Battle Ground Public Schools’ River HomeLink introduces coaching to help struggling, at-risk students succeed


More than 60 staff and 20 parents at River HomeLink, an alternative school in the Battle Ground Public Schools (BGPS) district, have been trained to provide one-on-one coaching to at-risk students struggling in school. 

The parents and staff received the training through the non-profit Edge Foundation, which, according to a news release, has proven that providing personalized coaching to at-risk, struggling students helps them succeed in school and in life. 

Just about 1,000 kids in the BGPS district attend the K-12 River HomeLink, a parent partner homeschool. River HomeLink Principal Mark Clements said in a news release the coach training received high reviews from school staff and parents. 

“We surveyed the people who attended the Edge training and the feedback we got went from ‘great’ to ‘it was the most practical and beneficial professional development they’d ever experienced,’” he said in the release.

Every staff member works with at least one student, allowing each student to benefit, Clements said. 

“Coaching is an additional skill set that we can use,” he said. “We want to be able to train and provide the capacity for the staff person with the best relationship to be able to coach the kids. Because we have advising with every kid, being able to help them help themselves come up with strategies for success and to hold them accountable fits like a glove for what we’re already doing.”

Neil Peterson, a social entrepreneur who  managed transit agencies in Seattle, Oakland and Los Angeles, founded the Edge Foundation after seeing how business executives benefit from one-on-one coaching.  

“There is a reason that most business leaders have individual coaches. It helps them be successful,” he said in the release. “Our feeling at the Edge Foundation is that if an executive coach is available for a CEO in this country, then why not make it available for a struggling student — whether they be 8, 11, 14, 17 or 20 years old.”

“Many of these kids have given up on school. Nearly all fail to reach their full potential. These are the kids we’re focused on. We train school staff to help youth whose poor executive function skills inhibit their social and emotional learning. We can help each student reach his or her full potential,” Peterson said in the release. 

The Edge Foundation helps students succeed at school by training school staff, such as teachers, paraprofessionals and counselors, to provide one-on-one, weekly, 20- to 25-minute coaching to individual students.

“Edge coaches help students succeed by helping them develop agency — the ability to successfully act on their own behalf to solve problems and make good decisions in school and in life,” Peterson said in the release. 

The Edge Foundation coaches currently work in more than 50 schools and organizations in Washington, Oregon, California and New York.


Editor's Note: The Reflector received incorrect information about River HomeLink from a press release by the Edge Foundation and has since updated the story.