AIM Coaching and MTSS
AIM Coaching is an adaptive intervention model (AIM) that applies a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) framework to instructional coaching. MTSS frameworks provide a solid base (known as Tier 1) of instruction to all students. Progress-monitoring data are collected to determine whether students need more support. Finally, based on data, interventions are tailored to meet student needs.
We apply this framework to AIM Coaching. In the same way that teachers provide Tier 1 instruction to all students, coaches use AIM Coaching to provide standardized support to all teachers while collecting data on teachers’ implementation of new instructional practices. Coaches use teachers’ data to provide individualized support tailored to meet their specific needs.
Stage 1: Standardized Support
This 6-week stage gives every teacher an opportunity to get “up and running” with the new practice. Teachers practice with their students while receiving a standardized set of supports from their instructional coach, which includes the following:
- Planning meeting
- In-class support through modeling or co-teaching
- Follow-up meeting
The coach may choose to provide more support to some teachers, but every teacher receives at least these three coaching services. In addition, the coach checks in on the teacher periodically to provide encouragement.
Two sources of progress-monitoring data are gathered during this stage. The first is a measure of fidelity to the instructional practices. That is, the coach measures the extent to which teachers use the practices as they were designed. Fidelity is very important. In fact, considerable research indicates that teachers who implement practices with higher levels of fidelity improve student outcomes more than teachers with lower levels of fidelity (Swanson et al., 2020; Vaughn et al., 2013; Vaughn et al., 2015).
The second measure gauges collaboration. The coach reflects on each teacher’s willingness to work with them and openness to making changes in the classroom.
Stage 2: Individualized Support
We believe that teachers who need support implementing a practice (based on their fidelity ratings) and who collaborate with the coach have the greatest potential for change in the classroom. Therefore, the most intensive coaching activities are focused on this group of teachers.
The teachers who are skillful with the intervention (high fidelity) also are provided coaching supports, but these supports are less time consuming and less intensive.
The teachers who need support, based on their fidelity ratings, but who do not want to work with their coach are also provided coaching supports. However, these supports are low intensity and are not time consuming.