When my state began the Common Core Curriculum shift, we examined and mapped out standards. I soon realized there was no way we had enough time for our students to master all of the reading, writing, speaking and listening standards for their grade level. With such a broad range of standards and topics, it was hard to know where my students needed help as we had to quickly move through standards and skills. There was no systematic way to identify what I should prioritize.
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.”
Branching Minds seeks to provide top-notch service to all our partner educators. And that includes bringing the skills and talents of our amazing Branching Minds employees, AKA “Branchers,” to the table! Whitley Dozier, Customer Success Manager, has extensive experience and knowledge as a former Multi-Tiered System of Supports Coordinator. In her former role, she acted as a liaison between the district, schools, and community members, and learned about state policy and MTSS best practices to help her district continually improve in meeting the needs of all students.
As a former elementary teacher and recently retired elementary principal, I considered my students’ families to be vital partners. As such, the families were kept updated and given a voice regarding their child’s education. Gaining parent support is always crucial, especially when introducing a new initiative. However, it is what happens in the days, weeks, and months following that initial outreach that has an even greater impact on building home-school partnerships.
Author: Emily-Rose Barry, VP of Product at Branching Minds
Nerd Alert: I’m busting out the vision board. 🤓
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.
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.