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Leveraging Student Data for Informed Decision Making within an Interconnected Systems Framework

In the dynamic landscape of education, where every student's journey is unique, the importance of data-driven decision-making cannot be overstated. As educators, mental health providers, and stakeholders, we are constantly striving to enhance outcomes and provide effective support to our students. In this endeavor, leveraging meaningful data becomes not just beneficial, but essential.

On March 20th, 2024, the Berea City School District engaged in professional learning facilitated by Kelly Perales, Co-Director of Midwest PBIS, on Data-Based Decision Making.

As part of the Project Prevent Grant awarded to the ESCNEO, Student Wellness consultants and Kelly provide ongoing technical assistance and professional development around the Interconnected Systems Framework (ISF). ISF is a structure and process to fully integrate mental health prevention and response into a Multi-Tiered System of Support in the school setting. The Berea City School District, with the guidance of Lori Sancin, Director of Pupil Services, and Meredith Ondak, Coordinator of Mental Health Services, started working towards an integrated system in fall 2023, and continues to demonstrate growth through their district and building PBIS and mental health teams.

Kelly emphasized two major objectives throughout the training to improve the efficiency of the student referral process: 1) using expanded data sets to create tiered interventions that meet student and family needs; and 2) improving systems to identify concerns sooner.  

Data tells a story. Data tells us how students are responding within the system and where adults need to improve. For example, Berea created decision-making rules for PBIS Tier II teams beginning in 2023, looking at traditional student outcome data. However, as a team, they identified how community data, such as socioeconomic status, homelessness, food insecurity, and community engagement opportunities affect their students.  “Schools have the ability to be flexible,” Kelly said. “There are contextual nuances where there may be a different threshold.”  Meredith continued, “maybe these [data thresholds] aren’t the correct points to be looking at…we need to make adjustments…if the team agrees, [they] should be supported.” Through team-based problem solving, educators can identify patterns, trends, and systemic barriers that may impact student success.

The training wrapped up with the identification of action items for the team as well as highlighting “celebrations.”

The team identified where their perception data demonstrated a need for improved family engagement and connection, and how collaborating with community resources and leaders may lead to sustainable outcomes.  Additionally, Kelly emphasized the District’s growth, sharing, “You have the start to some really great things that will pay off in time!” To learn more about the Berea City Schools’ integration of mental health within PBIS/MTSS, as well as highlights from other districts, register for our 2nd Annual Mental Health Symposium on May 6, 2024.  

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