March 2017 E-News 

Spring is right around the corner! With the changing of the seasons comes a shift in focus. Along with keeping students on track through the home stretch, we begin reflecting on how the year went, what worked really well, and we take time to celebrate! 

One of the ways we help schools celebrate is at our PBIS Leadership Conference, which is now open for registration. For more information, click here.

This edition of the newsletter gives information about the center’s reimagined recognized schools program, spotlights schools that are succeeding in the work, and provides next steps for continuing the work of becoming culturally responsive.

New Recognized Schools Program

For years, schools across the state have been recognized by the Wisconsin RtI Center for their implementation efforts. The center designed the recognized schools program to celebrate schools starting the hard work toward full implementation. This process has served as an annual celebration for schools beginning and continuing their initial implementation efforts. 

The Wisconsin RtI Center’s vision of a culturally responsive multi-level system of support is based on a commitment to continuous improvement, which means celebrating schools that are progressing toward a fully realized system that supports ALL students.

As more schools have progressed further into their implementation journey, there was a call for a more extensive system of recognition celebrating schools that have not only begun their systems, but have also successfully sustained AND extended them.

With that in mind, the new recognition system was structured to acknowledge all districts and schools who have partnered with us in this work, and further acknowledge those who are integrating their implementation efforts into additional subject areas, as well as those who are increasing support levels among those subject areas.

In Wisconsin, we believe that recognizing schools' ongoing commitment to evolving their culturally responsive multi-level system of support is important. We are looking forward to helping you ensure that your systems continue to grow and evolve.  

More information on the new recognition program can be found here.


Implementation in Action 

Schools and districts across Wisconsin are working on implementing culturally responsive, multi-level systems of support to ensure equitable opportunities for each and every student. We’re pleased to take a closer look at three institutions (an elementary school, an urban high school, and an entire school district) that are making progress on their journey toward this goal.

Halmstad Elementary School’s leadership team understands that the same system framework used to address student behavior can also work in academics. Teams meet weekly to discuss student-level data, alternating their focus between academic and behavior data. This integrated approach has led to improvements for students. Learn more here.

The beliefs and perceptions that faculty and staff hold about their systems have a direct impact on system effectiveness. Appleton West High School began annually surveying teachers and staff. Using the results to action plan, the leadership team put policies and practices in place to build relationships and nurture a positive school culture. Here’s their story.

Superior School District is an example of how building a strong universal level of support can drive changes across a large district. After focusing first on implementing and sustaining behavior supports at the universal level, the district began layering selected behavior supports onto this robust base. Moving forward they also began working on their universal level reading support. Read the story.


Culturally Responsive Practices Series

The Skill: Lead and Do! 

“Only once you’ve grappled with both the facts (head) and lived experiences (heart) that relate
to structural inequities, in either order, should you move on to take action (hands).”
Juan Sebastian Arias
skill section of model to inform culturally responsiveHead, Heart & Hands: A Framework for Taking Action on Racial Equity

We’ve reached our fourth and final article exploring the Model to Inform Culturally Responsive Practices.

Deep exploration of WILL and FILL prepares us for SKILL, the application of knowledge.

In this stage, we put our beliefs and learning into action. SKILL includes being able to:

Lead, model, and advocate for equity practices: Use what you believe and know to inform your courageous actions.

Consider:  What inequities exist in your school?  How do you–as an equity leader–address them? How does your school system address them? What do you do to draw others into the conversation about the inequities that exist for your underserved students and families?  

Accept institutional responsibility: Recognize how your school system’s historical practices and policies have benefitted some students at the expense of others.

Consider: How are you building the capacity of staff to use cultural knowledge in their day-to-day interactions? Does your school expect students to abandon who they are to be successful? How does equity show up or not show up in your policies and practices?

Use practices and curriculum that respects students culture: Students feel safe to express their identities.

Consider: If students walk into your building, can they see themselves and their future selves as positive and belonging? Are the walls, books, hallways, and curricular material imaged to demonstrate this? What range of inclusive teaching strategies and ways of assessing learning does your school use?

To help you begin to work through these questions, the Wisconsin RtI Center and DPI have a range of resources available. You and your school team can:

In the words of Dr. Tony Evers, Wisconsin State Superintendent: “The education of our students of color, economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities and English Learners requires swift, targeted and deliberate attention.”

We agree. It is time for all Wisconsin schools to join in on this journey, ensuring the success of all the students we serve. 


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.