Peer Assistance and Coaching

Find resources on peer assistance and coaching for early education professional development and program quality improvement

Table of Contents

About Peer Assistance and Coaching

Through a peer assistance and coaching model, the Department of Early Education and Care aims to help programs improve quality as evidenced by their ability to meet criteria on the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). The QRIS Standards are linked to a set of educator competencies and practices which enable educators to support young children’s growth in all domains, as defined by the Early Learning Standards. 

There are different types of coaching models.  In Massachusetts, EEC is currently supporting coaching and mentoring through the statewide Educator and Provider Support (EPS) Grant. These coaches are content coaches, or outside coaches/consultants that support program-wide improvement by helping administrators and educators learn new ideas and concepts and put those into practice.

The focus of the Massachusetts peer coaching (Peer Assistance and Coaching) model is colleague coaches, which define and enhance the colleague-to-colleague relationship to support individual educator growth and change. This type of peer coaching combines the promise of coaching as an effective strategy to improve quality and the reality that the existing early childhood teachers and directors may be well-equipped to support one another’s practices. It will take elements from the Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) coaching model used in many K-12 school districts, but focus is on development and not review (Coaching instead of Review).

For more information, please contact the Educator and Provider Support (EPS) Peer Assistance and Coaching facilitator in your region:

Region Name email

1

Cindy Hutcheson chutcheson@valleyopp.com

2

JoAnn Borinski Jborinski@edwardstreet.org

3

LeeAnn Soucy lsoucy@northshore.edu

5

Rosemarie Ricci rricci@paceccw.org

6

Donna Jasak donna.jasak@bostonabcd.org

Additional Resources

Guide to Observation and Reflective Conferencing

This guide provides a 5-step process for conducting the processional conferencing (coaching) model. Foundational to the model is a data-driven decision making process that Coaches can use to link assessment and action planning to outcomes for Mentees and, ultimately, children.

Additional Resources

For Consultant Teachers

Consultant Teachers Qualifications:

The consultant teacher is required to have an Associate’s degree in early childhood education or a related field (a Bachelor’s degree is preferred) and, for center-based teachers, be EEC Lead Teacher Qualified or above. In addition, Consultant Teachers must have:

  • At least three years of experience working as an educator in a Center-Based, Family Child Care or After School and Oout of School Time program;
  • Currently providing direct care to children in a program participating in the QRIS at a Level 2 or above (self-assessed);
  • Support of Program/Instructional Leader to participate (if applicable); and
  • Access to a computer and the Internet for use of video support technology.

Note: Supervisors and Administrators are not eligible to serve as a Consultant Teacher.

Consultant Teacher Responsibilities: 

  • Attend pre-service orientation training (estimated training is 1 day prior to implementation of project).
  • Participate in ongoing consultant teacher training (estimated 6 days during the year) and the regional Professional Learning Community to share resources, training, expertise, and experience. (estimated 1 hour per month: may be conference call, face to face, or webinar)
  • Provide Peer Assistance and Coaching, including:
    • Jointly establishing monthly meetings to last between 60-90 minutes with Mentee (may be virtual; phone, email, video clips) to conduct observations and review progress and provide feedback.
      • The initial meetings will be to develop a relationship, and then to review the data identifying the Mentee’s needs and develop an action plan, including recommended professional development and coaching strategies designed to increase knowledge and skills in identified areas of need.
      • Thereafter, there will be a cycle of evaluation and coaching that includes continuous mutual goal setting using observations and follow-up conferences to analyze and set practical goals for improvement based upon detailed evaluation criteria.
    • Jointly establish monthly meetings or check-ins with Program/Instructional Leader;
    • Work with Mentee and Program/Instructional Leader to refine the Mentee’s professional development plan including identification of recommended training or courses and strategies for practice application.
    • Provide reports every 30 days using provided template indicating actions, progress, and/or next steps.
  • Maintain confidentiality

For Mentees

Qualifications:

The Mentee must be working directly as an educator, full or part time, in a licensed or license-exempt early education and care program. 

Also, Mentees must:

  • Be registered in the EEC Professional Qualifications (PQ) Registry;
  • Be working in a program participating in QRIS at level one moving towards level two;
  • Display a commitment to increasing knowledge and skills related to EEC's Core Competencies and Early Learning Standards, and to advancing on the QRIS as evidenced by their Individual Professional Development Plan;
  • Have the support of their Program Director/Instructional Leader (if applicable); and
  • Have access to technology (video, email, and other electronic methods will be used to support the Mentee).

Note:  This is not intended for assistant teachers or Family Child Care assistants.

Responsibilities: 

  • Attend pre-service orientation training (estimated training is 1 day prior to implementation of project).
  • Participate in Peer Assistance and Coaching, including:
    • Jointly establishing monthly meetings with Consultant Teacher to last between 60-90 minutes (may be virtual; phone, email, video clips) to conduct observations and review progress and provide feedback.
      • One of the initial meetings will include a review of the data identifying the Mentee’s needs with an action plan, including recommended professional development and coaching strategies designed to increase knowledge and skills in identified areas of need.
      • Thereafter, there will be a cycle of evaluation and coaching that includes continuous mutual goal setting using observations and follow-up conferences to analyze and set practical goals for improvement based upon detailed evaluation criteria.
    • Jointly establishing monthly meetings or check-ins with Consultant Teacher, and Program/Instructional Leader.
  • Work with Consultant Teacher and Program/Instructional Leader to refine the professional development plan including identification of recommended training or courses and strategies for application to practice.
  • Participate in recommended training as determined by Consultant Teacher, Mentee, and identified Program/Instructional Leader.
  • Maintain confidentiality

Application:

See "additional resources" for the application

The application process for Mentees will include the following:

  • Statement of areas of need related to the QRIS, MA Core Competencies and Early Learning Standards, and preferred ways to utilize peer coaching;
  • Current QRIS Level;
  • Signed MOU of support from Program /Instructional Leader  (if applicable), and
  • One written recommendation: either a co-worker, or parent of a child in care.

Additional Resources

For Instructional Leaders

The Program/Instructional Leader will vary by setting.  For center-based and ASOST programs, this will be the program or site director.  For Family Child Care educators that are part of a contracted Family Child Care System, the program leader should be either their home monitor or another person assigned by the System (such as a person assigned to support professional development or QRIS within the system).  Independent FCC Educators may choose to identify an individual to serve as their Program/Instructional Leader.  An example may be a more experienced FCC educator from a FCC support group.

The expectation for Program/Instructional Leaders is that they will be invested in the PAC project by being engaged, involved, and demonstrates ongoing support for the Mentee and/or CT. 

Qualifications:

The Program/Instructional Leader must:

  • Be the program director or site coordinator for a center-based or ASOST program;
  • Be the home monitor or person assigned by a FCC System to support professional development or QRIS for FCC Educators that are part of a contracted FCC System;
  • Have early childhood education and experience if selected by an Independent FCC Educator;
  • Be registered in the MA EEC PQ Registry.

Responsibilities of Program/Instructional Leader:

  • Attend the pre-service orientation training held prior to the implementation of the project
  • Work in collaboration with the CT and Mentee in regard to support, time commitment, and completion of requirements of this project.
  • Collaborate with the Mentee and CT to refine the Mentee’s professional development plan including identification of recommended training or courses and strategies for application to practice.
  • Participate in the cycle of evaluation and coaching that includes continuous mutual goal setting using observations and follow up conferences to analyze and set practical goals for improvement based upon details evaluation criteria. 
  • Support participation in required observations, trainings and other meetings.
  • Program/Instructional Leader are encouraged to attend the monthly PLC and attendance will likely be expected at least on a quarterly basis.
  • For Center-based, ASOST, and FCC Educators who are part of a FCC System, Program/Instructional Leader should provide information needed to receive stipends for substitutes. Independent FCC Educators will provide that information directly.
  • Maintain confidentiality

For Consultant Administrators

Consultant Administrator Qualifications:

The CA is required to have an Associate’s degree in early childhood education or a related field (a Bachelor’s degree is preferred) and, for center-based administrators, be EEC Director Qualified or above. In addition, CAs must have:

  • Coaching/mentoring experience working in a Center-based, FCC system or ASOST program;
  • Currently providing direct supervision or coaching and mentoring to educators in a center-based, ASOST or FCC program participating in the QRIS at a Level 2 or above (self-assessed);
  • Access to a computer and the internet for use of video support technology.

Note: FCC CA applicants must be part of a contracted FCC System and directly responsible for supervision or coaching of FCC educators (such as home monitor/visitor or FCC System coach)

Consultant Administrator Responsibilities: 

  • Attend pre-service orientation training (estimated training is 1 day prior to implementation of project).
  • Participate in ongoing training (estimated 6 days during the year) and monthly regional Professional Learning Community to share resources, training, expertise, and experience. (estimated 1 hour per month: may be conference call, face to face, or webinar)
  • Provide Peer Assistance and Coaching, including:
    • Jointly establishing monthly meetings to last between 60-90 minutes with Mentee (may be virtual; phone, email, video clips) to conduct observations and review progress and provide feedback.
      • The initial meetings will be to develop a relationship, and then to review the Mentee’s needs and develop an action plan, including recommended professional development and coaching strategies designed to increase knowledge and skills in identified areas of need.
      • Thereafter, there will be a cycle of evaluation and coaching that includes continuous mutual goal setting using observations and follow-up conferences to analyze and set practical goals for improvement based upon detailed evaluation criteria.
    • Work with Mentee Administrator to refine the Mentee’s professional development plan including identification of recommended training or courses and strategies for practice application.
    • Provide reports every 30 days using provided template indicating actions, progress, and/or next steps.
  • Maintain confidentiality

Application:

See "additional resources" for the application

The application process for CAs will include the following:

  • Resume with qualifications and experience;
  • Statement of areas of expertise related to coaching skills, the QRIS, MA Core Competencies and Early Learning Standards;
  • Current program profile with QRIS Level
  • Signed MOU of support from CA’s supervisor; and
  • At least two recommendations: Professional peer, educator receiving supervision, or support group member.

Additional Resources

For Mentee Administrators

Qualifications:

The MA must be working directly as an administrator providing supervision and coaching to educators in a licensed or license-exempt early education and care program. 

Also, MAs must:

  • Be registered in the EEC Professional Qualifications (PQ) Registry
  • Be EEC Director Qualified
  • Be working in a program participating in QRIS at level one moving towards level two
  • Display a commitment to refine their coaching skills and advance in QRIS
  • FCC MA applicants must be part of a contracted FCC System
  • Have access to technology (video, email, and other electronic methods will be used to support the Mentee).

Note: This is not intended for independent FCC providers or educators who are not providing direct supervision or coaching.

Responsibilities: 

  • Attend pre-service orientation training (estimated training is 1 day prior to implementation of project).
  • Participate in Peer Assistance and Coaching, including:
  • Jointly establishing monthly meetings with consultant administrator to last between 60-90 minutes (may be virtual; phone, email, video clips) to conduct administrative observations and review progress and provide feedback.
  • One of the initial meetings will include identification of one educator or classroom team that receives support from the MA and the MA’s needs with an action plan, including recommended professional development and coaching strategies designed to increase knowledge and skills in identified areas of need.
  • Thereafter, there will be a cycle of evaluation and coaching that includes continuous mutual goal setting using observations and follow-up conferences to analyze and set practical goals for improvement based upon detailed evaluation criteria.
  • Jointly establishing monthly meetings or check-ins with consultant administrator.
  • Work with consultant administrator to refine the professional development plan including identification of recommended training or courses and strategies for application to practice.
  • Participate in recommended training as determined.
  • Maintain confidentiality

Application:

See "additional resources" for the application

The application process for MAs will include the following:

  • Statement of areas of need related to coaching and supervision that will result in enhancing the program’s  QRIS level and preferred ways to utilize peer coaching;
  • Current QRIS Level;
  • Signed MOU of support from your supervisor with current program profile including basic service delivery information; and
  • One written recommendation: either a co-worker or an educator in the program receiving supervision.

Application Review Process: 

Tier 1: Screening for completed application and minimum qualifications.

Tier 2: Review by Committee of at least 3 people (may include member of Advisory Panel, EEC representative and other representative) of applications that meet Tier 1 minimum qualifications.

Tier 3 (if needed): Interview by Committee of at least 3 people (may include member of Advisory Panel, EEC representative and other representative) of applicants based on Tier 2 scores.

Additional Resources

Cloud-based video platform - Torsh

To minimize time out of the classroom, there will be technology support to allow CTs and CAs to be able to observe their Mentees through a video-based instructional platform provided through an EEC contract with Torsh, Inc. (there is no cost to PAC participants). TALENT, provided through Torsh, Inc., is a video based teacher observation, feedback and data analytics platform that promotes accelerated student learning. The online platform has the ability to capture a wide range of daily in-classroom interactions to help increase effectiveness of teachers through facilitated structured and unstructured feedback from mentors and peers via a school branded, private social network. The feedback will in turn provide qualitative and quantitative data to analyze Mentee and MA interaction and instructional patterns through video.

Torsh TALENT and SWIVL Tips and Tricks

  • Make sure your phone is in Airplane mode, so your recording isn’t interrupted by phone calls! Don’t forget to turn off Airplane mode afterwards!
  • Make sure your screen orientation is not locked or your videos will upload sideways!
  • Search for “Torsh” in the app store to find the free app. Note: If you’re using an iPad to capture video, search for the T Uploader app under iPhone apps in the app store
  • TALENT works best with Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari. Do NOT use Internet Explorer. 
  • Lift the door on the top of your Swivl to find the Swivl marker that you will wear around your neck.
  • Use the hole on the black part of the Swivl to charge. This is lowest hole on the side of the Swivl.
  • Can’t find your TALENT invitation? Check your spam folder!
  • Have any further questions? Email support@torsh.co

Additional Resources

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