Meeting the needs of diverse learners can be a tall order, whether theyre in self-contained, mainstream, or inclusion classrooms. Part of the solution has been the use of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, or MTSS. Most schools have MTSS in place to provide universal, targeted, and individualized academic (RTI) and behavioral (PBIS) support. However, many are finding that these systems alone do not fulfill studentsneeds.  

Even with a focus on child behavior management strategies, many schools continue to see a rise in behavioral issues, and a strong need for academic support and behavior intervention. Districts and schools servicing diverse learners are coming to similar conclusions: the support systems put in place to meet students’ needs are in need of support themselves. Conscious Discipline practices are uniquely structured to provide the support and guidance necessary to reach all students within the infrastructure of MTSS.  

Five Ways Conscious Discipline Strengthens Your MTSS 

  1. Conscious Discipline supports tiered levels for optimal student outcomes. MTSS provides the framework for support; Conscious Discipline’s comprehensive strategies, structures, and interventions bring it to life. The number one problem identified with MTSS is the coordination of practices and expectationsUsing a tiered level of support system to differentiate instruction can help students regulate and manage their nervous systemsConscious Discipline is organized to provide this kind of support. Students are first offered basic services in Tier 1, establishing a solid foundation to build on and progress into subsequent tiers. Students in subsequent tiers receive elevated opportunities to build on Tier 1 interventions and deepen the relationships through which increased learning and healing can occur. This scaffolded support provides the footholds necessary for MTSS to provide the most meaningful results.  
  2. Prevention is the best intervention. The Conscious Discipline Brain State Model deepens the understanding of how brain states impact behavior, and the ability to access and process information. This enables educators to be proactive rather than reactive in the classroom, laying the groundwork for greater learning and more accurate data for evaluations. A student cannot learn effectively or provide accurate data if they are perpetually stuck in a survival or emotional state. It’s not behavior, it’s biology,” says Dr. Jenny Barkac, a long-time Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor and presenter. Self-regulation provides the pathway to higher brain states in which students can bolster their academic skill and stamina and improve behavioral outcomes. Self-regulation skills lay the foundation for the success of MTSS systems. 
  3. Executive skills prepare students for life. The ultimate purpose of MTSS is to provide insight to teachers to better assist students in becoming thriving citizens and scholars. Executive functioning skills, such as critical thinking, planning, prioritizing, and problem solving, are essential in the classroom and prepare students for life as contributing community members. The powers, skills, and practices of Conscious Discipline help scaffold students’ emerging executive functioning skills. Additionally, we know that trauma and stress can severely inhibit the development of executive skills. Conscious Discipline’s trauma-responsive approach focuses on teaching self-regulation and creating an emotionally safe and connected school culture that is conducive to the success of all students.  
  4. Positive connections lead to cooperation and achievement Positive connections are attributed to the lowering of anxiety and depression and the raising of self-esteem in both children and adults. Creating a Conscious Discipline School Family based on safety, connection, and problem solving dramatically increases teaching time, cooperation, willingness, and academic success. It also decreases bullying, aggression, and other behavioral issues. A connected, compassionate School Family creates the bedrock on which to build successful MTSS. Deepening connections and relationships are the most effective path toward academic achievement.  
  5. What you focus on, you get more of. Conscious Discipline focuses us on the desired behaviors, a shift in intention that leads to greater success, self-esteem, and satisfaction. Many evaluation systems focus our attention on the problem. Conscious Discipline acknowledges the behaviors that need to change while keeping a steadfast focus on the positive behaviors we wish to grow. We must see children differently if they are to behave differently. Conscious Discipline empowers educators to do just that, while providing the positive behavioral supports children require to be successful. 

Delve deeper into learning how Conscious Discipline can be used alongside your MTSS systems to provide integrated academic and behavioral support, sign up for our event, Strengthening Executive Function and Academic Stamina: Conscious Discipline and Tiered Supports September 19-20, 2024 in Birdville, TX. Conscious Discipline Certified Instructors Jenny Barkac and Amy Zolessi will draw on personal experiences as classroom teachers, behavior interventionists, and longtime Conscious Discipline practitioners to help you understand and apply Conscious Discipline with tiered systems.  

This event is geared toward administrators, counselors, specialists, and educators working with students K through 5th grade. Prior knowledge or implementation of Conscious Discipline is helpful but not necessary to benefit from this event. 


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