In education, I know what keeps me awake at night.
I would imagine that each professional in their chosen career, when asked, could identify the thing that keeps them up at night. For the day trader, it might be an unexpected stock market crash. The comedian could lie awake in fear of an empty auditorium. Restless nights may come to the dentist who lays awake thinking of drilling the wrong tooth, or the professional athlete who misses the field goal to miss the playoffs.
Teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic brought about all kinds of challenges. My colleagues and I were relieved when we could go back to in-person learning, but it quickly became apparent that our students seemed to be missing a lot of important social-emotional skills. Unfortunately, the lack of socialization opportunities over the past two years and trying to re-learn how to engage in school left them falling behind in this area.
So, you have identified students needing a support plan, created goals, selected and implemented an appropriate intervention, and collected data using a progress monitoring tool or assessment. Fantastic! These are all necessary steps in the right direction to supporting students through your Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). But, NOW WHAT? How do you know if the intervention is actually “working”?
Many educators are aware of the importance of promoting students’ social-emotional skills and how this can be done through well-coordinated and implemented social-emotional learning (SEL) programs and practices. But whether or not these approaches are being implemented effectively and the level of impact they are having on student outcomes can be a bit more difficult to determine.
Teachers, how many of you have a perfect Multi-Tiered System of Supports/RTI triangle in your classroom, wherein at least 80% of your students’ needs can be met by Tier 1, core instruction, 10-15% need Tier 2 interventions, and 5% will need additional Tier 3 support?
Many districts and schools are now regularly collecting data assessing students’ social-emotional and behavioral skills. Data from assessments and screeners are typically used to identify students needing additional support. Other pieces of data, such as behavior monitoring or tracking, are commonly used to track the progress students are making toward their goals.
Long story short, MTSS exists to get the right intervention to the right student. Without a great intervention at the heart of it all, the work involved in MTSS—the data collection, the meetings, the documentation—is wasted. This toolkit will help guide you and your team in selecting high-quality, research-based interventions for your students, with tips for implementing, tracking, and troubleshooting those interventions.