KU center to partner on California statewide educational reform initiative

KU center to partner on California statewide educational reform initiative

Karen Salisbury Henry

LAWRENCE ­— A University of Kansas educational technical assistance and research center, the SWIFT (Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation) Education Center, will partner with the Orange County and Butte County departments of Education, California, to build a training infrastructure for the Scale Up MTSS Statewide (SUMS) initiative in California. The initiative is supported by $30 million in state funding with $2 million directed to SWIFT's work.

“SUMS will weave together several initiatives into a comprehensive Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework to improve students’ academic, behavioral and social-emotional outcomes across the state’s vast and complex pre-K-12 educational system,” said Amy McCart, co-director of SWIFT Education Center, who will lead the KU effort.

MTSS is a continuum of research-based, systemwide practices paired with data-based decision making to meet the academic and behavior needs of students, including those with the most extensive needs, McCart said.

KU SWIFT Center staff will also contribute technical assistance and support for data-based decisions, a key component of SWIFT’s approach, using the SWIFT Fidelity of Implementation Tool and other SWIFT products and resources.

SUMS is integral to the California Department of Education’s vision for one coherent system of education for all students, said Wayne Sailor, professor of special education and SWIFT Education Center co-director.

“This unification effort will address barriers to learning and re-engage disconnected students by creating flexible learning environments and a culture of collaboration among marginalized and fragmented support systems, including general education, special education, English language learning and other encapsulated systems of support,” he said.

SWIFT Education Center currently provides technical assistance to 64 schools in 16 districts in five states through funding from U.S. Department of Education in one of the largest grants KU has ever received.

SWIFT Education Center is one of the 13 affiliated research centers of the Life Span Institute at KU.