The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy
Local columnist 

New supports being put in place for students


Last updated 7/13/2021 at 4pm

It's no surprise to most that education has changed dramatically in recent years. One of the reasons is, of course, the integration of technology in many forms: from the network infrastructures to integrating devices, such as laptops, wireless projectors, digital tablets, online learning environments, and more.

The physical walls of the classroom have come down, so to speak.

There are many other factors influencing change, both positive and negative. Like it or not, increasing numbers of students come to us needing extra help in many areas. Old systems and programs are not always adequate to address needs. This is true not only in our district but across the state as well as the nation.

To find answers, several years ago, planning began to find ways to more effectively help students … all students, in terms of the whole child. A framework was established that did just that. After the in-depth involvement of hundreds of stakeholders in many planning sessions, not only across the state but also across the nation. a framework was developed.

The Multi-Layered System of Supports, commonly called MLSS is becoming widely used. Also called Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) in some states, the idea is to provide a “holistic intervention framework that guides educators to be able to intervene quickly.”

MLSS is a “coordinated and comprehensive framework for educators to use to organize their District's systems to support student learning.” The supports are for all students and cover not only academic support, but also behavioral, and health and wellness.

The good news is we at CMS already have many wrap-around services and resources that complement and supplement the MLSS framework.

Heading up our district's implementation of the MLSS framework is veteran educator Debbie Westbrook, deputy director of student nutrition and well being.

Westbrook's career in education spans 25 years, in a variety of positions, providing a unique and well-informed perspective: PreK teacher, elementary teacher, instructional coach, and nine years as a principal before coming to her current position.

Westbrook recently shared some of the background in the development process of MLSS.

“It's focused on the whole child - all students - providing various supports and creating systems and processes that will help students succeed not only at school, but in college, careers, or at life,” she said.

The public is not always aware of some of the behind-the-scenes projects, programs, and/or mandates with which the Clovis Municipal Schools is involved. This will be an important improvement as we move ahead, and involve educators, families, health and wellness professionals as well as the community.

We're hopeful about these new changes, which is reminiscent of the old “it takes a village” idea. It's a new world, which needs new solutions. We'll keep you posted.

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at:

[email protected]


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