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Running Head: MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 1

The Effectiveness of the Multi Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

in Brandon Elementary Schools

Jenny Gieselman

Andy Phillips

Shelly Schantz

Oakland University

Lindson Feun, Ph.D

EA 7995

March 24, 2018


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments……………………………………………………………..……………………....4

Abstract………………………………………………………………………...………………….…...5

Chapter 1 Introduction……………………………………………………..………………………....6

Background

Assumptions and Limitations

Research Questions

Chapter 2 Review of the Literature……………………………………..……………………….….10

Introduction

Review of the Literature

Chapter 3 Method of the Study………………………………………………...…………….……...15

Overview- Purpose of the study

Overview- Brief survey of how the study was conducted

Selection of Subjects

Evaluation/ Research Design

Description of Instruments

Data Analysis

Summary

Chapter 4 Results of the Study……………………………………………………...……………….20

Triangulation of Data

Teacher Survey Results

Student Survey Results


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Administrative Interview Results

NWEA Test Results

Discussion of the Results

Chapter 5 Conclusions and

Recommendations……………………………………………………..28

Overview

Conclusions

Recommendations

Implications for Future Research

References……………………………………………………………………...……………………...31

Appendices………………………………………………………………………………………….…33

Appendix A: Consent Form

Appendix B: NWEA Score Table

Appendix C: Surveys and Interviews


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Acknowledgements

The researchers would like to thank many people for their support, insights, and knowledge as

we completed this research. First, we would like to thank our families for their support and patience

as we worked diligently on this two year action research project. The extra duty each of them took on

while we worked was priceless. Next, we would like to give many thanks to Dr. Lindson Feun, for the

hours of teaching us to conduct action research, as well as the countless hours he spent reviewing our

research and suggesting ways for us to make it both meaningful and of the highest quality. His

insights and knowledge in research design took our research to levels we could not have imagined two

years ago. We would also like to thank the staff, administration, and students of the Brandon School

District for their time and willingness to provide open and honest feedback about the MTSS process in

our district. Finally, we would like to thank the members of our Clarkston Cohort, including Dr.

Christine Abbott, for all of the support and feedback provided throughout the phases of our research.
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 5

Abstract

The Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) process has undergone significant change in the

Brandon School District within the last 10 years. The researchers conducted interviews, surveys, and

student data analysis. Literature on best practices in MTSS also was reviewed by the researchers. The

research team set out to determine if the current process was contributing to growth of at-risk students

in the elementary schools within the district. The researchers’ findings indicated pockets of success

with student achievement, however these findings were sporadic. Findings also indicated that there

were differences in the process at Brandon’s elementary schools as well as significant disparities in

attitudes of teachers toward the process. The team suggested that the process needed to be revisited

and refined such that interventions and processes are more uniform within the district as a whole. The

researchers recommend that additional research be conducted to determine specific interventions and

support needed to improve student achievement.


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Chapter 1
Introduction

Background

“In 2004, Congress made many changes to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

(IDEA 2004) and RTI was a big one” (Hale, 2008, p.1). The Brandon School District began the

Response to Intervention (RTI) process during the 2007-2008 school year. This process was brought

in by Brandon’s director of special education because prior to this, there was not a clear process for

recommending students for testing for learning disabilities or emotional impairments. RTI includes

three tiers. Tier 1 is considered high quality general instructional practices that all students receive.

Tier 2 is targeted small group intervention involving underperforming students. Tier 3 is intense

intervention at an individualized level. Also, the percentage of students in Brandon Schools who had

Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) was disproportionately high, when compared to the state

average. The RTI process was primarily monitored and run by special education teachers and mental

health staff. These meetings were short in length, held primarily before school. General education

teachers would initiate the meetings by sending requests to discuss individual students to the special

education team.

The district hired the husband of the director of special education to run a professional

development session on the importance of meeting mechanics. This signified Brandon Schools’

kickoff into the RTI process, though the RTI process wasn’t mentioned as much during this “training”

as the importance of starting on time, staying on time, ending on time and some dialogue strategies.

The RTI process struggled along for the next two years. General education teachers came to see it as a

roadblock to getting students the help that they needed from the special education department in the
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form of IEPs. Special education teachers felt attacked, especially during the meetings, as general

education teachers were frustrated about being asked to collect more data, try more strategies, and so

on, instead of moving forward with the special education testing process. At this time in the district’s

history, the primary (most of the time only) academic interventionist was the classroom teacher. The

district had a few primary reading programs for students in first grade (Reading Recovery in two

schools and Leveled Literacy Interventions in one school), but aside from that, there was little to no

support for struggling students outside of the classroom teacher.

At the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, the district hired a new director of special

education. During her first year in that position, she identified the need to revamp the RTI process. In

the fall of 2013, she pulled together a work group of 31 staff members from all schools, grade levels,

and departments. This team was given the task of creating a new RTI process, along with new forms

that would be used for tracking purposes. Around this time, the Michigan Department of Education

chose to rename RTI. It was now to be called “Multi-Tiered Systems of Support” (MTSS). The

special education director also preferred this newer terminology in referring to RTI. This work group

was known as the MTSS Work Group and the new process was to be called the “MTSS Process”.

Hurst states that “Basically, RTI is an integral part of MTSS but MTSS is more cohesive and

comprehensive in the goal of meeting the needs of all learners” (2014, p. 1). The MTSS work group

met regularly for several months and came up with some basic processes and many new forms and

handbooks in an effort to become uniform with the MTSS processes used across the district.

There had been much turnover administratively in the district in recent history. Only one

person who was a district administrator at the time of this study was in an administrative role during

the first iteration of RTI. Since the rollout of MTSS, only five administrators who were part of that
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process were still with the district. All but one (the special education director) were serving in

different capacities or schools at the time of the study. The district employed 10-11 administrators at a

time. Of the 31 people who worked on the district MTSS handbook, 60% remained with the district at

the time of this study.

Brandon Township is a relatively small rural community in northern Oakland County, just

south of Genesee and Lapeer Townships. The school district was comprised of two elementary

schools (prek- 3​rd​ grades), an intermediate school (4​th​-6​th​ grades), a public school academy (k-8​th

grades), a middle school (7​th​-8​th​ grades), and one high school. The district services approximately

2,700 students per year. The community was primarily caucasian, approximately 90%. There was

approximately 38% economically disadvantaged.

Assumptions and Limitations

The RTI/MTSS process has a long history in Brandon Schools. Since it began as a special

education initiative, and was one that was led primarily by the special education director, the

researchers assumed that special education teachers would have a different view of MTSS than general

education teachers. The researchers also assumed that the attitudes of most teachers toward the MTSS

process would be one of frustration.

The authors of this study were working in three different schools within the district. The

authors knew that the MTSS processes were different in all three buildings. The buildings focused on

different groups of students, ran meetings differently, used different forms, and generally had different

processes. The authors assumed that the differences were causing additional frustration among not

only teachers but administrators as well. Researchers also assumed that because of this disconnect, the
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MTSS process was not meeting the needs of as many students as it could have if it were either run the

same way or ran as well as the school or schools that ran it most efficiently. Finally, if the MTSS

process was streamlined, and made consistent across schools, the assumption was that the attitudes of

the professionals that were in those meetings and part of those processes would have improved.

Because students received interventions and supports as part of the MTSS process, the authors

assumed that students that were part of the MTSS process would have had a positive gain from the

interventions provided and the study of their achievement data on a regular basis.

The authors surveyed students and staff (teachers, administration, interventionists). There was

an assumption that the timing of participation in these surveys would have allowed respondents to be

living the process prior to providing feedback and would provide accurate perceptions of MTSS. One

limitation of the study is that it was conducted in one school district. Therefore, the results cannot be

generalized to other districts. Surveys and Interviews are listed in Appendix C.

Research Questions

The researchers used the following questions to frame their research:

1. What is the MTSS process in the elementary schools in the Brandon School District and how

does it compare to best practice research related to MTSS?

2. What are the perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs by district elementary staff about the district's

MTSS?

3. To what degree does placement in the elementary MTSS process improve student

achievement?
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Chapter 2
Review of the Literature

Introduction

As the researchers began a review of the literature, they realized that they would need to

narrow the topic down within RTI or MTSS, as those particular acronyms yield too large of a variety

of scholarly articles. The researchers decided to focus on professional development and its role in the

MTSS process, leadership attitudes toward MTSS, teacher attitudes toward MTSS, and accountability

to outside agencies related to performance. These particular areas rose as areas of interest as surveys

were created and data was studied.

Review of the Literature

In analyzing the history of the MTSS (RTI) process within the Brandon School District, the

research team recognized that one thing that teachers had negative perceptions about was the lack of

training and professional development upon the rollout of the system. There was only a little training

that revolved around meeting mechanics. Researchers reviewed “Understanding Practitioner

Perceptions of Responsiveness to Intervention” (Regan, ​Berkeley, Hughes, & Brady, 2015​)​. ​ The

authors defined responsiveness to intervention (RTI) as “a multi-tiered system intended to provide

screening and early intervention for students at risk for academic failure through the use of

research-based educational practices and assessments” ​(Regan et al., 2015, p. 234). This study was

conducted in one district and included all grade levels. For the purposes of this study, the researchers

focused on the findings from the elementary level only. The authors point out that, “the ‘wickedness’

of RTI lies in the details of the procedural implementation” (Regan et al., 2015, p. 235). Regan et al.
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(2015) also point that RTI should include core components such as “universal screening, continuous

progress monitoring, high-quality classroom instruction using researched-based interventions, and

fidelity of instructional interventions” (Regan et al., 2015, p. 234). The majority of respondents of the

Regan et al. study reported that practices that were common to RTI were feasible and effectively

implemented in their school. However, time was indicated as an issue, as well as not having the

specific knowledge or training to implement the practices themselves (Regan et al., 2015, p. 239). The

second phase of the Regan et al. (2015) study focused on teachers’ perceptions of support and

preparation for RTI and why they didn’t feel prepared for implementation. These same teachers

indicated that they felt it was feasible and effectively used in their school. “When considering

preparation and support for RTI implementation, most teachers referenced professional development

(or lack thereof) and how time impacted their efforts for implementation (either positively or

negatively)” (Regan et al., 2015, p. 241). There was also a feeling among teachers that there was a

lack of training in the use of assessment tools or programs for intervention. Teachers also identified

lack of time as a barrier; in professional development, assessment, planning and collaboration. (Regan

et al., 2015, p. 241). The study indicated that while teachers had a basic level of understanding of

RTI, they lacked clarity regarding decision making, responsibility (of who would implement), and

confidence in execution of interventions. Regan et al. (2015) state, “a convincing need for

professional development and support was evident.” They recommend instructional coaches for

increased effectiveness of professional development (Regan et al., 2015, p. 245).

In the article, “Relationships Between Ongoing Professional Development and Educators’

Perceived Skills Relative to RTI,” Castillo, March, Tan, Stocklager, Brundage, McCullough and

Sabnis studied a school district in the southeast United States that used an interesting and professional
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development intensive (and seemingly expensive) system to roll out its version of the RTI process.

The model they studied was one in which districts employed RTI coaches who spent several days in

each of the first three years of RTI implementation and then took that training to school-based

leadership teams (SBLTs). Those teams then helped with training school staff. They go on to say,

“Although differences in PD foci likely exist, it is clear that identifying critical skills relative to the

RTI model being implemented and evaluating how they change as a function of PD is important when

training educators” (Castillo et al, 2016, p. 893).

They go on to say, “Coaching often is incorporated into job-embedded practice in which

educators with expertise in the content being trained, in effective PD practices, and in the use of

interpersonal and communication skills facilitate skill application through modeling of skills,

opportunities for learners to practice, and collaborative reflection regarding skill development… in

fact, greater exposure to effective PD processes is linked to greater increases in educators’ knowledge

and skills” (Castillo et al, 2016, p. 895). Also in the Castillo et al. article, the researchers found it

interesting that the personnel in the studied districts had a fairly high turnover rate, similar to what the

Brandon School District experienced. “Approximately 54% of the SBLT members who participated

in the first training session participated in the final session due to attrition from the school and

administrative changes to teams” (Castillo et al, 2016, p. 901). There were 13 training sessions over a

period of three years.

Finally, the researchers focused on an increase in accountability in public education. In the

article, “Superintendent Perceptions of Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS): Obstacles and

Opportunities for School System Reform” (Dulaney, Hollam, and Wall, 2013), the authors point out

that accountability in U.S. public schools has increased due to No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
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Because of this, RTI and MTSS have been used interchangeably in education (Dulaney et al.,2013, p.

1). “MTSS brings the practices and promises of RTI and PLCs together into one system: a system

designed to support and serve everyone involved in continuous school improvement through ongoing

collaboration” (Dulaney et al., 2013, p. 2). This reiterated for the researchers that professional

learning and student improvement work hand in hand, especially as it relates to MTSS. The article

pointed out that MTSS should be part of a system that supports high-functioning professional learning

communities (PLC).

Dulaney et al. interviewed several superintendents. A common theme that emerged was the

need for a universal framework within a district for MTSS. One superintendent that was interviewed

said, "I've learned that the framework is very important because it is the common language. The

culture of what you're trying to create comes from the district level. We've tried to establish the

guidelines, and then from within the culture of their own schools ... [principals] use those guidelines to

structure what they do. So we don't control at the school level, but we create that framework for them

to follow, and it seems to work quite well." (Dulaney et al., 2013, p. 8). This reiterated to the

researchers the importance of the question in their survey for teachers about MTSS being conducted

the same in the buildings throughout Brandon Schools. The districts studied in the article emphasized

the importance of collaboration. Many even implemented late starts or early release for this very

thing. The researchers knew that there was opportunity for Brandon, because of the six half days

given during the 2016-17 school year.

Another question from the Dulaney et al. article focused around obstacles to full

implementation of MTSS within their districts. An obstacle noted by the authors was that

superintendents were struggling to understand MTSS language, such as MTSS, RTI, and PLC,
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emphasizing the need for a common framework. It was mentioned that small districts also face bigger

obstacles, because of funding, which is something that is a very real obstacle in the Brandon School

District. It was suggested in the article that a state-wide framework might help alleviate this problem.

One way districts in the Dulaney et al. article were finding ways to sustain MTSS was by

building capacity. They created teacher leaders who helped ensure the framework was followed.

Superintendents also noted the importance of basing PLCs around MTSS. One superintendent said

“You cannot stay neutral. You've either got to be progressing or you're regressing” (Dulaney et al.,

2013, p. 10).

Alan Blankstein (2013) states that effective schools, “Are committed to the success for all

students systematically identify struggling students. They identify problems early as possible- well

before students have a chance to fail. The timely identification of problem is what distinguishes

interventions from remedial strategies (p.133).”​ ​Interestingly all of the articles discussed that building

capacity within a school district (and even within a school) and a common framework (complete with

common language and acronyms) are a must. The researchers also worry about funding. The

Brandon School District has had instructional coaches for a number of years and is finding it hard to

sustain the funding for them. The researchers agree that the coaching model is one that is optimal to

follow, especially for the authentic job-embedded professional learning that it provides, but we

wonder if the high cost is worth the investment. The Brandon School District needs to invest some

district professional learning time to its MTSS process at all levels.


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Chapter 3
Method of Study

Overview - Purpose of the study

According to the U.S. Department of Education, all public schools must have processes to

identify and evaluate students who may require extra services, be they services for at-risk students or

services for students with special education needs (US Department of Education). These extra

services are present at public schools so to that they can be utilized by students that need them. The

processes to get students aligned with appropriate interventions need to be clear. The processes need

to include ways for students to qualify for the services and ways for students to “graduate” from the

services (when applicable). The processes must also include opportunities for data analysis at regular

intervals to judge whether appropriate progress is being made as well as to judge effectiveness of

interventions being implemented.

The purpose of this study was to determine how well the processes in place in the Brandon

School District met the requirements mentioned above. Results and recommendations were shared

with Brandon’s administrative team, and especially with the special education director.

Overview - Brief survey of how the study was conducted

Researchers conducted surveys of students in the MTSS process, as well as surveys of staff

members, including administration, teachers, and intervention staff. The consent form from the

superintendent is located in Appendix A. Interviews were then conducted. The researchers

interviewed administrators new to the process since it became MTSS instead of RTI as well as

administrators new to the process altogether. Interviews were also conducted with some of the 60% of

the original MTSS committee members that still worked within the Brandon School District. Surveys

and interview questions are in Appendix C.


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Selection of Subjects

The selection of subjects revolved around those that were or had been involved with the MTSS

program within the Brandon School District. At the elementary level, there are two pre-kindergarten

through third grade schools, one intermediate school that houses in students that are in grades four,

five, and six, and one non-traditional public school academy that houses a small population of

kindergarten through eighth grade students. The district is a declining enrollment district. In the

spring of 2013 one elementary school was closed. In the spring of 2017, it was decided to close the

intermediate school and the non-traditional academy and to restructure the two elementary schools.

The district is made up of the ethnic makeup of the student population is primarily caucasian. The

second highest population of students is hispanic, but it is less than 10% of the overall population.

Overall free and reduced lunch percentages of the district is about 35%. The two elementary schools

have a slightly higher percentage.

Researchers interviewed three administrators to see how the MTSS process was run in their

schools. A survey was administered to all elementary general education teachers and special

education staff as well as to MTSS students in third and fourth grades. Student achievement data were

studied using NWEA conditional growth percentile. Researchers identified each kindergarten

through third grade student as either a student who received MTSS interventions, or a student who did

not. Researchers then compared average conditional growth percentiles of various subgroups using a

beginning of the year NWEA test and an end of the year NWEA test.

Evaluation/ Research Design

Researchers began with conducting surveys and interviews in April 2017. The survey was

administered electronically after MTSS meetings at the respective schools. Interviews were
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conducted with the director of special education and building administrators. This information was

used to inform them of the processes that were currently being used in each building. Researchers

analyzed the academic performance of students in the MTSS process in kindergarten through fourth

grades in both elementary schools. In particular, researchers analyzed the conditional growth

percentile of those students. According to NWEA, “This metric shows how student growth compares

to the growth of students across the nation, and allows for growth comparisons to be made between

students performing at different points on the achievement distribution, and across different grades and

subject areas” (2012, p. 1). This data was broken down by quartile. Researchers shared the data with

administrators. The researchers then provided administrators with a series of recommendations that

were aimed at improving the process used across elementary buildings.

Description of Instruments

In researching the effectiveness of the MTSS process in Brandon’s elementary schools

researchers used NWEA test scores of students in the MTSS process, using the average conditional

growth percentile of various subgroups. NWEA test scores were evaluated from fall 2016 to spring

2017. Scores on growth were compared using tools available through NWEA. Surveys and interview

questionnaires were used to gather perceptions of the staff of the MTSS process and perceptions of

effectiveness in closing achievement gaps. Researchers reviewed academic literature on best practices

in MTSS and compared those practices to the MTSS practices within the Brandon School District in

order to make recommendations.

The teacher survey consisted of fourteen Likert scale questions, eight open ended questions,

and four demographic multiple choice questions. The student survey consisted of eight simple
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multiple choice questions and two open ended questions. Researchers also conducted interviews.

Questions that were asked in the interviews were the same questions asked of all interview subjects.

Data Analysis

Researchers used qualitative and quantitative data in this study. Interview and survey data

were used to gather perceptions on the process of MTSS. These results were graphed when

applicable. Survey and interview questions related to perceived benefit/ growth of students in MTSS

were also identified. Researchers analyzed qualitative data for trends.

NWEA test data was analyzed. Researchers analyzed growth made on the test from the fall of

2016 to the spring of 2017. Conditional growth percentile was averaged and compared in kindergarten

through third grade at both Harvey-Swanson Elementary and Oakwood Elementary (both K-3 schools

during the 2016-2017 school year) for analysis. A comparison was made between the NWEA

conditional growth percentiles of students in MTSS with students not in MTSS to determine if MTSS

students were making positive growth at least at the same rate as students not in MTSS. Fall 2016

NWEA scores were used as a baseline ​ ​Fall 2016 NWEA data was used as a one indicator for student

placement in MTSS. Spring 2017 NWEA data was used as posttest data to determine growth rate.

Researchers looked for differences, if any, between students in the MTSS process versus the growth

scores of students not in MTSS.

Summary

Using surveys and interviews of staff and students, researchers drew conclusions regarding

perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs of the MTSS process and perception of its impact on students who

received interventions through the MTSS process. Researchers used average conditional growth
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percentile of MTSS students and compared them with students not in MTSS using the NWEA

assessment in the areas of reading and math to draw conclusions of the impact of MTSS interventions.
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Chapter 4
Results of the Study

Triangulation of Data

The researchers compiled the data from surveys, interviews and NWEA student growth from

fall 2016 to spring 2017. To triangulate the data, there were four data sources conducted and analyzed

in this study which were; teacher survey, student survey, administrative interviews, and NWEA data.

Consent was received from the superintendent to survey all staff and students involved in MTSS.

Consent form is Appendix A.

The NWEA test was a reliable data source. From ​Technical Manual for Measures of Academic

Progress -&- Measures of Academic Progress for Primary Grades​:

Much of the documented validity evidence for NWEA tests comes in the form of concurrent

validity. This form of validity is expressed in the form of a Pearson correlation coefficient

between the total domain area RIT score and the total scale score of another established test

designed to assess the same domain area. It answers the question, “How well do the scores

from this test that reference this (RIT) scale in this subject area (e.g., Reading) correspond to

the scores obtained from an established test that references some other scale in the same

subject area?” Both tests are administered to the same students in close temporal proximity,

roughly two to three weeks apart. Strong concurrent validity is indicated when the correlations

are in the mid- .80’s. Correlations with non-NWEA tests that include more performance test

items that require subjective scoring tend to have lower correlations than when non-NWEA

tests consist of exclusively multiple choice items.


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Teacher Survey Results

The question that seemed to have the most agreement was when 14 out of the 24 respondents

strongly agreed that the MTSS process should look the same across the district. The majority of the

surveys also showed that people felt there is not enough time devoted to planning interventions.

Teachers agreed that they were aware of what the interventionists were doing or could offer.

Out of the 24 respondents every grade was represented k-5, with the exception of 2nd. A social

worker, interventionists, and a special ed teacher also responded. A total of 75% of the respondents

felt that MTSS mostly addressed the academically at-risk. A small portion of respondents, 16.7%, felt

it mostly addressed bubble students and 8.3% felt it mostly addressed behavioral issues.

There was overwhelming positive support towards the collaboration that MTSS provided. It

was also addressed that the monthly meetings between teachers was a positive. The interventionists

we had were seen as helpful, and respondents tended to agree that progress does happen.

The frustration seemed to come from not enough support and the feeling of not being able to

address all students who may be considered at-risk. One teacher wrote, “Some students are left out

because their NWEA scores are too high, but they aren’t successful in school.” Others felt that MTSS

meetings often tended to turn into a gripe session. It was also brought up that some left the meetings

feeling like they had more to do with not enough time for reflection or planning.

There also were 13 out of 24 teachers that disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement,

“I ​have a clear-cut understanding of the process for moving a child through the tiers in MTSS.” This

also seemed to be a point of frustration for teachers surveyed.


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Student Survey Results

The survey was administered to students with one of the researchers asking the students the

questions and recording the responses on the survey. Twenty surveys were collected from students

who were in the MTSS process during the 2016-17 school year. Eleven students were from Harvey

Swanson Elementary school and nine were from Oakwood Elementary School. There were twelve 3rd

graders, three 4th graders, and five 2nd graders.

Eighty percent of students indicated that they felt like they got enough help in math. One

student did not feel he received enough help in math, one was not sure, and two indicated that they did

not receive help in math. Thirteen of the students were pulled out out of the classroom and they all

felt that it helped them. Student comments, though general in nature, indicated that learning strategies

to help solve problems was helpful.

Seventy-five percent of students surveyed indicated they received enough help in reading. One

felt he did not get enough help, one was not sure, and three did not receive help in reading.

Seventy-three percent of students who did receive reading supports felt they helped them. Twelve

students went to another room for reading instruction, all but one felt that was helpful to them. For

reading interventions, students indicated that the kinds of things that helped included being able to

focus and get more help from the teacher, learning various strategies for reading (figuring out hard

words, five finger rule for just right books, etc).

The overall responses received from the sampling of students in the MTSS process indicated

that students felt they were being helped. They indicated that the strategies and help received helped

them in both areas: reading and math. While students were able to be more specific in the types of

strategies learned for reading, math strategies were still noted.


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Administrative Interview Results

Interviews were conducted with the superintendent, an elementary principal, the special

education director, and the elementary and middle school curriculum coordinator. For a historical

perspective, the principal and curriculum coordinator have been with the district more than 15 years.

The special education director has been in Brandon for 6 years (the 2nd of which, she oversaw the

creation of the MTSS process by leading a large committee). The superintendent was beginning his

fourth full school year in Brandon at the time of the interview.

Researchers asked interview subjects to define what MTSS meant to each of them. All but the

superintendent saw it as an ongoing process, with answers in some way, shape, or form revolving

around differentiating instruction for all students, and especially those that need more support. The

superintendent saw the MTSS process as the process used in meetings. He defined MTSS as,

“Teachers meeting, talking and strategizing on ways to improve learning for all students,” and “set

collaboration time including opportunities to review data and to discuss what is working and not for

students.” The principal’s response varied as well. He saw one of the main targets of MTSS as being

identification of special education students for testing, using in-house data. He noted, “For MTSS to

have buy-in with teachers, they need to see that their professional opinions matter. This means that if

members of the team notice a student has extreme struggles, there is a system for having that student

evaluated so that the student can get the support that he/she needs in the form of an Individualized

Education Plan. When I was a teacher in our district, it was nearly impossible to have a student

evaluated unless it was a parent request.”

When asked about what systems are in place currently, answers varied. The principal and

special education director talked about intervention systems in place in partnership with collaboration
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 24

meetings, while the curriculum coordinator’s answer focused on teachers receiving professional

development from instructional coaches in the area of differentiating learning. As mentioned, the

superintendent’s answers tended to focus on the MTSS process as being a series of meetings for

teachers to collaborate.

Researchers asked if it was important that MTSS be systematic across all schools. The

superintendent responded that it was important to him. The curriculum coordinator and principal

agreed, although their answers focused more on it being systematic within programs at the same grade

level. The special education director didn’t feel as though it needed to be the same. She noted, “I

think the systemic MTSS process is important across the district’s school buildings but the forms and

structure may be different depending upon the culture of the building and the specific supports each

building may have in place. In the end, student growth and success with identified successful

strategies for students is the result needed in all buildings.”

When asked about teacher perception of MTSS in Brandon, all agreed that it varied, with many

seeing teachers as feeling less than positive about it. The curriculum coordinator stated, “It’s a mixed

bag. Some see it as useful because they utilize the time to tap into the human resources and plan for

differentiated instruction. I think those that don’t do that bring down the crowd and muddle the

process.” The superintendent said that MTSS is seen as, “A chore by many and as opportunity by

others.” The elementary principal said, “The more that we can show teachers that their effort in the

MTSS process is valued, the better. This means that we are celebrating success of struggling students,

and maybe even discontinuing them from MTSS. At the same time, it means that if no growth or

negative growth is the case after sustained intervention, there is a path to special education through

MTSS.”
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 25

All interview subjects answered without hesitation that the MTSS process in the Brandon

School District needs to be revisited. The special education director said, “It’s time to see what part of

the process should be changed, eliminated, what’s really being used, what needs to be used, where we

need to reteach portions and what needs to be revised.”

Based on the interviews, researchers suggested that administration come together to identify

and define what it wanted the MTSS process to be before it was revisited. This group, perhaps in

collaboration with survey data from teachers across all schools, determined what the vision of the

process was, and perhaps created a simple document to be shared with teaching staff annually. The

curriculum coordinator agreed with this when she said, “Having a vision” improved the MTSS

process. She said we needed to “Sit together and decide what our bottom line end target is and then

create a mission (steps) to reach that vision.” She also saw the need for teachers to have time, separate

from MTSS meeting time to analyze student data. Researchers agreed that time needed to be set aside

for teachers to analyze data of students who are not necessarily at risk and in need of tier-two supports,

which is what MTSS meeting time tended to focus on.

NWEA Test Scores

The research team analyzed conditional growth percentile (CGP) averages in both Harvey-Swanson

Elementary (HSE) and Oakwood Elementary School (OES) for students in kindergarten through third

grades. The following represents what the team found. A table for the NWEA scores are shown in

Appendix B.

● At both HSE and OES, kindergarten MTSS students in math and reading had a lower average

CGP than students who were not identified as being in MTSS. The difference was much

higher in reading than in math for both schools.


MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 26

● At HSE, in first grade, average CGP of math and reading was much higher for MTSS (63.3 to

53.6 for reading and 61.8 to 50.7 for math) than non MTSS. This was not true for OES first

grade students. At OES, average CGP was lower in reading for MTSS students than students

not in MTSS and higher in math for MTSS students than for students not in MTSS.

● At both HSE and OES, in second grade, CGP was higher in math for MTSS students than for

students not in MTSS, but lower in reading.

● At OES in third grade, students in MTSS had a higher average CGP than those that were not in

MTSS. In reading at OES, the opposite was true. At HSE, average CGP was lower for MTSS

students in both areas than for students not in MTSS.

● When comparing schools by grade level in reading, HSE students, both those who were in

MTSS and those that were not, had a higher average CGP in kindergarten through second

grades, with the only exception being HSE MTSS students in kindergarten. The difference

was largest in first grade MTSS students (difference of 30.7). The opposite was true in third

grade, with OES students having a higher average CGP in both MTSS students and students

not in MTSS.

● When comparing schools by grade level in math, HSE students, both those who were in MTSS

and those that were not had a higher average CGP in all areas except 2nd grade students not in

MTSS and third grade MTSS students (almost identical).

Discussion of the Results

It was pointed out in chapter two that a consistent framework should be a part of the MTSS

process in a district. It appeared that Brandon teachers agreed, 14 out of the 24 teachers surveyed

strongly agreed that MTSS should look the same across the district. Administrators also agreed with
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 27

that fact, the superintendent, curriculum director and principal agreed. The researchers were aware

that this was not necessarily the case in Brandon School District.

Student perception data indicates that students who have struggled in math or reading felt that

interventions and supports provided were helpful to them. The researchers realized that while this

information did not directly relate to the literature review, they felt student perceptions were important

factors for increasing student achievement.

One of the areas that researchers discovered as a limitation was that 4 of 6 Oakwood teachers

indicated that the MTSS focus was on the bubble (academically almost there) students. While all of

Harvey Swanson teacher responses indicated the focus was on the most academically at risk students.

Administrators in the Brandon School District felt that it was important for the MTSS process

to be uniform across the grade levels and the district. Teachers did not seem to have a clear

understanding of how to move a child through the process of MTSS. Responses indicated the need to

clarify the procedures and process of MTSS. This was consistent with Regan’s (2015) study where

teachers felt unprepared and trained for implementation and the process.
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 28

Chapter 5
Conclusions and Recommendations

Overview

The researchers conducted this study to determine how well the process of MTSS was in place

in the Brandon School District. The researchers used the following questions to guide their research:

1. What is the MTSS process in the elementary schools in the Brandon School District and how

does it compare to best practice research related to MTSS?

2. What are the perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs by district elementary staff about the district's

MTSS?

3. To what degree does placement in the elementary MTSS process improve student

achievement?

The researchers reviewed data collected from interviews of administrators, surveys of teachers

and students, and student achievement data to make conclusions, recommendations, and to consider

implications for future research.

It was found that the MTSS process in Brandon wasn’t consistent. Student achievement data,

using conditional growth percentile as the specific measure studied, was sporadic and didn’t support

that the process in place consistently reduced the achievement gap between students who were

considered MTSS students and those that were not. Theoretically best practices were in place, but in

practicality there were some pieces missing.

Conclusions

The first major finding was that in general there was not a common understanding among staff

members on the process of moving students through MTSS. The MTSS process in Brandon

elementary schools was not found to be consistent across buildings in the district. While one school,
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 29

HSE, focused their MTSS attention on the most struggling students, MTSS at OES focused primarily

on the students who were performing just below meeting the grade level expectations.

The second major finding was that student growth within the MTSS students was not

consistent in closing the achievement gap. NWEA results were sporadic, with some pockets of

significant growth of MTSS students as opposed to non-MTSS peers, while other areas showed the

opposite.

The third major finding was that, according to research related to best practices in MTSS,

Brandon had some of those best practice pieces in place, while others were not. Staff and

administrators responded that data-driven collaboration was provided to support groups of learners.

However, there was not a strong systemic approach with follow-through and systems of support.

Recommendations

Through research and data collection, researchers found that Brandon Schools needed a more

systemic and systematic approach for MTSS. Systems varied from school to school. Definitions and

opinions of MTSS varied from teacher to teacher and even administrator to administrator throughout

Brandon Schools. These results indicate that Brandon Schools should create a common definition

procedure for the MTSS process. Professional development time should then be provided at the

beginning of each school year to ensure that all staff understand the common process and procedures

for MTSS.

Researchers found that not having a clearly defined definition of MTSS was a point of

frustration for teachers. This is an area that Brandon Schools needs to revisit. It is the researchers

recommendation that a committee be formed that includes teachers, support staff, and administration

to clearly define and map out procedures for MTSS to be implemented across the district.
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 30

Researchers found that more systematic interventions across grade levels are wanted by

teachers. Sporadic gains in student achievement also suggest that stronger interventions need to be in

place for small groups of students with high needs. Therefore, this would be something researchers

would recommend Brandon Schools address with the committee they form. This could possibly help

to improve the sporadic student achievement data that the researchers found.

Implications for future research

This research has generated additional questions that need further investigation.

1. How can systematic interventions be evaluated for effectiveness and fiscal

sustainability?

2. What specific interventions are effective?

3. How do transient populations affect MTSS effectiveness?

4. How can elementary academic coaches be used to better prepare teachers and support

staff to implement interventions recommended in the MTSS process?


MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 31

References

Castillo, J. M., March, A. L., Tan, S. Y., Stockslager, K. M., Brundage, A., Mccullough, M., &

Sabnis, S. (2016). RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ONGOING PROFESSIONAL

DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATORS’ PERCEIVED SKILLS RELATIVE TO RtI:

Professional development and RtI skills.​ Psychology in the Schools, 53​(9), 893-910.

doi:10.1002/pits.21954 retrieved March 4, 2017 from https://library.oakland.edu/

Dulaney, S.K., Hallam, P.R., & Wall, G. (2013). SUPERINTENDENT PERCEPTION OF

MULTI-TIERED SYSTEMS OF SUPPORT (MTSS): Obstacles and opportunities for

school system reform. ​AASA Journal of Scholarship & Practice, 30 (10.2)​ retrieved March

4, 2017 from https://library.oakland.edu/

Hale, J. B. (2008) Response to Intervention: Guidelines for Parents and Practitioners. ​Wrights Law​.

Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://www.wrightslaw.com/idea/art/rti.hale.pdf

Hurst, S. (2014, January 6) What is the Difference Between RTI and MTSS? ​Reading Horizons​.

Retrieved November 15, 2016, from

http://www.readinghorizons.com/blog/what-is-the-difference-between-rti-and-mtss

Metcliff, T. (n.d.) What’s your plan? Accurate Decision MAking within a Multi-Tier System of

Supports: Critical Areas in Tier 1. ​RTI Action Network: A Program of the National Center for

Learning Disabilities​. ​Retrieved November 15, 2016, from

http://www.rtinetwork.org/essential/tieredinstruction/tier1/accurate-decision-making-within-a-

multi-tier-system-of-supports-critical-areas-in-tier-1

Northwest Evaluation Association. (2012, October). Frequently asked questions: Conditional growth

index. Retrieved November 22, 2016 from


MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 32

https://support.nwea.org/sites/www.nwea.org/files/resources/Conditional%20Growth%20Index
%20FAQ_0.pdf

Northwest Evaluation Association. (2012, October)​. Technical Manual for Measures of Academic
Progress -&- Measures of Academic Progress for Primary Grades

Regan, K. S., Berkeley, S. L., Hughes, M., & Brady, K. K. (2015). Understanding practitioner

perceptions of responsiveness to intervention.​ Learning Disability Quarterly, 38​(4), 234-247.

Retrieved March 4, 2017 from https://library.oakland.edu/

United States Department of Education. (n.d.).​ Building the Legacy: Idea 2004​.

Retrieved November 22, 2016 from

http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,dynamic,TopicalBrief,23
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 33

Appendices

Appendix A- Consent form(s)

Appendix B- NWEA Score Table

Appendix C- Surveys and Interview Questions

Administrator Interview

Staff Survey

Student Survey
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 34

Appendix A:​ Consent Form

January 14, 2017

Dr. Matthew Outlaw


Brandon School District
1025 South Ortonville Road
Ortonville, MI 48462

Dear Dr. Outlaw,

We are part of an educational specialist cohort from Oakland University conducting action research on the
effectiveness of our MTSS process. Our research questions are: What are the perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs
by district elementary teachers about the district's MTSS ​and​ To what degree does placement in the elementary
MTSS process improve student achievement.

We are seeking permission to survey both staff and students involved in the MTSS. The students and staff from
Brandon Fletcher Intermediate, Brandon Academy of Arts and Science, Harvey- Swanson, and Oakwood would
be the focus of our research. We would like to conduct surveys in March 2017. Prior to conducting the survey
we will be getting consent from parents, students and staff. Their participation will be voluntary and all
information will remain anonymous. There is no risk in taking this survey. Refusal to participate will involve
no penalty or loss of benefits and subjects may discontinue participation at any time without penalty or loss of
benefits.

When the research is complete, the findings will be made public but no student information will be identifiable
as the survey is being completed anonymously. The information from our research will benefit future students
and staff as we plan on improving the MTSS process to benefit under-achieving students. We would appreciate
your approval for this project. Please indicate your permission on the form below and return it to Andy Phillips.
If you have specific questions regarding this research project please contact Lindson Feun, Ph.D., Faculty
Sponsor, Oakland University, (248)623-9233.

Sincerely,

Jenny Gieselman Andrew Phillips Shelly Schantz

I give permission for the cohort group from Oakland University to conduct a survey of students and staff
involved with the MTSS process in the spring of 2017.

________________________________________________ ____________________________
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 35

Administrator Signature Date


Appendix B- NWEA Score Table

Harvey Swanson Elementary School Oakwood Elementary School


Reading Average Conditional Growth Percentile Reading Average Conditional Growth Percentile

All Kinder- All Kinder-


Grades garten Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grades garten Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3
MTSS 48.8 32.4 63.3 53.3 47.1 MTSS 44.8 46.5 32.6 40.3 56.4
Non-MT
Non-MTSS 56.2 61 51.6 61.1 52.2 SS 50.8 51.5 46.5 43.2 61.1
All
All Students 54.4 53.6 54.5 58.8 51.4 Students 48.9 50.1 43.3 41.7 59.3

Met Growth Projection Met Growth Projection

MTSS 56.60% 41.20% 71.40% 63.20% 50.00% MTSS 41.70% 47.40% 40.00% 37.00% 60.10%
Non-MT
Non-MTSS 60.30% 67.30% 51.20% 63.00% 59.10% SS 54.60% 54.30% 44.00% 42.90% 74.40%
Harvey Swanson Elementary Oakwood Elementary
Math Average Conditional Growth Percentile Math Average Conditional Growth Percentile

All Kinder- All Kinder-


Grades garten Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grades garten Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3
MTSS 56.8 47.6 61.8 69.8 42.1 MTSS 47.2 41.5 59.3 48.4 42.8
Non-MT
Non-MTSS 55.5 65.5 50.7 62.5 46 SS 49 58.1 61.1 34.7 32.8
All
All Students 55.8 61.2 53.8 64.6 45.4 Students 48.4 53.1 60.7 41.7 36.6

Percentage that Met Growth Projection Percentage that Met Growth Projection

MMTSS 61.90% 53.30% 68.80% 84.20% 23.50% MTSS 45.30% 40.00% 60.00% 46.40% 39.10%
Non-MT
Non-MTSS 58.30% 70.80% 47.60% 72.90% 45.50% SS 51.90% 63.80% 73.50% 25.90% 23.1
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 36

Appendix C - Surveys and Interviews

Surveys are located after this page.

● Administrator Interview

● Student Survey

● Teacher Survey
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 37

MTSS Administrator Interview Questions

Answers submitted by Diane Zedan, 9-26-17

1. ​ In a perfect world what does MTSS look like?


A. Teachers use quality practiced researched based instruction to present standards to their students and
differentiate the instruction so learners are presented the material in a manner that best meets the various
learners’ styles and needs.
B. Classroom teachers would use assessment data to determine which students had not gained the
presented knowledge to then present focused explicit instruction to individuals or groups in the area(s) they are
lacking in skills and knowledge. This intervention would be assessed regularly (2-4 weeks) to determine if skills
had improved or not and if another intervention needed to be implement or if student(s) were making progress
towards the goal, then the intervention would continue or be tweaked if the assessment indicated a need for
that revision.
C. If a student continues to show little or no progress towards attainment of the skill, a more intense
intervention would be designed with a smaller group or individually. The new intervention may need to be
increased in time, frequency and/or explicitly focused on the goal. Progress monitoring to review, revise, or
change the intervention needs to occur. Teaching to the students’ strengths to support increased learning.
D. When intervention continues to be unsuccessful, a more intense, possibly individual intervention will
need to be developed for this struggling learner.

2. ​In an ideal world what would an intervention system look like in your building?
A. The best teachers who differentiate, progress monitor, share data, reflect on their practice and revise
for the individual students assigned to their class.
B. Collaborating support professionals to work alongside the most excellent teachers in collaboration to
support all learners in small groups and individually, differentiating and meeting the needs of the various
learning styles in their classroom. Documenting progress monitoring assessment data to share with others to
brainstorm other ideas and interventions.
C. ​Intervention professional staff , who work with the collaborating professionals to intensely instruct the most
struggling/least progressing students to share the interventions and data that were successful and how the data
supports it.

3. ​ Do you think it’s important that MTSS is systematic across schools?


A. I think a systemic MTSS process is important across the district’s school buildings but the forms and
structure may be different depending upon the culture of the building and the specific supports each building
may have in place. In the end, student growth and success with identified successful strategies for students in
the result needed in all buildings.
B. The information regarding interventions, data, time/frequency of the explicit instruction and the focused
goals attained or not needs to be easily recorded and shared.

4. ​What are systems that are in place that have a positive impact on student learning?
A. MTSS process in all Preschool – 8​th​ grade and moving towards it in the high school.
B. Collaboration of General Ed., Special Ed., ELA and Math Coaches have supported all student to grow
and skill improvement.
C. Collaboration of General Ed., Special Ed., ELA, Math and Tech Coaches have supported the sharing of
best practices of intervention strategies for struggling learners.
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 38

D. Review and reflection on the data of all students and focus upon those students who show little
progress/growth.
E. The use of behavioral data and interventions from Teacher Consultants, Psychologists, SSW and
Behavior Interventionists to collaborate with student teams to support behaviorally struggling students.

5. ​What do you feel would improve the MTSS process?


A. We need to celebrate those students who do show success and improvement to grow in their skills and
behaviors.
B. We need to celebrate and applaud those teachers, coaches and support staff who collaborate to
promote success in students’ skills and behaviors.
C. Having all the data in a single space would be nice but yellow folders are a good start.
D. Work on differentiation and strategies with high school and some middle school teachers to begin the
best practice and Tier 1 work.

6. ​How do you feel teachers perceive MTSS?


A. Some see it as a means to identify students as Special Ed.
B. Some see it as a collaboration to share and get new ideas to support children and increase their bag of
tricks.
C. Some see it as a way to share concerns and work with a team to develop an approach as a team to
support the needs of children.

7. ​Do you feel the MTSS process in Brandon should be revisited?


A. Yes, it’s been a couple of years since we reviewed it.
B. Time to see what part of the process should be changed, eliminated, what’s really being used, what
needs to be used, where we need to re-teach portions and what needs to be revised.

Interview with Superintendent Matt Outlaw


In a perfect world what does MTSS look like? Teachers meeting, talking and strategizing on ways to improve
learning for all students.

In an ideal world what would an intervention system look like in your building? Set collaboration time including
opportunities to review data and to discuss what is working and not for students.

Do you think it’s important that MTSS is systematic across schools? Yes

What are systems that are in place that have a positive impact on student learning? Working on it on a larger
scale, but the elementary MTSS meetings are excellent for our bottom tier students.
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 39

What do you feel would improve the MTSS process? More time, focus and buy-in. Also, more emphasis on
students beyond the bottom tier.

How do you feel teachers perceive MTSS? A chore by many and as opportunity by others.

Do you feel the MTSS process in Brandon should be revisited? Yes

Interview with Curriculum Administrator Debbie Brauher


In a perfect world what does MTSS look like?
Perfect world, it would be an ongoing process. It would be what we are implementing this year (at
least starting to) by regularly looking closely at student data and using this information to plan for
interventions/differentiated instruction in the classroom. It would be sifting through all students all the
time and chipping away at the deficiencies or gaps each week in order to spend time at the
monthly/six “weeksish” meeting really honing in on those tier two and three interventions.

In an ideal world what would an intervention system look like in your building? Ideally, it would look
like teachers intervening through differentiated instruction first. If we can get all teachers solid on
differentiating their instruction (many still do not know what this really means) then that would be solid
intervention for all kids (high, med, low) and would help uncover the true tier 2 and 2 kids. Also,
having the tier two interventions be in the classroom with a solid bridge of communication and
planning between the classroom teacher and interventionists would be optimal (we are almost there
and I have to say this is pretty cool!).

Do you think it’s important that MTSS is systematic across schools? Absolutely! I say this because if
it’s not, that implies we don’t have a vision and without a vision for MTSS, it is set up to fail. A strong
vision with a mission will determine where we put our energy and will make sure all stakeholders are
informed accordingly. I can’t imagine not having it be systematic.

What are systems that are in place that have a positive impact on student learning? Coaches helping
teachers learn how to differentiate instruction in small group, monthly/six weeks meetings to come
together to look at data and update progress.

What do you feel would improve the MTSS process? Having a vision. Sitting together and deciding
what our bottom line end target is and then creating a mission (steps) to reach that vision. Also,
implementing the RPM meetings in order to provide all students with the instruction they need from
the most qualified person in the classroom (the teacher) and then making sure that when we come
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 40

together monthly/six weeksish, we are ready to bring the tier two/three kids to the table so we can
utilize the resources of special ed professionals. We need to use that time to seriously brainstorm
and get busy planning. Definitely think it shouldn’t be only used to input data. That is not lifting
instruction in any way!

How do you feel teachers perceive MTSS? Right now, I think it’s a mixed bag. Some see it as useful
because they utilize the time to tap into the human resources and plan for differentiated instruction. I
think those that don’t do that bring down the crowd and muddle the process. I think that teachers that
don’t have direction or need help succumb to this and then it’s a losing battle. I don’t think teachers
really understand the purpose of MTSS and I think they don’t realize that it is truly an ongoing
process that starts with them. I don’t blame them because they genuinely need help professional
development in differentiation, data reflection and planning. They just need support.

Do you feel the MTSS process in Brandon should be revisited? Yes. We are so close and on the way
to getting it right (well at least as right as it can be now) and we should take time to do this because, if
done right, it can really pay off for our students.
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 41

Student Survey
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 42
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 43
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 44

How can our school or teachers help you more with reading?

I don't know. (2)


Help me focus on the book.
No thoughts.
Getting a teacher to help.
Help me to read longer.
Help with the big words.
Can't think of anything.
Don't have anything.
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 45

Get me a just right book.


Help me find books.
Do the five finger rule.
I don't really know.
More time with groups
read with us

How can our school or teachers help you more with math?

Help me focus.
I can't think of a way.
Think about the questions.
Doing more math.
I'm good at math...
Math is going good. I don't really need any help.
Can't think of anything.
Don't have an opinion
Give me lots of challenges.
Learn more.
Doing math strategies.
Use flash cards
I don't really know.
I don't know help learn facts
help us solve stuff
 
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 46

Staff Survey
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 47
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 48
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 49

Narrative questions asked:

If you would like to explain any of your answers from above, please do so 

here. 

I feel like the MTSS process should be more of a team approach. There needs to be more auxiliary staff 
members available to push in and help students. 
I feel as though that there is no one who really understands the MTSS process and how it should be conducted. 
I have taken into consideration the different principals and buildings in which I have worked for my responses. I 
have seen the best format, meetings, process, and results from my current administrator, Andy Phillips. 
I feel MTSS has it place but I have a hard time with those students that have been in the program for years and 
there is little or no improve in the student (s) achievements. I do not understand why other methods are not 
looked at when those students are not showing growth. 
We have recently changed formats to be more consistent across the district. We are still getting to know this 
new format. 
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 50

I'm not sure the process needs to look the same in all buildings, each building has unique situations and admin 
handles the situations differently?!?!? 
Since this is my first year in elementary, and my first year with MTSS, I am not really sure of the process, 
benefits...etc. 

In a couple of sentences, explain what MTSS should be. 

MTSS is a good format for teachers, resource personnel, administration, etc to come together and discuss 
students. It is and should be a system for tracking data and student progress over time and throughout school 
transitions. MTSS should also incorporate a team approach to helping teachers problem solve and implement 
intervention plans. MTSS should be a process/system for keeping an eye on students who may otherwise fall 
through the cracks. 
MTSS is to help at risk students and to be able to keep track of them depending on academic or behaviors. It is 
a way to keep an eye on students we are concerned about. 
MTSS should be a team of people who are available to help give assessments and push into the classroom to 
help with interventions. 
Where the team can get together and come up with a plan and solutions so the student can be successful. The 
plan should include the people involved, the time when things should take place, etc. 
MTSS should be a chance to discuss strategies and plans for at-risk (academic or behavior) students with a 
team of professionals to get suggestions. 
MTSS should be a program that supports at risk students with their specific needs. Teachers and support staff 
should be able to meet and have meaningful discussions about progress or challenges. 
MTSS should be a time set aside to discuss and put a plan in place about students showing academic and 
behavioral issues. 
MTSS should be a process where team teachers share info about a student, collaborate, and create a plan for 
that student to be as successful as possible. 
discussion on students that need more help 
A screening process that intervenes to support teachers and help students. 
MTSS should be the process by which we identify at-risk students who are struggling, identify in which area they 
are in the most need of support, then create a plan to support that area. The goal should be to give them the 
support they need. If the supports of one tier have been attempted and are successful, then they should 
continue there. If not, more intense intervention is necessary. 
A process of identifying students in need of extra support for academics and behaviors. Additional support 
staff should be in place for interventions to be successful. 
Support for students in need that allows them to increase knowledge or behavior. 
I can only share my views but I see MTSS as away to collect data and help the student (s) to continue to show 
grow and improve academically. 
MTSS should be specific problem identification based on data, planning interventions and reviewing data to 
determine student progress/ how plan is working. 
MTSS AT BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 51

MTSS should be a way to identify students who are at risk academically and behaviorally and create a plan to 
help them be as successful as possible in school. 
MTSS should be a system where at risk or bubble students are talked about and interventions are put in place 
to support them behaviorally or academically. These interventions should be well-researched and tracked to see 
if there is a positive outcome using them. It is another layer of support for those groups or individuals that are 
not moving forward based on the current classroom instruction. 
A way to share concerns about students and receive feedback and ideas from educators, coaches, and other 
interventionists. It should also be a place that interventions are monitored and shared so that decisions can be 
made about possibly taking concerns to the next level (which may require testing, if necessary). 
Systems of support that help students improve academically or behaviorally. 
MTSS should be the process that aids those students at the dangerously low end of the spectrum, both 
behaviorally and academically. There should be people in place that help facilitate the plans needed to be 
placed into action to assist these students' needs. 
Data should already be put in and the meeting should be spent talking about next steps and interventions for 
the students. 
MTSS should be a time to talk about small groups of children who are struggling, come up with a strategic plan 
to help those kids reach their next one thing and understand how this is all going to happen 
A way to come together as a team to help support kids. 
A clear series of logistics, that a student must go through and a teacher must present evidence for, to receive 
intervention or support in an academic area or with behavior. 

 
Please explain your perception with what is good about our MTSS 
process. 
I feel our MTSS incorporates a systematic team approach, good data collection process and support for 
students who struggle. , 
My perception is that is a good way to come together and share out about students we are concerned. 
We have time in the school day to talk about students. 
getting together, although the whole team is not present ( interventionists, etc.) through discussion, seeing the 
whole picture  
feeling validated that your student is having a hard time, and it's not just you! 
I appreciate the time to input data. I also like the focus on one or two students per teacher. 
Meeting with teachers who have the same students to discuss what has worked and what hasn't worked. 
Monthly meetings. 
I like collaboration among teachers. We often notice the same things, but may have different/creative ways to 
address them. 
the interventionists are wonderful 
It may move slowly but we do have progress. 
One good aspect of our process is having the ability to discuss students with a variety of colleagues. 
This year, I have seen plans and progress for students that I have never seen before thanks to Mr. Phillips. 
Collaborative process, 
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I like the way we all come together and discuss the issues to help the students. 
Colleagues sharing their expertise and experience, data to determine at risk students and progress monitoring 
intervention, supporting all students are not taught one way and classrooms include differentiation practices 
It gives us a chance to work as a team, get input from different people, and to see how a child is (or is not) 
progressing. 
I feel that we are starting to have some consistency across the district with the process. It seems that the 
forms used are the same and folders not implemented are staying with CA60s so students have their data that 
follows them. I appreciate that our district gives us time to meet for this process. 
I feel that we are given enough time to share and discuss our concerns and data. We have also been able to 
share the students that we are most concerned with. 
Monthly meetings, when we had Hevel it helped address the needs, 
I like working with the grade group as a team. This is a team effort that is able to discuss what is and is not 
effective. 
It's good that we have time together and have the resources of multiple teachers and support staff to discuss 
the students. 
Coming together to talk about students. 
The team work and that all of the team has worked with each of the children. 
Look at specific groups of students and work to provide those groups with intervention. We try to use our 
intervention teachers wisely. 

 
Please explain your perception with what is frustrating about our MTSS 
process. 
Some students just don't fit into any of the processes or systems that we have in place. There is not enough 
support for behaviorally challenged students. Some students exist in the MTSS system for years before testing 
or anything is formerly for them. Testing is not for every students but when it an apparent need in some cases, 
the process takes too long. 
It is frustrating when I have students that I am very concerned about and feel that more needs to be done with 
them. 
There is not enough help available for the students that truly need it. 
that there is no follow through...some on my part, I admit 
MTSS meetings seem to evolve into a gripe session about students. We only complain, and rarely are solutions 
or plans discussed. MTSS push-in support from interventionists is irregular. 
There is no consistent plan and students are continuing to be shuffled through year after year with no changes. 
I feel that more students should get support than what's available. Only a select few are getting supported. 
More kids need support! 
some students who need help are not discussed due to a higher NWEA score that is not in single digits 
Not enough staff to support all the needs. Some issues are not resolved year after year...because there isn't 
support. 
One frustrating aspect occurs when everyone agrees that a student should be receiving the most intense 
interventions available, but is excluded due to factors beyond our control (family disagrees, absenteeism, etc.). 
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The same students with the same issues are discussed from Kindergarten through 6th grade with very little 
done to support the student and the teacher. The support that is supposed to accompany these students is 
lacking resulting in students falling through the cracks. 
When students move to other schools the MTSS process is not always picked up and continued. 
There are times when I leave the meets, that I feel the time was not well spent on the students issues or what 
was in best interest for that student's growth. Example .. When there is a student that has been in MTSS for 
years and just continues on with MTSS without any other support to help with that students growth. 
Need additional certified staff to support classroom teachers w/ small group interventions. 
The data does not show the whole picture of what a student needs. It is not always easy to identify exactly what 
the needs are and how to move forward. Additionally, some students are not brought up in MTSS who could 
benefit from it. 
I feel that we are always making up interventions and I don't know if these are the best interventions to move 
our students forward. I also feel that it is the same low group of students being talked about each and every 
time and progress might be seen with them but it is slow. I wonder if focusing on the bubble kids might move 
them forward. I think the forms are a little difficult to use and I don't know if I see carry over from the 
elementary buildings up with interventions that worked for students still then being used. 
If we spend too much time on one class's concerns, time is sometimes cut short for others. It sometimes 
seems that data is collected and recorded, and that there is not a purpose for it, if testing is not deemed 
necessary. 
Not enough people to perform given interventions and track data. It should not all be put on the classroom 
teacher. Both academically and behaviorally. We need more bodies here to help and more time for them to help. 
Sometimes it's frustrating collecting data after data and you feel like you are spinning your wheels and getting 
nowhere. 
I am not sure yet. I am sure next year I will have a better understanding of what I am thinking. 
The expectations from the principals differ from building to building. Even when expectations are clearly 
communicated, teachers don't come prepared with the information/data that they need. 
Administration being pulled from the meeting, all parties involved not in attendance, teachers using the time 
away from their room to handle other things, meeting being cancelled due to the lack of subs, constantly 
collecting data and still not having enough "proof" that a child needs help and getting great ideas but not having 
the support to implement the ideas. 
Leaving feeling like you have more to do and not enough time to get it done. 
Not enough time to be reflective and make a plan of action. I would definitely like to see the process be more 
clear and more visual. Also this year we focused on our "bubble" students because that is what we were told we 
were doing and our very at risk students fell way behind.