County Schools participate in pilot program

Kris Odom, Education Specialist and 7-12 Curriculum Coordinator, along with Cody Carnley, Federal Programs and K-6 Curriculum Director, addressed the Crenshaw County Board of Education at their regular scheduled meeting on April 18 gave a presentation on the Multi-Tier System of Support (MTSS) and explained Crenshaw County’s current role in the program. Only six school systems were selected to participate in the pilot program. Odom explained the importance of non-teacher workers in the schools. 

“When we talk about MTSS we are talking about the whole child, not just academics. So through this program we will implement some mental health first aid training for all faculty and staff, bus drivers, CMP workers, janitors-everyone that is employed with Crenshaw County Schools,” Odom said “We want them all to know and understand the importance of youth mental health. Often, the first person the child sees is their bus driver. Our bus drivers live in our communities, and they know when students are displaced and whose grandmother passed away, etc. Bus drivers have an open line of communication, and we want them to be prepared on how to deal with these kinds of things. MTSS aligns with everything we are doing at Crenshaw County Schools, and we are proud to be one of the first MTSS schools in Alabama.” 

The MTSS pilot program is set to last three years. At the end of this period, MTSS will be fully implemented and self-sufficient within Crenshaw County Schools. CCS is closing in on the end of year one. The Alabama Department of Education has set a seven year goal for all schools in the state to have a functioning MTSS program. There are plans in place to educate parents and all stakeholders on MTSS.

Carnley stated that MTSS is on track. Through monthly meetings with MTSS coaches, CCS has developed common language among those that sit on the district committee and has assured that all schools align with CCS’s strategic plan. These monthly meetings have also facilitated discussion about CCS’s communication plan and what is being done to communicate with all stakeholders in the community.

“We want everyone in the community to understand that this is going to be a big part of what it takes to get Crenshaw County Schools to the next level. During the upcoming school year, we’re going to sustain the communication plan, facilitate high quality professional development, on-board any new staff members (into the MTSS program) and we are going to work hard on building a safe and supportive learning environment for everyone so that we can really meet the needs of our students.” 

Carnley presented the Board with a graphic showing three children standing behind a fence. 

“Some need boxes to see over and some do not,” Carnley explained “The last part of the picture you see the fence has been removed entirely. That is our goal. We do not want there to be any barriers for any of our students. We want them to do whatever it is they want, whether it is college bound or career bound. We want to make sure we are tooling them to be successful and to ultimately have the opportunity to give back to the community.”