Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS)



four pillars on mtss framework in maine

MTSS Overview 

In Maine, MTSS is defined as a comprehensive framework designed to address the academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs of each student in the most inclusive and equitable learning environment. More than an RTI, MTSS is a whole-school framework that organizes the people, programs and policies into an integrated support system that begins in tier 1.

MTSS is a philosophy that organizes and leverages the systems that likely already exist in your school.  It is a system that relies on more than just evidence-based curricula and identification processes. MTSS analyzes and organizes all available resources within the school context, such as people, facilities, time, data, curriculum & instruction, and any additional resources.

Whole-School Systems Approach

The MTSS framework is driven by a strong and supportive leadership team, equitable policies and practices, authentic and collaborative family and community partnerships, innovative and well supported teachers, effective instruction of high quality curricula, and effective processes for problem solving that is data-informed. Through the implementation and establishment of an MTSS framework, districts and schools increase attendance, elevate student engagement, lessen concerns about behavior, improve school climate, enhance social and emotional well-being, and boost academic performance for all students.

Structure and Design

The base layer of an MTSS includes strategic use of evidence-based practices, a consistent and effective implementation process, and available resources including people, time, and data.  

The next layer includes the delivery of instruction and intervention, universal screening, progress monitoring, and an established plan for how these educational practices will be used across the school.  Even though MTSS is a whole-school approach, your layering, screening, and monitoring approaches will be tailored for each student.  With this layer in place, students do not have to wait to get access to a personalized plan.  Instead, through a process of collecting and organizing your library of resources, makes matching student needs to effective educational practices easier, and ensures equity across all students.

The next layer focuses on prioritizing and establishing a flexible and responsive culture strategically designed to adapt to the needs of the students in the school.  With students and student outcomes at the forefront of all decisions, resources can be better organized to address the needs of those students rather than fitting students into the needs of the culture.

The final layer establishes a usable problem-solving process that is routine, consistent, and objective.  An effective problem-solving process will incorporate data collection, data analysis, and action planning to address where you are and creating a path for where you want to go.  Along with your problem-solving process, the team must adopt decision-rules and look-for criteria that will inform whether the current path is effective for improvement, or if changes need to be made.  

A strong and sustainable MTSS framework will go beyond academic achievement by ensuring students are supported through their behavior development and social and emotional development.  Academics, behavior, and social emotional approaches are weaved together to form a foundation that ensures that all children are ready for whatever awaits them after graduation.

Initiation and Installation of your MTSS

Whether you are aiming to update your current systems or are starting from ground zero, establishing an effective MTSS is a progressive and iterative process.  When leveraged by implementation science; exploration, organization, customization, and eventually maintenance, and flexibility to know when you need to make adjustments you will be able to create an MTSS that is efficient, sustainable, and effective for each and every one of your students.

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