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Midlakes Building 'Systems of Support'

teacher helps student


Midlakes has been building upon a new framework called Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, a data-based approach of support for all students to help them meet their individual academic and social-emotional needs. 

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support provides three general levels of support, including:

Tier 1: Universal support for all students by providing the foundation for success for the most amount of students.

Tier 2: Targeted support from a teacher or specialist focusing on specific skills and development needs for students requiring additional assistance.

Tier 3: Intensive and individualized support for the smallest group of students.

The District has been implementing curriculum and screening processes at every grade level to identify and track students in each tier. 

For example, reading specialist Donna Aceto led a study of the Equipped for Reading Success program by SUNY Cortland professor Dr. David Kilpatrick to incorporate some of his work into classes this year. Some K-8 special education and reading teachers are also piloting the use of a structured phonics program to help struggling readers. 

Similar efforts in math, science, English and other areas are being incorporated across multiple grade levels.

In addition, the District has implemented the Character Strong social-emotional learning program this year. Anna Corrente, a school counselor, has been co-facilitating these lessons with classroom teachers in grades K-6. 

In grades 7-12, physical education teachers with support from the Pupil Support Office have been incorporating the curriculum. Also, weekly Character Dares – simple challenges focusing on emotional wellness – are sent to staff and students reinforcing what is taught in the classroom.

Combined, these additional programs help support the whole child while creating consistency in programs across grade levels.


What is a Character Dare? These dares are designed to help students, families and staff understand and strengthen positive character traits through action. The following are some of the weekly character dares, edited for space, shared with Midlakes teachers and staff since October. Families are encouraged to try these at home.

  • Make a phone call to someone in your family with whom you have not spoken to in a while. 
  • Ask five different people to tell you one way that you could be better (Don’t get defensive. Say, “Thank you”.)
  • Write a letter explaining why you became part of the school system.
  • Surprise a co-worker with their favorite candy or snack.
  • Plan a day this week where you don’t do any work after hours. Instead, do three things for yourself that you might not normally do.
  • Write a letter of gratitude to someone in your life (let them know how they make each day better).
  • Send an email of encouragement or gratitude to a co-worker. 
  • Check in with yourself. Think about why you are feeling a certain way and what you can do to help make yourself feel better?
  • Play a board game as a family or with friends one night this week. (No electronics!)

character darea