Michigan School Districts Launch EWS Program

Over the summer, the Clinton County Regional Education Service Agency and the Shiawassee Regional Education Service District, both Regional Education Service Districts (RESAs) in Michigan, contacted the National High School Center to discuss ways to integrate the National High School Center’s Early Warning System (EWS) Tools with both the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) as well as statewide intervention support programs. In response, the National High School Center, with support from the Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center and the Michigan Department of Education, provided a two day training for school staff from across the two districts on how to implement an Early Warning System.

In preparation for the training, the RESA staff pre-populated copies of the EWS Tools for participating schools with student information from the 2011-12 school year. Presenters from the National High School Center demonstrated how an Early Warning System could be used to complement MTSS, a system that provides several increasingly intense levels of instructional support to ensure that all students are being adequately supported, in screening students, implementing a prevention system, and progress monitoring. The National High School Center team also provided a technical training on using the EWS Tools. Finally, the participants began analyzing reports drawn from the 2011-12 school year data and interpreting what support both individual students and groups of students may need.

Participating schools are getting ready to implement the EWS Tool alongside their existing support systems for the 2012-13 school year. The schools are meeting with the RESAs as well as National High School Center and Great Lakes East staff again in October once they have attendance data for the first 20 or 30 days of school to discuss next steps.

This project is a great example of both how state and district-level staff can assist schools in implementing an Early Warning System, as well as how Early Warning Systems can complement existing systems of support. The continuing assistance of the RESA in importing data into the Tool frees participating schools to focus on using that data to support students. Additionally, it’s important to realize that Early Warning Systems can work alongside existing systems. In schools that are strapped for time and resources and facing “initiative fatigue,” it’s helpful to understand that implementing an Early Warning System is not an onerous process and that it can be used within existing systems, such as Multi-Tiered Systems of Support.


Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.

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