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    Tier 2 Tier 3 Interventions and Learning Supports' Strategies

    As a 4th grade teacher, it was challenging to ensure each student received the needed support. Creating effective intervention plans was complicated, time-consuming, and not always data-driven. After much trial and error and research, I adapted my approach to be more effective and less overwhelming. Here’s what I learned about the essentials of crafting effective intervention plans and how Branching Minds can simplify this process, making it easier for teachers to create impactful plans.

    Essentials of a Good Intervention Plan

    Good intervention plans have the following key elements:

    • Clear Objectives: Specify what success looks like for the student, providing a roadmap for the intervention. Creating Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals will help alleviate the challenge of setting ambitious yet attainable goals.

    • Data-Driven Decision Making: Use data that informs the intervention process to ensure strategies are based on concrete evidence rather than intuition or assumption to make the most of interventions and the time spent analyzing data.

    • Evidence-Based Interventions: Identify effective interventions through research to ensure a higher likelihood of success. Be sure to balance the easy access to teacher-created resources with ensuring the validity of those interventions.

    • Continuous Monitoring and Progress Tracking: Regularly assess the student's progress to determine if the intervention is working and make necessary adjustments. While this can be overwhelming, particularly when managing a large number of students, the effectiveness of intervention will benefit your students, and their progress will show it.

    • Collaboration: Involve educators, specialists, and families in the MTSS process to ensure a holistic approach to the student's development. Strong communication allowing for different perspectives and expertise can contribute to a more effective intervention plan.

    • Flexibility: Be prepared to adjust the plan based on the student's needs to ensure the intervention remains relevant and effective over time. Avoid inconsistency to prevent confusion for all stakeholders.

    Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Intervention Plans

    Step 1: Identify Student Needs

    The first step in crafting an intervention plan is identifying the student's specific needs through assessments and screenings. This is the foundation to ensuring no student falls through the cracks and they get the exact support they need for success. Even knowing the importance, this step is challenging when utilizing data from multiple sources and for all students. 

    Detailed Actions:

    • Conduct Initial Assessments: Use standardized tests, teacher observations, and student self-reports to gather a comprehensive understanding of the student's performance.
    • Review Historical Data: Examine previous report cards, behavior logs, and any existing intervention plans to identify patterns and recurring issues.
    • Screen for Specific Issues: Utilize targeted screenings for reading difficulties, math skills, attention deficits, and social-emotional challenges.

    While teachers may have access to data dashboards and assessment platforms, MTSS requires data points from multiple sources that often are not available to teachers. Branching Minds partners with student information systems and assessment providers to break down these silos and provide teachers with one place to see across all of those critical data sets.


    Step 2: Setting SMART Goals

    Once needs are identified, set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals. For example, a SMART goal for an academic intervention might be: "The student will improve reading fluency by 20 words per minute within 10 weeks." Following the SMART acronym will ensure the goal meets the needs of the learner.

    Detailed Actions:

    • Define Specific Targets that clearly state what the student needs to achieve.
    • Establish Measurement Criteria to determine how progress will be measured.
    • Set Achievable Milestones by breaking down the goal into smaller, attainable steps.
    • Ensure Relevance by aligning the goal with the student's overall academic or behavioral objectives.
    • Create a Timeline that is a realistic timeframe for achieving the goal.

    Creating SMART goals can be time-consuming, and documenting them for all stakeholders requires a clear process and location. Branching Minds helps educators create and track these goals efficiently, ensuring they are aligned with the students' needs.

    Macbook_GoalPMModalIn the Branching Minds platform, it is easy to consistently document and review SMART goals for every student.

    Step 3: Selecting Evidence-Based Interventions

    It is critical to shoes the right interventions.  You don’t have time to waste! Look for strategies that have a proven track record of success.

    Detailed Actions:

    • Research Proven Strategies to identify interventions with strong evidence of effectiveness for similar students or issues.
    • Tailor Interventions to Needs by matching interventions to the specific needs identified in Step 1.
    • Utilize Branching Minds Library access the platform's curated list of interventions to find suitable options.

    Finding the perfect evidence-based interventions can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. The Branching Minds Support Library is curated to identify the best resources for each learner (or group of learners) based on the student’s designated tier level, age, grade performance level, and English proficiency levels, as well as teacher inputs derived from Insights Surveys. It is also highly filterable so teachers can quickly find supports that match their instructional context or curricular needs, and are customizable for each school or district. 

    Reading Intervention & Support Library Branching Minds supports include hundreds of evidence-based intervention programs, so that if your school or district has purchased those resources they can be added to the student’s intervention plan on Branching Minds, as well as nearly a thousand free evidence-based strategies, activities, and resources that can be added to a student’s intervention plan. 

    ➡️ Check out our guide to Finding and Using Evidence-Based MTSS Interventions

    Step 4: Implementing the Intervention

    Develop a detailed plan outlining how the intervention will be implemented, including who will be responsible and what resources will be needed. Without clearly defining the plan and assigning ownership of each part, an intervention plan is unlikely to be successful.

    Detailed Actions:

    • Assign Responsibilities that clearly define who will be responsible for each aspect of the intervention.
    • Plan Resources and Materials and gather any necessary resources, materials, or training.
    • Schedule Regular Sessions clearly stating when and how often the intervention will take place.
    • Communicate the Plan to ensure all stakeholders are informed and understand their roles.

    Branching Minds automatically generates To-Do lists for teachers to easily keep track of their intervention, progress monitoring, and meeting tasks. The To-Do lists help teachers stay organized and makes it easy to document everything that has been completed for their students.To-do pageBranching Minds dashboard is personalized to consolidate the weekly tasks awaiting documentation by each user (to-dos). It is easy to quickly filter student lists to students who require and are missing support plans and reminder emails regarding task completion are sent weekly.

    Step 5: Progress Monitoring

    Regularly track the student's progress to determine the effectiveness of the intervention. Use various methods for data collection, such as observations, assessments, and progress reports. The data is available, but must be leveraged efficiently and effectively.

    Detailed Actions:

    • Set Up Data Collection Methods using tools like checklists, observation forms, and digital trackers.
    • Conduct Regular Check-ins by scheduling frequent assessments to measure progress.
      Document Progress keeping detailed records of the student's performance and any changes over time.
    • Use Branching Minds Tools to leverage the platform's features for tracking and visualizing data.
    In Branching Minds, the results of benchmark assessments are critical for assessing student progress over time. The platform offers a tabular presentation of all benchmark assessments for each student, making it easy to:
    • Review assessments over time.
    • Dive into sub-skill details.
    • Document benchmark assessment data directly within the platform.

    This feature ensures that educators have a comprehensive view of student performance across subjects to track progress and make data-driven decisions.

    branching-minds-mtss-platform-benchmark-growth-reportThe Benchmark Growth Report allows you to view student performance level performance distribution, as well as growth between universal screener periods, for nationally normed assessments.

    ➡️Learn more about progress monitoring in our Ultimate Progress Monitoring Guide

    Step 6: Analyzing Data and Adjusting the Plan

    Analyze the collected data to evaluate the intervention's impact. Decide whether to continue, modify, or end the intervention based on the student's progress.

    Detailed Actions:

    • Review Data Regularly analyzing the progress data at scheduled intervals.
    • Compare Against Goals by assessing whether the student is meeting the SMART goals set in Step 2.
    • Make Informed Decisions about if the intervention needs to be adjusted, intensified, or if new strategies should be introduced.
    • Communicate Changes keeping all stakeholders informed about any changes to the intervention plan.

    With one click on Branching Minds, a teacher can access an overview of all of the assessments collected, teacher observations made, family communications shared, meetings hosted, forms generated, services provided and high-level concerns like attendance issues or a failed vision test flagged. This information lives alongside all of the support provided to that student across all grade levels, including goals, progress monitoring and interventions and accommodations provided across academics, behavior and SEL. 

    branching-minds-mtss-platform-student-progress-graphThe Plan and Progress Page is where student data is shared collaboratively by teachers and support team members to facilitate shared, informed decision-making.


    Each student has unique strengths and challenges, and the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework is designed to help identify and address those needs. A structured approach and the Branching Minds platform can help you create impactful, data-driven plans without the overwhelm and hassle! 

    Want to ensure that every student gets the support they need to thrive? Branching Minds can help!

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