We all have strengths and weaknesses, but in K-12 education, student weaknesses are often a focus of attention, while strengths fade into the background. Over the past decade, there has been a movement in education to capitalize on student strengths while using instructional practices that promote growth in areas that might need improvement.
For parents,* the education journey for their child can be a rollercoaster of emotions. From the excitement of new beginnings to the concerns that they are making the best decisions for their child’s well-being, every parent's heart is deeply intertwined with their child's learning experiences. The impacts of decisions parents and families must make regarding their child’s education can be long-lasting, reaching far behind students' K-12 lives.
Accelerated learning is currently one of the hottest keywords in education. It is hailed as the hero to address “learning loss” and large instructional gaps. Some states have even gone as far as adopting it into their educational policies, hoping to help students catch up to grade-level benchmarks.
You see the need for an MTSS platform to streamline and support your work with students, but how do you bring others on board, especially when you’re not “the boss?” First, don’t discount your influence with the decision-makers in your school district! As someone directly involved in providing instruction and intervention for struggling students, your perspective and experience can be a compelling agent for change, but only if you speak up and carefully make your case.
Based on an analysis of Spring 2023 Map Growth assessment data, the NWEA Research Policy Brief* revealed that achievement gains in the 2022–23 academic year fell short of pre-pandemic trends across most grades, hampering progress toward pandemic recovery. Significant achievement gaps persist, with the average student needing 4.1 additional months of schooling in reading and 4.5 months in math to catch up.
Resource shortages have long been at the forefront of the educational paradox of how to maximize student achievement and well-being while staying within the boundaries of school budgets. With the current context of teacher shortages and a need for holistic student support, it is a pertinent issue needing resolution for many of you, our educational leaders. So, what if there was a strategy to identify student needs, assess curriculum and resources transparently, and boost student achievement equitably? There is, and it is called MTSS!
“[MTSS] offers a way to look at the whole child. MTSS says we're looking at the social emotional learning of the students, how their language and cultural considerations are impacting accessing the curriculum. We're looking at math and literacy and looking how all these things kind of integrate together to create the most effective and more high quality instruction or experience for the student.”
– Dr. Claudia Rinaldi in the webinar "Supporting Engish Language Learners Within MTSS"
Building positive relationships with families is like putting money in the bank! Yes, it takes effort and valuable time, but the investment is absolutely worth it. The MTSS process provides several strategic opportunities to connect with families and partner together to support students.
In the dynamic world of education, certain terms come and go. Among them, "collaboration" could be brushed off as just another buzzword. However, effective collaboration is a fundamental practice in MTSS that drives student achievement and fosters a sense of community for staff. By cultivating a culture of effective teamwork, we create an environment where everyone works together with a common goal: to ensure student success. We’ve compiled our top five practical tips for effective team collaboration, showcasing how MTSS team best practices (with support from Branching Minds!) can significantly benefit educators and students.
Attendance plays an important role in a student’s school experience and learning outcomes — they can’t learn if they’re not there. But throughout the pandemic and following, attendance concerns have skyrocketed. A report from 2021 found that the rates of chronically absent students was 22% — double the rate from before the pandemic. Recent findings also show an increase in school refusals among students struggling with their mental health.