In honor of National School Psychology Awareness Week (November 12-16 2018), we’re introducing you to each of our 10 school psychologists, and letting them explain what their jobs in our schools look like. They’re also going to debunk some common misconceptions about their roles (hint: they do not have fainting couches in their offices).
Meet: Will Mansfield, MSP, NCSP
What specific elements of your job are you particularly passionate about?
My primary interests include data-based decision-making as it relates to Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) as well as the topic of Specific Learning Disabilities.
So what’s MTSS?
When students struggle academically and/or behaviorally, it is best practice to evaluate need and program intervention through the lens of a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS). MTSS is a framework that promotes school improvement through engaging, research-based academic and behavioral practices. Simply put, MTSS involves using assessment data to evaluate student difficulties in order to match need with an intervention of appropriate intensity.
What does that look like in action?
Imagine that there is a young man named Bill in 1st grade who is struggling with reading. Using reading data, an MTSS team would analyze Bill’s strengths and weaknesses in order to determine the nature of his reading difficulties. Once the weaknesses are identified, an appropriate intervention would be put in place to address the concern. Using Bill’s reading data in conjunction with weekly rates of growth, the MTSS team can establish a quantifiable goal for how much growth Bill should make in a given amount of time (e.g., Bill is currently reading 10 words correctly per minute with 90% accuracy; in 6 weeks, Bill will read 17-21 words correctly per minute with 90% accuracy). While interventions are being provided to Bill, his progress can be regularly tracked using progress monitoring measurement.
And that’s where the data-based decision-making occurs?
Exactly. Following a period of intervention, the MTSS team would review Bill’s progress to evaluate his response to intervention. If Bill’s progress is encouraging, the MTSS team might recommend continuing with the selected intervention. If Bill’s progress is discouraging, the MTSS team might recommend adjusting the intensity of the intervention or may select a new intervention altogether. If Bill ultimately fails to respond satisfactorily to appropriate intervention, the MTSS team may elect to have him evaluated for the presence of a specific learning disability in order to determine if special education services need to be accessed and employed.