I’ve Tried Everything, EP 04: Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

Angela has 22 years of experience in education. She has been in her current position for 12 years. Angela has trained and provided coaching support to over 200 campuses for PBIS. She is also a certified Restorative Discipline coordinator. She is a trainer for Interventions, Coaching Classroom Management, CHAMPS, and Why Try.


In this episode of “I’ve Tried Everything” specialists Angela Isenberg and Melinda Marquez discuss implementing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support throughout your school.

Download a full copy of this episodes’ transcript

Angela Isenberg:          

Welcome to I’ve Tried Everything, a podcast series focusing on behavior support in schools. I’m your host, Angela Isenberg. I’m the program manager for behavior here at the service center. Our special guest for the series is Melinda Marquez.

Melinda Marquez:       

Hi, Angela. Behavior is such a hot topic, especially for campus leaders. When I was a principal, I was always looking for guidance around behavior. I think the name of this podcast is great, because in fact I felt like I did try everything.

Angela Isenberg:          

Our goal with this series is to provide strategies and guidance for campus leaders on how to best support their campus on behavior. We will be sharing insights, our experiences, and the things we’ve learned along the way.

Melinda Marquez:       

So step away from your email, grab that last cup of coffee, and let’s get started.

Angela Isenberg:          

Today we’re going to talk about multi-tiered systems of support and really thinking about how do you navigate the systems piece of making sure that you have processes in place across campus to support your staff, to support your students, and the world of behavior. Melinda, tell me a little bit about your tiered supports on the campuses that you supported?

Melinda Marquez:       

Well, we did implement PBIS. And that was when I was a teacher. So looking far, far back into those days, we know that we had that tier one where it was the whole campus-wide, campus-wide expectations and implementation. And that took quite a while to implement because we had to create all of those systems. We were a brand new campus, I had the opportunity to open up a brand new campus, and we had to start from, from the bottom, from nothing. So we created those campus-wide expectations. And we actually worked with Region 13 specialist Albert Phelps to assist us in this implementation.

Melinda Marquez:       

So we did the campus-wide expectations, what is expected in the restrooms, in the hallways, what does it look like in the cafeteria, what does it look like for arrival procedures, the end of day procedures, any transitions. So we did the tier one.

Melinda Marquez:       

And then tier two, we, as a principals, whenever … Because as a classroom teacher I might not have been as involved with the tier two pieces. But as a campus principals, when I really took ownership of those tier two interventions for our at-risk students, those at-risk students, we partnered them with a mentor. We had a really systemic process. We looked at the data. And not only academic data but behavioral data as well. We did collect that behavioral data.

Melinda Marquez:       

And we partnered those students with a staff mentor in order to support those SEL needs. And what we saw when we really concentrated on those tier two students, not only did their behavior improve, but their academics improved as well.

Angela Isenberg:          

You mean you looked at the whole child instead of just half of them?

Melinda Marquez:       

We did and and it worked. It’s so refreshing to put a system in place and really see the benefits of that system through data and not just through I think that student’s doing better, but look at the data. We look at the number of referrals or the number of calls to the office. But also look at their scores, see what’s happening with their academics. It’s just very exciting to see those multi-tiered systems of support work and put in place.

Melinda Marquez:       

And then also we had that tier three piece. Whenever we work specifically, we had that specific group of kiddos that we had some individualized behavior contracts and behavior strategies put into place for those tier three students. And mainly those kiddos worked specifically with our behavior coach or they worked specifically with me as a campus principal or my assistant principal.

Angela Isenberg:          

We’re looking at that multi-tiered system of support, she referenced tier one, tier two, tier three. So tier one is whole campus. So all students, all students were impacted by this support, whether it be school ed expectations, common area rules, every student’s going to get that. Usually about 80 to 90% of your student population is impacted by putting those tier one systems into place. You typically have about 10 to 15% of your students that fall into tier two, and that’s those targeted interventions. You guys use mentoring as one of your targeted interventions. And then tier three kids are usually one to five percent of the student population. This is more individualized support. This is where we’re looking at, usually kids don’t fall in tier three by themselves. They’re usually tier three with their families. There’s some family dynamics that are usually also happening. So it’s, it’s how do you support that student that might be coming to us every day in crisis and how do you help them to feel grounded, feel safe, feel supported on campus and be able to make those academic growths?

Angela Isenberg:          

And I love that you said you looked at the whole child. I think for so long we’ve talked about this side of the triangle is academics, but we’re going to talk about this side of the triangle is behavior. It’s a whole triangle. It’s a whole system of support, a multi-tiered system of support. So you should be looking at academics, your RTI process should be looking at behavior, PBIS, those restorative practices that campus put into place, social emotional learning, mental health, trauma informed practices. Those things that are helping those initiatives, processes that are helping students to become productive members of society and that we’re adding value to them. At the end of every year you look back and say, “How did we add value to the student to help them to be successful?” So that’s that multi-tiered framework.

Angela Isenberg:          

The other piece that I really liked that you talked about was data. Of really what data did you guys look at? How do you reflect on that? If you look systematically and look at the whole United States, we talked about an I’ve tried everything and this idea that the highest referral time in the fall is Columbus Day to Thanksgiving. In the spring, it’s usually Valentine’s Day to spring break, followed very closely behind with May, right after testing is done and behaviors increase kind of those last few weeks of school. Those are the highest hit times of high referrals.

Angela Isenberg:          

But if you look at the other statistic that’s kind of interesting is boys and girls, boys are referred significantly more than girls. Is that because girls are better behaved, Melinda?

Melinda Marquez:       

I’m not thinking it is.

Angela has 22 years of experience in education. She has been in her current position for 12 years. Angela has trained and provided coaching support to over 200 campuses for PBIS. She is also a certified Restorative Discipline coordinator. She is a trainer for Interventions, Coaching Classroom Management, CHAMPS, and Why Try.

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