DeSoto ISD to Implement a Robust Intervention System to Increase Student Outcomes


DESOTO–To improve student learning outcomes and address the needs of the whole child, DeSoto ISD is taking a robust approach to intervention. Beginning Spring 2021, the district will transition to the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) program with the support of the Branching Minds management platform for interventions.

“The Branching Minds (BrM) platform will be used to streamline our process to maximize learning so that all students meet individual high-level performance standards,” said Kareeme Hawkins, DeSoto ISD interim director of SEL and Guidance. “We will have an intentional focus on every child and be able to holistically serve our students through academic, social, and emotional interventions, and other supports.”

MTSS will replace the Response to Intervention (RtI) approach currently used in the district to help students, especially those students who require deeper support, both, academically and behaviorally. MTSS is a wraparound system that engages all members of the learning triangle – students, parents, and teachers – through staff and parent collaboration and a focus on academic, behavioral, and social-emotional learning (SEL).

MTSS uses a three-tiered system to identify students’ needs per assessed content area and will provide DeSoto ISD teaching staff real-time data to drive their instructional focus and serve as a guide to personalized interventions for students.

According to Hawkins, one of the major differences between MTSS and RtI is the additional social-emotional learning component which also impacts overall student success.

“Through the insights function of the Branching Minds MTSS platform, we can gain knowledge of where students range in each of the five areas of SEL – emotional regulation, self-awareness, social awareness, decision making, and relationships,” said Hawkins. “Then, we can employ interventions and develop relevant SEL lessons to meet the needs of our students.”

In addition to identifying and serving students’ needs, the Branching Minds MTSS platform also provides DeSoto ISD a means to streamline interventions by centralizing student data, observations, and social-emotional traits through behavior documentation.


The District MTSS Committee has established campus MTSS teams, developed a handbook, and is planning a series of information sessions and in-depth training for district leaders, teaching staff, and parents on using the platform and ways MTSS will support and enhance classroom instruction.