BCS: Teaching the Whole Child

Published 6:26 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Brewton City Schools has long held to the motor of “Everyone learns everyday.”
And, with that the system is now adding a Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) to more completely educate the children who attend any Brewton City School.
Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Varner welcomed members of the MTSS team from the Alabama State Department of Education during a kick-off meeting held Monday.
“We are excited,” Varner said. “This was a competitive application process for this program and we were selected. We already have a great school system and are the top performing schools in Alabama.”
With that success in mind, Varner said the implementation of MTSS in the system will be focusing on the “whole child” when it comes to the students the system serves.
“We not only want to prepare our students to reach the next level, we want them to be successful when they get to college,” Varner said. “We are excited about this program and what it will mean to our students.”
The program, part of a state-wide initiative, will be implemented throughout the system in the coming weeks and will expand a five to eight year period.
Becky Alexander, MTSS lead for the ALDE, said she was excited to be involved with the Brewton City School System in this program.
“You are already a great school system,” Alexander said. “You are already doing a lot of what we do, but we are hear to help and support you every step of the way.”
The program will include many key elements aimed at addressing every aspect of a student’s life from academics, behaviors and foundational wellness including emotional and mental health.
The AL-MTSS is a comprehensive framework that encompasses the academic, behavioral, physical, mental health and wellness, and social-emotional needs to support the whole child.
According to published information about the program, MTSS isn’t a specific curriculum. It’s a proactive approach with key elements:
• Universal screening for all students early in each school year
• Increasing levels of targeted support for those who are struggling
• Integrated plans that address students’ academic, behavioral, social, and emotional needs
• A schoolwide approach to student support, with teachers, counselors, psychologists, and other specialists working as a team to assess students and plan interventions.
• Professional development so staff can provide interventions and monitor progress effectively
• Family involvement so parents and caregivers can understand the interventions and give support at home
• Frequent monitoring of students’ progress to help decide if they need more interventions
• The use of evidence-based strategies at every tier of support.
Johnathan Thompson, MTSS support with ALDE said the program will involve more than school faculty/staff and students.
“Parents and community members have important roles with this program,” Thompson said. “I know that you have wonderful support here and it’s going to take that to be successful and meet the needs of the whole child.”