Additional Services

Keynote/Dinner Speaker

Topic: Teacher Induction and Mentoring: what it is, why it's worth supporting, and how to make it work in your district.
Topic: Building a Community of Teacher-Leaders where teachers enable their students, their school, their colleagues, and themselves to succeed.

Mentor Training

*Strategies to develop and sustain the all-important mentor/protégé relationship.
*Practical methods to assess and provide for the instructional needs of novice teachers.
*Methods of classroom observation including pre- and post-conference protocols for the purpose of
1) collecting data to inform coaching and guide focus, and
2) developing the protégé's self reliance through guided reflection.
*The fine art of giving and receiving feedback.
*Examination of behaviors and activities to support the beginning teacher within the school culture in
particular and the profession in general.

Consulting With Local Representative Teams to Design and/or Enhance Their Teacher Induction and Mentoring Programs

Depending on existing stage of program development, activities might include:
*Drafting a procedural manual for specific processes, procedures and timelines for their teacher induction
and mentoring programs.
*Clarifying roles and responsibilities of new teachers and mentors, and of their supporting colleagues.
*Developing programs of ongoing support and training for mentors and their protégés.
*Providing for articulation between induction/mentoring and ongoing professional development.

A good coach inspires people to have confidence in the coach.
A great coach inspires people to have confidence in themselves.

Coaching Coaches How to Coach

Training instructional coaches generally focuses on the content and pedagogical aspects of subjects such as math, English,  science, and students with special needs. However, there is often less provision for training instructional coaches in the process of coaching -- the key element necessary for them to effectively coach teachers to the point where they are willing, able and have the confidence to purposefully and effectively use those materials and instructional skills in the classroom.

Ultimately, the difference between knowing what to provide to teachers and being able to do so in ways that cause teachers to effectively implement what coaches provide is the quantum leap in becoming an accomplished instructional coach.

We provide the springboard for that leap by providing hands-on, highly engaging, activity oriented training in the processes of effective coaching. Employing best-practice, research and experience, we not only train how to mentor and coach but also give the process life through demonstration, practice, follow-up reinforcement, and relating specifics to the process.


The training we recently provided for personnel serving as instructional coaches for the Illinois and Wisconsin Departments of Education, are detailed in the form of a best-practices based case study selected for the chapter we authored in The SAGE Handbook of Mentoring and Coaching for Education (in press). The book is edited by Sarah Fletcher, Educational Mentoring and Coaching Consultant, Bath, UK and Carol A. Mullen, Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA.

Planners of the training had this to say:

“Hal and Mary Portner provided our group with excellent training of the coaching process. The training increased participant skills in positive problem solving, collaboration, and open communication. In particular, pairing the instruction in the coaching process with role-playing activities was a fabulous way to actually put the skills into participants’ hands for future use as coaches. They have the right combination of knowledge, flexibility, and experience to train both groups and individuals.”

Michelle Clyne, Project Coordinator
Illinois Department of Education,
Deaf-Blind Services

“As a planner for this event, I found Hal and Mary to be very thorough in their preparation, asking many questions in order to design a training that would best meet our needs as a project. Their delivery model was sequenced and detailed with ample time devoted to practicing the new skills that participants were learning. They were a delight to work with.”

Heidi Hollenberger, Coordinator,
Technical Assistance Project
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Participants expressed the following:

“Hal and Mary really made us feel validated for our hard work”
“Great opportunity to practice skills rather than ‘just listening’”
"Enthusiastic, passionate presenters who cared and felt involved in the training.”
“The hands-on activities were great and the real practice was awesome!”
“I thought the workshop was absolutely wonderful…I learned so much about a better way to coach our peers”.
"Loved Hal and Mary - very effective 'coaches.' Practical, hands on, best way to learn is by making mistakes – They let me do that in ways that became great learning experiences!"
"Allowed time to reflect on how this process will be integrated into our varied and unique positions."
"Practicing being the coach was amazing. I needed the application to tie together the theory.”
“Practicing strategies and receiving feedback multiple times and in multiple ways was very effective.”
"Variety of activities with different presentation styles. Much appreciated. "


Hal and Mary Portner make a point of doing their research and designing each session to address not only the needs and expertise of participants, but also the subtle culture and not-so-subtle policies of their school and district.

We are often asked to describe how we structure a workshop. Click here to see an example
This page last modified on Thursday, February 16, 2012