- Fidelity of writing plans and using interventions
- Unfocused MTSS work
- Tracking student growth from year to year
State: Nebraska | Type of School: Rural | Students: 21,38
Diversity: 94.8% White, 2.2% Hispanic, 0.4% Asian or Pacific Islander, 0.8% Black
Free or reduced lunch: 13.3%
“With educators, the biggest challenge right now is time and expectations. As we learn more, or as districts grow, you have more steps being thrown at teachers in the classroom. And educators feel obligated to do everything! If we continue to try to do everything a little bit, we are going to accomplish nothing.”
- Angie Plugge, Director of Curriculum, Waverly School District (Nebraska)
For Angie Plugge, Director of Curriculum at Waverly School District in Nebraska, the challenge lay in implementing a consistent Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) that truly made a difference in student outcomes without burning out teachers.
A critical turning point for Waverly School District was the adoption of Branching Minds. While introducing any new platform inevitably comes with uncertainties, the value that Branching Minds added to Waverly's educational system soon became evident. The dedicated team at Branching Minds offered tailored support, ensuring that the tool was not just another task but a valuable asset for educators.
“Branching Minds does a great job of reaching out to you and not making you feel bad. They have great support and patient people who also really understand MTSS and they listen to you to give you what you need when you need it and not too much.”
Waverly faced the common struggle of managing a robust MTSS practice effectively. They also faced state requirements in the area of ELA. State regulations necessitated screening K-3 students and crafting individual reading plans for those who did not achieve grade-level benchmarks. Transitioning these plans year-to-year was a logistical challenge, especially when attempting to maintain uniformity in objectives and interventions across the district. Additionally, with interventions often occurring outside regular classroom settings, many educators lacked insight into students' progress and interventions.
Along with strategic work in training and developing staff in their own understanding of MTSS, Waverly staff was able to use Branching Minds to access the data they needed to support their students, particularly a structured way to address the district's lowest achievement area: English Language Arts (ELA).
The impact of Branching Minds on Waverly School District's MTSS practice was substantial, with students growing in their reading skills. Angie credits this to focusing on the Tier 2 interventions, which she says always eluded her. “With that four-step process in Branching Minds, where you have to identify the goal, identify what the intervention is that you're giving, from a menu, and how much time you're going to do it, how many days and how it's going to be delivered, that really that was a huge light bulb for me.” This streamlined approach eliminated confusion and paved the way for consistent progress tracking.
Educators were now empowered to monitor intervention progress and adjust classroom strategies accordingly. The platform facilitated communication between educators, students, and parents by visually showcasing progress and goals. As Angie noted, the rate of improvement line became a powerful tool to convey growth and milestones. “It's enabled us to have conversations with, you know our second, third, even intermediate students. This is the grade level benchmark. This is the goal they're working towards. It's really helped us to clarify. What are we working towards? Is our student making progress?”
Branching Minds' Plan & Progress Page
Waverly’s journey with Branching Minds exemplifies the transformational power of dedicated educators equipped with the right tools. By embracing change and approaching challenges with determination, Angie and her team have paved the way for enhanced student outcomes and a brighter future in education, and they are just getting started.
Explore Branching Minds for a streamlined approach to MTSS and improved student outcomes. Request a demo to learn more about how to help your teams focus their MTSS work to help students grow.