A thriving Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) requires collaborative work and problem-solving at the schoolwide, classroom/department, and student level. The team meetings where this important work happens can be effective, practical, solution-focused powerhouses of change, or they can be a waste of precious resources—the time and expertise of our colleagues.

    MTSS Collaborative Work & Problem-Solving

    This guide and toolkit provide help to make the most of team meetings, with best practices, types of MTSS meetings' guides, an editable agenda template, and resources to help focus your MTSS work and keep meetings on track.



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    1. Best Practices For Meetings

    “Meetings constitute a large part of our work and an essential part of the work of educators as they come together to make decisions that, in most cases, impact students’ life and future. School and district teams need to take as systematic an approach to running team meetings as in the business world.”

    - Yosr Najjar, VP of Marketing and Demand Generation at Branching Minds

     

    No matter the context or content, meetings benefit from the following best practices:

    The agenda is prepared, and materials are gathered ahead of time

    The meeting has a clear purpose and goal

    Roles are assigned, such as note-taker, time-keeper, and leader

    Participants use active listening and stay on topic

    Follow-up tasks and responsibilities are clarified

    Notes and resources are shared after the meeting 

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    2. Meeting Norms for Participants

    Before the meeting:

    During the meeting:

    After the meeting:

    • Do your homework before the meeting! Check the agenda and address any required actions.

    • Show up and start on time.

    • Stay engaged, avoid multitasking

    • Ask questions actively, and request clarification. Do not assume!

    • Stay on topic, avoid tangential conversations

    • Follow up on action steps after the meeting

    If you are the meeting caller and/or facilitator: If you are the meeting caller and/or facilitator: If you are the meeting caller and/or facilitator:
    • Make sure there is a clear purpose and goal.

    • Send an agenda early on to allow people to prepare.

    • Assign roles: including a note-taker, a timekeeper, and a facilitator.

    • Prioritize items 

    • Stick to the agenda

    • Make sure all voices are heard

    • Confirm that everyone got what they needed and that their actions are clear.

    • End the meeting with a short feedback session on the meeting and space for each person to share.

    • Send meeting notes or a recap of decisions and action items.

    3. Types of MTSS Meetings

    There are three types of meetings that help drive effective MTSS: a school-level meeting for school leadership to look at core curriculum health, benchmark growth, tier movement, distribution of resources and evolution of structures, the grade team or content team community meeting, to create group plans for students who need Tier 2 level support, and to check in on progress for all kids who need support, and an individual student support meeting to create individuated plans for students who need Tier 3 level support.

    school-level-mtss-meeting

    The MTSS School-Level Meeting

    This meeting is conducted by the school leadership team following the collection of universal screener data, three times a year. The goal of the school-level meeting is for the school leadership team to look at core curriculum health, benchmark growth, tier movement, distribution of resources, and evolution of structures, to understand the health of MTSS practice and problem-solve for system-level improvement.

    team-level-mtss-meeting

    The MTSS Grade/Content Team Meeting

    This meeting is conducted by each grade or content team on a monthly basis to discuss all students with Tier 2 and 3 level needs, and to check in on progress, revise plans, and create new Tier 2 level plans.

    The goal of this meeting is to:

    • Ensure students who need additional support are receiving it and making progress;

    • Identify patterns/trends in student growth; and to,

    • Adjust plans and support based on observed trends.

    student-level-mtss-meeting

    The Individual Student Support Meeting

    The goal of this meeting is to dive deeper into problem-solving for students not making sufficient progress, and to create/revise intervention plans. Individual student support meetings take place to create individualized plans for students who need Tier 3 level of support.

    4. MTSS Meetings Toolkit/Resources

     

    TOOLKIT RESOURCE #1:

    Conversation Starters to Engage Participants

    In times of change and transition within a system, remaining curious about where others stand and why is an essential part of leadership. Use this tool to understand others' “why” with open-ended questions.


    TOOLKIT RESOURCE #2:

    Phrases to Help Your Team Stay on Task

    Keeping meetings on track is one of the hardest parts of collaborative practice. Educators' time is precious. Facilitators can help steer a meeting in the right direction in a positive way with intentional re-direction.


    TOOLKIT RESOURCE #3:

    Using Data: Questions for MTSS Data Analysis Worksheet

    Every MTSS meeting, whether school-wide, department, or student-focused, should be driven by data analysis and problem-solving. Diving into the data can be a challenge for any team. Here is a simple format for data discussion to help get your team started.


    TOOLKIT RESOURCE #4:

    MTSS Meeting Agenda Template and Tips

    A standardized note-taking process prevents loss of information, keeps everyone accountable for previous decisions and assignments, and can help streamline communication between teams. Here are a few tips:

    • Copy and paste an agenda template to the top of a running document instead of creating a separate document for each meeting.

    • Create a shared folder between team members to keep documents and resources related to the team’s work.

    • Use this editable MTSS Meeting Agenda template and adjust it for each team as needed.


    TOOLKIT RESOURCE #5:

    Guide for Each Type of MTSS Meeting

    As mentioned in section three of this guide, a healthy MTSS system consists of three different types of meetings that have three different functions and formats: (1) the Individual Student Support Meeting, (2) the Grade/Content Team Community Meeting, and (3) the School Leadership Meeting.

    Download these quick guides below to help you conduct effective meetings, optimize your use of time, and exit these meetings with clear action plans!

    MTSS Meetings Guide

    Guide for Each Type of MTSS Meeting

    Sign up for our weekly resources roundup and access the guide.

    Additionally, you can check out these resources to help streamline & strengthen your MTSS meetings and team:

    ➡️ ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: Effective Meeting Structures in an MTSS Practice
    ➡️ BLOG: Best Practices for Meetings and How to Apply Them to MTSS
    ➡️ BLOG: 5 Questions to Ensure Efficiency with MTSS Teams & MTSS Meetings

    Branching Minds - Your MTSS Solution

    The Branching Minds MTSS Platform supports productive meetings and streamlines documentation.

    Use an MTSS platform to track student problem-solving meetings along with decisions and tasks. The BRM platform has a meetings section for each student that makes documentation a snap. 

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