Building Skills to Support Behavior Challenges  

September 02, 2016

The ESU 10 MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports) mission is to support the MTSS process in all ESU 10 districts and schools in order to improve the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral development of every student. Our vision is that schools use a multi-tier approach that addresses behavior,social and academic domains simultaneously. While a primary focus of schools is to ensure academic achievement, common sense tells us that supporting students to become responsible, highly motivated, and actively engaged in school tasks will contribute to stronger academic outcomes.

With this in mind, Susan Evans, Dallas Lewandowski and I attended July’s annual Safe & Civil Schools Conference in Portland, OR. While Susan and Dallas gained skills to support classroom teachers, I learned more about how to support district or school-wide implementations of MTSS for behavior. I attended the Foundations and Coaching Classroom Management sessions, each for two days.

Randy Sprick is the founder of and primary author for Safe & Civil Schools. At the conference, Randy and his staff modeled and promoted a culture of caring and respect. They also intertwined explicit instructional practices within the sessions that we attended. I believe I am speaking for Dallas and Susan as well when I say that our experience in Portland was an exemplar—what we would hope to see in every ESU 10 school.

The Foundations session provided me with a complete overview of an MTSS behavior model of schooling. Every aspect of this model is based upon and proven by research. It is a framework that schools use flexibly to fit their culture and the needs of their students and staff. Foundations is all about improving school climate, safety, discipline, behavior support plans, and student connectedness. Inherent in this model is the belief that the bulk of the work in addressing challenging behavior must be done at the school-wide and classroom levels. After attending this session, I am prepared to support schools that choose to advance a positive school climate with a high expectancy for student success.

The Coaching Classroom Management session introduced a method of developing a leadership model of coaching teachers’ use of proven, research-based classroom management practices. The objectives of this training included the following:  recognizing the difficulties of maintaining effective classroom management, defining the roles of both evaluative and non-evaluative coaches, creating a clear target that builds consistency between classrooms, building a system of formative accountability for staff improvement of classroom management, and using data collection tools to effectively collaborate with teachers.

ESU 10 schools and educators have been clamoring for support regarding their behavior challenges. As a result, the ESU 10 MTSS team is preparing to develop a coordinated series of supports for school leadership teams, classroom teachers, and support staff. Within our efforts, the one non-negotiable tenet will be that all students should be treated with respect. Stay tuned!

-by Patrice Feller, MTSS Facilitator