- Intensive Support Team
- Building Bridges
- Review Committee for Alternatives / Intensive Intervention Programming
- Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training
Intensive Support Team
Supporting Students with Intensive Needs
The goals of the Intensive Support Team (IST) are to engage in work that promotes racial equity & social justice, improve access to community resources, and support school capacity in responding to students with intensive needs, regardless of disability or disability status. IST and Building Bridges are comprised of staff members representing a cross section of teachers, student services staff, clinical coordinators, and administrators. Team members bring expertise in significant disabilities, trauma, behavior, mental health, autism, and community resources. IST and Building Bridges Staff Directory
The Intensive Support Team will maintain and utilize ongoing evaluation of data from a variety of sources in order to assess internal practices, identify trends to increase proactivity and responsiveness, and ultimately best serve schools.
IST Requests for Support
School teams initiate an IST request for support by completing a referral form at www.mmsd.org/support. After submitting this request, schools will receive communication from the Intensive Support Team. IST members are not assigned an attendance area/side of town. IST requests are assigned based on current capacity and caseload (IST does not have a caseload cap and will prioritize cases if needed)
Prior to submitting an IST request, school staff will have engaged in multi-disciplinary team problem-solving and implemented identified strategies/interventions. Appropriate IST referrals are typically for students in grades 4K-12 whose needs exceed what school staff are able to currently address, and who may benefit from additional consultation and problem-solving. If there are questions about the appropriateness of the referral, please feel free to contact Brain Holmquist, or complete an IST Request for Support to consult about the student.
There will be an intake process as part of requesting services/supports for a student with significant needs in order to gather additional information to best match services and supports to the needs of the student and school team. School teams should expect regular meetings involving a team of multi-disciplinary school staff.
IST Service Delivery
The services and supports provided by the Intensive Support Team (IST) will vary depending on the specific needs of the school staff and student. A goal of IST is to support school capacity in responding to students with intensive needs. The IST, in collaboration with the school team, will determine next steps. These may include, but are not limited to:
These consultations are to implement or complete various processes and to assist school-based teams with problem solving on specific behaviors or needs.. Examples: Functional Behavior Assessment / Behavior Support and Safety Planning
Student-Specific Professional Development
Professional Development related to a specific student and their intensive needs. These trainings are often focused on the application of district-wide trainings to a unique student situation. Examples: Student specific Nonviolent Crisis Intervention problem-solving and practice, student specific trauma training, etc.
Short Term Stabilization
Short term stabilization is offered for up to 90 days to support team-identified goals and development of a school-based plan. Examples: Transitioning from Residential Care Centers (RCC), creating an Individualized Regulation Protocol, establishing connections to community resources.
The coordinated support plan (e.g., wraparound plan) is an intensive, individualized care management process for youths with serious or complex needs. IST works to collaboratively develop an individualized plan of care, support the team in implementing this plan, and evaluating success over time. The plan typically includes working together with community services and interpersonal support to implement informal supports, formal services and interventions.
Data Collection and Progress Monitoring
Follow-up assessment with school team will occur throughout the 90 day period. IST support request will include progress monitoring and data collection over time to determine whether to continue support or close request. Continued support may include case consultation or presentation to review committee for alternatives/ intensive intervention programming.
Consultation/ coordination with additional building staff, community resources, and/or other central office staff.
The Intensive Support Team contracts with the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Department of Psychiatry to provide professional psychiatric consultations for up to 12 referred students each year. The consultations will be used when a student's intensive need is not met through traditional school assessment and intervention and instead requires a deeper analysis by a medical professional. The consultation is related to medications, diagnoses, programmatic interventions, and individual intervention. There will be a brief psychiatric evaluation of the student, which may include observations, interviews, formal assessments and record reviews in order to help facilitate student and family connections with psychiatrists who will be able to monitor and provide services to the student. ***A brief consultation with a UW Psychiatry Fellow may also be available as an option
Presentation to Review Committee for Alternatives / Intensive Intervention Programming
The Intensive Support Team assists school teams in identifying appropriate referrals to the MMSD Special Education Alternatives/ Intensive Intervention Programming.
Building Bridges is a short-term (90 days) crisis stabilization program providing wraparound services for students with immediate mental health needs and their families. Building Bridges works to support children’s educational experience by working with students, family, community agencies, and school staff to develop and promote emotional wellness. Each MMSD Building Bridges team consists of one MMSD staff member and one Clinical Coordinator from Catholic Charities. BB started in the East attendance area but is now available for grades 4K-8 district-wide. For more information, please visit the Catholic Charities of Madison website
Building Bridges teams meet regularly with school teams and parents to review treatment plan goals. At the end of the 90 day period, Building Bridges will hold a closing meeting that outlines a sustainable plan.
Students with an immediate mental health crisis (student is in imminent danger to self or others), possible need for safety plan and / or referral for services.
Students experiencing mental health challenges that exceed what available school resources can address,
who may benefit from short-term case consultation or case management, as indicated by at least one of the following:
- Behavioral issues (internalizing or externalizing)
Home and / or community issues
Students are in grades 4K-8
Students enrolled in alternative, special education programs (LEAP, NEON, Primary Steps, Next Steps) may be considered on a case by case basis.
Students involved with RISE wraparound or stabilization programming, or CCS may not qualify for the 90 day case management program, although consultation may be appropriate.
There are referral periods at the beginning of each semester for Building Bridges.
Building Bridges is one service available via the IST Request for Support. If a school team would like support for a student with intensive needs, they should:
Complete an IST Request for Support
An IST or Building Bridges staff member will contact the referring staff for additional information.
IF Building Bridges has openings AND the referring staff and IST / BB member agree that Building Bridges is appropriate, school will be asked to obtain parent consent to refer to Building Bridges. Parent consent must be obtained as quickly as possible. Building Bridges does not keep a waiting list and will prioritize cases if needed.
Once parent consent is received, Building Bridges will be assigned and will be in touch with the school team to schedule an initial school meeting.
*The school team should include: classroom teacher, student services staff (psych, social worker,or counselor), CC teacher (if applicable), and anyone else with knowledge of the student (principal, BEA, SEA, etc). *School teams should plan to meet regularly to review the treatment plan.
Building Bridges staff must meet with the student’s parent(s) / guardian(s) for an intake and obtain “Consent to Participate” prior to meeting the student and developing a treatment plan.
If there are questions about the appropriateness of the referral, please feel free to contact your Building Bridges point of contact or complete an IST Request for Support to consult about the student.
Review Committee for Alternatives / Intensive Intervention Programming
The Intensive Support Team assists school teams in identifying appropriate referrals to MMSD Intensive Intervention Programming. If there are questions about the appropriateness of the referral, please feel free to contact your Intensive Support Team or Building Bridges point of contact or complete an IST Request for Support to consult about the student.
Referral Process for MMSD Special Education Alternative/ Intensive Intervention Programming
School Actions Prior to Considering an Alternatives / Intervention Program:
Prior to recommending consideration of a highly restrictive program, best practice is to determine if a student’s least restrictive environment (LRE) is within the school by
- Held meetings, including IEP meetings to determine disability related need and associated programmatic options within the school building, considered and implemented programming along the continuum of services within the school
- Submitting a request for support to the Intensive Support Team (IST)
IST will support the school team to complete the following necessary steps for consideration of a more restrictive environment:
- Conduct or update the student’s functional behavior assessment (FBA).
- Develop and implement a function-based behavior support plan (BSP) for a minimum of 45 school days.
- Develop and implement a safety plan for a minimum of 45 school days, if necessary.
- Special Education Service Delivery: Prior to considering a referral to MMSD Intensive Intervention Programming, the school team will implement the student’s IEP along the school’s continuum of services (and related services, such as nursing, psychology, social work, O.T., and/or counseling as required), including a less inclusive setting than the general education classroom and curriculum. Best practice is to document that the school has attempted interventions in the current environment and has maintained fidelity in the intervention for at least 6 weeks.
- Inform parent/guardian of the decision to have the student reviewed at the review committee and how consideration of change in placement is made (IEP team meeting). Best practice is for the school team to be working along-side the parent/guardian and outside providers throughout this process
- Prior to the review committee scheduled date to discuss the case, Assistant Directors of Special Education will review the IST requests being presented to the review committee and, should they believe the student should remain at their current placement, they will contact the IST member to provide consultation.
Consideration by Review Committee:
- IST or BB staff, along with school staff, will present a student to the review committee. IST/BB staff are required to notify the Review Committee of IST requests being presented to the review committee at least 1 week prior to presentation.
- The review committee is comprised of staff from IST, Building Bridges, the Intensive Intervention Programming, and administrators.
- The school team will be asked to provide specific information and data to help in determining if a student’s least restrictive environment (LRE) is within the school
- Committee asks questions, discusses the student’s needs, how these needs are being addressed and how they would be addressed in the requested program.
Outcomes of Review Committee:
The review committee makes a decision regarding the match of the student’s needs within the identified Special Education Alternative/ Intensive Intervention Programming and other students within the program. The result of the review committee will be communicated to the home school administrators and others by an IST or alternative/interventions program administrator. If there are questions or concerns regarding the discussion and/or decision, please connect with one of the administrators from the Review Committee.
- If the student’s disability related needs are a match for the identified program, the student meets minimum criteria for a program, and the program has capacity to serve the student, the student’s name will be communicated to the staff at the identified Alternative/Intensive Intervention Programming to coordinate and schedule next actions (ie. student and family tour program, IIP staff observe student at home school, schedule IEP meeting to discuss programming/placement, etc.)
- If the student meets minimum criteria for a program, but the program does not currently have capacity to serve the student, the student’s name will be placed in waiting status pending an opening in the program or service.
- Review committee may request additional information from IST or BB prior to determining if the student’s needs are a match to the identified program.
Information on Alternatives and Intensive Intervention Programming:
- MMSD Alternatives and Intensive Intervention Programming
- Horizon High School: Horizon High School is a private, non-profit school designed to meet the needs of students who are seeking a supportive, drug-free environment for continuing their education during recovery. Programming includes an integrated academic curriculum in the core areas, life skills education, wellness and daily group counseling with a certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) counselor.
Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training
Wisconsin Act 125 mandates that training in the use of restraint and seclusion is required for any school staff member prior to using physical restraint or seclusion. Participation in this 1-day training is for the safety of our students and staff. MMSD’s Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (NVCI) training is designed to assist you in learning how to effectively prevent emotional and behavioral escalation as well as assist a person who has already escalated. Stages of emotional and behavioral escalation are described, and each stage is paired with a positive action plan for educators and teams to prevent escalation or support an already escalated student to de-escalate. The content emphasizes proactive interventions and supports, State of Wisconsin legal requirements, MMSD guidelines, and appropriate restraint and seclusion techniques. Each participant will be expected to pass a legal quiz, as well as demonstrate proficiency in implementing appropriate restraint techniques.
Employees in the following job categories MUST complete the 1-day* NVCI training prior to employment, or at the earliest possible time after employment begins.
- Building Administrator
- Behavior Interventionist or Behavioral Education Assistant (BEA)
- School Counselor
- Social Worker
- Speech/Language Clinician
- Occupational & Physical Therapist
- VI and DHH Teacher and staff
- Special Education Teacher
- Special Education Assistant
- Substitute Special Education Assistant
- Professional-Instructional (PR-Is)
- Security Assistant
- Nurse or Nurse's Assistant
How to sign up:
Connect with your building's PST or Principal.
- Course content questions? Contact Brian Holmquist at (608) 663-5878
- Don’t know your employee number and/or email address? Contact the Technical Services Helpline at (608) 663-5853
- Don’t have an employee number yet, and need to register immediately? Contact Kristi Meyer at (608) 442-2972
*Current certification in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (NVCI) may allow for a waiver of MMSD's NVCI training. Contact Kristi Meyer at (608) 442-2972 or email@example.com to submit a copy of your prior training certificate.