George Lucas Educational Foundation

Schools That Work | Practice

P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School

Grades K-12 | Gainesville, FL

Reaching All High School Students: A Multi-Tiered Approach

P.K. Yonge provides a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) that is tailored not only to fit the increased academic demands but the unique social and emotional challenges of secondary students. 
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share

Reaching All High School Students: A Multi-Tiered Approach (Transcript)

Tanya: The ways in which a multi-tiered system of support is put to work in a middle school or a high school program looks a little different than elementary.

Ashley: There's not always as much of a delineation between tier two and tier three once you hit secondary, because the students are taking so many different classes and content really becomes number one.

Tanya: Unlike elementary, where you can pull a small group out, that's not always so in high school, because if you pull a small group out, they might be missing content.

Lynda: So for some students, it's as simple as providing time and opportunity to go meet with the teacher after school for additional help. In some courses, it means our learning community leaders who have expertise in special education, in school psychology, in reading education, are pushing into some courses where there is a cohort of students that needs a little additional support.

Tanya: Well, in period one, I might be in chemistry, in period two, anatomy and physiology, period three, would be tenth grade English. And I'm providing tier two along with the teacher. A lot of push in is built around helping them with life skills, organizational skills, study skills and academic functioning, giving them strategies that maybe help them break down the material.

Yeah, so you see how he's starting here and then he goes there.

Student: Well, it's two separate flashbacks.

Tanya: Correct, yes.

Student: It's a flashback to the call and a flashback to his childhood.

Tanya: And so essentially, I go back to school, taking notes. I'm working with the students, I know what they're covering. If I'm living it every day, I have a really good idea of who's doing what and then fostering relationships. So then it's kind of like, word of mouth advertising. If I develop relationships with my students, they're like, "Oh, you got to see Doctor Kort. She helped me with that senior project, you've got to go see her." You see, and so that's how you get buy in.

Ashley: School gets out at two-oh-five for secondary and then you have from two-ten until three to go receive tier three instruction from a learning community leader, a more on a one on one basis, or tier two instruction from their classroom teacher. That's what's known as help sessions.

Tanya: Tenth grade is on Tuesday after school. Eleventh grade is on Thursday after school. And the twelfth grade team treats their students like they're in college already, so they're making office appointments or they have established office hours. At tenth grade, we have what's called a comprehensive help session.

Lynda: All of the core teachers come together in the same room and it's kind of a one stop shop.

Tanya: I can see some students came here and they had to finish maybe something for anatomy and physiology, and they moved over into doing something for English, or they moved over and they did something for world history. Sometimes they like to come with their friends and then they like to work together. Then they want to finish things up, they want to ask us questions, need clarification, they need help.

Lynda: It is becoming a part of the culture of this school, which is really exciting, that kids see the need and opportunity to go to their teachers after school to get additional support.

Luke: You get the help you need specifically from each teacher.

Emily: I get help a lot from Doctor Kort.

Joshua: Normally, I don't have enough time in class to do my homework and get really all this lesson into my head.

Emily: Every test that she's helped me on, I've had a hundred on.

Tanya: Welcome, everybody.

Ashley: We meet as a student success team every four and a half weeks. We meet as grade level teams. The MTSS specialist, the learning community leader, the core teachers, the guidance counselor come to the table and we talk through what kids need.

Tanya: Yokoa actually showed up on several of your lists about concerns.

Teacher: He responds very well to Renee actually.

Renee: Maybe I can influence him. I don't know.

Teacher: Yes.

Tanya: And out of the student success teams, we are developing lists of students that we're monitoring or providing accommodations and support, and I'm choosing classes to push into.

Ashley: If a student is in need of social emotional support, typically we'll talk about that at SST. Because the problems start to change as kids get older, you start having much more relational and body image stuff. We have to be very creative about what type of supports that we give kids and who gives them.

Teacher: She tries not to let anyone know, but she knows, like she can come to my office, if she's just too overwhelmed. So she just needs that time to just talk about it with someone, or just to get away from the classroom setting.

Lynda: Either counselors or school psychologists might work with students who have some really severe, specific needs related to social emotional learning and we would consider that a tier three intervention.

Renee: When I think having that individualization, it's just made it an incredible difference in terms of our success rate.

Kate: I think it's changed how we're able to support students.

Renee: Out of twenty-five kids, twenty-four are now passing and that's actually a real, you know, celebration.

Get Video
Embed Code Embed Help

You are welcome to embed this video, download it for personal use, or use it in a presentation for a conference, class, workshop, or free online course, so long as a prominent credit or link back to Edutopia is included. If you'd like more detailed information about Edutopia's allowed usages, please see the Licenses section of our Terms of Use.

  • Producer: Kristin Atkins
  • Field Producer: Sarita Khurana
  • Managing Producer/Editor: Julie Konop
  • Production Coordinator: Julia Lee
  • Camera: Drew Perlmutter
  • Sound: Juan Ordonez
  • Graphics: Cait Camarata, Jenny Kolcun, Scott Hartwig
  • Production Assistant: Ricardo Rivera


Supporting the Needs of High School Students

P.K. Yonge’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is the framework used to meet the needs of every student, from elementary school through high school. 

At the secondary level, MTSS is a relatively new framework that is still being worked out by schools across the country. P.K. Yonge began with implementing the framework successfully at the primary grade levels, and since 2009, have developed a “work-in-progress” model at the secondary level. MTSS looks different at the secondary level, because the focus for students is on content and a wide variety of classes.  

The grade-level Student Success Team (SST) is a cross-functional team that plans for, monitors, and evaluates both the academic and behavioral needs of each student. Together, the teachers and support staff collaborate to analyze student data and make action plans. Those in need of additional academic or behavioral support are identified, and interventions are planned and monitored.  

Within the MTSS framework, every student receives core instruction, known as Tier One. Some students need supplemental instruction, which is referred to as Tier Two, and a small cohort of students receive the most intensive intervention and supports, known as Tier Three. This tiered system is used for both academic and social and emotional supports. 

MTSS is a school-wide practice at this K-12 school. See how P.K. Yonge uses MTSS at the elementary school level.

How It's Done

The Student Success Team

At the high school level, P.K. Yonge continues to use Student Success Teams (SST) to make all decisions about tiered instruction. The team is made up of the K-12 MTSS Support Specialist, the Learning Community leader, all of the core teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, speech and language pathologists and sometimes occupational therapists. Additional people are brought in on an as-needed basis, and parents are consulted on all decisions. The SST meets every four and a half weeks across K-12.

Learning Community Leader’s Role

The Learning Community (LC) leader is a role created by P.K. Yonge, usually someone with an expertise in education, school psychology, or special education. At the secondary level, there are 3 LC leaders, one each for 6-7th, 8-9th, and 10-12th grades. Once data is collected and analyzed, the LC leader identifies classes where there is a cohort of students needing support and interventions.

Because at the secondary level students are focused on a large variety of content, the LC Leader essentially “goes back to school” and immerses him/herself in specific content areas, whether that is 10th grade English, Biology, or Geometry. The LC Leader then works closely with the students and teachers in those classes by either pushing into those classes or meeting with students in afterschool help sessions.  

Pushing into the Classroom

At the high school level, Tier 1 is universal, core instruction for all students, is delivered by the classroom teachers. For Tiers 2 and 3, students are not pulled out of the classroom to form small groups like at the elementary level, since they would be missing crucial content in their classes. Instead, teachers and the LC leader push-in to the classroom to work with students after the core lesson is delivered.  Much of the work is around helping students with organizational, study and life skills, as well as strategies to help them understand the subject material.    

Afterschool Help Sessions

In addition to pushing-in for Tier 2 and 3 support, P.K. Yonge has established afterschool help sessions for all high school students. Students who need the extra support sign a help session commitment letter and are required to go to help sessions on specific days and times. In addition, any student who would like some additional support from their core teacher, are also welcome to attend. These help sessions have become a comfortable place for all students to complete homework, ask questions, and collaborate with classmates and friends. 

Comments Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.