“Our teachers come together to meet about students’ needs regularly, at the individual student level—we just don’t have a way to come together as district leadership and meet about the system needs at the systems level. We don’t have the data or the structures to do that proactive pattern matching so that we could have bigger more positive impacts on improving student outcomes earlier. ”
The insight above was recently shared with me by a district administrator in Florida who was looking to improve their MTSS practice. Similar observations have been shared with me many times before. The most common component of MTSS that schools and districts implement is the student-level problem solving meeting. In almost every school that employs an MTSS model you will find a team of teachers who come together to understand why a student is struggling, what has been done to support the student, and what should be done moving forward. This collaborative problem-solving work at the student-level is critical for student success and effective MTSS, but it is all too often stymied by an absence of systems-level problem-solving that establishes the infrastructure upon which any student-level support can be provided. After all, as the name of the acronym suggests, it is the system that the model is based on and the foundation for student-level problem-solving.
Teaching is hard work. It is mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and physically demanding. It is also dynamic, engaging, at times even exhilarating, but always meaningful and tremendously important. In a typical year, you could describe most teachers as unsung heroes - paying for materials out of pockets, grading papers, or prepping materials late into the night, always straining to maintain that elusive balance between work and home. But this year... well, this year is not like other years. This year took the scale we use to balance work and home and sold it to the pawnshop for parts.
Supporting students’ social-emotional development has always been essential. But this year especially, educators are realizing the critical role of social-emotional learning (SEL). In remote learning contexts teachers need to come up with creative ways to keep students engaged and connected as well as practice key social skills. Teachers working with students in-person may have found that their students are struggling with more social, emotional, and behavioral issues, given all they have gone through this year.
At Branching Minds, we believe that there are 7 guiding principles of RTI/MTSS:
There is often a lot of confusion over the use of assessment data in an effective Response to Intervention (RTI) / Multi Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) practices. Largely because… Each assessment type has a different function…
Invest in your district/school’s Multi Tiered System of Supports now to help students get back on track after COVID-19 forced schools to transition to distance learning, resulting in significant loss of instructional time and quality.
For the past few weeks the Branching Minds team has been working to identify research-based supports that could help educators achieve successful remote learning, whether that be through learning packets, or digital instruction. We started off with a post on high leverage research-based programs and one on strategies that support reading and mathematics, and then another post focused on supporting students’ social emotional health. This post is geared towards supporting social studies, science and the arts. Please let us know if there are any other topics you would like the Branching Minds team to help you curate resources around—we are here to help!
During this period of change and uncertainty, supporting students’ social-emotional learning and development, in addition to their academic learning, is critical. This is especially true for students who already struggle socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. Below are five evidence-based resources that can be used either by caregivers in the home or teachers remotely to promote key social-emotional competencies, such as self-regulation, self-awareness, social skills, and behavior management.
Strategies to help support students’ distance learning throughout COVID 19 school closures.
The Branching Minds team has curated a set of 5 evidence-based strategies to support students learning at home while schools are closed. These strategies can be used across many grades and topics, and are easily supported by families so we can all work a bit “smarter not harder.” We have described the strategies below for teachers to incorporate into at-home assignments/packets, or for families looking for additional ways to support their children. The strategies are the following: