Staff at Parramatta Marist High School (NSW), Reece High School (Tas), Craigmore High School (SA), East Loddon P–12 (Vic), Parafield Gardens High School (SA) and Como Secondary College (WA) discuss how they involve students, their carers and the school community when implementing an MTSS framework aligned with AERO’s guidance. This work aims to reduce the risk of students feeling stigma when receiving support, which should improve engagement and impact.
Watch Supporting student and community buy-in for MTSS on YouTube.

Duration: 4:20


Prue Dawson, Diversity Coordinator, Parramatta Marist High School: Buy-in is really important from all stakeholders when you're trying to implement an intervention. From the classroom teachers and leadership staff, it's really important that they understand and acknowledge what we need to do to be able to ensure that all of the students get what they need at our school.

Danika Hess, Assistant Principal, Reece High School: We intentionally spent time building that understanding with our students, with our families from the first time they come into our school. And then we obviously communicate that throughout the year through newsletters, open classrooms, parent teachers, and parents can see that growth that's happening.

Georgina Davis, Teacher, Craigmore High School: So there may be some original stigma attached to being placed in an 'intervention class'. However, I think our first lesson with our students is really, really important. We make sure all staff are available – so our speech pathologist, teachers, SSOs, literacy coordinator all pop in – and that really makes students feel welcome and that they can see that there's a large range of staff here to support them. In addition to that, we really have a lengthy discussion around why they're here and what the aims of the program are.

Steven Leed, Principal, East Loddon P–12 College: It's really important to touch base, I suppose, with all of the community stakeholders. We've put communications out – being really open with the parents as well – about the fact that this is where we need to move forwards, but also acknowledging some of the potential fears that people may have. Acknowledging those pitfalls and acknowledging what we think might be the really proud moments that we might achieve along the way.

Stasha Demosthenous, Literacy Lead Teacher, Parafield Gardens High School: I found success in just having some frank and honest conversations with the students as to why they're in the class and what the program is, the purpose of the program and what they have to gain from it – how the program will benefit them – provided that they engage with it and work hard.

Georgina Davis: Our students set some goals and we refer back to them often throughout the semester. For example, one of my students want to send a letter, want to send an email, eventually, they want to apply for a job. All of those are quite literacy-heavy tasks. So, explaining that, 'Okay, through this program, we're going to assist you to do that,' they're getting something out of it and they can see, 'Okay, this is the goal I want. This is what I'm going to achieve. You guys are going to help me do it. No worries.' That's their buy-in.

Thomas Murray, Principal, Reece High School: Celebrating student success is one of the great things that we're able to do here. And I guess that's not just for that high-level academic success as well – it's around celebrating growth and learning. So, we do have an opportunity for parents to come in and celebrate their – their child's – growth in learning. And so, having an opportunity for the parents to come in and see that they've made 12, 18, 24 month's growth within a 12-month period is so rewarding.

Danika Hess: Some families whose child had really struggled with reading had actually come into a celebration assembly where their child received a certificate for their reading growth. And for the parents, they were so proud of their student's achievement. And from that point, their parents were like, 'You need to be at school on that day because this program is so important'.

Anne Thomas, Quality Teaching Coach, Reece High School: We're very transparent with the students. We show them their results, and they show pride and joy in what they've been able to achieve as well. And we've definitely had great leverage into the next test when they can actually say, 'Oh,' you know, 'I do know things and I can answer questions.'

Zachary Healey, Intervention Teacher, Como Secondary College: Reducing that stigma comes back to really focusing on progress and making sure that they're aware of the success that they are having. If they're aware of the success that they're having, then I find that's a massive motivator for those students. 'This is actually a subject where I'm getting success, where I'm getting positive notes home to parents, where my parents are really happy because I am being successful at school and I can see where my academic progress is going.' It really reduces their stigma and that they want to come into the program and be in the program and really thrive in the program as well.

Keywords: multi-tiered system of supports