Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

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What if my child is struggling?

  • Talk with your child’s teacher.

  • Review and assist with homework assignments.

  • Ask for regular progress monitoring reports.

  • Celebrate your child’s successes.

  • Learn more about the curriculum, assessments, and supports being used in your child’s school.

  • Participate in conferences and other meetings.

What is Multi-Tiered System of Supports?

MTSS is a proven system that uses data to help schools identify students who may need some extra support or intervention, figure out what specific type of intervention the student needs, provide them the right intervention, and then monitor the student to see if the intervention is helping them.

Who is MTSS for?

MTSS is for all students and all students benefit, even if they don’t receive additional support.

What is the benefit of MTSS?

Providing the right intervention for students who need it helps improve the entire school, usually leading to improved academic performance, fewer classroom disruptions and behavior issues, and better student attendance. These significant improvements throughout the school create an environment where all students can best learn, grow, and meet their academic potential.

Who determines if a student needs interventions?

The school based MTSS Team typically includes administrators, teachers, school counselors, school social workers, and other school staff as needed.

The MTSS team meets regularly to look at school and student data to determine which students need additional support, what kind of intervention they need, and how much support they need. The MTSS team talks about possible reasons a student is struggling in class, having behavior issues, or missing school. They use research and best practices to identify how to help each student, put a plan in place to make sure each student receives the additional support they need, and continue monitoring students to make sure their needs are met. The MTSS team also looks at how students respond to changes in how they are taught.

What are the Tiers of Supports in MTSS?

There are three "tiers" or levels of support in MTSS:

  • Tier 1 - The minimum level of support is having a high-quality teacher for all students in all classes, providing students the instruction they need in class to meet state standards in that subject or grade-level.

  • Tier 2 - The middle level of support is done in small groups for students who need additional support meeting the state standards for their grade level. Students in Tier 2 receive both Tier 2 and Tier 1 supports.

  • Tier 3 - In this highest level of support, students receive the most assistance available. Interventions are provided in small groups and focus on their individual needs and challenges, in order to make progress towards meeting state standards. Students in Tier 3 receive Tier 3, Tier 2, and Tier 1 supports.

What can I expect with MTSS?

  • Frequent updates of student progress.

  • Early identification of academic or behavioral concerns at the first signs of difficulty.

  • Help for your child that increases or decreases depending on their needs.

  • Information and involvement in planning and providing interventions to help your child.

  • Information about how your child is responding to the interventions being provided.

What is the Role of the Parent?

Parents should participate in problem solving discussions with their child’s teacher about the child’s specific strengths and areas of weaknesses. If your child is participating in a Tier 3 intervention, ask school staff what academic, social-emotional or behavioral area is being monitored. Most importantly, parents should ask what they can do to be a part of the solution. Parents should be mindful that the MTSS process takes time. It is not a “quick fix” and it takes time to determine if the interventions are effective. Parents may ask when the school will update them on the results of the intervention. Finally, parents should praise their child for any improvement and maintain open communication with school staff to ensure the child continues the improved performance.

Important Terms to Know

Intervention: Systemic involvement with a student in order to improve their performance academically, socially, or emotionally.

Progress Monitoring Plan:  An individualized plan that includes an objective, what will be done, who will do it, how it will be done, when it will be done, when it will be reviewed, who will review it and what will happen if the student makes or does not make expected progress.

Progress Monitoring:  A scientifically based practice used to assess students’ academic performance and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Progress monitoring can be implemented with individual students, small groups or an entire class.

Scientific-research based instruction: Curriculum and educational interventions that are research based and have been proven to be effective for most students.

Universal screening:  A step taken by school staff during the school year to determine which students are at risk for not meeting grade level standards. Screenings can be accomplished by reviewing a student’s recent performance on state or district tests or by administering an academic screening test to all students in a grade-level. Students who fall below a certain cutoff point are identified as needing continued progress monitoring and possibly more intensive interventions.

Diagnostic screening: May be requested to obtain information about the student and to guide the intervention process.

MTSS Team: A school-based team that meets regularly to analyze student data and to identify where the learning and behavior problems are occurring in order to develop interventions. The team, along with the parent, makes decisions to determine what intervention may be most appropriate for the student to achieve adequate progress.

Formal Evaluation: May be requested by the MTSS Team, which includes parents, after Tier 3 intervention data has been reviewed.

SAT Team: It is a school-based problem-solving group designed to provide schools with an efficient, effective, and clearly defined procedure for providing assistance to students, teachers, and parents. The purpose of the SAT is to find paths to success for any student that is referred.