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Intervention Spotlight Starting with MTSS/RTI

School districts are increasingly adopting MTSS/RTI intervention management software to help teachers streamline their documentation work and strengthen their student intervention practice. This is largely due to the evolution of the MTSS/RTI software space, which has grown significantly over the past ten years. There are two primary factors responsible for this renaissance: 1) advancements in technology and design have finally made their way into education technology, fostering user experience and engagement that delights rather than dismays teachers; and 2) the culture of intervention has shifted from the compliance-driven Response to Intervention protocol, which often felt like a laborious chore, to the more holistic and school-wide practice of Multi-Tiered System of Supports, which resonates with teachers’ desire to personalize and accelerate learning in equitable ways.

Now that software solutions are able to play a real and meaningful role in this work supporting educators, it's critical that districts choose their MTSS/RTI intervention management software wisely. Here are five considerations for district and school leaders to keep in mind as they search for a solution that will save their educators time and effort, while driving stronger MTSS/RTI adoptions across their schools.


  1. Is the software teacher-friendly and easy to use?

    Many of the solutions in the MTSS/RTI space were developed with an “add on” mindset — like an IEP software, assessment tool, or data warehouse solutions that built an RTI module as a way to capitalize on a secondary market. These “add on” solutions were often initially designed with a specific stakeholder, set of requirements, and workflows in mind, that have nothing to do with effective tiered intervention models. As a result, many of the solutions in the space that market themselves as an MTSS or RTI solution are actually quite cumbersome to use as a teacher, interventionist, or collaboratively as an MTSS or RTI student support team. In order for teachers and administrators to make all of the best practices of MTSS/RTI actually practicable, they need to quickly and easily navigate, access and add to all of the information needed on a daily basis, throughout the school year, and across a students’ learning journey.

    Learn more: MTSS solution for supporting students collaboratively and effectively
  2. Does the software help to break down silos and increase transparency between systems and stakeholders?

    An effective MTSS practice should be used school-wide and include multiple stakeholders across a school and/or district. Therefore, the software to manage the system should be easily accessible, usable, and manageable for stakeholders from special education to general education to gifted and talented; from academics to behavior to SEL; from service providers like ELL, speech pathology, occupational therapy, school psychology, etc.; and from class to class, from grade to grade, and from school to school - across elementary and secondary. Stakeholders should be able to document assessments, interventions, progress monitoring, student support meetings, and family communication so that all stakeholders can have access and gain insights into how best to support their students. 

    Demo: Schedule a demo today and see how Branching Minds can help teachers streamline your school's RTI/ MTSS process

  3. Does the software streamline and improve data flow?
    Effective RTI/MTSS hinges on teachers’ ability to see the whole child and to leverage all of the viable data to know who needs support, what to do to support them, and whether or not the support provided has helped. To do this work well, teachers need access to all of those data. Fragmented data is a common limitation for districts, but double entry of data is the kiss of death of any system. When looking for an RTI/MTSS intervention management system make sure it supports data interoperability. Check to make sure the solution will sync with your Student Information System, and ingest data from your universal screeners, benchmarks and progress monitoring assessments, as well as streamline data entry for your behavior incidents, family communications, meeting notes and forms. Some solutions will ingest your data but make it tricky for you to export your data so you are “stuck” in their software. Your school and district’s data is its lifeblood, make sure the solution will EXPORT data to other systems, as well as INGEST. 

  4. Will the software make the schools “data rich, but information poor”?
    Districts will sometimes select systems and software that provides an abundance of student data but no direction on how the data should be interpreted and used. With significant advancements in the field of learning science, it is now possible for educators to effectively understand which students are struggling and why, as well as the interventions and strategies that deliver the greatest positive impact. Despite expectations for teachers to be up to date on education research and best practices, many teachers are unaware of evolving recommendations for supporting struggling students. When selecting an MTSS/RTI intervention management solution look for one that scaffolds teachers’ practices so they are aligned with what research has shown to be most effective. In addition to providing student data, effective solutions will guide educators towards understanding the data and using it to better support both staff and students.  

  5. How does the software reinforce data-driven decision-making? Effectively using student data to make decisions and problem-solve is at the core of any successful MTSS/RTI model. Thus, an effective MTSS/RTI software will enable teachers, interventionists, counselors, assistant principals, principals, and district administrators to easily access the insights they all need to support the data-driven, decision-making that each stakeholder requires. When selecting an intervention management solution, consider the different needs of stakeholders and what questions they are looking to answer. Because a lot of problem-solving in MTSS and RTI happens in team meetings, ensure that any system you use supports collaboration and streamlines the process of reviewing student data, analyzing the issue, and developing next steps. At the school or district level this also includes the ability to identify any progress or issues at a higher level and have direct insight into subject areas or grade levels that need support. 


Check out this on-demand webinar:

Q&A with Dr. George M. Batsche about lessons learned from a career supporting school reform through RTI/MTSS

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About Branching Minds' Interventions Library

At Branching Minds, we pride ourselves for having the most robust library of evidence-based K-12 interventions and accommodations of any online platform available to schools. Our library includes over 2000 evidence-based activities, strategies, tools, apps, and programs collected from the most trusted and respected hubs of evidence-based supports, including the Florida Center for Reading Research, What Works Clearinghouse, Evidence for ESSA, Intervention Central, the IRIS Center from Vanderbilt University, and Sanford Harmony. All of the supports have been reviewed by our team of learning scientists and sorted by ESSA guidelines for determining tiers of evidence. The supports include detailed descriptions to help teachers understand what each support is, why to use it, how to use it in alignment with the evidence, what the evidence is and provide them with any materials necessary to implement the support.

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Tagged: Intervention Spotlight, Starting with MTSS/RTI

April 29, 2021

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