Establishing an infrastructure to allow for effective teaming and collaboration using a problem solving process is a key component for successful implementation of MTSS. External coaches assist educators and administrators at the building leadership team level to support that infrastructure. Additionally, they support grade level team functioning by working alongside internal, building level coaches who are working to sustain successful MTSS implementation within the school across all teams. At the heart of the IL MTSS-N coaching-of-coaches framework, MTSS Coaching involves providing differentiated support to educators so that they are able to implement proven practices to support all learners (definition adapted from Knight, 2007, p. 30). The Network staff consists of Network Capacity Coaches (NCCs) whose responsibilities include training and supporting a cadre of regionally-based External Coaches. External Coaches, in turn, provide training, coaching, and mentoring support to the districts and school sites participating in the Network.
Coaching goals are based on data and aligned to goals developed by district and school leadership teams. Depending on the needs of the External Coach, the NCCs may model activities and/or provide opportunities for guided practice and feedback. They also build capacity by providing support and gradually releasing responsibility to the External Coach.
The IL MTSS-N is integrating its coaching work with important federal and state initiatives, including but not limited to, implementation of the Common Core State Standards, the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA), the Illinois 5 Essentials Survey, PBIS, Social Emotional Learning Standards, and Illinois’ Rising Star framework for continuous improvement. Through collaboration with other state leaders and a comprehensive model of training, technical assistance, and coaching, we are striving to make a significant positive impact on outcomes for students across Illinois.