Westerly Public Schools: Multi Tiered System of Supports
A Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a comprehensive system of evidence-based practices that address academic AND social and emotional concerns within a recursive and systematic problem-solving process. MTSS focuses on providing instruction and intervention to proactively meet the needs of ALL children.
Exploration & Adoption: 2020-21
Westerly Public Schools has identified the need for adoption of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports and developed teams and systems to support the work as it progresses through the stages, growing stakeholders and champions, assessing and creating readiness for change, developing communication processes to support the work, and determining next steps to proceed.
Initial Installation: 2021-22
During the 2021-22 year, Westerly Public Schools will continue to secure and develop the capacity and infrastructure needed to put into place the components of MTSS as designed. The District will continue developing feedback loops between the practice and leadership level in order to streamline communication, and gathering feedback on how new practices are being implemented
Full Implementation: 2022-23
Practices at Westerly Public Schools are integrated into the environment in a manner that is a new way of operating. Full implementation is often the point at which the practices have been implemented well and long enough to begin showing student benefit (National Implementation Research Network, 2013). Maintaining MTSS practices consistently over time is essential in evaluating full effect. Sustainability is an essential focus of implementation. While student outcomes are being realized during full implementation, it’s critical that teams continue to maintain their focus and attention on ensuring sustainability. Changes in resources, staff turnover, and changing needs of students and staff need to be attended to, ensuring systems are flexible and responsive enough to meet the needs of every student.
The Multi-Tiered System of Supports Framework
WHAT IS A MULTI-TIERED SYSTEM OF SUPPORTS (MTSS)?
MTSS stands for Multi-Tiered System of Supports. MTSS is an instructional framework that includes universal screening of all students, multiple tiers of instruction and support services, and an integrated data collection and assessment system to inform decisions at each tier of instruction. The framework can be used for, but is not limited to literacy, math, and positive behavior supports.
HOW DOES MTSS DIFFER FROM RTI?
“Response to Intervention” (RtI) and MTSS are sometimes used interchangeably among educators. The RtI framework was developed after the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA). It offers an alternative path to identifying students as eligible for special education services from the older IQ-achievement discrepancy criteria. The emphasis in MTSS is to provide effective instruction and intervention by providing evidence-based, high quality instruction and interventions in all tiers. MTSS is a more recent and comprehensive framework that includes academic and social emotional, and behavioral components with an emphasis at Tier 1.
MTSS emphasizes multiple levels of instruction and support for all learners, including students with advanced skills or struggling students who may or may not be eligible for special education services. MTSS is a general education initiative that strives to ensure that practices, policies, and programs are aligned on classroom, school, and district levels. MTSS is a framework for supporting all students regardless of whether or not they are also receiving services through special education.
In addition to focusing on student support, MTSS emphasizes professional development and instructional support for general education and support staff who are delivering instruction. MTSS is more likely to produce professional development that is aligned across a school and district. Finally, MTSS requires a greater collaboration between general education, special education, service providers, and building principals within each school as well as between the school and the district.
THE ROLE OF THE GENERAL ('UNIVERSAL') EDUCATION CURRICULUM
To successfully engage students in the learning process, educators must consider five essential components on an instructional delivery plan. These components are:
(5) Fidelity of Implementation
Curriculum is tepresented by the content that teachers are expected to teach and what students are expected to learn. It refers to what is taught. Grade-level content is arranged and paced in steps leading to the attainment of expected outcomes (scope & sequence). The chosen core curricula is research-based and systematically organized so that:
- The core curriculum is aligned to state standards and benchmarks.
- Essential components related to skill and concept development are introduced at appropriate stages.
- The curriculum is delivered consistently and accurately in each classroom.
Instruction includes the pedagogy or art and science of teaching. It refers to how curriculum is taught. The use of research-based methodologies represents the science of teaching. Finding ways to motivate and engage students in active, purposeful learning represents the art of teaching. Materials that enable both the science and art of teaching to occur must be carefully selected.
Research-based instructional practices focus on teaching skills in a specific order and within specific time periods. Effectiveness of instruction is monitored to make certain that:
- Scientific, research-based instructional strategies and materials are being used.
- Delivery of instruction is organized so skills are taught sequentially.
- Amount of instruction time is sufficient for curriculum to be implemented.
- Instruction is differentiated to meet individual student’s learning needs.
- Instructional practices are implemented with fidelity.
Involves providing students with different avenues to acquiring content; to processing, constructing, or making sense of ideas; and to developing teaching materials so that all students within a classroom can learn effectively, regardless of differences or ability.
It is the process of ensuring that what a student learns, how s/he learns it, and how the student demonstrates what s/he has learned is matched for that students’ readiness level, interests, and preferred mode of learning.
The process of determining what students have learned (e.g., skills, concepts) in response to curriculum and instruction or to quantify what a student already knows about a topic prior to, during, or following curriculum and instruction.
Student performance on both summative and formative assessments allows teachers to not only determine how much students have learned, but also examine qualititaive leatrner outcomes and the effectiveness of instruction. By combining summative and formative assessment, teachers can determine both where a student’s skills lie compared to same grade peers and how a student has responded to instruction over time.
Norm referenced and criterion-referenced assessments measure student performance against a national “norm” or average and against a standard or specific goal.
- Diagnostic: Given at the beginning of the school year, or the beginning of a new unit of study, a diagnostic test attempts to quantify what students already know about a topic.
- Formative: Given throughout the learning process, formative assessments seek to determine how students are progressing through a certain learning goal.
- Summative: Given at the end of the year or unit, summative assessments assess a student’s mastery of a topic after instruction.
- Norm-referenced tests: These tests measure students against a national “norm” or average in order to rank students against each other. The SAT, ACT, Iowa Basic Skills Test, and other major state standardized tests are norm-referenced.
- Criterion-referenced tests: These tests measure student performance against a standard or specific goal. Unit and chapter tests as usually criterion-referenced.
What drives instructional practices. Data from ongoing assessments help teachers determine the appropriate course of action for those students who have not learned particular skills and/or concepts or who are at-risk for future academic difficulties.
Fidelity of Implementation
Refers to the extent to which a program, intervention, or system is delivered accurately and with consistency. As a relatively new practice in education, fidelity of implementation is guided by the fundamental notions of:
- Establishing links between instruction/intervention and improved outcomes.
- The ability to operationally define components of instruction/intervention (e.g., operations, techniques).
- Clearly defined responsibilities of specific persons.
- Creation of a data system for measuring operations, techniques, and components.
- Creation of a system for feedback and formative decision making.
- Creation of accountability measures/procedures when fidelity of implementation fails.
Social Emotional Learning
Continuum of Supports
All students have access to a layered continuum of supports, regardless of achievement level. Effective instruction and meaningful interactions, such as positive student-teacher relationships are key elements across all the tiers.
A layered continuum of supports ensures that ALL students receive equitable academic, behavioral, and social emotional supports that are culturally and linguistically responsive, matched to need, and developmentally appropriate. Each layer of support increases with intensity from universal (ALL students) to targeted (some students) to the most intensive supports (few students)
SETTING SMART GOALS
Research indicates that setting goals that are SMART, or specific, measurable, action-based, realistic, relevant, and time-limited increases the likelihood of achieving that goal. When students, teachers, parents, and others are aware of what exactly is to be achieved, to what degree or extent, and by what time, they have a greater understanding of what needs to be done and how to get there. They also are more aware of how they are doing as they work towards achieving that goal.
R: Realistic and relevant
Specific goals and objectives ~ Specific goals target areas of academic achievement and functional performance. They include clear descriptions of the knowledge and skills that will be taught and how the child’s progress will be measured. Given a three-step direction, Emily will promptly follow all three steps, in the correct order, 9 out of 10 times. Given 3 paragraphs of expository reading material which Emily can decode fluently and accurately (at least 100 wpm with random error), she will state or write the main idea and two supporting details for each paragraph.
Measurable goals and objectives ~ Measurable means you can count or observe it. Measurable goals allow parents and teachers to know how much progress the child has made since the performance was last measured. With measurable goals, you will know when the child reaches the goal.
Given mid second grade material, Owen will read a passage (from...name tool used) of text orally at 110-130 wpm with (include # of) random errors.
Actionable: three components that must be stated in measurable terms:
(a) direction of goal over time (increase, decrease, maintain, etc.)
(b) area of need (i.e., reading, writing, social skills, transition, communication,etc.)
(c) level of attainment (i.e., to age level, without assistance, etc.)
“The child will be able to . . .” Provided with anger management training and adult support, Betsy will be able to independently remove herself from environments that cause her to lose control of her behavior (as defined as"...") so that she has no disciplinary notices.
Realistic and Relevant goals and objectives that address the child’s unique needs, that result from the disability; specific, measurable and realistic.
Kelsey will improve her writing and spelling skills so she can write a clear, cohesive, and readable paragraph consisting of at least 3 sentences, including compound and complex sentences that are clearly related.
Time-limited: What does the child need to know and be able to do after one year of special education? What is the starting point for each of the child’s needs (present levels of academic achievement and functional performance)? Time-limited goals and objectives enable you to monitor progress at regular intervals.