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Success Stories

Creating and Implementing a Remarkable MTSS at Rockford Public Schools

Sam DeFlitch
Sam DeFlitch
Creating and Implementing a Remarkable MTSS at Rockford Public Schools



Discover how Rockford Public Schools—a district of 27,000 students and 42 schools in Rockford, Illinois—has developed and implemented a robust vision for MTSS to move the needle on student success.


  • District struggled to set a foundation for MTSS and implement with fidelity at each building.
  • Schools lacked a shared method for tracking student interventions and progress.
  • Providing guidance and professional development proved challenging for the large district.



  • District has developed a strong MTSS and implemented it with fidelity across all schools.
  • School and district teams can access all student information in a single platform, streamlining conversations and decisions on student supports.
  • Teachers and staff save substantial time and resources as they track student progress.
  • Sustained, high-quality professional development empowers school and district teams to provide the best supports for students.



Creating and implementing an MTSS is a huge undertaking for any district, but especially for a large district like Rockford Public Schools in Rockford, Illinois. With 27,000 students and 42 schools, the district needed a strong vision for their MTSS—one that Amy Gannon, Director of MTSS at Rockford, has developed over the past three years. A strong advocate for Rockford’s schools, Gannon has a thoughtfulness and a vision that guides her work of building and implementing MTSS.

“Building a unified MTSS is always going to be a challenge for a large district,” says Gannon. “Before I joined Rockford, the district had been trying to create an MTSS, but struggled every time implementation reached the building level. So we had to go back to foundational pieces of MTSS, bringing evidence-based practices together with Rockford’s specific needs.” 

Gannon notes that creating and implementing an MTSS for a district of their size included a range of challenges, such as setting a foundational structure, providing guidance and professional development, and implementing with fidelity at each building. Additionally, each school was using a different method of tracking student interventions and progress. 

“For a district of our size, pulling all of that data takes a huge amount of time,” says Gannon. “We needed a platform that streamlined data collection and analysis so we could spend our time defining—and responding to—student needs from the whole child perspective. Often, we look at academics in isolation, or behavior or attendance in isolation, but those all have ties to each other. And we needed to be able to see those connections to determine the supports we put in place.”

So, the district knew they needed a unified MTSS, a comprehensive data platform, and sustained professional development to support implementation. They started their journey by searching for an academic progress monitoring system that could streamline data from academics across the district.



As Rockford searched for an academic progress monitoring tool, they came across Panorama Education. Panorama offers a comprehensive suite of educational tools—including a Student Success platform for progress monitoring and a Social-Emotional Learning Survey

“When we came back after Covid school closures, many people wanted to address what they thought were the main issues facing students,” says Gannon. “But we didn’t want to make assumptions about student engagement. So we were excited about Panorama’s SEL Survey, which brings student voice and student perspective into the conversation and decision-making process.”


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Panorama for Social-Emotional Learning. Please note that demo data is pictured.

In addition to the SEL Survey, Rockford also decided to partner with Panorama Student Success & Strategic Advising, provided by Panorama’s Teaching & Learning team. A dedicated educational professional from the Teaching & Learning Team meets biweekly with Gannon to create professional learning plans and consult on strategic rollout. Additionally, the team collaborates with Gannon to develop and facilitate all of Rockford's professional development. This proved a key component of the district's partnership with Panorama, and central to the rollout of Student Success and MTSS implementation. 

“We worked with our strategic advisors at Panorama to create a slow-leak rollout process,” says Gannon. “We went live with Student Success in January 2021, and in February, March, and April, we developed and led professional development sessions for specific roles. For example, this is how a parent liaison interacts with the dashboard. This is how academic interventionists, school leaders, and MTSS teams use the platform. We thought strategically about each role, when it was appropriate to provide training, and then presented that training by role.”

Gannon notes that this slow progression rollout was key in creating buy-in, encouraging each staff member to understand and provide important feedback on using Student Success. By May, as a result of this strategic rollout, every staff member was using the platform to set up and track intervention plans. In the fall, they rolled out Student Success and training to all teachers, and revisited professional development by role. 


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Panorama Student Success. Please note that demo data is pictured.

They also worked with school-level MTSS teams, discussing how Student Success changed how they do MTSS in the building. Each school—elementary, middle, and high—has its own standards of practice, such as third grade readiness-to-read. However, MTSS is a standard of practice from elementary through 12th grade, and the district has developed resources, such as an MTSS Manual and MTSS Implementation Rubric, to support schools as they work toward the district-wide vision for MTSS. 

“We developed our system-wide framework, standards of practice, and the implementation rubric. We combined them with Student Success, SEL data and academic data, and intervention plans, and together they work toward school-wide support. And that school-wide support has empowered teachers to focus on student progress. Panorama is a one-stop shop that streamlines teachers’ ability to support students—with data being forefront.



Having all the information in one platform has been a huge relief—and it’s changed the game in terms of our MTSS. We can see which students are receiving tiered interventions,” says Gannon. “We can ask ourselves, ‘At a building and systems level, where are we over or under identifying?’ ‘Where are our gaps?’ We were not in a place to ask and answer those questions before using Panorama. And if you can’t ask questions about the impact of your systems, then you can’t make changes in the right direction.” 

Gannon notes that Panorama has also saved teachers substantial time and resources. Additionally, continued professional development from Panorama’s Teaching & Learning team  ensures staff are confident in their ability to monitor students who need support. That’s what Student Success and Strategic Advising has done: brought everyone together in one platform, streamlining conversations and decisions on student supports. 


student success - monitor student progress

Panorama for Student Success. Please note that demo data is pictured.

Additionally, Gannon observes that the strong pathways of communication and feedback with Panorama have had a major impact on how teachers and staff use Student Success. “We have biweekly meetings with Panorama, and they have been extremely supportive and receptive to feedback from teachers,” says Gannon. “And because staff have seen changes from their suggestions, they’re excited to use the platform—our engagement levels are very high—and to bring new ideas to the Panorama team.”

This constant cycle of feedback and improvement is also a hallmark of Rockford’s vision for MTSS. “It’s a journey,” says Gannon, referring to the district’s MTSS implementation. “We recognize that we are in our third year of this implementation, and that everything we’ve done has led us to this point.” As part of that journey, the district is committed to bringing teacher and staff voice into their implementation, and listening to feedback has been key to that. 

“The ‘M’ in MTSS means it is messy, and it is! Districts will always struggle to figure out how to get everyone to buy into MTSS, and sometimes you actually have to start over,” says Gannon. “Be open to listening to feedback and embrace opportunities for change—because there is no right or wrong way to do MTSS. It’s about teachers, staff, and school and district leaders understanding how they fit into MTSS—and giving them the best tools to do that.


Take a tour of Panorama Student Success to learn more about how Panorama can support your district's MTSS

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