MTSS: In the Know

Multi-Tiered System of Support | Stanly County Schools

September 2016 | Volume 1, Issue 2

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Attendance starts day one

September is deemed Attendance Awareness Month, greatly in part because it is the starting month for many school districts across the nation. Trends show that attendance during the first month of school determine patterns to be set for future months of the school year. It is important that students have systems in place to support regular school attendance and a desire to be at school all day, every day.


During the first month of the 2016-2017 school year, Stanly County Schools reports a 96.5% attendance rate. While perfect attendance will forever be the desired outcome and ultimate goal, our students have not fallen far below the 100% margin. It is important that we do our parts to discourage tardiness and absenteeism.


Schools may support regular attendance by:


  • creating positive relationships with students that promote a sense of need in the classroom.


  • maintaining open lines of communication with parents.


  • using a PBIS system which includes rewards for being on time each day.


  • intervening early with school counselors, social workers, administrators, and other support staff where concerns of absenteeism arise.


  • modeling the same expectations with teachers; students will rise to the expectations we set and model for them.

K-3 Beginning-of-year benchmarks

K-3 teachers and students have completed Reading 3D BOY assessments. While eyes are always on student proficiency, BOY data gives teachers a starting point from which to grow their students. Do not let below-proficient results defeat your enthusiasm in the classroom. Focus on growth opportunities and maximizing your instructional time to support students in attaining a year's growth.


District data for both DIBELS and TRC proficiency are shared below. While learning gaps are present in our data, compare your classroom data to that of Stanly County Schools. How do your students compare? How can you close the gaps for your students this year?

Progress Monitoring Pointers

While progress monitoring may be viewed as a daunting, time-consuming task, it is vital to the depth and growth of students' performance of skills. Without additional instruction and attention, we cannot expect a change in assessment outcomes. Teachers must match instruction to the needs of students and prepare them for the growing demands of future assessments. We must support the challenges students face and teach them strategies for being successful with weaker skills and concepts.


As you plan for progress monitoring student until the middle-of-year (MOY) assessments, consider the following to support your efforts:


  • With the support of your administrator and coaches, look deeply into all points of data you have. Considering "key skills" for students at your respective grade level, what skills are most important for students to build at this point?


  • Make a plan for the instruction students need to show growth on progress monitoring measures.


  • Create a calendar to monitor and track the completion of progress monitoring. Know when students should be assessed based on the 10-day, 20-day, and once per quarter guidelines. Always know when it is time for progress monitoring to occur.


  • Involve students in setting short- and long-term, attainable goals for progress monitoring. Build students' stamina and understanding for achieving proficiency on MOY assessment measures.


  • Find times during the instructional day to seamlessly provide instruction aligned to students' progress monitoring needs. Even the progress monitoring itself should be completed in the typical classroom routine, not a set aside, stand alone activity. Classroom instruction should never stop.

CULTIVATING A COLLABORATIVE CULTURE

Now, more than ever, collaboration plays a vital role in our instructional practices. We are all in this together and building an effective support system is crucial for meeting the need of our students. Professional learning communities (PLC) create a platform for such collaborative interactions to take place, but administrators, coaches, and teachers must work together to form the true workings of a thriving, teacher-led, student-centered environment.


As we begin to develop our MTSS framework in our schools, collaboration will grow in importance. From lesson planning to school-home communications, core instruction resources to intervention supports, conversation is key. If one teacher has a question or concern, chances are others do, too. Teachers are encouraged to share with one another, give of their experiences and talents, provide the best collaboration with other teachers but ultimately for the students.

Literacy and math design collaboratives

Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) is a practice used in middle and high schools in Stanly County. LDC is used across curricula including ELA, science, and social studies. LDC is not something in addition to the curriculum; it is a way of teaching the curriculum. LDC is aligned with the common core. It fosters the teaching of reading and writing across all contents. Teachers first plan reading and writing standards then enhance the lessons with their own content. This gives teachers a lot of freedom in what text they use to guide their instruction. Students learn tasks that will continue to support them long after high school, skills such as note taking, guidelines for writing, and annotating text.


Math Design Collaborative (MDC) is a framework that Stanly County is using to enhance math instruction across our middle and high schools. MDC has been created, researched, and improved by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. MDC allows teachers to download resources and hands-on activities. The framework enhances instruction through questioning and Formative Assessments Lessons (FAL), allowing teachers to collect data and analyze the growth of their students.

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Spotlight on Schools

MTSS is alive and breathing in Stanly County Schools! Sometimes the MTSS framework is being built even without your being aware of it. A few noteworthy celebrations from across the district:


  • Badin Elementary School has embraced the MTSS framework by beginning a monthly PLC, inviting all stakeholders to sit around the same table for conversations. Grade level teachers meet with the principal, curriculum coach, MTSS coach, guidance counselor, and other appropriate support staff to discuss barriers. Taking time to bring everyone together is a big step in moving students forward.


  • Central, East Albemarle, and Stanfield elementary schools and Albemarle Middle School have started off their year with full PBIS strategies in place. These schools are focused on support behaviors to help improve their academic environments.


  • While formal training has not yet occurred, components of PBIS readiness have been spotted throughout Richfield, Locust, Endy, Norwood, Badin and Aquadale elementary schools. Thank you for putting some early work into building a positive system.


  • East Albemarle Elementary School is is continuing with its second year of implementing their iChoose program as an intervention and enrichment time. Ask an East Albemarle teacher about the benefits of iChoose!


  • PLC conversations in all schools across the district have been strengthened to focus on student data and needs. Thank you to all teachers for making these conversations stronger and more applicable to classroom instruction.