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Student-Centered Instructional Coaching Certificate Program

The program consists of four fully online, sequential courses. These courses must be taken in the order outlined below, and can be taken as credit or non-credit experiences. We are also happy to work with school districts to provide units of advancement (professional credits).

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the core practices of Student-Centered Coaching and compare them to other coaching models to help inform coaching strategies that result in student learning
  • Analyze student evidence to guide instructional decision-making
  • Plan collaboratively with educators to improve student learning
  • Conduct Student-Centered Coaching cycles that use student evidence to guide the sessions
  • Recognize factors that may create barriers to effective coaching and work collaboratively to develop approaches to address these factors
  • Reflect on one’s own coaching work and use that reflection to continually grow and improve


When: Foundations Course Dates, July 5, 2020 – August 8, 2020

Program Fee: Credit Option: $1500/course for 3 UW-Madison Special Student Credits, Non-Credit Option: $1000/course

Registration: Sign up now for Cohort 7 beginning in the Summer of 2020.

Register Now

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Certificate Courses

Foundations of Student-Centered Coaching | July 5 – August 8, 2020

Participants in this course will be introduced to the coaching model of student-centered coaching and the seven core practices that are essential to the practice. Assignments will engage participants in discussion, analysis, and reflection on these practices as they are embedded within coaching cycles and as participants begin to transfer applications to their own contexts. Much of this work will be supported through online Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) which will serve as contexts for collaborative analysis, ongoing dialogue, and constructive feedback on peer work. Participants will also plan and develop materials for leading coaching efforts at their sites, a process that will continue throughout the coaching series as participants engage in PLC work within their face-to-face contexts. In addition to much of this asynchronous work, participants will also have the opportunity to engage with Diane Sweeney during a live webinar.

Register Now

Assessment Analysis and Instructional Decision-Making | Fall 2020

We often associate the word assessments with the phrase “necessary evil.” But are they really? After all, assessments provide teachers with a plethora of information which can then be used to inform instruction on a daily basis, thus moving all students forward as learners.

In Assessment Analysis and Instructional Decision-Making, we will dig deeper, examining various types and sets of data, (i.e. student evidence), asking critical questions, and seeking to understand more than just the numbers. What stories does the data tell? What stories go untold? How do we sort student evidence to tell a different story, and why does this matter? How do we coach so all students’ strengths are recognized and actionable next steps are identified for moving each and every student to the next level? How do we engage in productive coaching conversations with teachers, administrators, families, and community members about ways to effectively use student evidence to enhance student learning? Why are these questions important? Because our children are more than just numbers, and their futures depend on it.

Organizational Change and Student-Centered Coaching | Spring 2021 |

The goal of Organizational Change and Student-Centered Coaching is to support coaches and coaching supervisors in leadership, management, and design of educational organizations as it relates to leveraging coaching to advance organizational and learning outcomes, and designing organizational structures and cultures that support coaching efficacy. The course will focus on identifying barriers to organizational change and mechanisms or strategies to support change processes at the individual teacher, school, and district or system levels. The course specifically emphasizes the ways in which coaches and coaching supervisors may utilize organizational theory to improve management decisions and organizational outcomes. It also provides information to facilitate organizational change, to enhance leadership style, and to improve organizational effectiveness.

Practicum for Student-Centered Coaching | Fall 2021 |

As the culmination to the Student-Centered Instructional Coaching Certificate Program, this practicum is designed to provide participants with an opportunity to apply and integrate knowledge and skills acquired through coursework. In addition, activities and readings are designed to engage participants in critical analysis and reflection of their coaching practices. Participants will be expected to invest a great deal of time in their on-site Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) coordinating and engaging in ​coaching cycles with individual teacher partners or teaching teams. Our online PLC’s will serve as an extension of this on-site work as we engage in collaborative inquiry into coaching practice that accounts for sociocultural and student-centered instructional practices, attention to components of adult learning theory, and analysis of coaching roles through language use and norms of facilitation.

Instructional Coaching in the Content Areas | Spring 2020 |

Looking to expand your knowledge and continue your learning beyond the Student-Centered Instructional Coaching Certificate Program?  Check out this course on Instructional Coaching in the Content Areas.  Develop and expand understandings and applications for instructional coaching within the content areas of literacy and math.  This course does not have a prerequisite.  It can be taken at any time during the certificate sequence, or it can be taken independently of the certificate.  Learn more on the course webpage.

Student-Centered Coaching is about (1) setting specific targets for students that are grounded in the standards and content and (2) working together with educators to ensure that the targets are met (Sweeney, 2010). The University of Wisconsin-Madison is excited to offer a series of four courses that are dedicated to enhancing and defining the knowledge and skills of instructional coaches.

Through our Student-Centered Coaching Certificate Program, current and aspiring coaches engage in dialogue and job-embedded professional development to ground their coaching work in student evidence and further refine coaching practices.

“I am continually impressed with the thoughtfulness, clarity, relevance, and urgency with which all facilitators of this certification program design/evolve content and communicate feedback. I'm proud to be part of a program that I imagine is at the top of its game, so to speak. So much of your work serves as a model for my future practice.”

—Emily Carr

Program Instructors

Jen Breezee


Instructional Coaching Specialist


225 N. Mills Street
Suite #264
Madison, WI 53706

Sandra Taylor-Marshall


Instructional Coaching Program Coordinator



225 N. Mills Street
Suite #264
Madison, WI 53706