Reflection on Implementation of Tiered Systems

Implementing tiered systems of supports carries on as you go about the many challenges this unprecedented time brings. The foundation you have built can adapt to our current situation.

The VTSS team acknowledges that there is an opportunity to expand the ways in which we teach and learn, both for adults and students. Unexpected school closings have occurred in the past (earthquake, long periods of snow, hurricanes) and we can set up systems to address these events if they occur in the future.

  • Aligned Organizational Structure and Culture
    • Well-functioning teams have always been the cornerstone of implementation. Now more than ever, maintaining those connections is critical.
    • Are our division teams able to meet? Do we need to change our norms now that we are virtual? How can we support schools with their agendas? Is there consistency across schools in the division in how they collaborate to deliver distance learning?
  • Data-Informed Decision Making
    • What does the data tell you that you really need right now? Is it mental health supports? Is it the number of students who are accessing distance learning? Are you curious about the types of delivery that are most successful? Is it understanding the key academic concepts we will have to build on next year? How can we be proactive for students who have historically struggled with attendance?
    • Are there areas you weren’t able to address right now and will simply have to address in a modified pacing guide for next year?
    • What are the concepts that have historically been difficult for kids? How can we address those later?
    • Are there academic concepts that are not such a drain on family resources and capacity?
  • Evidence-Based Practices
    • The quality core instruction you have defined still carries with it the same features even when we are virtual.
    • You already know how to teach and how kids learn: the question is, how do we make adjustments virtually? Effective classroom systems of feedback, opportunities to respond, building a classroom community, scaffolding, etc. remain a part of the lesson and are ever more essential for equitable learning. Routines and procedures and access to materials may look different, but we still plan for this.
    • Our behavior curriculum based on the behavior matrix can be modified for virtual learning, but the school-wide expectations remain the same.
    • Student engagement and meaningful learning still remain the base for the 5Cs and student motivation. What are changes we can make such as sending a text of encouragement? A virtual high five? An adaptation to the lesson so students can communicate more with one another or respond to their current situation?
  • Family, School, and Community Partnerships
    • What does family engagement look like now? Is our communication to the community clear and concise? Is there a structure in place to respond quickly to the needs of families?
    • Relationships remain a foundation. What opportunities do we have to connect more with families while students are learning at home? Even without internet, most families have access to a cell phone; are there needed supports for funding to cover communication costs?
    • Can we leverage communities such as the Boys and Girls Club to help with overcoming some of the obstacles with the digital divide?
    • Can we leverage some of our Institutes of Higher Learning to help?
  • Monitoring Student Progress
    • Our data dashboards will look different over the next few months. What are we able to gather to let us know that students are making progress in the essential content?
    • What screening tools will we use when students return to understand gaps that may have occurred? This is an equity issue: some students did not have the essential supports or the technological advantages enjoyed by others. Has the digital divide created a wider gap? Were students who were receiving advanced tiers support maintaining their progress?
    • Assessments and outcome data will be changing. What are the goals we can set for the shorter term as we address this issue over the coming year?
  • Evaluation of Process
    • Processes and systems support us in times of transition.
    • Where did we make adjustments and how will we use our data-informed decision making to plan for instruction, coaching, and professional learning?
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