- Lost time for students moving between schools
- Inefficient and siloed teams
- Inconsistent MTSS practices
State: Texas | Type of School: Urban | Students: 14,066
Diversity: 8% White, 28% Black, 60% Hispanic, 3% two or more races
Free or reduced lunch: 90.6% FRL district-wide
“We found when students went from one campus to another, [intervention] information was not following them. And that next campus was just essentially starting over and wasting time. And so...that's when I started thinking there has to be a better way.”
- Pennie Graeber, At-Risk and RTI Coordinator, Waco ISD (Texas)
Waco Independent School District in Waco, Texas, serves around 14,000 students in 25 schools. Their biggest challenge was their fragmented data, which meant that data on paper and in folders did not follow a student. The MTSS process on different campuses was implemented differently, meaning student support was inconsistent. They began partnering with Branching Minds in 2017 to bring all their information together and make more efficient use of their staff time to address academic and behavioral needs across the district.
“We were still doing our MTSS on paper. People were literally passing around forms. If you needed to dig into a student, to try to look at year-to-year data, you were just digging through mass quantities of paperwork, random things. There was really not a system.” says Pennie Graeber, At-Risk and RTI Coordinator.
These challenges complicated the work of supporting students, often resulting in inconsistent practices from school to school and inefficient meetings because of a lack of comprehensive information.
Waco ISD implemented the Branching Minds platform and immediately saw the benefit. After 5 years, their MTSS practice has continued to deepen. “There's no more lost time. Students are getting an intervention at a campus, and they move to another campus, and within days, they're already in a group working with that same intervention. Before, it could be up to six weeks. As a result of that efficiency, we have students growing. We used to be very top-heavy. We had so many students in Tier 3, lots of students in Tier 2, and now that is shifting down. We are slowly moving students out of Tier 3 into Tier 2, from Tier 2 to Tier 1. Our success is the students.”
For a large district like Waco, having a strong MTSS system is necessary to ensure all student needs are addressed. Waco’s teachers can tier students, analyze data, and dive into each child's needs for academics and behavior holistically. “Branching Minds transformed the way we do MTSS completely. We would not be where we are today without it. We would not have had good conversations. We would not have teachers live-tracking kids. It has really transformed our district.”