Independent Schools Mentoring Institute

Is this institute right for me?

Working at an independent school requires a unique set of skills and dispositions. Mentors play a critical role in supporting teacher retention in the “triple threat” (teaching, advising, coaching) challenges facing independent school faculty. The best mentors foster practical skills that drive instructional innovation and possess the leadership dispositions to foster educator resilience.

Our one-year, cohort-based certificate program supports educators in becoming effective and emotionally intelligent mentors for the next generation of independent school educators. Join a network of colleagues from across the globe who share your passion for quality, equity, and longevity in the independent school workforce!

Special Opportunity for 2020!

As independent schools adjust to student and educator needs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers are being asked to be increasingly adaptable, innovative, and trauma-sensitive. Schools will need well-trained mentors who can support colleagues and facilitate professional development on best practices in distance learning, equitable pedagogy, and emotional resilience. The 2020 cohort will include special sessions to help educators adapt to the unique circumstances that leaders and teachers are facing today.

What will I learn?

Practical Coursework to Make an Immediate Impact

The coursework in this program will help you build your professional skills, toolkit and strategies to:

  1. Develop engaging and effective professional development
  2. Hone your leadership skills
  3. Cultivate an engaged professional culture at your school

You will also develop effective strategies for mentoring your colleagues as they:

  1. Lean into a growth mindset
  2. Build their own emotional resilience as well as the emotional resilience of students
  3. Learn strategies for giving feedback that improves outcomes
  4. Navigate the demands of the triple threat lifestyle
  5. Adapt instruction for remote, online, and in-person teaching and learning

Collaboration: Join An International Community of Practitioners

Monthly community of practice workshops will help you expand your global network of independent school mentors and coaches, and learn from what other people have found effective. This will also help you develop a longer term team of colleagues who are also leaders on their own campus.

Individualized Support

You also have the option of participating in a one- or two-term practicum, where you are able to get individualized attention and support in your role as a coach, mentor, and leader at your school. The practicum is a facilitated experience that helps you adapt what you are learning in the courses to the unique circumstances, challenges and opportunities at your school.

Noncredit Options

  Foundations Program Intermediate Program Full Certificate Program
Length 6 months 6 months 12 months
Coursework X X X
Community of practice workshops X X X
Practicum (Fall)   X X
Advanced Practicum (Spring)     X
Cost $1750* $2750* $3500*

*Enroll multiple educators from your school and receive a discount in the per person rate!
^These courses can also be taken for graduate credit. Contact to learn more.

Where and how will I learn?

Our model: Hands-on, lasting professional learning that extends beyond the classroom. Cohort-based, online and evening classes with individualized coaching for you; access to workshops for your school to help support you in your work.

Along with your cohort, you will learn and apply skills in class, then implement them at your own school. Your learning continues with ongoing support from experts who help you adapt successfully to the unique challenges and opportunities of your setting. Through this model, you refine your skills and enhance the impact on teaching and learning in your school.

Educators are expected to commit to participating for the full program.

Dates: starts May 26 or July 6, 2020

Independent Schools Mentoring Certificate Detailed Schedule

Space is limited so register today!


Mentors are successful when school administrators employ strategies that encourage the contributions of teachers. To support your work, we offer workshops for your school’s administration throughout the year.


Fostering a Collaborative Culture

This course is centered around Domain One of the Teacher Leader Model Standards, with an emphasis on creating cultures in our schools that support educator development and student learning. Modules include defining teacher leadership, exploring formal and informal teacher leadership roles, adult learning theory, facilitation of group learning and discussion, mitigating difficult discussions and building consensus, organizational change and the change process, building trust, and other skills to create inclusive cultures for professional growth (and student learning!).

Coaching, Mentoring, and Facilitating I

This course provides opportunities for teachers to design, develop, critique, implement, give, and receive feedback on professional development experiences that align with the Common Core standards and the particular needs of the school/district's participating staff. Modules include staying focused on content while developing collaborative relationships, engaging in reflective dialogue with teachers and administrators, developing leadership skills, professional growth, and technology for collaborative learning. Participants will be able to individualize their learning experience based on an area of choice for personal and professional growth: instructional coaching, mentoring, or peer coaching.

Instructional Design for Online Learning

This class will introduce innovative best practices, instructional tools, and virtual facilitation techniques for online teaching and learning for youth and adults. Topics include: basic principles of instructional design for online learning, synchronous and asynchronous teaching, incorporating multimedia and open educational resources, and strategies for cultivating collaboration and community online. Participants will apply their learning directly to individual projects developing the scope, sequence, and online learning activities for a course of their own. Through the class, students will use the tools to workshop and fully develop an online or hybrid course.

Promoting Professional Learning

This course is centered around Domain Three of the Teacher Leader Model Standards, with an emphasis on evaluating and creating school cultures for professional learning and professional development design. Modules for this class will include school climate and culture audits, the change process, analyzing school community and data to pinpoint professional development needs, and evaluating professional learning. Teachers will walk away with design plans for creating cultures of adult learning to improve student learning.

Practicum I: Professional Development & Mentoring

Participants survey best practices in instructional coaching and professional development and implement these practices in their educational contexts. Topics include: cultivating positive mentoring/coaching relationships, observation protocols, developing and facilitating andragogically-sound professional learning, coaching for emotional resilience, and assessing professional learning. Participants actively apply skills in their own settings with specialized coaching from the course instructor and create a professional learning experience and/or approach to instructional coaching that is designed to meet the needs of students and teachers in their unique learning community.

Adv Practicum:Professional Development & Mentoring

This course is the culmination of The Institute for Instructional Coaching. Participants reflect, refine, and expand upon the professional learning sessions they have developed, as well as their instructional coaching practice, while expanding  their learning experience to enhance the impact in their context. Topics in this course include: developing systematic professional learning opportunities for new and experienced educators in a given setting, professional collaboration and co-facilitation, enhancing professional leadership through system-wide programming. Participants complete the institute as experts in ongoing, embedded, and personalized professional learning.