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Educational Support Teams

As part of a Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS), all schools will maintain an Educational Support Team (EST). 16 V.S.A. § 2902. There may be a tendency to confound the EST with a tiered system or VTmtss; VTmtss is a framework that defines an entire educational system while EST is one element of that educational system. The EST is a team that follows processes to support students and to enhance the VTmtss Framework.

With the passage of Act 173 in 2018, ESTs have become a prominent feature in implementing the Act. The AOE has created a document to outline preliminary technical guidance around the role of EST in relationship to Act 173. The AOE collects data around the usage and efficacy of EST within the VTmtss Survey, submitted annually from each school in Vermont.

Read Act 173 Technical Guidance: Educational Support Teams in School District Systems.

Team Membership

This Educational Support Team may include:

  • an administrator
  • teachers (appropriate PK-12 grade level related to student needs)
  • special educator
  • other staff with behavioral and academic expertise
  • school counselors
  • a school psychologist and/or social worker
  • family and student (when possible)
  • other non-school supports/advocates

Team Process

EST members engage in collaborative problem-solving to determine whether additional supports are needed for a student to make appropriate progress, and to monitor that progress. This may include academics, attendance, behavior, or enrichment activities. The team can offer suggestions for student supports that may not have been considered in previous planning efforts.

An EST has standing members and meets regularly, typically weekly or bi-weekly. EST meetings result in assigned action steps. The EST has an effective method of documenting meetings and decisions.

Use of Data

When data indicate that a student needs support beyond that which can be provided or sustained through universal instruction, a referral to the school’s EST should be considered. Referrals include information about all accommodations, interventions, and services that have already been in place along with supporting data. If it is determined that the student will receive targeted supports, the EST monitors the student’s progress while receiving the supports and makes determinations regarding entry and exit criteria. The EST may also use available screening data to identify students who would benefit from additional supports.

Besides data about specific students, the EST keeps information about the overall utilization and success of various academic and behavioral practices. This data can be used by the school leadership team to help evaluate current systems, plan professional learning and allocate resources.

Learn More: Educational Support Teams - A Deeper Look

Educational Support Teams: Making Connections with VTmtss

District-level EST Oversight

Educational Support Team Plan Forms

Educational Support Team (EST): Practice Profile

Watch VTmtss Office Hour on Educational Support Teams (December 2019)

District-level EST Oversight  

Statute and typical current practice locate the Educational Support Team (EST) at the individual school level. However, the statute also states that school boards “shall assign responsibility “to either the superintendent or the principal to develop and maintain the EST. So, the EST itself operates at the school level but is overseen at the district level.  

The Agency of Education (AOE) has identified several critical responsibilities that we recommend that SU/SD assume, as a part of their support of school-level EST work. These responsibilities can be assumed by a new team, or by an existing team of district staff and school administrators (see the Recommended Practices section). For the purposes of this guidance, the AOE will be referring to the LEA team conducting this work as the “District EST Oversight Team” This document describes the core responsibilities and recommended practices for district-wide EST oversight. The Making Connections with VTmtss Act 173 Needs Assessment for EST supports the evaluation of your current practice in a district and its schools.