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    5 Data Security Questions for School Administrators

    MTSS Data Literacy

    Data is central to the MTSS framework. In fact, one of the most important components of an effective Multi-Tiered System of Supports is easy access to data from multiple sources, brought together in a way that supports intervention planning and delivery. But with access can come vulnerability. Schools often struggle to keep up with the cloud security and data privacy standards of their vendors, making them vulnerable to cyberattacks. EdWeek has gone so far as to call it the Cybersecurity Wild-West for schools!

    4 Ways That Great School Leaders Facilitate Progress Monitoring

    MTSS Practice, MTSS Data Literacy, Leadership in MTSS

    Just as a pilot uses their dashboard, a farmer measures rainwater, or a nurse checks vitals, data in MTSS is a tool meant to be used for more than determining final success or failure. Data is a helpful guide in real time. Progress monitoring data provides educators with the insight they need to adjust course throughout the year and make the best use of their valuable time and resources to support students. And, school leaders play a crucial role in guiding staff with data analysis.

    Top Education Trends: What’s In and What’s Out in MTSS for 2024

    MTSS Practice, MTSS Data Literacy, MTSS Assessment Data

    Are you a millennial holding tight to your skinny jeans, not quite ready to embrace the new trends? Or maybe you are on the opposite side of the spectrum, grabbing tape to try The Ceiling Challenge for yourself! A quick social media scroll will show that new trends and old classics are popping up daily, and K-12 education is no exception. Take a look at our list of MTSS “Ins” and “Outs” for 2024!

    How Leaders Can Mitigate Drop-Out Risk Using Early Warning Indicators

    MTSS Practice, MTSS Data Literacy, MTSS for Secondary

    “Early warning indicator systems are about that threshold that we're going to intervene at early. It is the actionable piece to have more equitable student outcomes as well. It’s not just the kids that are on our hearts and minds that we're supporting. It's also those kids who are really quiet. They show up all the time, but maybe they're not getting good grades, you know. So we really are trying to figure out why students are struggling.”

    - Sarah Frazelle, Senior Researcher and MTSS Trainer at AIR

    Diagnostics, Screeners, & Progress Monitors, Oh My! Assessments and Their Uses Within MTSS

    MTSS Practice, MTSS Basics, MTSS Data Literacy, MTSS Assessment Data

    Do you ever find yourself trying to make sense of all the assessments your students are expected to take, only to end up with more questions (and maybe a headache)? When should they take the assessments? Are they for ALL students or only SOME students? Which teachers can administer them? Which students need testing accommodations, and which accommodations do they need? 

    Data Interoperability in MTSS: What Is It and Why Is It So Important?

    Instituting MTSS, MTSS Data Literacy, MTSS Assessment Data

    I’m Sorry, Data What? 

    Educators are juggling an astonishing number of software platforms to help accomplish the goal of better instruction and student outcomes. When data cannot be easily shared between these platforms, teachers and administrators end up looking in multiple places for the data they need, or, even worse, duplicating their efforts as they try to support their students. Enter DATA INTEROPERABILITY. 


    Data interoperability refers to the ability of different computer systems to connect and exchange information with one another, in either implementation or accessibility, without restriction. (1)(5)  Schools need to align their data practices and create standards that enable better connectivity around the suite of products and tools they use. The data interoperability framework provides the context for identifying and debating interoperability issues to make integration within this complex system easier. (2)

    What Are MTSS Assessments in High School, and Why Are They Important?

    MTSS Practice, MTSS Data Literacy, MTSS Assessment Data, MTSS for Secondary

    One of the most challenging parts of my work as a High School Administrator was coaching my teachers and staff on the importance of making decisions based on assessment data. During my initial one-on-one meetings with my teachers and staff, I would ask them, “What assessment data are you using to drive your decision-making and instruction to meet the needs of your students? Most times, I would get a blank stare, or as my nephew says, I would hear crickets. Other times I would receive a response like this: “I did not need a test to tell me; I just know my students.”

    4 Essential Reminders About Utilizing MTSS Data

    MTSS Data Literacy, MTSS Assessment Data

    You may have heard the old saying, “Many make decisions by guessing or using their gut. They will be either very lucky or very wrong.” Because of these wise words, educators have worked diligently over the last decade to learn how to obtain, gather, compile, view, analyze and use data to avoid leaving student success to being “very lucky” or “very wrong.” 

    How To Promote MTSS Data Literacy in Your District

    MTSS Data Literacy, MTSS Assessment Data

    Within an MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports) framework, educators are asked to collect and understand different data to drive their decision-making process. A successful MTSS implementation will rely on a myriad of data, from screening and progress monitoring assessment data to tier movement and benchmark growth.

    How Branching Minds Helps Texas Districts Track HB4545 Requirements

    MTSS Practice, MTSS Data Literacy

    In an effort to support the high rate of students who have experienced significant learning loss caused by remote learning and continued COVID 19-related instruction interruptions, Texas has recently passed House Bill 4545 (HB4545). This new statute outlines updated requirements for school districts to provide supplemental accelerated instruction for all students who do not meet grade-level requirements in the state’s standardized assessments.

    Since this statute was enacted in the summer of 2021, school districts have quickly reacted and developed new procedures to ensure these requirements are met, and students are receiving the accelerated instruction they need. As many Texas Branching Minds partners have already discovered, Branching Minds is quickly adapting and providing districts the help they need to implement these crucial changes successfully.

    Beginning in 3rd grade, all students in Texas public schools take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) in core subject areas. In high school, the assessment program changes to the STAAR End of Course (EOC) assessments, five of which are required for graduation. According to the Texas Education Agency, students who do not meet grade-level expectations in these assessments are unlikely to succeed in the next grade or course without significant, ongoing academic intervention.

    The STAAR data from the most recent testing administration highlights the importance of immediate action towards supporting students. Among students tested in 2021, there was a 4% increase in students that did not meet their grade level in reading compared to 2019 and a 16% increase in students that did not meet their grade level in math (source). We do not have time to waste!