“As a former teacher, I know I saw the effect of social, emotional and behavioral issues on student performance, attitudes, and virtually everything else. But I was not always sure what to do about it,” said Don Grosidider, superintendent of schools. “Teachers benefit from this tool because it is quick and efficient. It’s not burdensome, so they are willing to use it. They feel better when they feel like their concerns are far less likely to fall through the cracks.”
To improve identification and services referral for student needs, we’ve learned two practices that have fundamentally shifted our approach:
1. As part of our integrated Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS), we routinely assess for academic and behavioral health needs, and
2. We use Mazin EnCompass for all referrals and data keeping, whether for academics, behavior or other needs.
When you start a large, comprehensive initiative, the immediate challenges include clarifying roles, developing effective procedures, orienting everyone, and creating a new common language and value system, as well as a new common understanding of how everything interrelates and connects to student development and performance. Knowing the signs of need, when to refer, how to refer and to whom to refer can be challenging and time consuming.
A system that automates most of these decisions means our main focus is encouraging staff to refer at the earliest sign of any academic, social, emotional or behavioral need. This makes for a user-friendly experience. We also can get quick feedback about progress and see whether the data is showing improvement.
A brighter future for Eudora students
Automating our identification and referral process has allowed us to focus on student needs instead of paperwork, and has vastly increased our success rate connecting students with the programs and services that can benefit them. Along with our SIS, Mazin EnCompass is our major data management tool. Not only does it allow a consistent, quick and effective way to connect students to resources and services, it provides mechanisms for follow-up and progress monitoring.
“We’ve always recognized the range of issues that can impact students’ lives,” Grosdidier said. “SSHS allowed us to bring in more services and enhance some of our own practices. The online system is the tool that allows us to connect up all those dots.”
Christina Mann is the Director of Student Development and Partnerships in the Eudora School District.