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Multi-Tiered System of Supports

To prepare our students for post-secondary success and a lifetime of continual learning, District 401 has established a multi-tiered system of supports, also known as "MTSS."

This support system is available to all students and is designed to meet a broad range of academic and social-emotional needs.

What Is MTSS?

MTSS is a comprehensive problem-solving and prevention model that helps schools improve the performance of all students by identifying needs early and modifying instruction quickly. The fundamental approach of MTSS is to be proactive with data-driven support instead of waiting until students fail before intervening. 

The process begins with teachers assessing the skills of their students to identify who may need additional help in particular academic, behavioral or social-emotional areas. Students then receive support in the form of research-based targeted instruction or intervention. This support is matched to each student's level of need and skill.

Progress is monitored closely. If more support is needed, the level of personalization increases. The intensity and duration of interventions are based on student need.

Three Tiers of Support

MTSS offers three levels of support for students:

  • Tier 1 — Universal (the whole class)
  • Tier 2 — Targeted group intervention
  • Tier 3 — Intensive individualized intervention

At Tier 1, all students receive research-based core instruction aligned to grade-level standards and schoolwide behavioral expectations. Universal screening is used to determine student needs. Formative assessments provide teachers with data to adjust their instructional approaches.

At Tier 2, students identified as being at-risk academically or behaviorally through universal screeners are provided evidence-based interventions in addition to the core. Tier 2 interventions are implemented with groups of students demonstrating common skill deficits or social-emotional/behavioral risk characteristics.

At Tier 3, students who have not demonstrated progress with targeted group interventions are provided more intensive interventions. Tier 3 interventions are distinguished from Tier 2 because they are individualized, more narrowly focused and typically last longer (e.g., more daily minutes or more weeks). Tier 3 plans may also include supports at home or in the community.

It is important to note that both Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions are in addition to the instruction these students receive in Tier 1, not in place of it. The goal is to keep students from missing any core instruction or other related activities that might make it harder for them to catch up.

A Collaborative Effort

The goal of MTSS is to screen early and deliver targeted support quickly. 

Doing so can help general education students receive interventions sooner. MTSS can also help identify more quickly which students need special education.

But MTSS is not just the job of a few specialists. General educators play a key role in helping assess students and plan interventions.

Nor is it an "add-on" program. MTSS is a framework that guides and integrates daily practices. Progress is monitored frequently to determine if interventions are working.

Ultimately, MTSS allows our District to educate all students with quality, equity and efficiency.