OCDE has announced the first recipients of new training grants aligned with a statewide initiative to address students’ academic, behavioral and social needs.
An initial group of 105 schools, districts and county offices of education will receive sub-grants totaling more than $3.2 million as part of the California Scale-Up MTSS Statewide (SUMS) Initiative, which is funded by the California Department of Education and led by OCDE in partnership with the Butte County Office of Education and the SWIFT Center at the University of Kansas.
MTSS — the initials stand for Multi-Tiered System of Support — is a framework of evidence-based strategies designed to support the academic, behavioral and social-emotional needs of students. We’ll be sharing more on the OCDE Newsroom about how MTSS specifically works in schools, but for now know that it’s a comprehensive system of new and existing strategies that guide educators through the process of initiating action plans, tracking progress and making improvements in a number of critical areas. As such, it’s been used to increase attendance, prevent dropouts, lower discipline rates, enhance school climates and improve academic performance.
In 2016, the state Department of Education awarded OCDE an initial allocation of $10 million to scale up MTSS statewide following a task force report that cited the need for a unified framework. An additional $20 million was later earmarked to train local education agencies to implement the California MTSS framework.
As we reported in February, OCDE encouraged school districts, charter schools and county offices of education throughout California to apply for the first round of sub-grants. Agencies were asked to specify how they would invest funds to promote the MTSS framework, which provides core support for all students, supplemental assistance for some and targeted interventions for those with the greatest needs.
Applications were reviewed by members of the SUMS State Leadership Team, as well as regional and county leads, before the sub-grants were awarded. The funding amounts range from $25,000 for a single agency to $50,000 for consortiums of two or more.
OCDE, the Butte County Office of Education and the SWIFT Center will offer technical assistance and support to all grant recipients as they engage in extensive training and analysis. This includes examining the effective strategies, instructional practices and materials they currently have in place, as well as defining their needs and determining next steps.
The application window for a second cohort of participating schools and districts will open in late summer, and a third round of applications will be accepted in the winter of 2018.
For a complete list of grant recipients to date, and to learn more about MTSS and the California SUMS initiative, visit www.ocde.us/SUMS.