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.
Tip #1: Create a team structure that works for your campus.
When establishing an effective Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), it’s essential to create a team structure that aligns with your campus's unique needs. Carefully explore overlaps and gaps in the team structure in order to use maximize efficiency. Some common team formats include:
Tier 2/3 Academic Intervention
Tier 2/3 Behavior Intervention Team
Student Support, Multi-Disciplinary Teams
Additionally, consider how teams will communicate with each other, creating streamlined lines of responsibility and communication. With a well-defined team structure in place, your MTSS efforts will thrive, benefitting both educators and students alike.
Tip #2: Get the right people around the table.
Before incorporating technology to support your MTSS practices, emphasize the importance of wide representation. Whose voices might be missing from your meeting table? Including perspectives like those of paraprofessionals, parents, and even students themselves provides invaluable insights and increases engagement. To foster a cohesive environment, provide clear descriptions and accountability for responsibilities for each team member. With the right people in place, your MTSS collaboration will be more efficient and effective, ultimately benefiting the academic and behavioral success of your students.
Tip #3: Create an MTSS Handbook with your team structure and procedures written down.
Writing it down will ensure a well-defined team structure and clear lanes of responsibility. This process also helps avoid a frustrating duplication of work and reinventing the wheel each year with staff changes and new challenges. By creating a comprehensive handbook with a process for review and revision, campuses and districts can continually build and improve their system of supports.
Branching Minds Professional Services can greatly aid in creating a handbook tailored to your unique needs, ensuring clarity and effectiveness in your collaboration efforts.
TIP #4: Use a problem-solving protocol specific to each type of meeting.
Improving your meeting format can dramatically improve collaboration! This is as simple as having a set agenda and problem-solving protocol in place before the gathering. Each type of meeting you're attending, whether it's a school-wide oversight meeting, grade level/department meeting, or individual student problem-solving session, requires a unique agenda and protocol.
For student support meetings, use the Branching Minds Meetings Feature for a structured problem-solving template right at your fingertips. This makes it easy to document decisions and see a running record of all past student meetings, including attendee details, parental involvement, and links to relevant documentation. The Meetings tab is conveniently stored on the student's overview page, providing invaluable information for years to come.
Branching Minds' Meetings Log & Notes for Student-Centered Support Plan
Tip #5: Ensure data is easily collected and reviewed before the meeting.
The last thing we want to do is to slow down the collaborative work needed to help students succeed. As tempting as it is, let’s avoid the practice of “admiring the problem” when we gather to discuss student needs. To stay solution-focused, gather staff members ahead of meetings to help to uncover the reasons behind student struggles and keep the meeting focused on finding effective solutions.
Branching Minds' Insight Survey offers a quick and convenient way to gather electronic observations from student support team members and teachers. The Insight Survey compiles results and is integrated with the BRM library of intervention, helping streamline meetings and keep the focus on problem-solving.
Branching Minds' Insight Survey
Incorporating these practical strategies for collaboration can truly make a difference in your MTSS practice. As educators prioritize collaboration and ensure that everyone has the resources they need to succeed, they foster a community where staff and students thrive together.
>> For more information on MTSS Collaboration, check out this video series that delivers quick, digestible insights on best practices for MTSS collaboration.
Streamline Your Team's Collaboration
Our MTSS solution empowers teachers and administrators to collaboratively address student needs, making data-driven decisions that lead to tangible improvements in student outcomes. Insights across all domains enable users to work together, learn from each other when supporting shared students, and easily keep each other and families updated on progress.
Branching Minds is a highly respected K-12 services and technology company that leverages the learning sciences and technology to help districts effectively personalize learning through enhancements to their MTSS/RTI practice. Having worked with hundreds of districts across the country, we bring deep expertise in learning sciences, data management and analysis, software design, coaching, and collaboration. Combined with our extensive toolkit of resources, PD, and technology, we provide a system-level solution. We are more than a service or a software provider, we are partners who will deliver sustainable results for educators, and a path to success for every learner.