MTSS in TSD - Weekly Wednesday News

2022-2023 Series - Volume 25 (February 22, 2023)

This is our twenty-fifth edition this year!

We use this newsletter to make connections regarding the implementation of the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework in the Thompson School District (TSD).

> Access last week's edition.


Adopt (and model) High Expectations

Our aligned approach to all teaching and learning in TSD is the Thompson Educational Expectations (TEE). In this newsletter, we consistently emphasize the importance of TEE; it gives us a road map and direction for all that we do. We should universally-understand TEE and use the TEE Compass Points as we organize our work.

For example, we may need to analyze our supports for students and adults. Does everything reflect TEE in practice? Do we have high expectations? Do we make sure we do not lessen what our stakeholders should "know and be able to do"? What is implied by our efforts - how are we showing our beliefs in our action? What is the effect if we do not make implementing TEE a priority? What will be the impact? Some research gives us insight into potential outcomes.

  • TNTP says, "In our recent study, The Opportunity Myth, we found this approach of 'meeting students where they are,' though well intentioned, practically guarantees they’ll lose more academic ground and reinforces misguided beliefs that some students can’t do grade-level work. The students stuck in this vicious cycle are disproportionately the most vulnerable: students of color, from low-income families, with special needs, or learning English.” (emphasis added)

This quotation points out that "instructional level' alone will not help us reach the desired state. Students need consistent access and exposure to grade-level content in learning experiences and tasks to accelerate growth. We must provide content knowledge and skill development with "just in time" scaffolds that assist "just right challenge". We believe in EACH student in TSD!

Similarly, our adult learning offerings (i.e., training and coaching) will be holding up to a standard of expectation. Just as we must commit to grade-level standards and a defined learning progression for students, we should provide our adults with a sequence of learning that aligns to TEE - and which reflects our values and district vision, mission, and priorities. We should not reduce what we think an adult might need to provide high-quality service because they are "not there yet" or that some adults "need more" (or less) than others. We should not think we can give adults only "what they can handle" and therefore, not equip them to do the "hard work" that we hold them accountable for. By suggesting that we take them from "where they are", we may be implying that they do not have the capacity for complexity, depth, systems-thinking, etc. Instead of thinking, "where they are" as the "ground", we should backwards plan from "where they need to be" and build competencies accordingly.

We must trust that our students and our adults will actively-engage and meet and exceed expectations when we offer them opportunities to "see something new" and stretch with acquisition and development. We may encourage "productive struggle", but we also will support by promoting foundational skill proficiency - to lessen the cognitive load and allow for higher-order thinking.

Focus Skills across All Grades

Securing Best First Instruction (BFI): Can you answer these prompts?

  • Have you defined/operationalized areas you could attend to (more-frequently and intentionally) within your academic instruction?
  • How have you determined such priorities?
  • How might you have confidence that these are selected because of their relevance, importance, and (likely) impact on student performance?

Renaissance (the company who owns Illuminate - FastBridge and eduCLIMBER, along with many other systems) has made (freely) available a website that they developed. It categorizes information for each state, according to its standards. This searchable website identifies "Focus Skills" for literacy and math across the grades (i.e., the "trajectory of learning"). Think about how you might provide scaffolds for learners who would benefit from pre-corrects or pre-teaching, and also, what you might want to spiral or extend. This list could assist in instructional decision-making, for individual practitioners, for classroom/grade-level teachers and for interventionists...and for all TOGETHER!

Click to Read about Reporting Results

This brief article "Comparisons Matter: Considering What Recovery Is" summarizes how to look at results. It includes guidance about data literacy, terminology, and data displays that illustrate what outcome data might "look like" (when graphed).

Big picture

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Contact: Kim Z. Mannion
  • TSD Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) Coordinator