Welcome to March Madness!
Whether we are talking basketball or not – March is a BUSY, BUSY time! In education, we often run on cycles, and March marks the beginning of the end of another school year as we wrap up winter sports, PT conferences, and 3rd quarter and move on to SPRING (yes, it is coming!), 4th quarter and summer plans. It is a good time and a good idea, however, to stop and think about the successes we have had, what still needs to get done and start planning for next year. We are excited about the work SEEC schools have been engaged in this year and continue to develop opportunities to further the good work they have begun.
Building Effective Systems for Student Success
I have spent the past month or so mired in some of my favorite work – that of developing Multi-Tier Systems of Support (MTSS) – visiting SEEC schools, looking at data and processes for evaluation, planning for the 7th Annual ND MTSS Conference in June, contributing to the writing of a new state MTSS grant, and introducing Intensifying Instruction – a new training developed to support effective instruction at all levels – Tier I, Tier II and Tier III – and I am convinced, THIS IS THE RIGHT WORK!!!
As I reflect on a variety of discussions and observations with teachers, principals, leadership teams, and state and regional leaders about the best way to develop systems that support ALL students – behaviorally and academically – some consistent messages emerge:
- Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it is getting!
If we don’t like the results, focus on the system, not the students or teachers. This shift in thinking recognizes that while there are pockets of excellence and people may be working hard, it is difficult to realize a deep level of impact because not everyone is part of the solution or not everyone knows the end goal. Leaders must emerge and ensure both accountability and support for the work.
- Efficiency and Alignment are underlying themes!
As therapeutic as spring cleaning, the process of creating and refining our systems facilitates efficiencies in data use, instructional alignment, and resource allocation THROUGH aligned processes of school improvement and professional learning. Take another look at the NDMTSS Framework and the 5 essential components and see how it all fits together!
- Change and people are involved – plan accordingly!
Questions abound about managing change and involving people. For some, change is hard, while others may feel a sense of relief that something is going to happen that disrupts the status quo. Ironically, we may be talking about the SAME CHANGE in the same school! Planning must include intentionality about how to communicate and leverage the power of the people who make up the system. There is an abundance of guidance on Leading Change to explore, but I liked this list:
- Be clear about the purpose for the change – and paint a picture of the new reality.
- Understand and communicate the complexity of the change needed.
- Take the time necessary to help people “see” why the change is needed now.
- Explore the reasons behind any resistance you encounter.
- Use internal facilitators (leadership teams) to ensure that the change process taps into the strengths of the institution.
- Understand that change takes time and is part of a continuous improvement process
- EFFECTIVE SYSTEMS SUPPORT STUDENTS, TEACHERS, PARENTS, AND ADMINISTRATORS!
It’s true! Effective systems are lazer-focused on student success – but they support EVERYONE in the system. Leadership, communication, organization, a growth-mindset, honesty, patience, innovation, creativity, evidence-based innovations and energy are all required, but we always keep sight of the goal. It is hard work, but it is the RIGHT WORK!
With all of this in mind, we continue to further support SEEC schools and schools across North Dakota. Below are listed some additional trainings and resources:
- Improving Student Success through NDMTSS: Building a System in Your School – Overview Training – April 19-20, 2017 – Minot, ND. https://www.escweb.net/nd_mdec/catalog/session.aspx?session_id=35589
- North Dakota has developed resources and trainings for schools to create and engage in a Multi-Tier System of Supports to Improve Student Success.
- NDDPI Website: Additional NDMTSS Anchor Documents and Resources https://www.nd.gov/dpi/SchoolStaff/SpecialEd/mtss/
- SAVE THE DATE: 7th Annual ND MTSS Conference – Building Effective Systems for Student Success
June 5-7, 2017 at Holiday Inn – Fargo, ND.
Behavior, Academics and Systems focused sessions! See additional information on our website: www.ndseec.com/mtss
- Improving Academic Literacy Project: Tier I Effective Instruction
The SEEC and MDEC both run projects that bring together teachers from several disciplines to enhance literacy strategies that ensure that every student does everything. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZpxGpkxpoY