During the 2013-14, 10% of Iowa elementary schools were identified for Phase 1 of Iowa’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) initiative. The story below highlights the experience of a Phase 1 school in the Grant Wood AEA area.
Kendra Hanzlik, instructional coach at Prairie Heights Elementary, and Linda Leggat, instructional coach at Prairie Ridge Elementary, explained that the district has worked to develop plans for engaging staff in this work.
Hanzlik explained that data driven work is common at College Community. “Data driven is not new as Prairie is a data driven district,” she explained. “While we have not had formal universal screenings up to this point, as a district, we do use data to make decisions. The process has given importance to the data for our teachers. It’s bigger than before.”
“The D2 Facilitation Guide, provided by the state, is meant to help us look more closely at our literacy instruction.” added Leggat. “The Facilitation Guide does not provide us with the answers. It aids us in digging deeper into our practice and structures. The answers to improving instruction are within our individual buildings.”
“Our district data from both fall and winter looked very similar,” Hanzlik continued. “Surprisingly, this doesn’t mean that our buildings can tackle issues the same. We have to go back and talk with teachers. This really isn’t a one size fits all. The process allows the flexibility to think about what this means for students.”
Leggat shared that use of an electronic assessment process provides immediate data and feedback. “After completing the assessment, the students are able to ask, ‘How’s my score?’” As a district, we do a lot with data and not having to wait two weeks for results allows us to review the data in a timely manner, implement change, and be more responsive to student needs.”
“The other piece that we are starting to explore and learn more about is the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)/Response to Intervention,” she continued. “At Prairie Ridge Elementary, we are using the progress monitoring and intervention system that is a part of the TIER system. I like the fact that progress monitoring is included as a part of the TIER system.
Both Hanzlik and Leggat commented on the collaboration with the Iowa Department of Education. “The meetings in Des Moines allow us to connect with our DE representatives and helps us to feel closer to the work,” Leggat said. “They really do use our feedback to help make the system better.”
“The process also allows us to collaborate with Grant Wood AEA in another way,” Leggat continued. “We are able to collaborate with Josh Lyons, GWAEA regional administrator, to share a common focus on increasing student achievement.”
Hanzlik agreed. “It truly is Collaborating for Iowa’s Kids, and the title reflects the process and focus on students.”
Collaborating for Iowa’s Kids (C4K) is a delivery system for statewide work and includes the Area Education Agencies (AEAs), the Iowa Department of Education (DE) and local school districts (LEA). The intent of C4K is to work more effectively and efficiently as a full educational system to accomplish agreed-upon priorities. The current focus of C4K is early literacy chosen because of the integral role that literacy has in the success of all other academic and social areas.