MTSS is a hot topic in education right now. The idea of implementing a Multi-Tiered System of Supports can often feel overwhelming and daunting to educators who have a lot on their plates. Many educators are trying to wrap their minds around exactly what MTSS is, how it differs from other supports already in place, who benefits from it, and how to get started with it. At Demonstrated Success, we want you to know that MTSS is doable! In fact, most schools already have the foundation of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports in place.
MTSS is simply a school-wide framework designed to anticipate barriers to learning and, creatively and systematically, leverage school-wide resources to meet the individual needs of the whole child, ensuring equitable access and success for all students. Yes, MTSS is comprehensive in the layering of supports that need to be put in place for the whole child. However, the beauty of MTSS is that it can be adaptable to your specific district using the resources and staff you have in a creative way, giving it a personalized feel for students, staff, and families.
To implement a Multi-Tiered System of Supports in your building does not mean the purchasing of brand new curriculum or programs nor does it mean having to hire multiple additional specialists and teachers. MTSS is feasible if you use your resources, instructional practices, and staff members in a creative and strategic way, leveraging data to make informed decisions, creating goals and evaluating effectiveness of what you have in place to support your students. A media specialist, for example, can support introverted students, who may struggle socially, by developing a library program for these students to lead and participate in book clubs with peers and make book recommendations to them. The specialist can also help these students become literacy volunteers for students in younger grades. Or a school resource officer can facilitate a harm circle to repair relationships and help students come to a common understanding, rather than assign them a punishment. And a math teacher, with the help of a parent volunteer, can start a before-school “math basketball” team to teach and enrich math skills and strategies for students while helping them interact playing basketball. MTSS takes time and patience to build, but it is doable. Use your people, your programs, and the data that you already have at your fingertips. You got this!