Bringing Sustainable Social Emotional Learning Practices to Manchester Public Schools Through MTSS Coaching
By Hailey Jordan, Research Assistant, New England MHTTC, and Dana Asby, Education Coordinator, New England MHTTC
Schools and districts around the nation have been adopting the Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) to address the needs of their unique school communities for many years. Manchester Public Schools wanted to enhance the efficacy of the evidence-based practices and services incorporated into their Integrated MTSS framework by employing an MTSS Coach. They brought Stacy Champey on to develop a district-wide coaching blueprint that supports the alignment of best practices at the school level while finding the specific programs, interventions, and structure to support their population. Stacy is currently using the Compassionate School Mental Health Model to inform the blueprint, which future district coaches will follow to implement and coach Manchester Public School's MTSS framework for behavioral health and wellness.
Using Experience and Education to Integrate Trauma-Responsive Practices into the MTSS Framework
Stacy began her journey towards trauma-skilled practices as a paraprofessional for a self-contained program for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. She understood that many of the students in this program came from backgrounds with complex trauma and how this impacted their behavior due to lack of support. She became a special education teacher and worked in her school district to bring in social workers and other supports for families. She knew that students and families needed more than just a behavioral approach alone. The district asked Stacy to do behavioral consulting for higher needs cases and this opportunity led her to take a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports training program at the University of Connecticut.
After Stacy finished this "Train the Trainers Program," her supervisor connected her with the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and the consultants who work with MTSS for behavioral health and wellness. One of the consultants had just started an advanced graduate certificate program in trauma-informed practice, policy, and education. Stacy joined this program and learned about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), including how trauma impacts the brain, childhood development, and learning.
Stacy is coaching in a demonstration site in her district to inform the blueprint and future coaching around the Integrated MTSS framework. Behavioral needs of students are addressed through school-based teams. A school-wide team works on behavior supports, social emotional learning, mental health, and teacher wellness. This method helps Stacy take a trauma-informed, holistic approach to the mental well-being of the entire school community.
Coaching, Data, and Administrative Buy-In to Enhance Sustainability of a Comprehensive School Mental Health System
Along with enhancing school practices to align with the MTSS implementation, Stacy's blueprint addresses systems at the school level to support staff wellness, as well as targeting professional learning opportunities around content areas for student behavioral health and wellness. Stacy is also analyzing data to help evaluate the framework and uncover any equity issues. Administration buy-in and use of data are important complements to the blueprint Stacy has developed. Data is evaluated at both the school-wide and targeted level to assess practices for fidelity of implementation, as well as student outcomes. Learn more about how Stacy has created a train the trainer model for Manchester Public Schools’ MTSS coaches in this newsletter article she co-authored.
Using data helps Stacy understand where coaches need to focus in each school and what targeted professional development is needed. To take Stacy’s ideas off the page into the classroom effectively, educators need ongoing coaching and technical assistance to navigate what is for many a new area of education. These strategies will help ensure that the blueprint becomes a long-lasting part of Manchester Public Schools’ comprehensive school mental health system—not just a passing fad.
Stacy’s participation in the Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative (C-TLC) has helped her connect with other educators around the region doing similar work to learn about interventions and school practices to address and reduce trauma that she can add to her blueprint. Stacy has found her experience as a C-TLC Fellow to be validating, enriching, and refreshing. She loves working with other C-TLC Fellows who understand the "why" behind compassionate school mental health practices and feels understood by the C-TLC community. She is excited about learning more from her C-TLC colleagues and trainings about how to enhance family engagement.