Communication Planning for MTSS

    Instituting MTSS, Leadership in MTSS
     

    For many educators the acronym MTSS is new, but for most, the work of MTSS is actually quite familiar. Most educators can agree that:

    • All students deserve effective core instruction
    • As students’ needs increase, so should the support educators provide them
    • Every child is unique and should be known and cared for holistically
    • Using both quantitative and qualitative data in service of understanding and supporting every students’ needs is essential to achieve positive outcomes in school and life

    These commitments have been part of almost every school district’s mission, goals, and plan in some form across the country for decades. MTSS, or multi-tiered system of support, may be a rebranding of these commitments and best practices in education, but what it comprises is in no way a new initiative. 

    Leadership and the System-Level Work in MTSS

    Instituting MTSS, Leadership in MTSS
    Our teachers come together to meet about students’ needs regularly, at the individual student level—we just don’t have a way to come together as district leadership and meet about the system needs at the systems level. We don’t have the data or the structures to do that proactive pattern matching so that we could have bigger more positive impacts on improving student outcomes earlier.

    What is the Difference between Systems-Level and Student-Level Work in MTSS?

    The insight above was recently shared with me by a district administrator in Florida who was looking to improve their MTSS practice. Similar observations have been shared with me many times before. The most common component of MTSS that schools and districts implement is the student-level problem-solving meeting. In almost every school that employs an MTSS model, you will find a team of teachers who come together to understand why a student is struggling, what has been done to support the student, and what should be done moving forward. This collaborative problem-solving work at the student-level is critical for student success and effective MTSS, but it is all too often stymied by an absence of systems-level problem-solving that establishes the infrastructure upon which any student-level support can be provided. After all, as the name of the acronym suggests, it is the system that the model is based on and the foundation for student-level problem-solving.

    MTSS as an Organizing Principle for Moving Beyond the 2020-2021 SY

    Instituting MTSS, Leadership in MTSS

    Long before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered our nation’s schools in mid-March 2020, many districts across the country had been working to transition to MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports). Schools were “ditching” their more traditional models to evaluate students for special education and instead began moving towards a more holistic approach to consider the needs of all students.

    Many chose to transition to MTSS as it uses a multi-tiered support foundation that wraps around a school’s entire student body and uses data-driven problem-solving to address academic and non-academic (attendance, social-emotional, etc.) needs. Schools and districts making this shift found that they improved education for all students, gained efficiencies, and prevented students from “slipping through the cracks.”

    5 Considerations When Selecting an RTI/MTSS Intervention Management Software

    Instituting MTSS, MTSS Data Literacy, Leadership in MTSS

    School districts are increasingly adopting MTSS/RTI intervention management software to help teachers streamline their documentation work and strengthen their student intervention practice. This is largely due to the evolution of the MTSS/RTI software space, which has grown significantly over the past ten years.

    There are two primary factors responsible for this renaissance: 1) advancements in technology and design have finally made their way into education technology, fostering user experience and engagement that delights rather than dismays teachers; and 2) the culture of intervention has shifted from the compliance-driven Response to Intervention protocol, which often felt like a laborious chore, to the more holistic and school-wide practice of Multi-Tiered System of Supports, which resonates with teachers' desire to personalize and accelerate learning in equitable ways.

    MTSS Requires Capacity Building

    Instituting MTSS, Leadership in MTSS

    Why Is Capacity Building So Critical For RTI/MTSS?

    It’s fun to be a leader. You were chosen because you are a “solutions and get it done” kind of an educator!  It’s also very challenging, as it requires you to keep yourself fit – physically, mentally and emotionally! It requires that we relinquish the superhero cape and share the real work of leadership. The work district and school level leaders must accomplish is weighty and we must admit that building positive capacity in others is the only way to accomplish our goals and sustain them over time. You could have the greatest initiative ever, and spend an entire year working for all hours every day to get it going, only to be moved to another campus or another position for the following year. What happens to your initiative then? It slowly disappears, as staff and leadership changes. Moreover, doing everything on your own just takes longer! To solidify the foundation of a great initiative in an organization, it is crucial to build capacity in others. 

    Funding MTSS With the Stimulus Bill

    Instituting MTSS, Leadership in MTSS

    Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the federal government has passed three separate stimulus bills. Combined, the three pieces of legislation have provided over $195 billion in funding for K12 schools - that’s almost double the $100 billion that schools received from the 2009 stimulus bill following the economic recession.

    Keeping track of all that money and how school districts can use the funds for students can be confusing, but here’s a bit of help...

    Developing a Successful MTSS/RTI Team

    Instituting MTSS, Leadership in MTSS

    The MTSS/RTI team is a school-based, problem-solving team; it is the engine that drives the MTSS/RTI practice. The MTSS/RTI team exists to proactively address system needs by reviewing school-wide data (within grade levels and classrooms) and support individual student growth by helping to monitor progress and make decisions for students at Tier 3.
    The site administrator should play an active role in recruiting and ultimately designating the composition of the MTSS/RTI team. The most successful teams consist of volunteers, so it is important that site administrators make an effort to designate members who truly want to be involved. MTSS/RTI team membership is made up of both standing members who contribute expertise from their respective disciplines and those who may be invited to address a specific concern. Examples of standing members on the MTSS/RTI team include: administrator, general education teacher, school psychologist/counselor, dean, content area specialist, ELL teacher, special education teacher, and grade-level or department representatives. 
 

    How to Show Your Teachers Some Love

    Leadership in MTSS

    No, it's not 'teacher appreciation week,' but it is the season of love. ❤️

    Teachers have a tremendous impact on their students' learning and lives. Although showing them love and appreciation for all the fantastic work they do should not be limited to a season or a day of celebration, it is still worth the spotlight in February when the topic is ever present. 

    DeSoto ISD looking to implement new strategies to improve educational outcomes for students

    News, Leadership in MTSS

    The district will transition to the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) in the spring.

    DeSoto ISD is looking to take a more holistic approach to teaching its students through a learning model known as a Multi-Tiered System of Supports, the district announced.

    Funding Opportunities for RTI / MTSS*

    Instituting MTSS, Leadership in MTSS

    Since the early 2000s, school districts across the country have implemented a tiered intervention system like Response to Intervention (RTI). In recent years, many districts have been transitioning their systems to a more holistic Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) model. However, like many other areas of K12 funding, how districts choose to fund an RTI or MTSS model can be a complicated question: traditional federal funding streams can be relatively inflexible, but with new funding streams like the CARES Act, passed in March 2020, school districts have greater funding flexibility to implement MTSS.