Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) can seem like just another buzzword or the latest initiative. And many educators are wary of one more initiative and the effort it takes. Others may think of MTSS as a method of  intervention equivalent to Response to Intervention (RTI). But while MTSS includes interventions like RTI, it is so much more than this.

MTSS is a framework to help schools make the most of their existing resources to support the success of ALL students and staff, while also benefiting families and the larger community. We say MTSS is not an initiative because schools may already be working towards the goals within the MTSS framework:

  • Striving to improve student-learning outcomes
  • Actively working to break down barriers to learning for all students 
  • Offering multiple opportunities for students to get support and enrichment 
  • Believing academics and social-emotional learning are connected with behavior
  • Looking at “the whole child” when determining supports and interventions
  • Making data-driven decisions 
  • Offering professional development opportunities to staff 
  • Working on improving school, community, home relationships for the benefit of students 

As opposed to doing something new, many schools need to enhance their existing systems that support the goals of the MTSS framework. Schools may also need additional support prioritizing areas of focus, establishing high functioning teams, and creating strategic plans. Developing an effective MTSS framework is often a 3-5 year process, and it’s important to keep in mind that it’s ok “to go slow to go fast.”