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    Equity SEL and Behavior MTSS for Secondary

    According to data from the American Enterprise Institute and EdWeek Research Center, school districts across the country are reporting sharp and consistent increases in chronic absenteeism and behavior problems, both of which are negatively impacting academic achievement. While many districts believe these problems are a result of the pandemic, the fact remains these are serious problems that require real-time interventions to get students back on track.

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    To address these challenges, school districts are embracing early warning systems to identify students at risk of falling behind or worse, dropping out of school. In the edLeader Panel “Early Warning Systems and MTSS: How to Flag and Prevent Student Failure,” experts discussed how a robust reporting platform coupled with a well-designed early warning system for a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) can help educators and administrators quickly identify the students who not only need interventions but also pinpoint the appropriate interventions to address their specific challenges.

    Early Warning Systems 

    Early warning systems aggregate student data to create a whole picture of a student to determine if interventions are needed to address persistent problems that are creating barriers to learning. For early warning systems to be effective, data consolidation is key. Attendance, behavior, and academic performance are crucial indicators for dropout risk and/or failure. Having a shared format for administrators, teachers, coaches, and other stakeholders to access and utilize is essential.

    While there are other factors outside of attendance, behavior, and performance, Emily-Rose Barry from Branching Minds said the idea behind early warning systems is, “To put a system in place by which we can pull in the data, use the data to identify those students who have hit thresholds that would cause concern, that would tell us that they’re at risk of falling behind.”


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    Five Core Components

    According to Sarah Frazelle, Co-Director of the National Student Attendance and Engagement Center and Senior Researcher at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), there are five key components to a successful, effective early warning system:

    1. Establish a Team: The team should have diverse stakeholders who are assigned specific roles of ownership within the system.

    2. Identify Accurate Indicators: Determine what needs to be measured and how these items may impact prescribed interventions.

    3. Report Design and Usage: Integrate data in a way that provides a full view of a student and the student’s progress.

    4. Mapping Interventions: Be intentional about what interventions have been assigned, document that they are happening, and set goals for those interventions.

    5. Evaluate Progress: Review the impact of the interventions to determine if they are working or if adjustments need to be made.

    → Learn more about Attendance Interventions: Finding and Using Evidence-Based MTSS Interventions: A How-To Guide

    Activating the Data

    Once the core components of an early warning system are in place, it is critical to have the right system to empower administrators and educators to act on the collected data. Equally important is understanding that districts and schools have limited resources to address a growing number of students in need of interventions.

    Frazelle explained that it is a supply and demand issue for Tier 2 and Tier 3 students. She said, “We have so many students that are struggling at this point that we can’t ‘Tier 3’ our way out of this problem,” which means evaluators need to look at trends across grade levels and student groups to determine the right supports for those students. Finally, evaluators need to engage with the students and their parents or guardians to really gauge what is helping, what is not, and where adjustments can be made to address the root causes of their challenges.

    Engaging All Stakeholders

    Establishing an early warning system is more than finding the right technology platform to aggregate and analyze data, it requires a full community approach that is transparent and invites all stakeholders to be a part of the process. Every impactful early warning system for MTSS should include:
    • A diverse team of committed educators, administrators, and coaches
    • A review of attendance, behavior, and course performance data (ABC data)
    • An accessible, transparent plan
    • Professional development to ensure all stakeholders understand how to collect, analyze, and use the data
    • Engagement with students, parents, and other invested stakeholders (counselors, coaches, mentors, etc.)

    *Original Article found here.

    Other resources to check out:

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    Tagged: Equity, SEL and Behavior, MTSS for Secondary

    June 11, 2024

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