In my decade in the classroom, I worked with several co-teachers. Some were special education teachers, some para-educators, ELL teachers, and even gifted and talented teachers. Each year, the co-teaching relationship worked differently. And yes, some were more successful than others. But when we had planning time and appropriate facilitation, co-teaching benefited not only the students who required extra support but all the students in my classes.
Just as a pilot uses their dashboard, a farmer measures rainwater, or a nurse checks vitals, data in MTSS is a tool meant to be used for more than determining final success or failure. Data is a helpful guide in real time. Progress monitoring data provides educators with the insight they need to adjust course throughout the year and make the best use of their valuable time and resources to support students. And, school leaders play a crucial role in guiding staff with data analysis.
“Early warning indicator systems are about that threshold that we're going to intervene at early. It is the actionable piece to have more equitable student outcomes as well. It’s not just the kids that are on our hearts and minds that we're supporting. It's also those kids who are really quiet. They show up all the time, but maybe they're not getting good grades, you know. So we really are trying to figure out why students are struggling.”
- Sarah Frazelle, Senior Researcher and MTSS Trainer at AIR
As a teacher in a Title 1 school, many of my students lagged behind in meeting benchmarks each year. To teach them my grade level standards, I began by attempting to remediate missed learning. However, their progress was limited. Attempting to backtrack to their level just took too much time and resulted in frustration and disengagement. In order to achieve more within the year, I began to use the accelerated learning approach by integrating the required concepts for specific standards into the current lesson. I saw increased student engagement and achievement. And when I started using Proficiency Scales, my students’ motivation soared!
Team-based decision-making, driven by data analysis and collective expertise, is at the heart of MTSS practice. As school psychologist, author, and researcher Gary Schaffer aptly expressed, "It's about supporting the students, but it's also about empowering adults to make decisions together."
"We must recognize that the status quo is comfortable for many adults. But comfort should never come at the cost of our students' potential."
- AJ Crabill, Former School Board Member and Author
“[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.
Time is our most precious resource in education. Ask any administrator or teacher, and the desire for more time is likely at the top of their list! Because time is so valuable, it is critical that we make the most of professional learning related to MTSS. Educators are picky about professional learning, and rightly so. They want the time invested in learning about MTSS to have a direct impact on their work and on student outcomes. That is what school leaders want, too.
Reading difficulty has an outsized effect on a student's ability to be successful in school and in life. Dyslexia is defined as “a brain-based learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read.” (Stanley & Petscher, 2017) Reading ability can also be impacted by the “lack of education opportunity and appropriate literacy instruction.” (Dundas, 2023) Fortunately, research suggests that early identification and intervention for dyslexia prevents further difficulty for the student. In fact, most states now have dyslexia legislation requiring reading training for teachers and support for struggling students, according to the National Center for Improving Literacy.