MTSS Part Two: Essential Components of MTSS

Guest post by Bonnie Nieves, in collaboration with Class Composer

In the previous blog, I outlined the first step of initiating Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), a framework designed to meet the needs of each and every learner in a school district. When your school community has completed its inventory of instructional tools and supports for academic, behavioral, and social-emotional learning, it is time to move on to putting these resources into action. 

The next steps include planning for three essential components of MTSS: 

  • Instruction that includes academic, behavioral, and SEL learning opportunities for all students.
  • Assessment tools that measure the effectiveness of this instruction.
  • Ensuring that your master schedule has space for per diem support for students.

MTSS is typically represented as a pyramid with Tier 1 universal supports being the foundation. It can be accurately represented as a triangle or funnel. 

All students receive universal supports and transition between tiers 1, 2, and 3 based upon progress monitoring data monitored according to a reliable universal tool at predetermined intervals. These tools do not need to be school-wide standardized tests. According to the American Institutes of Research (2021), high-fidelity screening is universal, accurate, and conducted at least quarterly.

Most students will remain in tier 1, some will transition to tier 2, and fewer will move to tier 3. If a school community finds that a large number of students are in need of tier 2 support, it would be prudent to investigate the evaluation tools and quality of the universal curriculum being used.

Now, envision a system of three triangles, one for each indicator: academic, behavioral, and SEL. Students may be at any of the three tiers for each of the three instructional areas (academic, behavioral, social-emotional) at any one time. For example, a student may be receiving tier 1 instruction for academics, tier 2 targeted support for behavioral instruction, and tier 3 for social-emotional instruction.

When teachers work with all of this information, academic, behavioral, and social-emotional, it can require a great deal of time and organization. Providing for all students is essential and each of these represents important data points that teachers need to focus on in order to provide the best for students. However, there needs to be a more effective and efficient way to do this.

MTSS and Class Composer 

Class Composer provides everything that teachers need to be able to monitor student progress and is readily accessible to anyone, at any time. It enables all teachers to access the information they need about each individual student when they need it. Easy to track and record student growth toward individualized goals.  Simplify how you manage all the assessment data collected! With progress monitoring, teachers can easily track student progress and provide the right supports.

Having access to all this information in one space enables teachers to create a supportive learning community for students. These teacher-student connections lead to the development of the essential relationships that need to exist for all students to be successful.

Give Class Composer a try today using their sandbox. You will experience a simpler, more streamlined experience when in the easily accessible, data-driven platform that promotes student academic achievement and the development of essential SEL skills.

Head to Class Composer to learn more!

Coming up next:

The final part of my MTSS blog series will elaborate on two essential components: assessment tools and instructional resources. Assessment tools that can help your school community provide common experiences without impacting teachers’ ability to use Universal Designed for Learning (UDL) planning tools. Instructional resources for each of the three tiers for academic, behavioral, and social-emotional instruction.

About the Author

Bonnie Nieves is the author of “Be Awesome on Purpose” and has over a decade of experience as a high school science teacher. She has a Master’s Degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Educational Leadership. Her passion for creating immersive and authentic experiences that fuel curiosity and creating student-centered, culturally responsive learning spaces that promote equity and inclusion has led her to establish Educate On Purpose Coaching.

In addition to being an award-winning educator, Bonnie works to ensure equitable and engaging education for all through her work as a copy editor at EdReports and Classroom Materials and Media reviewer for The American Biology Teacher journal. She serves on the MassCUE board of directors and enjoys connecting with educators through social media, professional organizations, conferences, Twitter chats, and edcamps. Bonnie is a member of the National Association of Biology Teachers, the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science, and the National Science Teaching Association. She encourages you to connect with her on Twitter @biologygoddess, Instagram @beawesomeonpurpose, Clubhouse @biologygoddess, and LinkedIn.

Please visit www.educateonpurpose.com for information about her current projects.

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Socrates: Engaging Students and Empowering Teachers

Learning at the Speed of You

In the spring, I like to explore new tools and ideas for use in my own classroom and for colleagues who want to try something new before the school year ends. Spring is the perfect time to try out teaching methods or tools that you perhaps did not have time for yet, or to find something that will keep students engaged through the end of the school year and maybe even to use to avoid the “summer slide.”

A few weeks ago, I came across Socrates, a learning platform also referred to as a “learning engine.” Socrates offers many valuable features for students and teachers, that make it a standout and I am looking forward to sharing its features, ideas to get started and tips over the next few weeks.

The story behind Socrates

I’m always interested in the people behind the product and learning about their motivation for designing something for educators and students. To learn more, I contacted Brian Rosenberg, the Co-Founder, and Chief Executive Officer, to gather some background information on the platform, to find out how it uses Artificial Intelligence, which is a key area of interest for me, and the types of resources available for students, teachers, parents and for homeschooling. The platform, created by Education Revolution, LLC has already received recognition several times this year. Socrates offers such distinct features, which makes it clear why it was endorsed by and received a grant from the National Science Foundation. Less than 5% of the companies are chosen, and Socrates, selected for its unique innovation and having a clear benefit to society was the first winner in Nevada in six years. More recently at the Magnet Schools Conference in Baltimore, Brian had a chance to share the vision of Socrates. He shared that the platform “was created to help provide equal access to students regardless of their socio-economic background.”

Impressive features

I scheduled a demo with Brian and was able to “experience” the platform from the perspective of a teacher and student. As Brian showed me the different components in the Teacher Dashboard, the analytics, and a variety of information available for teachers to use to guide instruction was impressive. One of the first things I consider is ease of navigating through the platform and whether the layout is visually engaging and rich in terms of content.

One aspect of Socrates that makes it unique is that it functions through the use of Artificial Intelligence and cloud computing, there is no IT setup and it can be used on any device. Socrates is fully automated and using the AI, it can quickly assess individual student or whole class needs, and then make adjustments in the learning path. While it the artificial intelligence allows it to automatically adjust for each student, it provides extensive tool for teachers to take over the learning experience and is designed to be a teacher assistant, not a teacher replacement According to Brian, there are 1300 categories of information with millions of questions, and it can adjust to particular topics as students progress, and goes question by question to make changes and create a unique learning path for each student.

Currently available content is Math and ELA (K-5) with Science about to release. During our recent conversation, Brian highlighted a “roadmap” for some updates and new features coming up in the platform over the next few months and at the beginning of 2020. There are plans to roll out activities for K-8 Science, grades 6-8 Math and Language Arts throughout the summer and early fall. Later this year and into early 2020, plans are in the works for Social Studies, ESL, high school Math, and even Test Prep. The number of resources currently available within Socrates is impressive, but with the additional features being added, it will provide an even more robust learning platform.

Socrates recently launched in Mexico, and therefore the teacher and student application is available in English or Spanish.

I will have the opportunity to explore the Socrates platform on my own and will take a closer look at each of the features, comparing it to other tools that have the same end goal as Socrates: providing students with a unique, individualized, learning path.

Experiencing the Power of Socrates

A few of the features that I will be looking at:

  • Dynamic Assessment: How the platform assesses students to find out the specific student needs.
  • Teacher Dashboard: Explore how to move students between classes, look at options available for each student, sorting of data
  • Weekly Reports: Look at the information available, ease of obtaining a snapshot of student progress
  • Command Center: Closer look at features and tools available.
  • Navigation of platform: Evaluate the learning curve for teachers and students, watch tutorial videos
  • Categories of Games: Explore the different categories, rewards, and badges available for students
  • Shop: Look at “cards” available to students, some examples are Greek Mythology, Presidents and more.

If you have been using Socrates, I would love to hear from you. If you have not yet tried it, I recommend getting started here. Socrates offers a 30-day free trial, and Brian encouraged teachers to try it out for the rest of the school year and said that their students can use it over the summer at no charge if they sign up before the end of the school year.

The classroom version: http://withsocrates.com/classroom/

***Coupon code is THRIVEinEDU2019. It can be used for the classroom edition or for the summer edition ($39.99 for the summer for teachers with summer school classes)

Connect with them on Social Media to keep informed of the great new features coming. Twitter is learnwithsocra1Facebook is learnwithsocrates

In Other Words, my new book is now available! Click here for more information on how to get a signed copy.