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System offers individual support for students

9/4/2012

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

The Kansas Multi-Tier System of Supports is designed to help students learn.

It's a system of prevention and intervention based on students' individual needs.

"It's separate from the common core (standards), but they work together," said Will Roth, Hays USD 489 superintendent. "It's a matter of trying to give kids the intensity of instruction they need."

Students begin in classes with core instruction.

"What a teacher does with a group of kids every day, that's core instruction," he said.

With MTSS, students receiving core instruction are screened three times a year for learning levels.

Screening has begun for USD 489 students in grades three through nine in math.

The screenings will pick out about 20 percent of those students who aren't keeping up with the rest of the class, Roth said.

Sixty teachers will be taught to use screening results at an in-service later this month. Another group of teachers will be trained at a January in-service, Roth said.

Teachers and administrators will make some minor changes for those students. For instance, they could be given more time to work, a supplemental dose of technology, or shown a concept graphically, Roth said.

The students' progress will be monitored daily.

If students still aren't progressing, they will go to intervention, which could include working in a group. Grade levels won't matter as students are working to master a certain concept. They will be assessed every two or three days.

"The goal is to get them back to the class level," Roth said.

Tier three, intervention, is intensive assistance. For a first-grader struggling with reading, that might mean an individual reading recovery teacher for eight weeks.

"It's the only chance we'll get at turning this around," Roth said of helping individual students.

Ultimately if a student can't make progress getting back to the classroom, they would be referred for evaluation and possibly an individualized education plan.