Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS)

  • Why MTSS?

    MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports) is a framework of intervention and support that is specifically designed to promote student success by addressing academic, social-emotional, and behavioral issues that interfere with student learning.

    Defining MTSS

    Equity-Based MTSS is a complex schooling structure that brings together educator knowledge of context, science, and systems, resulting in positive benefits for each and every student. It is an organizing framework that uses specific data sources to inform decisions, coordinating diverse academic, behavioral, and social resources to meet the needs of each and every student in a dynamic and timely fashion. (McCart, A., & Miller, D. [2020]. Leading Equity-Based MTSS for all students. Corwin Press).

    MTSS grew out of the integration of two other intervention-based frameworks: Response to Intervention (RtI) and PBIS.  As part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) updated by Congress in 2004, the Response to Intervention model of assessment originally sought to identify students who would benefit from more intensive support. From these beginnings as a tool to help improve educational outcomes for students in special education, MTSS has grown to encompass all students at every level. (

    Benefits of MTSS

    • Improves student outcomes using meaningful research
    • Offers a more broad scope of services than Response to Intervention
    • Integrates academic, behavioral, and social-emotional supports
    • Builds capacity among all educators
    • Places a strong emphasis on prevention
    • Examines systems-level data to identify variables that are producing current results
    • Reduces the need for learning disabilities identification
    • Simplifies life for highly burdened school staff

    Key Components of MTSS

    Instead of the “waiting for failure” assessment model of pre-IDEA days, MTSS takes a proactive approach to identifying students with academic or behavioral needs. Early assessment and intervention for these students can help them catch up with their peers sooner. The key components of MTSS include:

    • Universal screening of all students early in the school year
    • Tiers of interventions that can be amplified in response to levels of need
    • Ongoing data collection and continual assessment
    • Schoolwide approach to expectations and supports
    • Parent involvement

    The integrated instruction model of MTSS uses collected data to assess student needs and provide them with interventions in appropriate tiers.

    Theory of Action

    If we consistently put student learning first, live our core values, implement our strategic priorities, and disrupt inequitable practices, then we will be an equity-centered organization that is responsive and resilient and that prepares students for a global society.

MTSS Coaches