Education professionals across the state want to make a real difference for students, and many are aware of the importance of student well-being and how mental health correlates to academic success.
Enter: Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, or MTSS for short. MTSS has been the backbone of instruction and improvement at Liberty Middle School for the past several years.
Under MTSS, student success is no longer viewed solely through the lens of student achievement and standardized test scores. Now, mental health considerations are also taken into account where applicable.
MTSS in a nutshell
Under MTSS, every student receives core instruction, known as Tier One. Some students need supplemental instruction, which is referred to as Tier Two, and some students may receive the most intensive intervention and support, known as Tier Three.
The school’s grade-level teams plan for, monitor and evaluate both the academic and behavioral needs of each student.
Together, they collaborate to analyze student data and make action plans. Those in need of additional academic support are identified and Tier Two and Tier Three interventions are planned for and monitored as needed.
Student success and interventions are not measured only on academic achievement or curriculum retention; mental health, well-being and personal circumstances (i.e: a move, an illness, a bad day) are also taken into consideration when monitoring a student’s progress.
The school doesn’t only consider students who are at risk of falling behind; teachers also create opportunities for students who are exceeding benchmarks or would benefit from being academically challenged.
A closer look at MTSS practices:
Intervention is just another word for instruction.
The word “intervention” is an all-encompassing word that describes the instruction and activities a teacher may use to help identify and resolve a students’ academic or behavioral difficulties.
Intervention is custom designed.
The types of “interventions” used depends entirely on the student and his/her unique situation. The types of instruction and activities are matched to his/her learning needs. Once the wheels of intervention are put into motion, the school’s team of teachers, counselors and administrators check on his/her progress regularly.
Intervention comes and goes.
The school’s check-in/check-out system identifies students who are “at-risk” based on indicators like grades, attendance and personal circumstances and pairs those students with a teacher in the school who will help him/her through his/her “intervention.” Intervention is fluid; if a student fills his/her gap in a certain topic, he/she will resume his/her regular curriculum. Progress will continue to be monitored, and additional help will remain just a few classroom doors away.
Intervention practices are only as strong as our teachers.
A key area of focus for intervention support services is offering monthly professional development for all teachers and staff. These Professional Learning Communities – or PLCs, for short – meet every week to cover topics such as ways teachers have built tactics into their daily instruction to motivate students to behave appropriately as well as crisis prevention and intervention best practices.
For more information about MTSS, speak to your child’s principal or pick up a brochure from the middle school’s greeter desk.