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Learning Coaches

Supporting students through their virtual learning journey


For students navigating virtual learning – especially those doing so for the first time – it can be overwhelming to plan out weekly schedules, develop a career path, or even submit assignments online. Many virtual schools have created a support role called Learning Coaches – staff members (other than teachers) who work closely with students and help guide them with planning and navigating online learning.


Learning coaches are instrumental in students’ success during their online journey. Many schools hire certified counselors that can offer social-emotional (SEL) support as well as academic planning to their students.

Here are some best practices shared by virtual schools around implementing learning coaches:

  • Coaches should stay with specific students throughout the duration of their virtual learning journey. This ensures continuity in support as well as opportunities for deeper relationship-building.

  • Coaches should prioritize relationship-building and incorporate fun and comfortable ways to get to know their students better (e.g., icebreaker questions, meeting with their pets).

  • Coaches should schedule consistent check-ins (e.g., weekly) with students to gauge how they are doing academically and emotionally, and offer ongoing support. See below for example of tracking student outreach and progress-monitoring.

  • Coaches should work closely with teachers to gauge how their assigned students are performing academically and whether they can offer additional support or remediation.

School Examples

  • ASU Prep Digital (AZ) hires Learning Success Coaches who work closely with middle school and high school students around learning pathways and career/college planning. The Learning Success Coaches also plan a one-week new student orientation to help familiarize students with Canvas (the school’s LMS), submit assignments, and determine their courses.

  • VLACS (NH) hires certified counselors as advisors who help students determine what they’re working on, what support they may need, and how to handle their coursework moving forward.