Wise Data-Driven Decisions
Rev. Peter Semeyn

It’s 10:30 on a Tuesday morning and 9 extra teachers flood the third grade hallway. Small groups of students sit together at tables and are guided by an aide or teacher. Some teachers work one-on-one with students. You can see a student’s self-confidence grow as they begin to understand a particular problem or a challenging concept.

This is MTSS in action. MTSS is the acronym for Timothy’s Multi-tiered System of Support. For 180 minutes each week, every elementary school student receives individually-customized instruction. This is in addition to regular classroom instruction. Making sure every student receives just-right instruction is a monumental task that involves screening every student three times a year, plus individual monitoring monthly, bi-weekly, or even weekly depending on the student’s needs. Kristine Wise, the Director of Teaching and Learning, PS-6th grade, oversees the data-driven MTSS program. 

 “We have 8 aides that we employ who work with individual student groups and assist students one-on-one,” Kristine explained. “Most of them are former teachers and they provide invaluable assistance. At Timothy, we meet students where they are and help them mature academically, personally, and spiritually.” 

Kristine has served in the role of Director of Teaching and Learning since 2015. With a Masters in Reading, it seemed like a natural fit for her. Since her time in the position, she’s worked closely with the Director of Educational Support and the Elementary Student Services Team to develop and hone the process of MTSS. She meets with an entire team that consists of teachers, aides, and the Director of Student Support to strategize how to place students in groups where their learning needs are not only met, but where they will thrive. Kristine and the team make data-driven decisions about each student. Then each student is placed in a small group to provide just-right instruction, whether that is intervention, additional practice, enrichment, or extension. 

At Timothy Christian Schools, we believe that you can offer excellence without sacrificing a faith perspective.

In elementary school, classroom teachers routinely monitor students’ responses to instruction and respond by providing opportunities during class for differentiated instruction and activities. This process is built into the way teachers instruct across subjects every day. 

Kristine’s other responsibility is the monumental task of choosing curriculum. MTSS and curriculum are both intricately tied and are at the core of Timothy’s mission to ignite academic growth. 

Kristine researches the vast resources available and works alongside teachers to make appropriate choices. “We don’t choose curriculum from just one publisher,” she explained, “but I am constantly reviewing curriculum to meet our standards of excellence.”

I am constantly reviewing curriculum to meet our standards of excellence.

Finding challenging curriculum that is appropriate within the context of a Christian school is a delicate balance. Some believe if you are in a Christian school, you sacrifice excellence for the appropriate faith component. Others believe you sacrifice the faith component if you emphasize excellence. Timothy Christian Schools believes that you can offer excellence without sacrificing a faith perspective. It is a difficult balance and takes effort, but it can be achieved.

“Our teachers are passionate about Biblical integration and using high-quality core curriculum together to provide a Christ-centered education,” Kris explained. “It is highly evident as I see teachers in action, weaving together faith and learning for all students.”

Kristine does diligent research and then presents the options to the teachers who will be utilizing the curriculum. The group makes a choice and Kristine walks alongside them in the classroom implementation. She is always available to teachers to answer questions, brainstorm ideas, and provide support. 

It’s this teamwork that truly makes a difference for every student. “Mrs. Wise goes beyond her role as Curriculum Director, teaching students in small groups, coaching, and helping joyfully everywhere she can,” PS-8th grade principal Justin Horne said. “She truly has a servant’s heart, and we are lucky to have her here.”

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