January 2017 E-News
Making the Most of the Middle of the Year!
The new year brings the midway mark in the school year. As we round the corner to spring, now is a good time to take stock and see how well things are working, so you can make adjustments along the way. This issue begins with information for leveraging the benefits of self-assessments to plan smart for the future. Featuring organizations that have found success on their journeys, school implementation stories both celebrate and inspire. Another article in our culturally responsive practices series spotlights the importance of gaining insight into student and community culture.
We're here to help! Whether you are just starting to build your system, or are looking for ways to continuously improve, these stories can help show the way!
When implementing a culturally responsive multi-level system of support, schools and districts often ask, “where do we go from here?” Schools that build a solid, successful, sustainable system use self-assessments to measure, plan, and maintain their systems. Information gathered during the self-assessment process provides a foundation upon which plans can be made. Knowing where you are allows you to determine how much distance there is between you and your goals.
Taking an honest look at the current “way of doing things” serves many purposes. For schools just starting out, it gives them an idea of where to start and a benchmark for measuring progress. For those who are continuing the journey, it both measures the success of in-progress initiatives and provides direction for future planning. For schools that have been implementing for a longer time, self-assessments ensure they are staying on course and are adjusting for new variables like incoming staff or changing student demographics.
If you are ready to use self-assessments to craft your own culturally responsive multi-level system of support, we have developed many ways to help make it easier. We’ve compiled assessment tools you can use, and have developed training on how to use them.
Mathematics or Reading
If you’re interested in focusing on mathematics or reading, we recommend taking the School-wide Implementation Review (SIR). Taken in the spring, it helps schools determine their progress on several key indicators that pave the way to success. Taking it annually gives schools a way to measure progress and address areas for improvement.
Link to relevant SIR resources
If you would like to work on behavior, the Tiered Fidelity Inventory provides schools with the information needed to know how to manage their implementation of behavior supports. This newly developed assessment allows schools to measure all tiers of implementation in one assessment.
Link to relevant TFI resources
We look forward to helping you at any point during your implementation journey. If you have questions, or would like to get started, please contact your regional technical assistance coordinator for behavior or academics.
Our vision is that all Wisconsin students will learn and be successful in life. Schools and districts across the state are working on implementing a culturally responsive, multi-level system of support to make this vision a reality. We’re pleased to share snapshots from the journey of three Wisconsin schools:
Saukville Elementary School believes that students with disabilities are general education students first, so leadership focused on building supports for students based on data, not perceptions. This has led to more students (both with and without disabilities) meeting benchmark in reading and math over two years. Read more here.
At Bayfield High School, over 75% of students are American Indian. Staff at this small high school in northern Wisconsin committed to infusing the culture of all students in classrooms and curriculum. The school believes this dedication has led to a decrease in suspension rates and an increase in graduation rates. Read the story.
Jefferson Elementary School demonstrates that sustaining a strong, responsive system can help staff weather challenges, while supporting all students. With a positive school culture and staff who believe in their students, Jefferson continues to thrive and improve. Here’s the story.
On Monday, January 16, we celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr.
King challenged us to increase our knowledge and understanding of each other as human beings.
The third article of our four-part series exploring the Model to Inform Culturally Responsive Practices focuses on this. Here we dive deeper into FILL.
FILL, gaining cultural knowledge about ourselves and others, is what we do as individuals and schools to know and understand our students. It includes:
Understanding we all have unique identities and worldviews: This means learning about the students who attend your school - and their families.
Consider: What stereotypes or assumptions might you hold about students and families? What strengths do individual students and families bring? Is your school a safe space for students and families to share their stories?
Know the communities: This area focuses on building knowledge, trust, and respect across the community. Drawing on the wisdom of the community positively impacts student and family relationships.
Consider: Do you know how your local community perceives school? Do you consider multiple views? Who has been marginalized or underserved by the school? Do students and families from groups traditionally impacted by inequity have an equal voice in discussions and decisions?
The following resources are available through the Wisconsin RtI Center and DPI to help you and your school teams further explore these questions:
- Participate in one of the Seven Experiences. Seek out facilitated books studies, workshops, and community site visits.
- Watch and discuss the video If She Only Knew Me
- Explore the Community Asset Mapping Workbook
- Complete the DPI’s "Excellence for All" e-courses
- Attend a professional development course offered by the Wisconsin Disproportionality Technical Assistance Network.
The Wisconsin RtI Center is dedicated to bringing you the knowledge, tools, and information you need to help pave the way to success for ALL students. Using evidence-based practices, schools implementing a culturally responsive multi-level system of support create a more positive school environment, build mutually respectful student relationships, and use proven strategies to consistently deliver high-quality instruction and supports for all students.