TSR! Coaching Counts

Coaching Counts is a monthly newsletter for TSR coaches and coordinators that offers information on coaching best practices. Throughout the year, the newsletter will focus on important aspects of coaching to continue to help you support early childhood teachers enrolled in TSR.

April Crawford, Ph.D.
April Crawford, Ph.D.
Director, Texas School
Ready! Project

This Month's Playbook

Collaborating to Set Goals

Remote Control

Goal setting is an important part of remote coaching, just as it is for face-to-face coaching. Remote coaches view instructional videos and provide coaching feedback to the teacher. They work with the teacher and use the COT to select goals together. Since remote coaches provide feedback using phone conversations or skype sessions, they need to be sure to pause often during goal sessions and ask questions like “Does that sound like a good goal to you?”  “Does this sound doable?”  “How are you feeling about this particular goal?”

A critical part of the coaching relationship with teachers is collaborating to set goals. Without clear goals for practice, the coaching relationship can often veer off in directions that do not actually support the professional development of the teacher.  Clear, collaboratively established goals remind both the teacher and the coach of instructional targets for the teacher to work towards, and frame what support the coach will provide to the teacher.

Just as children arrive to school with different levels of knowledge and backgrounds, teachers have varying levels of instructional abilities.  Teachers struggling with basic classroom management and instruction may feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to set meaningful goals.  Other teachers may have the fundamentals in place but need to improve in particular areas of instructional practice. Regardless of skill level, each teacher's goals must be determined through collaborative conversation to ensure the teacher feels empowered and is increasingly able to reflect on practice. 

Teachers should leave a goal setting session with clearly identified goals based on the Classroom Observation Tool (COT).  Classroom observation data should help coaches and teachers come to an agreement on specific indicators that can be achieved by the next scheduled visit.  Make sure teachers know that several goals can be pursued at the same time during well-planned activities.

When formalizing goals with a teacher:

  1. Help the teacher understand why the goals you are recommending are important by explaining child outcomes that connect with the area of focus
  2. Encourage the teacher to help you understand what she or he would like to learn more about, and collaborate around these interests in connection with your observational data
  3. Align goals with established early learning standards and recent child assessment data
  4. Choose a realistic number of goals, so as not to overwhelm the teacher with too many goals or slow progress with too few
  5. Select goals that complement each other to deepen a teacher's understanding in a particular area
  6. Consider goals that align with current professional development coursework to help teachers bridge knowledge and practice more effectively
  7. Ensure that teachers have access to resources (curricula, activity guides, materials) that will support a given set of goals, and be prepared to find new ways of working with what they have


Here are some examples of different goals for an emerging teacher and an advanced teacher:

An emerging teacher may need to concentrate on:

An advanced teacher may set goals that involve:

Basics of classroom management, schedules/routines, and center management

checkmarkPlanned small-group instruction in early literacy, math, or science

checkmarkGetting started with read alouds and selecting books suited to learning objectives

checkmarkAdvanced methods to elicit language and introduce new vocabulary during read aloud

checkmarkEngaging children with planned, brief, whole-group lessons

checkmarkProviding appropriate scaffolding responses to children's learning signals


checkmarkClosely aligning instruction with child progress monitoring results


  • English BEECH is open! Contact your project manager for your enrollment key. Good luck with the training,click here to get started. Spanish BEECH will open soon.
  • Attention new coaches and coordinators! Please remember to take the Effective Mentor Strategies Course in eCIRCLE as soon as possible.
  • Coordinators, please remember to send your project manager your order of Infant and Toddler, Three-Year Old Early Learning Guidelines.
  • Great news! We have started printing new "We Are...TSR!" Banners for schools.

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