The Descriptive Study of Head Start's Early Learning Mentor Coach Grant Initiative

Wendy DeCourcey, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Project Officer
Eboni Howard, AIR, Project Director
Victoria E. Rankin, AIR
Laura Hawkinson, AIR
Fiona K. Helsel, AIR
Jonathan Farber,

The Office of Head Start developed the Early Learning Mentor Coach initiative to improve practices in Head Start programs. AIR conducted a study to describe the objectives, activities, approaches, strategies and other aspects of the initiative.

Grantees hired coaches who provided on-the-job guidance, training and technical assistance to Head Start staff. The study was guided by three key goals:

  • Describe the implementation of the initiative's grants in Head Start programs.
  • Examine the implementation factors of the initiative's efforts.
  • Examine the factors that appear to be related to perceptions of successful coaching.

Among other findings, the authors suggest it would be helpful to learn which coaching strategies tend to go together and whether these can be considered discernible models. Such information could inform future efforts to design and evaluate coaching in Head Start programs or other early childhood education settings. The report concludes with a program logic model and recommendations for future research.

Managing Researcher