District’s new support plan aims to provide services for students needing extra assistance

An elaborate multitiered system of support plan will provide additional support for Riverhead students who may need assistance due to academic and behavioral needs.

The Riverhead Board of Education approved the plan at last Tuesday’s meeting.

“MTSS is a proactive approach to identifying students with academic and behavioral needs,” said Lori Koerner, the assistant superintendent for human resources and elementary education. “Instead of waiting for them to fail, essentially what the goal is, is to establish routines, procedures, protocols and guidelines for assisting them along their educational journey.”

A committee of an interdisciplinary team of teachers and leaders created the plan in partnership with the educational consulting firm PLC Associates. Ms. Koerner presented the plan at the meeting along with William Galati, the executive director of secondary curriculum, grants and student outcomes.

According to the presentation, which can be found online at the district website, the MTSS plan includes a three-tiered plan for all levels of education in the district — elementary and intermediate, middle and high school.

It covers academic resources and intervention along with behavioral and social emotional learning interventions. A full list of resources is available online.

The first tier starts with core instruction. Students receive research-based core instruction emphasizing grade level standards and school-wide behavioral expectations, according to the document. The first tier is expected to meet the needs of 80% of the school’s population, according to the document.

In the second tier, Group Support, students identified as being at risk academically or behaviorally are provided research-based interventions and strategies in addition to the core instruction, according to the document. Approximately 10 to 15% of students are expected to need additional instruction in tier two, according to the document.

The third tier, Intensive Intervention, is for students who demonstrate significant academic or behavioral defects or have not demonstrated sufficient progress with targeted group interventions at tier two, according to the document. About 5% of students will require this level of intensive support, according to the document. 

Mr. Galati mentioned that although this draft of the MTSS plan was approved, it is a fluid document.

“We’re going to be implementing it this year and then we’re going to be reflecting upon it quarterly,” he said.

The MTSS plan was one of the goals included in the district’s new five-year plan that was approved by the board in June. It is ready for implementation this school year, the administrators said.

Board member Christopher Dorr cast the lone vote against the plan.

Board president Brian Connelly and board member Therese Zuhoski were absent from the meeting due to work obligations, according to vice president Laurie Downs.

The plan includes collaboration with teachers, administrators, counselors and social workers to determine the appropriate levels of intervention for the students, Mr. Galati said.

“If the children aren’t learning the way that we’re teaching, we need to be able to teach the way that they learn,” Ms. Koerner said.