Instructional Coaching & Leadership Institute

Register for noncredit Apply to take these courses for graduate credit

Is this institute right for me?

Instructional coaches and mentors play a vital role in improving academic outcomes for students, fostering a positive school climate, and enhancing a school’s professional culture. The best coaches possess practical skills that drive instructional improvements AND leadership dispositions to foster educator resilience.

In the face of COVID-19, schools must adapt to an ever-changing landscape of distance learning, accessibility challenges, enrollment shifts, and trauma. Educators are being asked to connect, innovate, and teach in new ways. Now more than ever, we need instructional coaches who can support colleagues and facilitate professional development on best practices in distance learning, equitable pedagogy, and emotional resilience.

If you are a skilled educator who wants to take on a leadership role during this time, our one-year, cohort-based, Instructional Coaching and Leadership program will equip you with the skills and dispositions you need. Join colleagues from across the globe who share your passion and are facing similar challenges.

Where and how will I learn?

How it works: We help you do your job...better.

Online classes, individualized coaching for you, and access to workshops for your school. Educators are expected to commit to participating for the full year.


  • Develop strategies for improving school culture and leading with emotional intelligence


  • Innovate instructional practices for online, distance, and in-person learning
  • Learn strategies for giving feedback that improves teaching and learning
  • Create engaging “back-to-school” professional learning for your colleagues

Fall & Spring:

  • Practicum: you coach, mentor, and lead at your school and we help you hone your practice through mentoring, workshops, and emotional intelligence coaching

Dates: starts May 26 or July 6, 2020 - May 2021

Instructional Coaching and Leadership Certificate detailed schedule

Cost: noncredit: $3,600. 14 graduate credits: $6,000.

Space is limited so sign up today!

What will I learn?

Our new Instructional Coaching and Leadership certificate program provides instructional coaches and teacher leaders with tools to:

  • Adapt instruction for remote, online, and in-person learning
  • Develop engaging and effective professional development
  • Cultivate an engaged professional culture at your school
  • Nurture emotional resilience in your colleagues and students

Teacher leaders are successful when school administrators encourage and value their contributions. To support your work, we offer workshops for your school’s administration throughout the year.

This institute is comprised of seven graduate level classes (14 credits):

Fostering a Collaborative Culture

Timeframe: (May–June)
Instructor: Nancy Gardner

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 & Facilitating Instr. Imprvmnt

Coaching, Mentoring, and Facilitating Instructional Improvements

Mondays 7/6/20, 7/20/20, 7/27/20, 8/4/20: 7-9 pm
Monday-Wednesday 7/13/20-7/15/20: 9 am-3 pm

Instructor: Jennifer Walker

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

Timeframe: Online sesssions as arranged with the instructor.
Instructor: Gwen Bass

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

Tuesdays 7/7/20, 7/28/20, 8/4/20: 6-9 pm
Thursday-Friday 7/16/20-7/17/20: 9 am-4 pm

Instructor: Sarah Brown Wessling

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

Timeframe: Fall 2020
Instructor: Shelby Regner

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.

Personal and Professional Leadership in Education

Timeframe: January
Instructor: Sarah Brown Wessling

This course is designed to help educators cultivate their skills as reflective practitioners as a means of enhancing personal leadership development. Students will examine personal leadership qualities and the role of storytelling as leadership. Course participants will create individualized learning plans that allow for deeper exploration of personal and professional leadership interests. The menu of options for personalized learning will incl

Adv Practicum:Professional Development & Mentoring

Advanced Practicum: Professional Development and Mentoring

Timeframe: TBD
Instructor: TBD

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.


Mount Holyoke College's Professional and Graduate Education division is an approved professional development provider through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.