Honoring work for students whose behavior impacts their ability to achieve, the Student Support Team Association for Georgia Educators recognized the Jackson County School System Jan. 16 at its 2019 conference in Athens.
SSTAGE’s Star Award for Promising Practices was presented to JCSS for its efforts to match effective solutions to student needs where behavior issues are a factor in academic success.
The award is given annually to one Georgia school district identified as implementing a comprehensive set of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support practices.
Dr. Kristin Mobbs, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support district coordinator; Todd Nickelsen, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning; Troy Johnson, director of school improvement and accountability; and Debbie Williamson, school psychologist. accepted the award.
Mobbs, Johnson, and Williamson also were among the spotlighted presenters at SSTAGEs’ 12th annual conference, leading a session titled, “MTSS is School Improvement: Our Journey toward Changing Adult Perceptions and Students’ Lives.”
They described strategies to “improve district support, professional development, fidelity of implementation, student monitoring, and procedures and forms” as districts move from interventions to the multi-tiered systems of support.
“The work of systems change is messy at times; however, MTSS is a worthy endeavor because it IS school improvement and has the power to change the trajectory of the lives of our students,” Mobbs said.
Approximately 13 percent of the 8,000 students in the county school system are identified as having disabilities, 6 percent do not speak English as their first language, and 49 percent qualify for free or reduced-price meals, a program that is frequently used as a measure of poverty.
In addition to the Star award acceptance and spotlight, JCSS also was recognized when a team from East Jackson Elementary School led a session titled, “Expect More, Achieve More: Our MTSS Story.”
Presenters were Sherry Beauchamp, EJES’s MTSS coordinator for grades 3-5; Wendy Dillow, MTSS coordinator for K-2; Allyson Pennington, assistant principal for instruction; and Katie Deans, counselor.
They described EJES’s four-year journey as it implemented MTSS and sought ways to build capacity among its staff to support students and increase community participation.