Back-to-school means new pencils, notebooks, and fresh starts for teachers and students alike. Back-to-school also means a new opportunity to hone in on our practices as educators. Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) is a tiered system that involves three tiers of systematic support for students. Each tier increases the intensity of the interventions and support we provide to students.
MTSS is a data-driven process that uses assessments and evaluation data to provide insights as to where students are and where we hope to get them to. We took this opportunity to dive deep into the data to establish what strengths and needs the newest students had. Knowing where your students are helps you determine the potential challenges they may face. It also allows the teacher to build off of their strengths. The American Institute of Research shares a great model on the 6 steps of Data-Analysis which starts with creating teams and starting the collaborative process Before students arrived for the first day of school, Elevate Educators had the opportunity to facilitate a deep data-dive workshop and coaching session with a fabulous New Jersey School district team of sixth grade teachers. This year we are focusing on Tier 1 – which involves delivering high-quality, evidence-based differentiated instruction to all students. You could feel the excitement in the air as we began to discuss plans for the new year. We focused on both our students’ needs and instruction goals to develop a plan to meet our learners. As a team of grade 9 math teachers, we are providing small-group guided math instruction during the math block.
The existing plans for instruction were strong – but we discussed some strategies such as using flexible grouping to help enhance that high-quality instruction. Flexible grouping considers the movement of students to different groups based upon what they need at that moment. The use of multiple types of assessments and data allows us to plan and shift our students into groups that meet their needs from day-to-day. At the end of our data-dive, the teachers were full of optimism and excitement as they prepared to welcome their new students.
Back -to -school also means so much effort is put forth by our talented and dedicated teachers who are collaborating and leaning on each other. Collective teacher efficacy became visible as teachers not only prepared the physical classroom space- but instruction and planning too. We are looking forward to seeing these teachers in action throughout the course of the year!