Finding Balance at the End of the 2021/2022 School Year

    Reflective Teaching

    A couple of weeks back, I was facilitating an MTSS support team session when one of the participants shared with the group that there were exactly 43 days of school left. She had the remaining time left in the school year down to the hour and minute! While some schools may have longer, we’re all in that phase of the “final countdown.”

    Supporting Teacher SEL and Well-Being within an MTSS Framework

    SEL and Behavior, Reflective Teaching

    School and district leaders are becoming increasingly dedicated to improving their social-emotional learning (SEL) programs and practices for students. But an area of SEL that sometimes gets overlooked is the social-emotional skills and well-being of staff members. We know from research and practice that efforts to promote and improve student SEL will fall short if the teachers and staff members implementing SEL curricula and strategies do not have a good handle on these skills themselves. It is also a good idea for leadership teams to start planning now for how they will support their teachers’ social-emotional needs for the upcoming school year. Here are four areas of teacher SEL to consider and work towards addressing if you plan on making SEL a priority at your school.

    Benefits of and Strategies for Teacher Collaboration in MTSS

    MTSS Practice, Reflective Teaching

    Even though most teachers and school administrators agree that teacher collaboration leads to improved outcomes for both teachers and students, many schools are still not providing enough time for teachers to work together during school hours. Of course, there are many challenges in building a master schedule that gives teachers this time, but there is also a growing body of research showing the significant benefits of facilitating effective collaboration.

    Teacher collaboration is an important element for school improvement across the nation, and even more important when it comes to implementing a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) approach, and certainly worth taking a deeper dive.

    Learning Loss VS Instructional Loss, & Addressing Loss Within MTSS

    MTSS Practice, Reflective Teaching

    As more districts are heading back to in-person learning, educators are being tasked with meeting the needs of students who have had a wide range of instructional and learning experiences over the past year. This might seem like even more of an uphill battle than what teachers have already gone through. Yet, there are several approaches that schools and districts can turn to help support this transition. Many of these approaches are key components of a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS), with which educators are already familiar. Below, we highlight the important distinction between learning and instructional loss as well as outline a few tips for effectively addressing the different skills and needs of students when they return to schools and classrooms. 

    Student Engagement: Why it’s Important and How to Promote it

    SEL and Behavior, Tier 1 - Core Instruction, Reflective Teaching

    As we move into the final stretch of one of the most challenging school years in our history, teachers and students might be noticing a decline in stamina. No matter the learning context (remote, in-person, or hybrid) keeping students engaged in learning at this point in the year is a common challenge. Although numerous teaching obstacles remain, there are several small but significant things that schools and teachers can do to boost and maintain student engagement. Below we take a deeper dive into what student engagement really is and why it is so important. Then we discuss some practical approaches for keeping students interested and involved in lessons, activities, and discussions. 

    How to Help Students That Are One or More Grade Levels Behind

    Tier 3, Interventions and Learning Supports' Strategies, Reflective Teaching

    The impact of remote instruction on students has been discussed a great deal during the past ten months, while our nation’s teachers grapple with the complexities of implementing distance learning. As teachers and students engage daily in e-learning, with some schools pivoting back and forth between a hybrid model of remote and in-person schooling, the topic of what it actually means for students to be at “grade level” has been trending. Prior to COVID-19, students were considered to be on “grade level” if they had mastered the skills and concepts at their expected level of difficulty as measured by formal assessments and district/state standards. 

    Educators, What Are You Doing for Your Own SEL?

    SEL and Behavior, Reflective Teaching

    “How Are You Taking Care of You?”

    Teaching is hard work. It is mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and physically demanding. It is also dynamic, engaging, at times even exhilarating, but always meaningful and tremendously important. In a typical year, you could describe most teachers as unsung heroes - paying for materials out of pockets, grading papers, or prepping materials late into the night, always straining to maintain that elusive balance between work and home. But this year... well, this year is not like other years. This year took the scale we use to balance work and home and sold it to the pawnshop for parts.