This article will be presented in 5 sections, with each new section sent out weekly. The focus is on 5 critical factors to have “right” when preparing to make data informed decisions: getting the “right people” the “right data” in the “right format” within the “right time” using the “right process” in order to make well informed decisions for divisions, departments, schools, staff, classrooms, students and families.
Designing multi-tiered systems of supports involves several key features. In Virginia, these key features are identified as Aligned Organizational Structure, Data Informed Decision Making, Evidence Based Practices, Family, School and Community Partnerships, Monitoring Student Progress and Evaluation of Process. Using the image above as guidance, begin at the bottom with the critical foundational components of “roles, responsibility, authority”. Once the organizational structure is designed and aligned, a critical function of the teams is Data Informed Decision Making. All data tells a story, and good data begs questions. Data in schools abound, both quantitative and qualitative, so it is necessary to have a plan to use data effectively and efficiently.
A key feature of a multi-tiered system of support is an Aligned Organizational Structure, and a critical part of this feature is teaming at the division level, the school level and even at the student level when advanced supports are needed. A helpful tool the division and school can use to build an aligned structure is the Working Smarter Tool (Sugai, 2010), which walks leadership through the various teams presently in place and their purpose. From that perspective leadership can determine if there is overlap in what teams are doing, so that work is more efficiently and effectively aligned. Determining what data each team will need to measure and progress monitor desired outcomes (SMART goals) is another important part of this process. The Working Smarter Tool and a sample from Gloucester Public Schools (Peasley MS MTSS team, 2022) are included to help visualize the critical considerations within the form, and the way a school used it within their own context.
- At the Division Level, there may be departmental teams that monitor various division goals, as well as various cross functional teams that are created to monitor identified goals. A Division Leadership Team is critical to overseeing this work and ensuring fidelity of meeting, monitoring and progress toward outcomes.
- At the School Level, a parallel structure and process is developed. A School Leadership Team would oversee the fidelity of meeting, monitoring and progress toward outcomes of natural teams such as Grade Level Teams, Content Teams, and other cross functional teams such as an Attendance Team, PBIS/SEL and/or Climate Team, a Safety Team, etc.
- Grade Level Teams and Content Teams would first monitor “the health” of Tier 1 implementation by looking at collective data on regular intervals, disaggregated by all appropriate subgroups. A “healthy” Tier 1 means that 80% of students are finding success with Tier 1 implementation. It is critical to remember that 80% means 80% of each subgroup as well as the total. If one or more subgroups are experiencing less than 80% success, this indicates that three is still a Tier 1 problem. There is one or more group(s) that the general curriculum is not meeting, and this should be addressed in such a way.
- Identified cross-functional teams would also have identified the goals and related data they would be monitoring on what intervals and using what given process/protocol
- When a “healthy Tier 1” is in place, an Advanced Tiers Team would be identified to monitor the effectiveness and fidelity to implementation of identified interventions. These may be academic, social-emotional, attendance, or other decided upon interventions.
Educational and Community Supports, University of Oregon. (2021). TIPS Team Initiated Problem Solving. Data-based decision making, from https://www.pbis.org/topics/data-based-decision-making
Peasley MS MTSS team. (2022). Peasley Middle Teaming Organizational Structure 2022-2023. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/14UeSv1eTlQdGgNjjEnL_1nhU1GBgnMN_/view?usp=share_link
Sugai, G. (2010). Committee/Group Self-Assessment and Action Planning (Working smarter matrix). Retrieved from https://vtss-ric.vcu.edu/media/vtss-ric/documents/didm/2019-2020/Working-Smarter