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    Educators Focus on Student Story, Strength, and Need
    Posted on 09/17/2018
    Educators come together for retreat

    Educators Focus on Student Story, Strength, and Need

    For some, summer is a time of rest, vacation, and recuperation. For Seattle Public Schools, the summer is a time of purposeful, continuous preparation. In addition to the central office’s work around logistics to ensure a smooth start to the first day of school and coordinating new school openings, educators across the district also met regularly.

    The central focus that aligned all educators together, regardless of their work streams, was their intentionality around creating welcoming classroom environments that offer a high-quality education and inclusive school communities tending to each child’s potential.

    One example of this was a three-day retreat where more than 100 educators gathered in August to strategize, discuss, and plan around the whole-child framework, also known as MTSS (multi-tiered system of support). At the core of the district’s work, emphasis is placed on the whole child – their story, strength, and need.

    The MTSS framework guides the district’s supports to students and connects academic and non-academic services personalized to support student learning. MTSS is not isolated to Seattle Public Schools. High-performing districts across the country have adopted this approach to better serve their student populations.

    At the retreat, the central topic of study focused on how best to implement MTSS in schools to ensure that every student’s story, strength and need are placed at the forefront of instruction. MTSS is a key part of Seattle Public Schools’ Formula for Success in supporting all learners and ensuring equitable access to a robust, high-quality education.

    To kick off the MTSS retreat, Wyeth Jessee, chief of student support services applauded the gathering of educators by recognizing their contributions. “There is so much expertise in this room,” he said.

    Throughout the duration of the event, central and school staff discussed strategies around MTSS implementation to improve student outcomes, especially for the student populations who are historically underserved.

    In addition to strong, academic supports, Patricia Sander, executive director of coordinated school health, spoke on the importance of believing in a child’s potential to foster their success and resiliency by upholding positive beliefs.

    A continued emphasis on restorative practices and positive behavior intervention supports (PBIS) throughout the district will be a priority to foster healthy school climates and classrooms.

    The extension of support from district staff to schools will continue throughout the year to ensure that schools are placed in the best position possible to facilitate positive student outcomes. As the year progresses, the district will continue to share stories from classrooms and schools that highlight the impact of the work around the whole-child framework.PDF icon