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    Instituting MTSS Leadership in MTSS

    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."

    School psychologists are uniquely positioned to drive the implementation of MTSS. In a recent episode of our Schoolin’ Around Podcast, Gary Schaffer highlighted the pivotal role of school psychologists. 

    According to NASP (National Association of School Psychologists), school psychologists provide an array of services covering academics, behavior, mental health, data analysis, and more. However, they often find themselves limited to special education evaluations, limiting their involvement in preventive services like early intervention and consultation that could mitigate many problems in the first place.  

    Let's delve into how school psychologists can lead the charge in MTSS implementation.

    Referent Power: The Secret to MTSS Buy-In

    School psychologists possess a unique form of influence in schools. Referent power, rather than direct or legitimate power such as the principal’s, is earned through the respect, empathy, and practical help school psychologists provide for their colleagues and is crucial for lasting change. "You could have all the legitimate power you want, but without earning the respect of your staff and demonstrating empathy for their concerns, it's unlikely you'll gain their wholehearted commitment to MTSS."

    Leveraging the Expertise of School Psychologists

    School psychologists undergo training in data analysis, consultation, mental health, learning, and behavior. However, they often spend a significant portion of their time conducting student evaluations and administrative duties, limiting their broader contributions.

    To truly transform a school with MTSS, an expansion of the school psychologist role is key. "You really have to harness the capabilities of school psychologists...inquire about how they can contribute beyond special education assessments." 

    School Psychologists can support MTSS implementation by: 

    Serving on campus and district-level MTSS leadership teams

    Offering training in social-emotional assessments and curriculum

    Spearheading Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) efforts

    Informing data collection and analysis efforts 

    Providing consultation and coaching for teachers and teams in MTSS implementation 

    The Power of Each Stakeholder

    School psychologists lead by example, utilizing referent power to inspire trust and gain commitment from their colleagues. Their wealth of expertise and active participation in MTSS teams significantly contribute to the success of this transformative system. "MTSS is a powerful mechanism to transform education."  And school psychologists are the champions you need to drive that transformation! 



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    Tagged: Instituting MTSS, Leadership in MTSS

    November 7, 2023

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