Implementation Planning to Support an Effective Tiered System
The Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports (VTSS) integrates academics, behavior and mental health into a single decision-making framework for establishing the supports needed for a school to be an effective learning environment for all students. The VTSS systemic approach allows divisions, schools and communities to provide multiple levels of support to students in a more effective and efficient, clearly defined process (VTSS, 2016).
Building this framework is a complex and iterative process: stakeholders are identified and consistently included in planning as partners; existing practices and instructional resources are studied, aligned, and organized for efficient delivery; gaps are identified and matched to evidence-based solutions; student progress is frequently and consistently monitored; relevant and actionable data are collected in ways that are readily accessible for decision-making; teams are established to analyze data and make decisions; and, ultimately, all students and adults are integral and valued contributors in a system that is responsive to their needs and seeks to ensure their success. This process requires extensive collaborative dialogue, ongoing and embedded professional-learning, effective problem-solving, and compromise; it should be a journey that is both rigorous and exciting. It is a whole system change initiative that is unique in education. As partners in this process, VTSS Leadership and Systems Coaches offer each year, 3 one-day institutes for division leadership teams inspiring this change in schools. Each institute offers a General Session and four Strands that spiral through relevant topics and enhance implementation as you progress through the learning.
General sessions are structured to provide implementing divisions with the most up to date data, systems and practices for sustained implementation of a tiered framework.
Strand 1: Data Driven Decision Making
Through three one-day data-informed decision-making professional learning events, division leadership teams will build on the work begun during the Exploration & Installation series. Teams will develop and refine effective and efficient structures for data analysis and decision making; develop systems that support staff in efficient implementation of instructional practices; and explore the process for selecting evidence-based practices for teaching academic, behavior, and mental wellness skills. This strand is best for division level teams NEW to VTSS implementation (i.e. Cohort 5 or those divisions whose teams are made up of predominantly new members).
Strand 2: Academic Alignment
Division Leadership Teams will examine the components of a tiered system of support through an academic lens. Applying that lens, teams will evaluate current academic structures, processes, instruction, interventions and evaluation protocols in order to create and implement an aligned academic framework that ensures success for all students. This strand is best for division teams who have completed Strand 1 and have some experience implementing a tiered framework for behavior or academics. (i.e. Cohorts 3 and 4).
Strand 3: Implementing Advanced Tiers
This strand will focus on optimizing the aligned and integrated systems of VTSS for academics, behavior, mental wellness, and climate. Participants will examine how to align and utilize effective resources for students requiring supports at advanced tiers. This strand is best for division teams that have completed Strands 1 and 2 and have had success implementing a tiered system of supports at Tier 1 for academics and/or behavior (i.e. Cohorts 1,2 or 3). Please note that Strand 3 content is an enhancement and expansion of the concepts outlined in Strand 2.
Strand 4: Equity and Family Engagement in Tiered Systems of Support
Participants will examine division and school data to identify areas of need for various identity groups as well as opportunities to increase family engagement and equitable practices. By the end of the March session, participants will create goals for targeted groups and identify specific strategies to better engage families and support the success of all students. This strand is best for division level teams that have completed Strand 1. While it is optimal that teams have also completed Strand 2 and 3 and therefore have some experience implementing a tiered framework, it is also acceptable for teams to discuss the appropriateness of participating in this strand with their VTSS Systems Coaches prior to attending Strands 2 or 3.