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Before, During and After Meeting Activities: Lead Teachers, Student Support and Leadership

Activities for Setting up the Tier 2/Tier 3 Meeting Structure 

Before the Meeting: 

To run a high-quality Tier 2 or Tier 3 Meeting, there are a few tools that can help you get started with planning for the Collaboration Phase: 

As you begin creating or considering redesign of your T2 or T3 systems of support in your school, meeting cadence should be determined early on. For example, Tier 2 meetings should ideally be scheduled to occur on a weekly basis to allow for consistent and timely support that better accommodates progress monitoring. For Tier 3 meetings, you should strongly consider scheduling them weekly at the onset of the year, and then transition them to occurring no less than biweekly after that. However, meeting cadence will be hugely contingent upon available resources in space and staffing. 

Prior to any Tiered System of Supports meeting, the Referral Form should be submitted to the predetermined facilitator by the referring individual. This will allow the facilitator (i.e., instructional coach, student support member, assistant principal, principal, etc.) to create the agenda and share it with team members prior to the meeting. Ideally, at this time, the lead facilitator would also determine the timekeeper, note taker, etc., so this does not take up time at the start of the meeting. Specifically for Tier 3 meetings, families and community agencies should be notified in advance to provide enough time to prepare for the meeting, and their attendance or participation should be confirmed (see the Caregiver Letter and the Community Stakeholder Letter above).  

The agenda drafted by the facilitator should reflect the flow of the presentation and incorporate time for additional feedback, questions and planning. Consider creating a system for housing the referral information and meeting agendas electronically. This can be done using a shared data tracker, through the use of Office 365, Google forms or other electronic platforms. (Check with your school district’s privacy guidance.)  

Teachers should prepare any concrete data they would like to bring to the meeting. This data can be submitted beforehand to be stored with the referral form or shared at the meeting. The Data Collection Checklist can be used to support your teachers in gathering the appropriate data. Your team should determine collectively the most efficient way of making the data available to all members. It is also important that teachers reflect on their mindsets and practices and come prepared to share those reflections either when discussing the student or during the portion of the meeting when the team asks clarifying and probing questions. The Identification Phase Guiding Questions and Referral Phase Guiding Questions are tools that can support your teachers in reflecting on their practice. 

During the Meeting: 

Here are some tools that will support you in conducting a Tier 2 or Tier 3 meeting: 

  • Meeting Norms supports members in understanding how they will interact with each other during the meeting. 
  • Guiding Questions supports the portion of the meeting when clarifying and probing questions are asked to support the development of the student support plan. 
  • Student Support Plan and Review Tool is used to document the details surrounding the student’s context, strengths and challenges and the plan to support the student. 

The facilitator begins all Tier 2 and Tier 3 meetings by welcoming the group; stating the purpose, objectives, and agenda items; reviewing the meeting norms; and reminding the team of the expectations for those fulfilling the team roles. The teacher (or referring individual) shares the reason for the referral, reflections on student context and teacher mindset and practices, and any other relevant data that will support the referral. It is during this time that other members of the team will ask clarifying and probing questions to ensure all the necessary information has been shared. 

The next part of the meeting is for all participants to review the data and consider possible goals for the student, based on the presentation and data. After a set period of time, the team members take turns and share out 1-2 possible goals for the student. For Tier 3 meetings, specifically, one of the recommendations may be to keep the Tier 2 goals, revise them, or create new goals. The referring teacher listens to ideas and discussion to absorb and process possible goal(s). After each team member has shared, the referring teacher synthesizes goal suggestions inclusive of their perspective. 

Creating a Student Support Plan 

The process of creating a student support plan involves documenting student need(s), determining goals, and allocating resources to meet those goals. See the Student Support Plan & Review tool (see above) as an example of documentation for this plan. 

Goals and interventions are not the same. Often, school teams with the best intentions jump to selecting supports without first establishing the outcome to be achieved. Goals provide the destination, while interventions provide the roadmap and create a context for students where they can be successful. As the facilitator, ensuring team members understand the difference will be crucial to the success of the plan that is created for the student. Below, we have some guidance on how to recognize and communicate the differences. 

Goal Setting 

Goals should be framed by taking into consideration how the student is currently functioning and what will be different in the future – in other words, a developmentally appropriate vision or target for what a student can realistically make progress toward. However, if the Tier 2 or Tier 3 team is unclear about where a student is and how far they are from the goal, it will be challenging to set realistic goals, and the intervention/responses will be inappropriate.  

With that said, goals should not be the same for every student. An equitable approach to goal setting is one that takes into consideration student context (environment, relationships, experiences) and the student’s unique strengths and areas for growth. With that said, while we don’t want to set the standard too high, we also want to be careful not to aim too low. Students should be challenged based upon their unique academic and social emotional profile. In addition to that, educators must be mindful about personal biases and the unintended role they might play in determining goals. 

Goals should: 

  • Be clear and concise 
  • Be written in simplistic terms 
  • Be based on data collected or observed, not inferred  
  • Be measurable to support progress monitoring 
  • Reflect consideration of student development and assets and be scaffolded, if necessary 
  • Indicate a time frame for accomplishment  
  • Be written in a positive tone that reflects growth, not from a perspective of deficit 

It’s now time to determine the goals. All team members discuss goal suggestions, narrowing down to what is most pertinent and realistic. In Tier 2 meetings, the referring teacher determines the 1-3 goal(s) to move forward on for the student, ensuring they are positively framed, time bound and measurable. The note taker records goal(s) on the Student Support Plan and reiterates the final decision to the group. In Tier 3 meetings, the caregiver is given the opportunity to share their ideas, and the team decides on the goals. 

See the Student Support Plan & Review tool for an example of how goal setting can be incorporated into documentation.

Intervention Support Planning

Once the team has clarity about goals, they can consider what support is needed to help reach the goals. The following guidance does not champion any particular intervention; however, we know that teachers have different degrees of capacity, students have varying needs, and schools have varying resources. Instead, the list below is intended to provide some support in determining interventions that are appropriate, realistic, and selected with the whole child in mind. 

Some criteria to consider when selecting interventions include:  

  • What do I need to do to support this student in meeting the goal? 
  • How far is the student from meeting the goal? 
  • What assets does the student/family have?  
  • What level of capacity is necessary to implement the intervention? 
  • What other resources can be leveraged? 
  • How will this impact other students? 
  • How much time will it take?

Teacher/staff capacity and needed support should be taken into consideration as well. Instead of focusing only on a narrow set of targeted interventions, consider holistic supports that: 

  • create a more supportive environment 
  • leverage positive developmental relationships  
  • provide integrated supports for skills and mindsets aligned to the Whole-Child Design Blueprint  

During development and prior to finalization of the Student Support Plan, teachers and other stakeholders should have the opportunity to comment on any potential support needed for implementation of the selected supportIn addition to the goals and interventions, how progress will be monitored should be discussed and documented on the student support plan by the note taker.  

A date to review progress should be scheduled prior to ending the meeting. The protocols discussed here allow for a more timely, targeted discussion about students, resulting in a more productive meeting. It facilitates increased time and space for reflecting and supports equitable contribution for development of a holistic plan. 

After the Meeting: 

Within 24-48 hours of the Tier 2 or Tier 3 meeting, the note taker shares the Student Support Plan with stakeholders who were invited to participate in the meeting. The timeliness of the plan being made available is crucial to supporting the student. From now until the review meeting, educators and other stakeholders identified in the support plan implement the planned strategies of support and keep track of the progress the student is making toward the goal.  

The data about implementation of supports will be brought back to the predetermined meeting for review on the designated date to discuss current status and next steps. It is ideal that the teacher take an opportunity to deepen their relationship with the student by reviewing their goals and talking with them about how they will be supported in reaching those goals. This practice provides transparency and will help the student take a more active role by voicing their perspective on their experience of the school environment.