This 15-hour, three-week blended course helps coaches plan, support, gather data, and reflect on lessons with the teachers they support.

Begins February 19

As coaches carry out their critical role as a classroom supporter, they implement three key aspects of a coaching cycle: 

  1. Engaging in a planning session with a teacher as they prepare an upcoming lesson;
  2. Determining how they will support the teacher -- through demonstration teaching (modeling), co-teaching, or observing, and collecting data;
  3. Reflecting, including analyzing data collected during the lesson, discussing the results of the lesson, and applying what they learn to future teaching practices and future coaching cycles.

In this 15-hour, three-week blended course, expert coaches Heather Clifton and Andy Mendelsberg will unpack the coaching cycle as well as examine and practice critical components of planning and reflective conversation to set the stage for coaches’ ongoing work with teachers.


Through live sessions, activities that support application of learning in their work, and collaboration with colleagues, learners will identify types of coaching cycles appropriate for their work with teachers, and will develop and implement strategies for strengthening their own application of each key component of the cycle. Using tools, strategies and activities grounded in the Standards for Professional Learning as well as the book Coaching Matters, learners will apply strategies to support them in their work as classroom supporter, data coach, learning facilitator, and more.

Course outcomes 

Participants in this course will:

  • Illustrate and practice the components of the coaching cycle.
  • Synthesize a variety of ways to structure coaching cycles and determine which structure is appropriate to use in a particular situation. 
  • Identify key questions to ask during a planning conversation to set clear goals for a coaching cycle. 
  • Determine and practice appropriate classroom-based supports. 
  • Apply gradual release of responsibility to classroom supporter strategies.
  • Select or develop tools for collecting data about teaching and student learning to use as evidence during reflection conversations.


This three-week course begins Monday, February 19, with live sessions on the following days:

  • Monday, February 19, 2-4 p.m. Eastern
  • Wednesday, February 21, 2-4 p.m. Eastern
  • Wednesday, February 28, 2-4 p.m. Eastern
  • Wednesday, March 6, 2-4 p.m. Eastern

Asynchronous application of learning will take place between live sessions. Participants who complete course requirements will receive a certificate for 15 hours of professional learning.

The registration deadline for this course is 1 p.m. Eastern, Monday, February 19.

The cost is $649 for Learning Forward members and $749 for non-members.

Course facilitators

Heather Clifton is a senior consultant for Learning Forward. As a professional learning consultant, she offers services to schools, districts, municipal agencies and non-profit organizations in various aspects of professional development and organizational reform. In addition, she provides executive coaching to school principals and assistant principals. Heather assisted in the development of the training modules for the Learning Forward Coaches Academy and has supported leadership development for instructional coaches and principals for more than a decade. She has facilitated the work of district executive leadership teams and school leadership teams. Her professional experience in schools and districts includes positions as a teacher, an elementary school principal, and central office curriculum and staff development specialist. She is a co-author of Coaching Matters.

Andy Mendelsberg served Denver Public Schools as a principal, assistant principal, and school curriculum director for 25 years, spending his final five years as principal of the district’s largest high school, Denver East, from 2012-2017. He currently coaches veteran and novice principals and assistant principals on their leadership competencies, strategy development, and team building. In Denver Public Schools, he was also selected as a mentor to new urban principals and hosted/coached Principal Residents to prepare them for future leadership roles. He was part of national effort with the Wallace Foundation where he worked with a consortium of principals from across the country to develop best practice materials for future principals. Andy is a facilitator of a math and two universal cohorts of Learning Forward’s support for mentor teachers in Louisiana.

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