Academic Quarterly

Leadership Corner Spring 2019

Implementing an MTSS Framework in Secondary Schools – Some Resources

With the Common Core State Standards close to a decade into its implementation, it is imperative that schools and districts employ a robust Mutli-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework. At least 20 years’ worth of research has supported implementing an RtI (or MTSS) model, especially at the early grades, to address the needs of students who are not achieving grade level expectations. While we know intuitively and concretely from research that the earlier intervention is deployed, the better, there is growing research evidence to support implementing a robust MTSS framework at the secondary level. Implementing an MTSS model at the secondary level has its challenges, considering the complexities of scheduling, time, motivation, and competing initiatives in the secondary environment. However, there are a number of examples where it is being done well.

There are two websites that can provide a wealth of information to those who are beginning implementation of an MTSS plan or are looking to refine their current plan.

  1. The National Center for RtI sponsored by American Institutes of Research (AIR)provides overviews of the various components of MTSS/RtI, assessment tool charts, and training modules developed for viewing and also for delivery as training to school staffs, complete with speaker notes and power point slides. Look under the Resourcestab for these and other resources.
  2. The RtI Action Network sponsored by the National Center for Learning Disabilities provides overviews of the components of RtI, a step-by-step process for planning, as well as many informative articles. Two articles from this website stand out as relevant to leaders:
    • This article provides insight into Stephen Covey’s (1991) four roles of leadership: modeling, pathfinding, aligning, and empowering, as they pertain to educational leadership within an RtI Framework.
    • This article provides insight into the complexities of implementing an RtI framework at the secondary level and addresses the issues involved with developing structures to deliver intervention within middle and high schools in ways that are palatable to adolescents.

An additional resource can be found in the Spring 2012 issue of Perspectives, the quarterly journal published by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). This issue’s theme is the struggling adolescent reader. While all the articles are relevant and high quality, two stand out in particular as “must reads.” The first article, “What is the Best Choice for Scheduling Remedial Reading Classes at the Middle School Level?”  reviews the current research on various secondary literacy intervention configurations. The chief conclusions from the research are that students who receive a supplemental intervention in addition to their grade level English/Language Arts class rather than forfeiting all or a portion of the grade level ELA time, tend to do better on reading measures, including comprehension. This option requires students to miss out on at least one elective course, which can be a controversial option.

The second article, “One Middle School’s Journey,” chronicles the six-year process of how one low performing middle school changed its literacy practices.

You can find information for how to order a copy of the Spring 2012 issue of Perspectives, by visiting the Perspectives website.


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