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Learning Supports


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In order to ensure learners achieve their highest potential, the education system must provide supports that address the needs of all children and youth. Learning supports are these wide range of strategies, programs, services, and practices that are implemented to create conditions that enhance students learning. By providing a multi-tiered system of learning supports, education systems promote (1) school readiness, (2) healthy development, and (3) success in school and in life.

Based on Drs. Adelman and Taylor’s Learning Supports Framework, the IDOE has identified six content areas to provide a structure for organizing, understanding, and selecting research-based interventions. This framework is shown below. 

  • Supports for Instruction foster healthy cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development.  Supports for instruction are inherent in the Instructional Decision Making process which uses multiple strategies to provide supplemental and intensive supports to ensure that children and youth have the full benefit of quality instruction.
  • Family Supports and Involvement promote and enhance the involvement of parents and family members in education.
  • Community Partnerships promote school partnerships with multiple sectors of the community to build linkages and collaborations for youth development services, opportunities, and supports.
  • Safe, Healthy, and Caring Learning Environments promote school-wide environments that ensure the physical and psychological well-being and safety of all children and youth through positive youth development efforts and proactive planning for management of emergencies, crises and follow-up.
  • Supports for Transitions enhance the school’s ability to address a variety of transition concerns that confront children, youth and their families.
  • Child/Youth Engagement promotes opportunities for youth to be engaged in and contribute to their communities.

Department of Education Learning Supports Team (DELS)

The DELS team is comprised of Department of Education Consultants whose work aligns with the Learning Supports framework.  This team meets at least monthly to coordinate efforts, plan professional development opportunities, and seek and integrate stakeholder feedback trough the Learning Supports Advisory Team (LSAT – described below). Members of the DELS team are listed below.

  • Barb Anderson, Project AWARE Grant Director
  • Nancy Hunt, Project AWARE Youth Mental Health First Aid Coordinator and Special Education Transition
  • Kay Augustine, School Climate Transformation Grant Director
  • Kathy Bertsch, IDEA Professional Development Consultant
  • Molly Hammer, Project AWARE Data Consultant
  • Wendy Trotter, Autism Consultant
  • Angela VanPolen, Early Childhood PBIS Consultant
  • Melissa Walker, Nurse Consultant

DELS Projects

Alternative Education



Autism Council, Iowa

Bullying/Harassment Video and Resources

Iowa Youth Survey

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports

Project AWARE Grant

Social-Emotional Learning

Special Education Advisory Panel (SEAP)

Special Education Eligibility and Evaluation

STOP School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program

Learning Supports Advisory Team (LSAT)

LSAT is comprised of DELS team members, as well as community, district, and other state entity stakeholders. The group oversees the work of the DELS team by providing vetting projects, providing feedback, and making essential connection to improve the Learning Supports work.

Mission Statement: To develop, support, and guide cross-agency implementation of a state-level, comprehensive, and integrated system for families, schools, and communities to support all children/youth.

Vision Statement: All children/youth have access to an integrated comprehensive system of high-quality supports that ensures an equal opportunity to overcome barriers to learning and succeed in school and in life.


Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on October 23, 2021 at 3:02am.