MTSS: In the Know


November 2016 | Volume 1, Issue 4

Building Instructional Intervention Systems

Over the past two years, administrators, coaches, and teachers alike have been challenged with the task of strengthening core instruction. 80% of the MTSS lens is focused on the development and strength of the core, instruction delivered to all students regardless of further need. As our district's MTSS framework continues to be rolled out, it is crucial that schools keep an urgent focus on core instruction while having further conversations regarding areas of concern and additional need. Strength of our academic programs lies majorly in the strength of daily core instruction.

Building a Literacy Intervention System

The District MTSS Team will take part in Module 2.1 between now and mid-February. During this learning module, team members will also begin developing the framework and plans for implementing effective literacy interventions. Resources will be developed to give teachers and support staff more of a pathway to follow when needing to use both supplemental supports and intensive interventions with struggling students. While this flowchart-type pathway will not give direct, "Step 1, Step 2, ..." directions for diagnosing and attending to concerns, the resource's intent will be to serve as a guide to support problem-solving conversations in PLCs.

Beyond the District MTSS Team, curriculum coaches and classroom teachers will be invited to support the development of these resources and give feedback about their usefulness in student-centered conversations.

Modules 2.2 and 2.3

Beyond February, our team will complete similar modules focused on the development of mathematics and behavioral intervention systems. These resources will serve the same purposes as those created for literacy and will be vetted in the same manner. Because fewer resources are available for some of these skill areas, teachers will play an important role in targeting key research-based interventions that support growth of these skills.

Intervention documentation is key

For many processes beyond conversations of student concern in PLCs, documentation of intervention is an important component for moving forward. Federal and State laws, regulations, and processes requires that interventions are documented and not just simply verbally communicated when asked of their implementation. Curriculum and EC supports use this documentation to notice trends in days, times of day, effectiveness of specific interventions, consistency of the student receiving the intervention, and the length of time the intervention has been delivered.

MTSS coaches regularly keep track of intervention documentation. As students are discussed in PLCs, coaches check interventions being implemented to further investigate causes for these concerns. Diving deeper into cumulative folders, student performance data, and historical growth of the student all play factors for selecting appropriate interventions. It is important for teachers who bring concerns to the table to also bring solid documentation of what is already being used in the classroom.

Kindergarten Entry Assessment nears completion

The Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA) is the kindergarten component of the K-3 Formative Assessment Process, one State-mandated component of the Read to Achieve law. Friday, November 2 marks Day 60 for the 2016-2017 school year. Our kindergarten teachers have been greatly dedicated to efficiently completing this task, learning how to better reach the needs of the whole child for students in their classrooms. While the official KEA window will close this week, takeaway from this assessment will continue to be used throughout the duration of the school year.

Where will we go from here?

Kindergarten teachers will use data obtained from the KEA to support and guide conversations in PLCs with curriculum coaches and MTSS coaches. When teachers express concerns, coaches will use the KEA evidences and status summaries as one data point from which to better understand student needs. The KEA will help teachers to dig deeper and drill down to root causes of student weaknesses. While no other data will be expected to be entered into the Teaching Strategies platform for the KEA, this data may be helpful when problem-solving as PLC teams.

K-3 Formative Assessment Process beyond kindergarten

First, second, and third grade components of the K-3 Formative Assessment Process have yet to be released but will be mandated by law in the near future. Further training will be made available for the appropriate stakeholders when more information is communicated from the State.