Being a Chicago native, I am a huge fan of Phil Jackson, the former Chicago Bulls basketball coach. In addition to coaching the Bulls to six championships over nine seasons, Jackson has a superb resume, including being an excellent basketball player in his own right, and coaching individuals who are now known as some of the greatest to ever play the game of basketball. Three things are for certain. Phil Jackson…
Knows the game of basketball;
Knows how to build effective teams; and
Knows how to coach them to success consistently
It is widely recognized that students' sense of well-being plays an important role in learning outcomes. Therefore, it is no surprise that schools have a growing need for systemic practices that better support students' social, emotional, and behavioral needs. In a lot of cases, classroom teachers are the first people to recognize when students have an escalated need for support. Yet, most teachers do not have the training or available time that is needed to address intensive social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students on their own. This is why schools need to ensure that a system of support is in place along with practices and procedures for early identification and the implementation of supports and services before issues become escalated.
Equity often seems like a lofty idea, and complicated to achieve. How do we make sure that schools are set up to meet every student where they are and provide the support they need to succeed? When it comes to actually addressing equity, the application is the hardest part. This is where a Multi-Tiered System of Supports comes in. The MTSS framework makes it possible to meet the needs of students and practically, intentionally close those learning gaps.
Coaching is essential for the success of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports. Coaching is not about giving directives or forcing others to invest, but is rather about recognizing strengths and challenges in MTSS implementation and helping staff grow in their professional practice, apply professional learning, and overcome challenges to meet personal and collective goals.
To Coordinate: bring the different elements of (a complex activity or organization) into a relationship that will ensure efficiency or harmony. (Oxford Dictionary)
The educational landscape is changing rapidly, and student behavior is at or near the top of the list of concerns. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 84% of schools report a negative impact on student behavioral development due to the pandemic, and 87% report a negative impact on students’ socio-emotional development (NCES, 2022).
Educators are painfully familiar with having their work and priorities shifted at the will of new legislation and policies. State board educations establish state standards, federal and state policies guide requirements, and local district leadership establishes procedures for what and how teachers are required to teach. It's up to principals and campus instructional leaders to be a bridge for the teachers in understanding the purpose and rationale behind these policies and how they align with or influence your school goals.
When you ask an educator how to make sure Tier 1 curriculum and instruction are meeting the needs of all learners, their first response may be that they need new curriculum and/or professional development on instructional strategies. But will this really fix the problem?
In my middle school classroom, the introduction of a group project brought out mixed feelings from students. Many students loved being able to pick their groups and hated it when I assigned groups, while other students wanted to bypass the teamwork altogether.