Two fully online programs at Michigan State University will help ensure K-12 students who may need additional support “don’t fall through the cracks.”
When a student is part of a general education classroom, they may need more academic, emotional or behavior support than what is provided. The graduate certificate and master’s program in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) help fill that gap: preparing leaders who will step in to provide additional levels, or tiers, of support.
“Multi-tiered systems of support are a way to reorganize schools so we’re providing prevention and intervention support to all students, so students don’t fall through the cracks,” said Associate Professor Troy Mariage. “Those who apply to these programs will learn a special set of skills for leadership and implementing change.”
However, in some cases where schools don’t have ready access to professionals with this skillset, the needed changes may not be as easily noticed or resolved.
That is why the new MTSS programs are a critical and important addition to MSU and the community, Assistant Professor Adrea Truckenmiller explains. Many Michigan districts and schools, she said, currently seek external sources to implement MTSS practices.
“The goal of this program is to cultivate knowledge, expertise and leadership of MTSS within schools,” she explained.
Graduates of the new programs will have expertise in whole school, small group and individual support levels and be able to create personalized plans of action to better serve K-12 learners.
“Our alumni will be people who can see and use a support framework and, through expertise gained in these programs, understand if it is working or not,” she said. “They will also know what other resources can be used to help students become ‘unstuck.'”
The programs are guided by fundamentals in data-based decision making—using a coordinated system of valid assessments and evidence-based instruction. Courses are led by acclaimed scholars in the MSU College of Education who have expertise in interventions for reading, mathematics, behavior and more.
“It’s about increasing the level of support in what we’re providing to students, and providing opportunities across districts and schools to implement these changes,” Professor Emily Bouck added. “The programs are focused on capacity-building and creating leaders who can implement effective change.”
The fully online graduate certificate and master’s programs in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), part of several options the College of Education offers in the field of special education, launched in June and are now accepting applicants.