Below are a selection of quotes from educators we have helped implement a strong MTSS process with. Want your school to be next?
"Across the school, I would say student achievement has improved impressively this year (2016-2017.) I think this is due in large part to the work of the PLCs and the after-school program. I am more open to asking other teachers or our instructional coach for help and/or feedback. I am also more willing to offer my assistance to other teachers and being very transparent as far as my own teaching strategies. I have found that I really enjoy the collaboration that comes with being a lead teacher. It goes beyond just the collaboration during PLC time. The work with our instructional coach and the AEA consultants has really been beneficial to me as a teacher and as a teacher leader."
- Andrea Howard, Calamus-Wheatland High School Math Teacher
"Having the AEA support during the PLC process has been very beneficial for the teams at Camanche High School. Last year (2015-2016) as the ELA team at the high school started on its journey, (AEA) worked side by side with us to aid in our understanding not only of the process but also of the Iowa Core. (The AEA's) knowledge was invaluable and if (they) did not know the answer, (they) found it for us. Throughout last year's process (AEA) helped guide the team and helped us to see the power of the work we were completing.
"Without the AEA's guidance and support over the course of the last two years, Camanche would not be progressing as quickly or with as much confidence."
As an instructional coach this year (2016-2017), I have had the opportunity to work with several other AEA personnel and see how their expertise and guidance has helped so many of our core content teams keep moving forward during weekly team meetings. Through questioning and acknowledgement of what we are doing to help student success, each team can see the work we are doing is the right work. Along with having the AEA with teams on a a weekly basis, the training provided for team leads has helped guide the process along with networking opportunities providing us the ability to speak with other teachers in similar districts. Without the AEA's guidance and support over the course of the last two years, Camanche would not be progressing as quickly or with as much confidence."
- Annette Blomme, Camanche High School Instruction Coach
"I am writing this letter to outline the support Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency (MBAEA) has provided to Jefferson Elementary School. The main focus is to meet the needs of ALL students and there were many areas of our existence that could lend itself to this goal. Our partnership began during this past summer when we signed our Compact and began our relationship. Our focus has been to collaboratively plan for a strong MTSS system thorough a PLC process. The MBAEA has been instrumental in the planning and implementation stages of our work. Our partnership provides support during weekly Collaborative Teacher Team meetings. During this time we are concentrating on a strong Core instruction for ALL students. This support has been a game changer as our teachers are so used to teaching a curriculum, and not the students in their seats at that time. We are able to scope and sequence our standards and look at success criteria for all students. The weekly support has been incredibly valuable to have expertise that can guide our thinking to address the levels of learning across grade levels as well as the expertise with the unwrapping of the standards.
"The MBAEA has been instrumental in the planning and implementation stages of our work...This support has been a game changer as our teachers are so used to teaching a curriculum, and not the students in their seats at that time."
Jefferson Elementary is benefiting from MBAEA support as we strive to meet the needs of diverse learners. MBAEA is designing and facilitating our Principal Leadership Academy this year with a focus on developing a strong MTSS system. During the training, the team has been able to provide resources and direction on applying the concepts of an MTSS system, starting with development of vision/mission/values and goals. The leadership training has been instrumental in providing direction and focus to our Building Student Achievement Team (BSAT). The BSAT agenda is guided by our collective commitment to meet the learning and social/emotional needs of diverse learners at Jefferson. MBAEA staff and administrators are professional and provide a high level of support in assisting Jefferson as we strive towards excellence in developing a strong Core and MTSS system. MBAEA staff has been instrumental in helping plan and implement a book study as well as PD’s and brainstorming sessions for the overall philosophy and implementation of a new and improved MTSS Process.
"The weekly support has been incredibly valuable to have expertise that can guide our thinking to address the levels of learning across grade levels as well as the expertise with the unwrapping of the standards."
The change in MBAEA services provides resources that we need at the building level. The application of the work is key and the collaborative approach results in a strong partnership that will make a difference for students. One of our staff said it well, when they asked if the AEA was here to BE one of us, or talk to us. We have finally seen a group of very knowledgeable, helpful people who are here to walk the walk and live in our shoes and co-own this data.
"...this is the first time I have ever seen collaboration like this in my 13 years in education. I feel that we as a staff as well as the district as a whole are learning so much from this process."
As the instructional leader at Jefferson, I am now able to sit in math and reading CTT’s to plan with teachers. This is a whole new way of thinking and systems change for teachers and it has been crucial for me to be a part of them as a person who knows the staff and can keep a gauge on climate and culture and offer support accordingly. There have been game changing conversations and collaboration with the teachers and bringing home the message of all means all i.e. sped, ESL, etc. The AEA Staff has also been a huge help to help provide PD and collaboration with the behavior staff to make gains in that area as administration and teachers collaborate. This has been key to the successes of all of the work we are doing as if behavior is not under control, the learning of all can never happen.
I will have to say, that this is the first time I have ever seen collaboration like this in my 13 years in education. I feel that we as a staff as well as the district as a whole are learning so much from this process. I look forward to what we will do in the future through this partnership.
- Kamie Montoya (Principal, Jefferson Elementary School Davenport, Iowa)
"At first, I was skeptical about the usefulness of a PLC... we felt that we were already teaching the ELA Common Core standards and doing a pretty good job of it.
I didn’t see how going to another meeting every week was going to impact the students in my classroom. However, I was willing to give it a chance, if for no other reason than to be a “team player”.
...It didn’t take long for me to understand that our PLC is not just another meeting." +more
- Margo Stites (ELA Teacher, North Scott High School)
What was the impact of your team on your students as learners?
"We are more aware of the student need and have a plan to help them where they are with individualized instruction. We have seen more student excitement as they are celebrating their successes along with us."
- Preschool Team (Camanche Elementary & Kids First Academy)
"The impact of PLC's on our teaching is that we're teaching the same skills, we're giving the same assessments, were on the same page, all of our students and classes are getting the same thing, WE are a UNIFIED team."
- 2nd Grade Team (Camanche Elementary)
"...When sharing our thoughts about what each standard meant, content focused discussions began to emerge and often clarification came, when needed, from (The AEA.) When it came time to use the forms (unwrapping/learning targets/proficiency scales) to document our thoughts, it became somewhat muddled. With the MTSS training, and especially the support from (The AEA) we have a clearer understanding of the process with each standard."
- Jr H/HS PLC Math team Louisa-Muscatine CSD
"Why would you ever want to do this (MTSS) alone?
- Courtney Crocus (4th Grade Teacher, Camanche Elementary)
"All is all! All students have the same access to learning opportunities."
- 3rd Grade Team (Camanche Elementary)
"The MTSS process has been a great experience so far. It has allowed me bounce ideas off of other teacher and really reflect on my teaching strategies..." +more
- Kris Bland (Social Studies Teacher, Camanche High School)
“I’m not just moving on after I’ve taught my unit or my lesson. I’m continuing to go back until every student has learned it where in the past I did not do that.”
- Whitney Veenstra (5th/6th Grade Language Arts Teacher, Camanche Middle School)
“What I see with my students is they have more ownership in what they’re learning. They know exactly what they’re learning, when they’ll be assessed and that we will not, especially with our Power Standards, let them NOT learn that Power Standard -- no matter how long. It doesn’t matter when they learn it. They will learn it.”
- Stacey Reppert (5th/6th Grade Language Arts Teacher, Camanche Middle School)
“The biggest shift is that we now have created a mindset that time is the variable for student learning. So no matter how much time it takes… we’re going to make sure students have demonstrated proficiency on all the Power Standards we have selected.”
- Justin Shaffer (Principal, Camanche Middle School)
“What I’ve noticed is that I feel I know my kids more. When it comes time to re-teach or re-testing, whether it’s verbal or written, I know them better.”
- Stacy Seeser (5th/6th Grade Language Arts Teacher, Camanche Middle School)
“I know my kids, but I also know everybody else’s kids a lot better. I can bounce ideas off my team, and we come up with common formative assessments. I like that we are all using the exact same thing to assess our students.”
- Alison Kelley (5th/6th Grade Language Arts Teacher, Camanche Middle School)