School board hears report on MTSS

9/10/2013

By ANGIE HAFLICH

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

The USD 457 Board of Education heard a report about the Kansas Multi-Tier System of Supports, how it relates to the Common Core curriculum and where it's headed in the future.

The Kansas MTSS is a term used in Kansas to describe how schools go about providing support for each child to help them be successful and the processes and tools teachers use to make decisions, according to kansasmtss.org.

On Monday, Todd Weidemann, MTSS core team specialist who has worked with the district for the past four years to help implement the MTSS program, gave the report to the board Monday night.

Weidemann told board members that the MTSS system, which focuses on reading, math and behavior, recognizes that all students receive core instruction, some need more focus and a few need intensive focus.

Students are screened three times a year — in the fall, a mid-year screening before or after Christmas break and then the end of the year, around April.

"In the past, we've worked from an intervention standpoint. A kid might demonstrate a problem or an issue, and then we try to intervene. We try to prevent at MTSS. We've tried to move from which student needs help to what help does each student need," Weidemann said.

Regardless of a student's individual need for either more focus or intensive focus, Weidemann said, neither of those ever takes away from the student's core instruction.

"We never take a child out of the core instruction, which is the regular instruction that all kids receive, including special education children," he said.

Weidemann said that the MTSS and the Kansas College and Career Readiness Standards (KCCRS), also referred to as the common core curriculum, are integrated to support and complement each other.

Weidemann also shared current and future plans involving MTSS. In the 2013-14 school year, USD 457 is implementing the reading portion of MTSS and structuring math. In the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years, the district will begin implementing math and preparing behavior integration, and in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, the district will fully implement the Kansas MTSS.

In other business Monday, board members were presented with, but took no action on, revisions to policies regarding law enforcement's interrogation and investigations involving students, students in possession of weapons, and the release of student records.

Rick Atha, USD 457 superintendent, advised board members that City Attorney Randy Grisell, who also serves as the school district's legal counsel, will be reviewing the policies for legality, prior to them being presented to the board for action.

"Probably 90 percent of our policies are in line and almost Identical to the Kansas Association of School Boards, which is fine, but with that said, as a board, that's what you do is set policy. This board has deviated from KASB intentionally because you represent the norms of this community, but the purpose of having our own counsel look at it is we still have to follow the law," Atha said.

The next meeting of the USD 457 Board of Education is scheduled for 5 p.m. Sept. 23 in the Board Meeting Room at the Educational Support Center, 1205 Fleming St., where a college and career presentation will be held.

Board President Tom Blackburn encouraged members of the community to attend the meeting in order to learn about the new academic standards.

"Maybe that will set aside some concerns," Blackburn said.

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