Not every child has the same needs, but the traditional American school system tends to forget this fact. When the primary driver of curriculum and learning is sticking to covering a set amount of content–at a pace that favors students who are “normal” and is focused on “getting through” the material, with no additional support, too many children get left behind.
What is “normal” in today’s society? With gender differences, physical and emotional differences and differences at the rate students learn, there is no “normal.” All students, all children, are right where they’re supposed to be. Because one size doesn’t fit all.
That’s why it’s so important to offer support to students that meets them right where they are. It’s vital that each student has the opportunity to grow and learn in a supportive environment that acknowledges what they need–and then supplies it for them.
At LEADPrep, we have a multi-tiered system of support for our students, which we implement on their very first day of learning. We don’t wait around for individual educational plans; we take what our parents and students give us at face value and begin working with our students right where they are.
Here is what multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) looks like at LEADPrep.
Tier 1: School-wide Supports
- Academic work at the student level and pace
- Habits of Success/Mindfulness practice
- Visual supports for time management and completing independent work
- Service and leadership opportunities
- Five-point scales (individual and situational)/visual supports
- Fridays spent in service, nature, learning outside of the classroom
- Flipped learning instruction with a mini-lecture (10 minutes or less), 15 minutes of math as the only nightly homework (M-Th) and lecture-free active learning during class time
- Systems to support emotional regulation and enhance social competencies
- Three learning enrichment weeks (fall camping, winter trip/environmental, spring special interest intensives)
- Graphic organizers (and practice using them) to organize thoughts and projects
- School culture of kindness
- Affirmation and practice to develop and strengthen self-advocacy skills
- Practice with emotion check-ins
- Weekly homework notices (or “All-caught-up” emails) sent to parents
Tier 2: Small Group Supports
- Social communication role playing (designed groups targeting social cognitive concepts specific to social learning in the classroom as well as competencies for relationship building)
- Dream Team consulting and student interaction (support offered to students and faculty)
- Extra help with academics (and executive function), with a clear referral system for additional info or support needed
Tier 3: 1:1 Support
- Identification of academic needs exceeding a one-year delay
- Identification of social emotional needs requiring 1:1 intervention
- Coordination with outside tutoring/remediation supports
- Collaboration with outside specialists (via ROI) for wrap-around support
- SCERTS assessment
- Extra help with academics
These supports are provided using a combination of strategies, individualized to specific student needs, with the intent of closing the gap between current functioning and grade level expectations.
How do we implement this support?
Specialists, LEADPrep faculty, and the parents create and agree upon–with student input–a learning plan for students needing Tier 2 or Tier 3 support. This may include:
- Specialized instruction
- After-school tutoring
- 1:1 time during or after school with LEADPrep specialists
- After-school bridging program of 4-6 weeks to help student adjust to LEADPrep learning expectations
Is your child’s school meeting his or her needs? It’s time that all schools serve our students with the support and guidance they need.