NJTSS Essential Components
Essential Components for Effective NJTSS Implementation
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1) Effective district and school leadership
Administrative leadership that supports the implementation of NJTSS with fidelity and includes:
- District and building leadership teams, with representation from administration, staff, students, families and community partners, that meet regularly and approach instruction and interventions in an integrated manner;
- Clear district and school vision and mission statements, developed collaboratively by the leadership teams, that include a commitment to build capacity and sustain the NJTSS framework;
- District and school implementation plans illustrating coordination of interventions and supports across tiers;
- A flexible approach to scheduling of students and staff to ensure student access to small group interventions in addition to core instruction and teacher access to professional development activities;
- A supportive leadership style that fosters effective teacher leaders with diverse backgrounds and expertise;
- A plan for the transitioning to new leaders to promote sustainability; and
- A commitment by district and school leadership to provide professional development opportunities and resources to teachers, school personnel, families and leadership.
2) Family and community engagement
Ongoing participation of family and community partners in the design, implementation and sustainability of the NJTSS framework that includes:
- Involvement of families and community partners in the development and implementation of the school vision and mission, including the NJTSS framework;
- Identification of strategies and resources to accommodate cultural and linguistic differences and link families, staff and students to appropriate service providers and community partners;
- Use of multiple means of culturally-responsive, ongoing communication including review of district and school level performance and progress data; and
- Scheduling of intervention planning meetings to facilitate meaningful parent participation and review of student progress data.
3) Positive school culture and climate
A school culture and climate that emphasizes positive, proactive, and preventive practices aligned to a student's sense of physical and emotional safety fostering optimal conditions for learning and includes:
- A clean, safe, welcoming and accessible physical environment;
- Assessment of school culture and climate using multiple sources (e.g., NJ School Climate Survey, indicator checklists, discipline data, etc);
- School environments that have clearly defined and articulated expectations, transitions and routines;
- Instruction on social norms, relationship building, and behavioral expectations infused into curricula and daily routines;
- Regular activities that are planned specifically to foster positive school climate and community building;
- Communication between staff and administrators that is reciprocal and occurs frequently;
- Use of supportive behaviors (e.g., listening, helping, expressing caring, etc.) by staff toward students and towards each other;
- Ongoing student and staff recognition for positive contributions to the school community;
- Opportunities for student and staff input into planning and decision making (e.g., through feedback discussions, focus groups, surveys, etc.); and
- Use of scaffolds (e.g., visuals, coaching, teachable moments, pre-correction, etc.) to support positive choices by students.
4) High-quality learning environments, curricula and instructional practices
A three-tiered model of instruction and intervention that includes:
- Evidence-based core instruction (Tier 1) delivered with fidelity;
- Targeted, small group interventions in addition to core instruction (Tier 2); and
- Intensive interventions (Tier 3) customized to students' needs; and
- Embedded use of differentiation and the Universal Design for Learning principles in the planning of curricula, instructional activities, and assessment including:
- Options in the ways information is presented, different approaches for students to express learning and demonstrate knowledge and skills, and varied ways to encourage engagement often impacted by student interests;
- Appropriate accommodations, supports, strategies, and scaffolds that reduce barriers to learning while promoting learner independence;
- Personalization in terms of targeted strategies, self-reflection, and technology to enhance instruction;
- Curricula and instruction based on the New Jersey Student Learning Standards and introduced by qualified and appropriately trained educators in a manner demonstrating fidelity and high expectations for all students;
- Culturally-responsive approach to instruction;
- Flexibility and adjustment as necessary based on data collected during period of progress monitoring; and
- Utilization of flexible grouping and cooperative learning.
5) Universal screening
The use of reliable screening tools that are:
- Administered to all students in English language arts and mathematics, more than once per year, to identify students who are at risk for learning and behavior difficulties; and
- Administered in accordance with test protocols.
6) Data-based decision making
The systematic analysis of data across multiple levels of instruction and interventions that includes:
- Use of data drawn from multiple sources (screening, classroom assessments, progress monitoring, state assessments, etc.) and analyzed at multiple levels (school-wide, grade, class, individual student) to set goals and monitor progress;
- Use of formative assessment to guide differentiation, as needed;
- Use of data tracking and analyzing tools that enable school personnel to access current information easily; and
- Decision rules that clearly define movement between tiers and determine whether interventions are effective or need to be modified.
7) Collaborative problem-solving teams
The active, cooperative involvement of diverse school staff and/or community resources to comprehensively study and creatively address the academic, behavioral and health needs of students that includes:
- Review of data from multiple sources;
- Members (i.e., teachers, parents, CST members, administrators, interventionists, specialists, etc.) selected depending upon the purpose of the meeting;
- A meeting schedule; and
- A pre-planned agenda.
8) Progress monitoring
Ongoing review of progress to assess student outcomes, determine the effectiveness of academic and behavioral interventions, and determine the rate of student improvement which includes:
- A selection of progress monitoring tools and procedures that are implemented accurately and measure incremental growth;
- An established timeline for monitoring student progress;
- Regularly scheduled meetings to review data; and
- Review, and revise as needed, the action plan for student improvement.
9) Staff Professional Development
Staff resources and high-quality coaching, training and technical assistance, based on the New Jersey Professional Learning Standards, to promote staff buy-in of a tiered system of supports that include:
- Modeling and performance feedback to support the development of high quality instruction and interventions;
- Professional learning communities; and
- Opportunities to showcase district and school strengths at the district and school levels.