Crafting the District's MTSS Plan
Earlier this month, the Eastchester Board of Education adopted a plan that outlined and codified the district’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports.
The 2023-2025 MTSS Plan lays out how the district will respond to students who are struggling academically, socially or behaviorally. The goal is to intervene early and to offer stronger, more intensive supports—if needed—to help students succeed.
The MTSS plan serves as a guide for educators, students and parents to the support systems available under the academic, social-emotional learning and behavioral umbrellas.
Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services Dr. Greg Stowell explained that, since coming into the district last July, one of his primary tasks has been the creation of a comprehensive MTSS plan. Citing the success other school districts have had in implementing similar ideas, Dr. Stowell oversaw the formation of a 34-person committee consisting of educators, administrators and skills coaches from each of the District’s five buildings that worked throughout the course of the school year to craft the support framework.
“Over the last five years, most districts have begun to draft MTSS plans and research has shown that a more robust MTSS plan can improve academic performance and student wellness while also reducing behavioral issues,” said Dr. Stowell. “So, the goal at the beginning of the year was to come up with a district-wide committee to develop and draft a comprehensive K-12 guide.”
By outlining the criteria for assessing students who may need extra support—and the subsequent intervention process of each “Tier,” the new plan helps to unify the intervention approach, both vertically and horizontally, across grade levels. This ensures that students are receiving equitable support appropriate to grade level regardless of their school, and that the techniques and systems used at lower grade levels can be extended into the upper grades as students progress through their academic careers.
“What’s really critical to this plan is that we use common language and common approaches, especially among the elementary schools,” said Dr. Stowell. “And although some of the interventions we use at the middle school level will be very different than the ones we use for kindergarten, the process of how we identify the students who need support, how we talk about it, how we collect data on that and how we leverage resources should all be very similar.”
The plan is available here and is also accessible through the “District” dropdown tab on the district website. The document should be utilized by parents and teachers to ensure that everyone is familiar with the general framework of MTSS.
“It is important that this forward-facing document is out in the public sphere so that there is no mystery about how we do our work; it’s about transparency, building trust and for parents to be able to see how we get to the decisions we arrive at,” said Dr. Stowell. “It also shows how MTSS teams at each building communicate with families about all of these issues.”
Dr. Stowell also noted that while the MTSS Plan is now officially in place, the district will continue to look for ways to update and upgrade the process to best serve Eastchester students.
“I’m particularly thankful for all of the staff members who served on this committee, they thought critically, made revisions, and really came up with a solid plan,” he said. “The hope is that this committee will continue to meet and if there are changes we need to make to this plan we will. If there are other resources that need to be leveraged, it may require a longer term approach.”