Board gets update on MTSS work

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Director of Student Services Jerry Nicholson, Assistant Director of Student Services Cindy Malcheski, and Directors of Learning Rainey Briggs (elementary) and Laura Love (secondary) provided an update on the work being done to develop a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for students in the District at the Board of Education regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 12

Love noted revisions were made to the guiding beliefs wording when the District didn't have school on Friday due to inclement weather. She also reported MCPASD began this work in 2014 when it partnered with the National Equity Project.

She stressed the theory of action focuses on three outcomes: a reduction in the patterns of behavioral referrals and suspensions that disproportionately impact some students; an increased number and percent of students at reading and math proficiency at each grade level so there is a reduced racial and linguistic disparity; and proportional enrollment and success of all demographic groups in advanced and enriched learning opportunities.

Malcheski explained how wrap-around services will work. At the center of MTSS is the student, who is most directly impacted by a teacher-educator. The educator will work with members of the professional learning communities to provide initial support. Those teams will be in place 4K through 12th grade and use data to drive their decisions. Problem Solving Teams will use data to make decisions about targeted instruction, intervention or enrichment, while Student Study Teams will identify which students aren't responding to interventions and move forward appropriately.

She said the goal is to develop a system that will help move the work forward. An MTSS team at the District level is putting the framework in place and providing support for teams at the school level. Another goal is to make sure a common language is created to make sure schools aren't operating in silos.

Briggs noted MTSS is one of four work teams the District has developed to meet the goals established in the Strategy Map. The MTSS team has representation from different grade levels and buildings and has about 20 members, he said.

The MTSS team is hoping to narrow the work and prioritize which initiatives should be the focus, he said. They will also be looking at professional development and trying to make sure it provides the support staff  need to implement MTSS. The team will be identifying how much professional development time is needed and making recommendations about changes to future calendars and budget re-allocations.

"Everything we are doing will result in us bringing staff up to speed so professional development will be crucial,'' Briggs said. "We want to make sure staff is where we need them to be.''