Achieving Equity and Opportunity: Access to Quality Learning Through Tiered Supports. June 21-22, 2017.
Picture of Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Utah
Dr. Tiffany Anderson; Superintendent, Topeka, Kansas. Leadership and Equity: Accountability in Action. 'We often hear about school districts that struggle with high poverty, low test scores and budget problems. But one district has faced all of these and achieved remarkable results. In just over three years, Superintendent Tiffany Anderson...has lead a dramatic turnaround in one of the worst-performing systems in Missouri.'
Linda Gojak; President, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), 2012-2014. Visible Learning In Mathematics. 'To be truly prepared to do the work called for in the 21st century, whether in a STEM field or in the work of everday life, students must be able to reason about the world around them. The [Core Standards in Mathematics] call for understanding and reasoning to be a part of each child's mathematical education. We cannot afford to miss such an opportunity.'
Featured Speakers. Margaret Heritage, Formative Assessment; Amanda Vanderheyden, MTSS / Mathematics; Margo Izzo, Post-school Transition; Mary Louise Hemmeter, Preschool.

Conference Program

UMTSS Objective
UMTSS is designed to support Utah LEAs and schools in developing sustainable, evidence-based practices and provide supports for students within a multi-tiered system. The purpose of UMTSS is to assist LEAs in building infrastructure. Through coaching, UMTSS staff support LEAs in developing the necessary infrastructure to sustain a multi-tiered system of supports, integrate academic and behavior systems, implement systems and interventions with fidelity, utilize data, and sustain efforts over time to positively impact student outcomes.

Essential Elements for Effective UMTSS Implementation:
  1. Evidence-based practices for academics and behavior
  2. Instructionally-relevant assessments
  3. Team-based problem-solving
  4. Data-based decision making
  5. Evidence-based professional development
  6. Supportive leadership
  7. Meaningful parent and student involvement

Keynote and Featured Speakers

Dr. Tiffany Anderson

Dr. Tiffany Anderson: Leadership and Equity

Tiffany Anderson is a national trainer on poverty and a nationally acclaimed educator who has led school improvement efforts in multiple states. Dr. Anderson is the first African American female superintendent of the Topeka Public Schools, in Topeka, Kansas where the landmark Brown vs. Board case ended legal segregation. Dr. Anderson’s publications include her books, Closing the Achievement Gap and Transforming Schools for Excellence, as well as several articles on high performing school cultures in local and national publications. Dr. Anderson is also adjunct faculty for Association for Schools and Curriculum Development (ASCD) and serves on ASCD’s national poverty cadre that trains districts across the nation. In 2014, Dr. Anderson earned national recognition from Education Week as one of the 16 Leaders to Learn From.

Closing the Achievement Gap and Achieving Equity for All Students

Dr. Anderson will address equity in schools and share practical strategies for closing achievement gaps. Dr. Anderson will inspire the audience by sharing achievement gains in her past districts and by sharing persona, experiences and strategies that were used and how they could be applied by others. Dr. Anderson has implemented a district wide a multi-tiered system of supports in the Topeka Public Schools district identical to previous districts where she served as superintendent, and which were recognized because of their academic gains and graduation rates. She will share with administrators how to implement tiered supports and improve equity outcomes for students.

Learning objectives: Participants will
  1. Gain research-based school improvement strategies.
  2. Learn practical ways to target improving equity in schools.
  3. Identify models of success that can be utilized in any school setting.
Dr. Linda Gojak

Dr. Linda Gojak: Visible Learning

Winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching, Linda Gojak has provided mathematics support for districts and more than 10,000 teachers nationally and internationally. Linda directed the Center for Mathematics and Science Education, Teaching, and Technology at John Carroll University for 16 years. She spent 28 years teaching K-8 mathematics and working with teachers as an elementary and middle school mathematics specialist. She has served as the president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, and the Ohio Council Teacher of Mathematics. Linda is the coauthor of three books for Corwin Mathematics—The Common Core Math Companion, K–2 (2015), The Common Core Math Companion, 6–8 (2015), and Visible Learning for Mathematics, Grades K–12 (October 2016). Linda also wrote Path to Problem Solving for grades 3-6 (ETA Hand to Mind, 2008) and What’s Your Math Problem? (Teacher Created Materials, 2011).

Making Learning Visible in Mathematics

Dr. Gojak will focus on the meta-analyses of thousands of research studies done by John Hattie and resulting in his work on visible learning and its implications for mathematics instruction. What happens when mathematics instruction involves teaching strategies with great effect size? How do these practices align with NCTM’s effective teaching practices (NCTM 2014)? What does surface, deep and transfer learning look like in the context of mathematics teaching and learning? How can we use this work to support students learning mathematical content and practices so that every student is successful? This session will provide an overview of Visible Learning in Mathematics and next steps for classroom implementation.

Learning objectives: Participants will
  1. Have a broad understanding of the premises of visible learning and how it applies to mathematics instruction.
  2. See how to write and connect learning intentions to success criteria based on the Utah Core Standards.
  3. Understand the meaning of surface, deep and transfer learning as it applies to mathematics through examining each level of learning in the context of mathematics content knowledge.
  4. Examine 5 instructional strategies that have great effect size impacting student success and discuss with colleagues what implementing these strategies in mathematics instruction entails.
  5. Align the premises of making mathematics learning visible with NCTM’s effective teaching practices (Principles to Actions, NCTM 2014).
Margaret Heritage

Dr. Margaret Heritage: Formative Assessment

Margaret Heritage joined WestEd as Senior Scientist in October 2014 after 22 years a UCLA, first as principal of the laboratory school of the Graduate School of Education and Information Students and then as an Assistant Director at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST) UCLA. Before joining UCLA, Heritage worked for many years in schools in the United Kingdom and the United States. She was taught courses in the Department of Education at the University of Warwick, England, and has taught in the Departments of Education at UCLA and Stanford University. Her publications on the topic of formative assessment include Formative Assessment in Practice: A Process of Inquiry and Action, Formative Assessment: Making It Happen in the Classroom, and Formative Assessment for Literacy and Academic Language (co-authored with Alison Bailey). Her most recent book, English Language Learners and the New Standards, is co-authored with Aida Walqui and Robert Linquanti and is published by Harvard Education Press.

Reaping the Benefit of Formative Assessment for All Students

The purpose of formative assessment is to inform teaching and learning in everyday classroom practice. In this presentation formative assessment will be considered within the framework of multi-tiered systems of support as a means ensure the needs of all students are continuously and consistently addressed. The students role as active participants in formative assessment will also be explored.

Learning objectives: Participants will
  1. Gain a deeper understanding of formative assessment and its place in multi-tiered systems of support.
  2. Gain an understanding of the students’ role as active participants in formative assessment.
Dr. Amanda VanDerHeyden

Dr. Amanda VanDerHeyden: MTSS Systems

Amanda VanDerHeyden is a private consultant and researcher who has directed and evaluated numerous school-wide intervention and reform efforts. Her work has been featured on "Education News Parents Can Use" on PBS and The Learning Channel. Dr. VanDerHeyden has held faculty positions at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and University of California at Santa Barbara. She has served on numerous boards including the RTI Advisory Board for the National Center for Learning Disabilities and SEDL (now part of the American Institutes for Research), one of 10 regional laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Her most recent book (Kovaleski, VanDerHeyden, & Shapiro, The RTI Approach to Evaluating Learning Disabilities) was featured at a forum for policymakers hosted by the National Center for Learning Disabilities as a best-practice guide for identifying and serving children with Learning Disabilities. She believes that most academic failure is preventable and that all children can learn when provided with the right instruction. Her most recent effort has been completing a web-based comprehensive mathematics RtI system called SpringMath covering numeracy to algebra (

Doing What Works in Schools

Knowing which tactics will work is only part of the challenge; getting others to do the work with you is a major obstacle in many systems. Dr. VanDerHeyden will talk about how to use student learning data to improve instruction and student achievement. Drawing on applied behavior analysis and implementation science, Dr. VanDerHeyden will detail how to get people to do what works, from more efficient screening, to attaining core instructional excellence, and sustaining remedial intervention in ways that close achievement gaps for vulnerable students. From 15 years of leading instructional improvement efforts in schools, Dr. VanDerHeyden will use video, data, and provide links to web-based protocols and tools, to give attendees a concrete vision of "how to" deliver multi-tiered prevention and intervention services in schools, how to know if efforts are working, and how to adjust course when efforts are not paying off.

Learning objectives: Participants will
  1. Understand how to screen more efficiently.
  2. Understand how to select more efficient interventions.
  3. Understand how to deploy interventions for optimal implementation and results.
Dr. Margo Izzo

Dr. Margo Izzo: Post-School Transition

Dr. Margo Izzo is Program Director of Transition Services at the Nisonger Center, a University Center of Excellence on Disabilities at the Ohio State University. With 29 years experience in the fields of special education and developmental disabilities, Dr. Izzo has expertise in grants management, program evaluation, curriculum development, and advocacy for individuals with exceptionalities. She is Principal Investigator of numerous federally funded grants designed to improve academic outcomes of students with disabilities at both the secondary and postsecondary levels. Dr. Izzo maintains a steady regimen of research on characteristics of students with hidden disabilities and development and evaluation of academic, technology-based curricula designed to improve their performance in secondary education and college. Among many awards, she is the recipient of the Mary E. Switzer Fellowship from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Dr. Izzo is Past President of the Division of Career Development and Transition (DCDT) within the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Opportunities for Empowering Students with Disability Pride and 21st Century Skills

Gain insights about our growing population of students with disabilities and how general and special educators can assist students develop positive identities as students with disabilities. Through personal stories and case studies, you will become familiar with the disability pride framework. Strategies to reduce the stigma of having disabilities and improve school climate will be shared. Teaching students to understand how their disability impacts learning will increase student engagement and achievement. You will discover new ideas for helping to connect students with disabilities to positive role models, build on their assets, and advocate for the services they are guaranteed. Students with disability pride will have the skills they need to successfully transition to 21st century careers.

Learning objectives: Participants will
  1. Gain evidence-based practices and strategies to empower students with disabilities.
  2. Understand the importance of disability identity to reduce bullying and stigma and improve student engagement.
  3. Describe the disability pride framework and support students to develop positive identities as students with disabilities.
Mary Louise Hemmeter

Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter: Preschool

Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter is a professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Her research focuses on effective instruction, social emotional development and challenging behavior, and coaching teachers. She has been a PI or Co-PI on numerous projects funded by the US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. Through her work on the National Center on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning and IES funded research projects, she was involved in the development of the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Young Children and a model for coaching teachers to implement effective practices. She is currently the PI on an IES funded development project around program wide supports for implementing the Pyramid Model and a Co-PI on an IES efficacy study examining approaches to supporting teachers to implement embedded instruction. She was co-editor of the Journal of Early Intervention and President of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Early Childhood. She received the Mary McEvoy Service to the Field Award.

Implementing the Pyramid Model in Early Childhood Settings: Supporting All Children’s Social Emotional Development

The focus of this session will be on implementing Pyramid Model practices to support the inclusion of all children in an early childhood classroom. The Pyramid Model is a framework for organizing research-based practices for use in early childhood classrooms to promote social-emotional competence and prevent and address children’s challenging behavior. The Pyramid Model includes the implementation of universal practices to support the active social-emotional learning and behavior of all children, secondary practices to address the needs of children who are at-risk, and tertiary or individualized practices for children who present the most persistent challenging behavior. Pyramid Model practices are research-informed interactional and instructional support practices for young children and reflect the developmental nature of young children’s social-emotional competence and challenging behavior. Further, Pyramid Model practices are designed to be implemented in the variety of classrooms (e.g., Head Start, childcare, public Pre-K) that serve young children with and without disabilities.

Learning objectives: Participants will
  1. Understand the importance of social emotional development as a domain of learning and as an instructional context.
  2. Be able to implement the Pyramid Model in early childhood classrooms.
  3. Be able to provide coaching to support the effective implementation of the Pyramid Model.
Sarah Pinkelman

Dr. Sarah Pinkelman: Promoting the Effective Implementation of Behavior Support for Your Classroom

Bio: Dr. Pinkelman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation at Utah State University. She is a board certified behavior analyst at the doctoral level (BCBA-D) with over 15 years of experience working with students with disabilities in school, clinic, and home settings. Dr. Pinkelman received her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Oregon in 2014 under the mentorship of Dr. Rob Horner, where she worked on a variety projects related to the implementation of school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports (SWPBIS). Since then, she has consulted with a diverse range of schools across the country in the effective implementation of SWPBIS. Currently, Dr. Pinkelman serves on the advisory board and is a consultant for the Utah Multi-tiered Systems of Support initiative. An overarching theme in Dr. Pinkelman’s work is the effective implementation of evidence-based practice in schools and early childhood programs. Specifically, she is interested in implementation science, positive behavior interventions and supports, monitoring treatment fidelity, coaching classroom staff and school teams, and instructional design.

In school-wide positive behavioral interventions supports (SWPBIS), a continuum of behavior support is provided to students in general and special education settings. However, it can be challenging for teachers to determine (a) which support strategies to implement given the unique characteristics of their classrooms, (b) how to ensure those strategies are implemented with fidelity, and (c) how to evaluate and monitor the success of those strategies. This presentation will address these challenges by offering practical suggestions. Participants will learn about evidence-based behavior support strategies as they relate to aspects of the instructional environment in general and special education settings, with an emphasis on selecting strategies that are best matched to the context of the classroom. Participants will also learn about ways to assess fidelity and how to use data to evaluate the effectiveness of behavior support strategies.

Learning objectives: Participants will
  1. Describe the importance of contextual fit in selecting behavior support strategies.
  2. Provide examples of contextually appropriate behavior support strategies across all tiers (i.e., tiers I, II, and III) as they relate to designing an instructional environment in general and special education classrooms.
  3. Identify activities to improve the implementation of positive behavior support strategies.
  4. Describe the importance of collecting data on treatment integrity/fidelity as well as student outcomes, and making decisions based on those data.