2023 Nebraska MTSS Summit

Summit Participant Page

Thank you for participating in the 2023 Nebraska MTSS Summit focused on “Transformations Through Coherence.” For those participating virtually, Zoom links can be accessed next to each session.

Video recordings from the live summit presentations will be available for registrants to view on demand later this fall, as well as presentation slides, handouts and other resources.

If you have questions, please contact us.

Participant Tips

Please take advantage of these tips and ideas for how to get the most out of this year’s NeMTSS Summit!

Engage with us on social media!

Share your summit takeaways on Twitter (X)! Tag @NeMTSS and use #NeMTSS23 for a chance to win a prize from our sponsors.

Share your feedback

Please take a few moments to complete an evaluation for each session you attend. You’ll use the same link for all evaluations. Simply select sessions from the options provided. Your feedback is important and will be used to inform and improve future events.


Change your Zoom background

Update your Zoom virtual background to tell us a little bit about you (see instructions):

  • Green — first-time summit participants
  • Orange— past summit participants
Zoom listening tips

Please remember to:

  • Join the meeting from a quiet space without distractions.
  • Remain muted unless you are in a discussion.
  • Be aware of your surroundings on camera. The Younes Conference Center’s technology enables us to project Zoom participants on a screen visible to the presenters and in-person attendees.
  • Check that your Zoom software is updated to the latest version.
  • Use headphones for the best audio quality.

In Person

  • Review the map of the Younes Center to help you navigate the conference center.
  • Bookmark the schedule. In order to reduce waste, the schedule will be available in digital format only at the summit. For quick reference, consider bookmarking it on your phone.
  • Complete your summit passport! When you register on Thursday at the Younes Center, you will pick up your summit passport. The passport is full of ideas to stay engaged and activities to complete over the two day conference. At the end of the conference, turn your passport in to be eligible for prizes donated by this year’s sponsors!
  • Join us at the networking event on Thursday evening. If you pre-registered, your name tag will have a small gold asterisk on it. If you would still like to join us and didn’t register already, ask an NeMTSS team member how to register when you get your name tag Thursday morning.

Summit Schedule

All times listed are Central Daylight Time.

Hybrid Session

In-Person Session


Friday, Oct. 13

The presentations and slides are intended for registrants only. Do not copy, reproduce or distribute the following materials. For further questions on materials, please contact the presenter directly.

8:30-9:30 a.m. | Wellness Opportunity


Note to Self: You Matter

NeMTSS SEBL Specialists

SEBL, Communication and Collaboration

Watch PresentationSlides

Session Summary

Start your morning with a wellness session presented by the NeMTSS Social, Emotional and Behavioral Learning (SEBL) specialists. Join them and fellow educators in the ballroom to discuss ways to incorporate wellness into your everyday practices. Through a variety of engagement strategies, participants will have an opportunity to explore and reflect on personal and professional well-being strategies and practices. Coffee and breakfast pastries will be available as you enter the ballroom for day two of the NeMTSS Summit!

9:30-10:30 a.m. | Keynote


Creating Coherence Across the Education System Using MTSS Thinking

W. David Tilly III, Ph.D.

Former Deputy Director and Administrator of Division PK-12 Education (Retired), Iowa Department of Education


CIP, MTSS Journey

Watch PresentationSlidesResources

Session Summary

Effective implementation of MTSS requires application of a small set of “big ideas” to the teaching and learning process. These ideas are the same for all system levels — from individual students all the way through State Departments of Education. What differs is how the ideas are applied at each level to build continuously-improving systems. Implementing MTSS thinking across levels creates coherence within education systems. When people at different levels of the system are using the same continuous improvement logic, effectiveness is amplified due to the synergy created — a major component of coherence. This presentation will identify the “big ideas” and provide examples; briefly chronicle the persistence and resilience of education systems over the past 30 years at implementing these MTSS “big ideas;” and invite participants to examine how these ideas might improve their practice AND create coherence within their system. All this will be delivered with a good dose of humility and lessons from the school of hard knocks.

10:45-11:45 a.m. | Breakout Session E

Select one presentation to attend.


Learn How to Develop Nurturing, Collaborative Learning Spaces

Aly Martinez-Wilkinson

Professional Learning Lead, Nebraska Department of Education

Trudy Clark

Director of Office of Assessment, Nebraska Department of Education


SEBL, Communication and Collaboration

*Session not recorded.


Session Summary

What is the key to developing a nurturing, collaborative learning space? It is important to encourage students to actively participate in fostering a learning community where trust and respect are paramount. In this session, educators will explore ways to build thriving learning environments and practice the skills that are foundational to learner success, well-being and self-efficacy. Participants will gain knowledge to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning and self-motivation (InTASC Standard 3: Learning Environments).


Transform Your MTSS with the Help of Your School Psychologist!

Brian McKevitt

Professor of Psychology, University of Nebraska at Omaha


SEBL, Data-Based Decision-Making, K12 Education, Layered Continuum of Supports

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Session Summary

School psychologists are often relegated to the role of tester for special education. Yet, school psychologists’ training and expertise go well beyond that. This presentation will help participants understand the varied contributions a school psychologist can make to a school’s MTSS efforts in both academic and behavioral supports and at all levels. First, participants will learn about a model of school psychology practice that puts MTSS at the forefront. Next, examples of services school psychologists can provide relevant to the four essential elements of the NeMTSS framework will be shared. Finally, potential barriers to school psychologists’ involvement with MTSS will be discussed, along with ways to overcome those barriers. Including a school psychologist on the MTSS team can invigorate a school’s efforts to educate all students effectively, benefiting both teachers and administrators.


School Spotlight: The Kintsugi Coherence Experience

Neligh-Oakdale Public Schools

MTSS Journey, Layered Continuum of Supports, Data-Based Decision-Making

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Session Summary

After overcoming disjointed PBIS, MTSS and SEBL action plans and fragmented teaming structures, Neligh-Oakdale Public Schools is now committed to piecing these efforts back together to form a piece of art, just like the centuries-old practice of Kintsugi. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. Through this repair process, a broken piece of pottery is pieced back together making something just as beautiful, if not more beautiful, than before. Presenters will share their MTSS journey: where it began, where it went, how they pieced efforts back together and where we are now.


School Spotlight: Using Branching Minds to Refine MTSS Processes and Make Data-Driven Decisions

Garden County Schools

Data-Based Decision-Making, Layered Continuum of Supports

*Session not recorded.

Session Summary

When Garden County Schools began its MTSS journey at the primary level, it soon became apparent that it needed a landing zone for data. Branching Minds is an online software that provides a comprehensive solution for schools, bringing together all the components of MTSS across academics, behavior and SEL, while guiding teachers and administrators through best practices to ensure implementation fidelity and streamline the work. Join this session to hear about the ups and downs of traversing MTSS with Branching Minds in a rural district.


Creating Safe Schools with Psychological First Aid for Schools and MTSS

Sally Carlson

Independent Contractor, School Safety, Nebraska Department of Education

Kim Jacobson

Independent Contractor, School Safety, Nebraska Department of Education


SEBL, Interventions, Layered Continuum of Supports

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Session Summary

Psychological First Aid for Schools (PFA-S) is an evidence-informed intervention model and part of the National Emergency Management Cycle and Nebraska School Safety Model: Prevention, Preparedness, Response, Recovery. PFA-S is a component of a school district’s Emergency Operation Plan (EOP), which assists students, staff and families during and in the immediate aftermath of an emergency. After this session, participants will learn how PFA-S builds safe and supportive learning environments through school safety best practices in a multi-tiered support system; understand PFA-S’s role in a school district’s EOP and its significance in proactive crisis response and recovery; and discover available resources through Nebraska Department of Education School Safety Taskforce.


School Spotlight: Transformation Through Policy: A Board of Education Tale

Wakefield Public Schools

MTSS Journey, Teaming, CIP, Communication and Collaboration

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Session Summary

In April 2023, the Wakefield Community Schools Board of Education recognized the NeMTSS Framework as its continuous improvement framework by adopting it into formal school policy. In this session, presenters will share unique perspectives from school board members as they learned about the framework and the approach they used to write the framework into school policy. Learn what the policy looks like, how teaming structures were remodeled, and the school’s expectations and aspirations moving forward. Wakefield Public Schools believes its continuous improvement process is strengthened and sustained through engagement, collaboration and partnership with the BOE. The presentation will connect to other Nebraska educators considering or currently implementing the NeMTSS Framework who aspire to engage their BOE in the continuous school improvement process. Presenters will communicate the message to not overlook the BOE as a key player in the continuous improvement process — as its influence, community connections and governance responsibilities are instrumental in providing a quality and accessible education for all students. The BOE is a part of the team!


MTSS and Improved Post-School Outcomes: What We Do Now Matters Later

Michalla Schartz

Southeast Region Transition Facilitator

Amy Slama

Northeast Region Transition Facilitator

Blair Hartman

Central Region Transition Facilitator


Secondary Education, Transition Education, SEBL, Communication and Collaboration


Session Summary

Effective communication and collaboration between MTSS and Special Education for Transition Age Youth can help improve post-school outcomes. This directly impacts the learning, earning and living for our youth with disabilities. Collaboration between MTSS and special education partners can improve outcomes for employment, education and independent living. This session will explain how building those fundamental transition experiences and connected relationships between students, families and IEP teams can increase the likelihood that students will become meaningfully engaged in their communities and reach their post secondary goals. Regional transition specialists will share post-school outcome data and why teams will accomplish more when there are learning community collaborations connected to supporting the social, emotional, behavioral, and academic needs of each student. Learner outcomes include shared information on transition requirements/procedures and understanding the benefit for communicating between MTSS and special education/transition specialists.


Nebraska WORDS: Preliminary Findings and Reflections from Year 1

Michael Hebert

Associate Professor, School of Education, University of California, Irvine


Literacy, Layered Continuum of Supports, Evidence-Based Practices

Session Summary

This session will explore research designed to enhance literacy outcomes in rural Nebraska schools. Presenters include researchers leading the Nebraska Workshop on Reading Development Strategies (WORDS) study, as well as participating teachers. Nebraska WORDS represents an ongoing, multi-year collaboration between researchers and rural school districts to enhance literacy skills for K-3 students. The project involves two years of structured professional development focused on the science of reading, which is supplemented with individualized coaching sessions for teachers throughout the school year. Students on individualized reading improvement plans are invited to participate in after-school tutoring. Discover what the team learned after the first year of the project, including findings on student growth in foundational reading skills from the mCLASS DIBELS 8 reading assessment and evidence of the intervention’s effectiveness and acceptability among teachers.


Continued Conversations: Planning for Technology Supports Within an MTSS Framework

Brian Wojcik

Education Program Supervisor, Assistive Technology Partnership, Nebraska Department of Education


Technology in Education

Session Summary

In Nebraska, MTSS is defined as an educational framework for continuous improvement, problem-solving and decision-making that offers a meaningful and effective way to organize instruction and intervention to improve outcomes for all students. Supportive technologies and assistive technologies serve a specific function of providing compensatory supports to address performance gaps that exist between what students are able to do and what students are expected to do, both academically and behaviorally, even while students are receiving interventions to address performance gaps. These technologies may be woven into a multi-tiered continuum of supports that provide increasingly intensive and individualized options that result in greater access to and engagement in learning, as well as improved student outcomes. This session will offer participants a blueprint with specific steps and strategies for effectively identifying, considering and implementing supportive and assistive technologies within an MTSS framework.


Promoting Powerful Practices for the Classroom

Heather Robbins

NeMTSS Systems Consultant

Scott Eckman

State Personnel Development Grant Coordinator, Nebraska Department of Education


Data-Based Decision-Making, SEBL, Communication and Collaboration, Layered Continuum of Supports


Session Summary

Schools and programs examine data to identify social, emotional and behavioral needs; then investigate evidence-based practices to address those needs and provide professional development to staff members to promote those practices. Throughout the busy school year, Nebraska educators attend many professional learning sessions, often acquiring multiple skills at once, and may need assistance implementing new practices in their classrooms. What approach is best to promote these practices and encourage teachers to apply their newly learned skills, so they can, in turn, transform their teaching? In this session, participants will examine powerful practices teachers can use and observe examples of effective promotional activities schools have used. There will also be an opportunity for the group to share ways they have promoted and strengthened implementation of powerful practices on their own campus, allowing attendees to learn from one another.

12:00 – 1:30 p.m. | Lunch & Learn


Hybrid Inclusive Instruction Program: Empowering Elementary School Students Through Inclusive Education

Lisa Moody

Special Education Teacher, Omaha Public Schools

Kelly Karhoff

Speech-Language Pathologist, Omaha Public Schools

Robin Winters

Elementary Teacher, Omaha Public Schools


Inclusion, Communication and Collaboration, MTSS Journey

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Session Summary

This special lunch and learn presentation will delve into the transformative world of inclusive education program development. By introducing the Hybrid Inclusive Instruction Program, our aim is to empower students with high needs by progressively integrating them into mainstream classrooms. Through real-life case studies and success stories, participants will discover how the Hybrid Inclusive Instruction Program has positively impacted students, teachers and entire school communities. Discover key principles that underpin the program, including individualized support, collaborative teaching and differentiated instruction. The presentation will also address the role of teachers and school administrators in facilitating successful program implementation. Practical guidance will be provided on adapting curriculum, modifying assessments and creating inclusive classroom environments that foster the academic, social and emotional growth of all students. Attendees will leave with practical insights and strategies to apply in their own schools, empowering them to create inclusive environments where every student can thrive. By the end of this presentation, attendees will gain a comprehensive understanding of the Hybrid Inclusive Instruction Program and its potential to transform elementary education.