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Continuum of Supports (Part 1): The MTSS Journey Blog Series

Published On: April 4th, 2022|Categories: MTSS, News|
Continuum of Supports (Part 1): The MTSS Journey Blog Series

Continuum of Supports

What is a true continuum of support?

We have probably all heard of “the tiers”. Perhaps you’ve even heard them in reference to students such as “Oh, he or she is a tier 3 kid.” Well, I am here to realign our vision about what the tiers could be and to “set the record straight” so to speak about their intent.

There are no such thing as tier 3 kids. Just tier 3 supports.

Let me show you what I mean with a personal story. I have decided to learn to ski. I’ve always wanted to learn and just haven’t had the opportunity. Now that we live next to several ski resorts, I decided to give it a try.

I’ll never forget the first time I put a set of skis on. I didn’t even know how to stand let alone ski forward. I was ready to give in, like, 5 minutes later and go get a cup of hot chocolate in the lodge. My dear husband however would not let me give up.

Pretty soon, I was able to move slightly forward instead of backward. Then I was able to ski down the bunny hill. I looked down with fright my first time on the first easy level chair lift. Now I can safely ski down a blue run! Throughout this process, I never introduced myself as “Stephanie, the Tier 3 woman”, however I’d be the first to tell you I could use those extra supports when it came to skiing. Now, if we were talking about my cooking ability with a homemade lasagna, it would be a different story. I’ve honed that skill.

So often we label students unintentionally (and perhaps even ourselves) with negative labels.

I want you to start thinking about skills differently. What are you already good at doing? How do we grow that?

We have to think about what we are good at. I am good at wanting to try new things. I used that to my advantage to pick up a fun wintertime sport I could engage in with my family.

What are students good at? Perhaps they come to you knowing a completely different language other than English. How cool is that? Have you ever thought about it that way?

My son was in a dual language program and he was learning 100% in Spanish his kindergarten year. He was behind in reading according to the standardized assessment, however, I wasn’t worried. I was elated! The reason being was that he was learning a second language! He had reading scores that were not to grade level however he knew Spanish!

This is how we need to start looking at our students who speak a different language. It takes time to learn a language (research says something like 6-8 years). How exciting that they are now learning two!

MTSS is about a spectrum of supports that meet the needs of the whole student (academic, social-emotional, behavior) and celebrates and grows upon their strengths. Be sure to check out next week’s blog series where we will unpack the three tiers.

More blog posts in the series

About The MTSS Journey Blog Series

North Central ESD MTSS Specialist, Stephanie Andler, shares her knowledge on all things Multi-Tiered System of Supports and how regional school districts can implement the strategies in this blog series released on a weekly basis.

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Continuum of Supports (Part 1): The MTSS Journey Blog Series

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