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What is the MTSS?

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Multi-tiered System of Supports

MTSS is a framework; a student-centered process that uses continuous improvement to support all students at all times. Educators use data to provide, and evaluate, the effectiveness of multiple tiers of  integrated academic, attendance, behavior and social-emotional instruction and supports. Schools organize resources and build capacity through alignment of academic standards, behavioral expectations, increased engagement and positive culture and climate. When implemented with fidelity and sustained over time, every student is provided the opportunity to achieve and succeed.

1. Tier 1: Universal Supports

Tier 1 is the support that all students receive in the form of instruction (academic, social-emotional, or behavioral) and student supports. Tier 1 focuses on the implementation of the district’s core curriculum and is aligned with the state standards for California. Its services (time and focus) are based on the needs of the students in a particular school. Some schools require more time than other schools in particular core curriculum areas based on student demographics (readiness, language, economic factors) and student performance levels to ensure that all students reach and/or exceed state proficiency levels.

2. Tier 2: Targeted Supports

Tier 2 is the support that some students receive, in addition to Tier 1 instruction. If too many students (roughly more than 20%) in the school require supplemental instruction or related supports, the school should prioritize improving Tier 1 effectiveness as too many students at Tiers 2 and 3 combined will strain system demands/resources and often result in less than effective results on interventions. The purpose of Tier 1 is to improve student performance at Tier 1. Therefore, “effective” Tier 2 services are identified when the majority of students (roughly more than 70%) in an intervention group or class meet or exceed grade level or subject area Tier 1 proficiency levels (academic or behavioral or social-emotional). Tier 2 should be narrower in focus and more “intense” than Tier 1. Tier 2 can be provided by a variety of professionals (instructional and non-instructional staff).

3. Tier 3: Intensive Supports

Tier 3 is the support that a few students receive, in addition to Tier 1, and represents the most intense support options available in the district. In a healthy tiered system in schools, approximately 5–8% of students may need this level of intense supports. Tier 3 services will require substantially more time and narrower focus on intervention and related student supports than what is provided at Tiers 2 or 1. Tier 3 services will require intense collaboration often among various professionals who are assigned to the student’s case to provide specific services (both general ed and special ed and student services). The overall purpose of Tier 3 is the same as Tier 2; to improve student performance at Tier 1.

4. Core Components:

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Academics

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Attendance

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Behavior / SEL

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5. Core Values

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6. Core Principles

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Family & Community

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Communication & Collaboration

Effective team-based problem solving procedures requires a foundation of efficient and highly productive teamwork. Teams that have clear goals, differentiated roles and responsibilities to support the team’s problem solving activities, a collaborative and cohesive trust amongst each other, and interpersonal communication skills to avoid off-task conversations or uncontrollable factors will more efficiently work through the problem solving process and increase team buy-in and motivation to support intervention plans for students.

Building Capacity

Responding to student needs across academic, behavioral, or social-emotional domains requires having access to expertise and coaching supports to effectively identify, delivery, and evaluate effectiveness of services provided to students with fidelity. Effective professional development supports for professionals and access to highly responsive, on-site coaching supports ensure that educators have the necessary supports to (a) develop or acquire effective skills; and (b) develop fluency of implementing new skills and services with fidelity.

Problem-Solving Process (CCI)

A structured problem-solving process provides a team with structure and high scaffolding for coordinated and efficient use of data that results in identifying valid barriers to student success at Tier 1 with which to plan a solution and track effectiveness. Human beings are naturally predisposed to solve problems. But different people have different methods for solving problems. A structured 4-step problem solving process requires its own fidelity of use in order to have maximum utility in identifying and delivering effective services for students across all three tiers.

Data-Based Decision-Making

In the context of school improvement, school leaders annually examine the year’s schooling efforts in relation to student and school outcome data to determine what schooling services or practices are working, which may need to be adjusted, or which may no longer be effective enough to keep using. Evaluating a school’s impacts on student achievement and overall education success is a significant component to a tiered system of supports because it provides the context for ensuring a schools multi-tiered system is suitably matched to the unique constellation of needs among their specific population of students.

Team-Based Leadership

Leaders exist at all levels of the system from federal to classroom levels.  Effective implementation of large scale school-wide improvements requires multiple perspectives and voices, as well as maximum organizational buy-in to support collaborative teamwork and school changes. Adaptive school leadership is needed for engaging in a continuous improvement process annually. By distributing the instructional leadership (e.g., coaching) supports among a leadership team, each member of that school leadership team can act as a mentor or facilitator for staff to build greater skill or knowledge capability in relation to school improvement plans.

7. Drivers

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Anti-Racism

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Social Justice

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Equity

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Access

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High-Quality Core Instruction

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