CPSD Supports the Whole Child

CPSD Supports the Whole Child
Posted on 03/10/2023

Take a peek into CPSD classrooms and you will see teachers and students engaged in learning about various subjects, from math to science, reading to foreign language, and to one of the many career and technical education courses offered. What may not be visible are the challenges and barriers each student faces as they strive to excel academically.

The COVID-19 pandemic shone a glaring light on the social emotional and mental health challenges students face as they navigate school, social media and the world around them.

“We know that students who are struggling with social emotional or mental health challenges can be, and oftentimes are, the same students who are struggling academically,” said Director of Teaching and Learning Suzy Kontos.

To support the whole child, CPSD has implemented a framework, Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), to support both the academic and social emotional needs of our students. This framework incorporates teaming of school and district staff and data analysis as a system of prevention. This framework works in alignment with district efforts to provide equitable access and inclusionary practices for all students and the development of professional learning communities in our schools to support effective instruction and student growth.

As part of the MTSS framework, each school is creating a matrix for common behavior expectations to build strong learning communities and meet academic growth goals. Additionally, school leadership teams use data analysis to manage and ensure implementation of effective instruction, as well as monitor growth for students receiving academic and social emotional learning support.

All schools have determined academic or learning goals through their School Annual Action Plan (SAAP). They use a universal screener to monitor students’ academic and social emotional progress that takes place three times a year.

The MTSS framework has three tiers of support for students.

MTSS Graphic

Tier 1 level of support are provided to all students to build a strong educational foundation. This includes using quality curriculum and instruction for all students, as well as monitoring academic progress and growth. Students are provided equitable access to their education through culturally responsive inclusionary practices, which means that we consider a student’s customs, characteristics, experiences and perspectives to help plan instruction.

Tier 2 level of support provides students who need additional help with classroom interventions and resources to meet their academic and social emotional needs, as well as progress monitoring based on the individual needs of the student.

Tier 3 level of support provides the most individualized assistance for students using specialized systems and collaboration. MTSS teams meet to discuss resources and supports needed for students who face significant challenges throughout their school day. The team focuses on the strengths of these students to better understand what universal supports can be provided for each student, and their progress is monitored daily.

Each school identifies building resources available within each tier of support and creates a resource map. Schoolwide teams will use these resource maps to match student needs with supports and interventions available.

MTSS teams meet once a week to review data and make modifications as needed. Evidence-based practices are examined through data outcomes and changes are made to support the school, grade levels and content areas using a continuous improvement cycle.

Multiple pieces of data are reviewed, which include an academic screener from the Star Assessment for students in grades K-8. This data is transferred to the Freckle program that students use online, which allows students to work at their current level in both math and English language arts. Teachers also use the student’s data to guide small group instruction. State assessment data is used to outline the school’s instructional priorities.

Schools use data to monitor students’ social emotional health using both an annual Center for Educational Effective survey and a student perception social emotional health screener, as well as the review of student attendance and discipline referral data.

Carter Lake Elementary School uses the MTSS framework to support its school’s academic, social emotional and family engagement goals. Grade level teams implement district curriculum and professional learning community (PLC) teams to analyze data and plan instructional next steps to support all students academically.

To build community and strengthen social emotional learning, students are recognized at SOAR (safe, on task, awesome attitude and respect) assemblies, and the school has implemented class circles and student listening sessions.

To support family engagement, Carter Lake focuses on clear communication and holds family events during the year to showcase learning and incorporates learning activities for families to complete together. The school has also implemented listening sessions with families and invites parents to be a part of the school’s site council and family engagement committee.