Students at Redmond High School come into their Computer Science and Engineering course with little to no programming skills. By the time they leave, students are creating working robots. The robots are so advanced that students use their own phones to control the machines via Bluetooth technology.
Multi-Tiered System of Supports Advisory
Since November 2017, an advisory team consisting of teachers, specialists, administrators and parents has been meeting to learn about existing academic, behavioral and social-emotional supports in LWSD. The team will ultimately develop and recommend a "Multi-Tiered System of Supports" framework. The framework will describe and provide guidance for integrated district and school‐based academic, behavioral and social-emotional supports for students.
In February, MTSS advisory team members read and discussed Revisiting the Regular Education Initiative: Multi-tiered Systems of Support Can Strengthen the Connection Between General and Special Education from Journal of American Academy of Special Education Professionals.
Following the discussion, Paul Vine, Director of Special Services gave an overview of special education programs and services in the Lake Washington School District. During his presentation, he shared data about the academic performance of students receiving special education services and areas of potential growth and opportunity for the district.
At the end of the meeting the team discussed an MTSS school-team pilot process for 2018-19.
In January, Kelly Pease, Director of Intervention Services gave an overview of academic intervention programs and services in LWSD. These include:
- Safety Net Services
- English Language Learner Services
- Homeless Services
- Native American/Alaska Native Programs and Services
- Title I Programs and Services
During her presentation, Ms. Pease described qualities of the programs and services that support students and that are tied to student success. These include:
- Quality instruction
- Targeted evidence-based intervention
- Implementation fidelity
- Monitoring of student progress
- Use of data to make decisions
In addition, Ms. Pease shared examples of supports that are provided to schools, such as teacher training, coaches, facilitators and instructional materials that help students and teachers learn. Through these efforts, we are seeing positive trends in student performance. For example, achievement gaps are closing in our Title 1 schools. And, students who exit our English Learner (EL) program are performing as well as, or better than, non-EL students in our schools.
Following the presentation, the team read information from OSPI’s recently published “Menus of Best Practices and Strategies” for English language arts and mathematics. These documents include evidence and research-based practices and strategies shown to improve student achievement. Many of the strategies and practices are delivered through LWSD intervention services. The team also read about how these practices and strategies are tied to a Multi-Tiered System of Supports. Examples include:
|English Language Arts||Mathematics|
In December, Matt Gillingham, Director of Student Services, and Dr. Jen Rose, Director of Teaching and Learning provided an overview social, emotional and behavioral supports that exist in our district and efforts that are underway at the elementary and secondary levels to address the needs of all students. These include universal approaches such as curriculum, common expectations, suicide prevention and mental health education, drug and alcohol education, and conflict resolution. They also discussed selective and targeted approaches to supporting students such as counseling, conferences, restorative practices, guidance teams, risk assessments and referrals for treatment. The Washington State Social Emotional Learning Benchmarks were also shared with the team.
Following a discussion about potential areas for growth, the team read two research summaries about behavioral supports and social emotional learning published by Hanover Research. As they read, team members recorded ideas and content that could be used as “indicators of success” for an effective Multi-Tiered System of Supports. Examples included:
- Identifying and implementing supports that are culturally responsive
- Using a universal approach to teaching positive social and behavioral skills
- Use of behavior assessments
- Use of a proactive approach to behavior supported by interventions for small groups
- Identifying and teaching core competencies such as self-awareness, self-management and social awareness
In November, the leadership team began learning about MTSS, and was provided with an orientation to the work ahead. Members began by sharing individual interests for a well-articulated system of supports in the district. Examples of these interests included:
- Better supporting all teachers so that they can meet the academic needs of each child in their class.
- Setting up a framework for school-side data tracking of students, to make sure no students are missed.
- Putting in place structures to support the social and emotional needs of our students.
- Improving the collaboration and communication between Special Education and general education teachers.
Team members then read and discussed a Research Brief about MTSS by Orla Higgins Averill and Claudia Rinaldi, of the Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative.