Throughout 2021, Branching Minds’ partner schools accessed hundreds of interventions in the Branching Minds’ intervention library—providing targeted, research-based support for struggling students.
Branching Minds (BRM) is honored to have a guest post from Marie Stapleton, Lead Title Teacher at Painesville City Local Schools (PCLS) in Ohio. We began our partnership with PCLS in April 2019, and in this experience spotlight, Ms. Stapleton shares her experience using the BRM platform and reflects on how utilizing an MTSS technology has supported both students and teachers in her school. Special thanks to Marie Stapleton for sharing her valued perspective with us. 💙
About two years ago, I was a district administrator for school climate improvement. In this role, I was asked to support a group of administrators that were handling intense behaviors on their campus. The campus had maxed out its intensive support resources, and determined that they had no other option than to create a new tier of support—what they referred to as “Tier 4.”
I have noticed this trend quite often. I hear different variations of this new level of need: “Tier 4,” “deep red,” or even “too many red students.”
What does this mean?
A Multi-Tiered System of Supports is based on the three-tiered public health model. This means that we must identify the root cause(s) within our current system and identify why it’s not serving our student population. By creating an additional tier, we ignore a problem that is perforating our entire system.
There is no Tier 4. However, there is a Tier 2. And this tier is often overlooked in how powerful of an intervention tool it can be.
About six years into my career as a special educator, I attended a child’s study meeting. In this meeting, my 9th-grade student's mother encouraged the team to focus on the student's executive functioning.
Executive functioning? I remember thinking. What is that? I didn’t even know if we taught executive functioning, let alone how to begin supporting it.
As schools and districts make the shift to include social-emotional learning (SEL) within their overarching MTSS practice, we often get questions about where student behavior fits into this framework. Many educators still view SEL and Behavioral Health as separate areas, but what’s more problematic is when these two areas are not aligned.
Within an MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports) framework, educators are asked to collect and understand different data to drive their decision-making process. A successful MTSS implementation will rely on a myriad of data, from screening and progress monitoring assessment data to tier movement and benchmark growth.
“The most promising strategy for sustained, substantive, school improvement is building the capacity of school personnel to function as a school community.” - Milbrey McLaughlin
I spent 10 years as a principal and Chief Academic Officer for a K-12 school network. Over that time, I implemented dozens of new initiatives for my schools, all aimed at improving the outcomes for our students.
The three-tiered support structure of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) provides efficient and effective support for all students. This support begins at the core level, also known as Tier 1. At Tier 1, all students receive differentiated instruction that is scaffolded with research-based learning supports, tailored to meet the needs of all students.
I have wanted to be an educator for as long as I can remember. My FAVORITE season is back to school; the pencils, new bulletin boards, clean desks with utility crates in the center filled with markers, scissors, and dictionaries. I doubt that among readers, I am alone in this sentiment.
From my early days as a Special Education teacher to my most recent days as a District-level administrator, I have seen first-hand the impact of "good" communication, lack of communication, miscommunication, and misunderstanding that can occur when meeting with families, and specifically, when discussing Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). Communicating can be tricky! Are we saying too much? Too little? Are we even on the same page?