Education candidates take MTSS field trip

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

On Dec. 3, Sterling College teacher candidates in the elementary methods class took a field trip to West Elementary School in Valley Center, Kan., in order to learn more about the Multi-Tier System of Supports intervention program, or MTSS. This program is designed to support and respond to the behavioral and academic needs of each student in order to meet the standards set forth by the state of Kansas.

“West Elementary has developed an effective program that has gained respect from other schools around the state,” said Debra Millikan, assistant professor of education. Millikan teaches elementary methods classes at Sterling College and includes the MTSS program because of its wide use in Kansas and the benefits for the teacher candidates and their future students.

“We started taking elementary methods candidates on this trip after Dr. Righettini and I attended the Kansas Department of Education MTSS Symposium in the fall of 2011. This was when we learned about West Elementary’s strong MTSS program. West Elementary’s principal, Pete Bastian, agreed to provide this opportunity for our elementary candidates. We have continued to request this rich experience, and Mr. Bastian has been eager to provide for our elementary teacher candidates,” said Millikan.

The education candidates listened to Bastian give an overview of the six-year process that West Elementary has gone through in order to implement the MTSS intervention program and the importance of its data to the success of the program. After listening to the overview, the education candidates had the chance to visit with Bastian and teachers at West Elementary about the MTSS program. Candidates also observed small group interventions for students at different levels of instruction.

“The KSDE is requiring each school district to adopt MTSS. The information the elementary teacher candidates gained will make them stronger candidates when applying for teaching jobs and stronger first-year teachers. We are happy to work with Principal Bastian and the teachers at West Elementary. Our students greatly benefit from this experience,” said Millikan.

Sterling College is a Christ-centered, four-year college located in Sterling, Kan., with a mission to develop creative and thoughtful leaders who understand a maturing Christian faith. For more information, visit