Branching Minds MTSS Summit -- December 8th, 2021

Branching Forward: Setting Intentions for MTSS in the New Year. Learn more

6 Books To Help Build Your MTSS Practice

Leadership, RTI/MTSS, Equity, Starting with MTSS/RTI, Culture

As busy educators, it’s hard to find time to read, let alone sift through the thousands of different resources available, to get the most out of the reading time we do have. At Branching Minds, we try to stay as current as possible with the literature and best practices in the field, so you don’t have to. We compiled a list of what we believe to be the most useful books for your MTSS practice. What’s even better: all of these books are relatively quick to read, include many case studies or real-life examples, and are easily broken down by chapter. If you can’t read a whole book at once, narrowing it down to one component can be easily done with these resources. We love these books and hope you find one in the list below that will be helpful to you.

For reference to key MTSS terms, check out this blog: Demystifying the MTSS Mystery.

The Power of Strength-Based Instruction

Best Practices, RTI/MTSS, Equity, Social-Emotional Learning, Assessment, Meetings, Behavior

All students (and adults) have strengths and weaknesses. In K-12 education, student weaknesses and areas of concern are sometimes more apparent, while strengths can fade into the background. Over the past decade, there has been a movement in education to be more explicit in addressing student strengths and encouraging the use of instructional practices to promote growth in areas that might need improvement. The MTSS framework provides an excellent opportunity for educators to shift their instruction, problem-solving, and planning to include student strengths in addition to areas of needed support. Below we outline the difference between the strengths and deficit lens, how focusing on strengths benefits all key stakeholders in education, and specific guidance on using a strengths-based approach in MTSS.

MTSS & Equity: Is your MTSS practice helping or hiding racial inequities?

RTI/MTSS, Equity

RTI and MTSS are data-driven, systemic approaches to providing instruction and intervention at varying levels of intensity based on individual student needs. These models were born out of the necessity for more objective ways to identify students with a learning disability and have since evolved into a more holistic practice that aims to better meet the needs of all students through a streamlined, data-driven approach. While equity remains at the heart of these models, they remain unproven to have a positive impact on promoting equitable student outcomes. Based on data we’ve collected through the Branching Minds platform and with close examination of these practices across our district partners, it appears that the systems and structures of RTI and MTSS alone are not enough, and districts need to adopt an equity focused, self-reflection process that guides their decision making through these practices in order to ensure equitable student outcomes.