Two people sit on one side of a table while another person stands up on the other side

Letcher County school officials are in the early stages of implementing a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS).
Provided photo

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series on Kentucky’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and districts that are in the process of implementing their own MTSS.

It’s been nearly a year since Letcher County Director of Instruction Ronny Goins and Instructional Facilitator Amber Stewart started working on integrating a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) into the district’s schools.

“I think if I had waited until we had everything ready, we would still be waiting to kick it off. So, we started the first meeting and we had a lot of success,” said Goins.

MTSS is an effort to support student achievement and social-emotional behavioral competencies through the integration of core instruction, assessment and intervention.

The vision of the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), “each and every student empowered and equipped to pursue a successful future,” is the goal of an integrated MTSS.

The framework of the multi-tiered system of supports surrounds equitable access and opportunity.

At the center of the model is a triangle representing the tiered delivery system, designed to meet the academic, behavioral and social-emotional needs of all students.

Graphic shows KyMTSS logo: The multi-tiered system works around the equitable access and opportunity component. This surrounds the framework to represent the commitment to equity within all components of MTSS. At the center of the model is a triangle representing the tiered delivery system, showing support designed to meet the academic, behavioral and social-emotional needs of all students.

The KyMTSS model

“We started having our district meetings and met monthly. I tried to do a lot of modeling from things that I’ve picked up from other training and share all my resources with the principals,” said Goins.

Stewart recently has taken over the process Goins started last year, and said she has been able to be a part of the MTSS implementation since the beginning.

“As a principal last year, I got to sit in on the district meetings that Ronny did and it was helpful,” said Stewart. “He modeled information for us to take back to my own school, and the teachers really liked it because we were focusing on every aspect of the child, not just the academic side.”

Stewart said shifting teachers’ mindsets to looking at MTSS as a roadmap to help students from a whole-child perspective has made an impact in their schools and on the students.

“We try to make decisions on what is going to be best for our kids,” she said. “You could feel a culture shift because we were making academic decisions based on data from that perspective.”

Stewart and Goins are proud of their principals and district members for picking up MTSS quickly.

“We feel like we got a little more of a handle on it,” said Goins. “We’re excited to get our system honed in and get everything organized so that we can start being consistent across our district and really start to make gains on the academic side as well.”

As they have started diving into this work, Stewart said their staff has implemented the tools they learn and data reports they receive during their monthly training sessions.

“It’s also made shifts on how we look at academics,” she said. “We are now looking at how this system works, what tiers are the kids moving through, what do they need at each tier?”

Implementing a new system has been an adjustment, but Goins said one thing will never change.

“Everything we do, we do for the kids,” he said. “We want our kids to have all the support they can.”