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Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS)

Santa Clara Unified School District's MTSS

MTSS Definition: "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." - Leading Equity-Based MTSS for All Students (McCart, A. & Miller, D., 2020) 

Key Domains: 

Social-Emotional Domain: 

  • Second Step/Social-emotional learning curriculum
  • DESSA (Devereux Student Strengths Assessment)

Behavioral Domain: 

  • Attendance
  • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
  • Restorative Practices

Academic and College/Career Domain:

  • English Language Learner Strategies
  • iReady/ Common Assessments
  • Self-exploration assessments
  • College and Career exploration/ planning

MTSS is a multi-level prevention system includes three tiers of intensity for instruction, intervention, and supports. Tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 are terms used in education to describe different levels of intervention and support that students may need to achieve academic, social-emotional and/or behavioral success. 

Tiers Defined: 

All tiers provide data-driven, evidence based practices, implemented with fidelity, taking into account cultural and linguistic responsiveness and recognition of student strengths. 

Tier 1:

Adults provide curriculum, instruction, and supports in academic, social-emotional and behavioral domains, aligned to grade level standards, to meet the needs of all students These school-wide practices positively and measurably impact school climate.

Tier 2: 

Adults use data to identify and respond to specific students with additional needs which are not adequately being met within tier 1. Supports may include academic, behavioral, and/or social-emotional interventions, delivered individually or in small groups, based on student needs. 

Tier 3: 

Adults provide targeted and intensive support(s) for students who demonstrate more need(s) than tier 1 and tier 2 supports alone can provide, Practices are designed to help support students' continual and complex academic, social-emotional/mental health, and/or behavioral needs.




Dana Parkhurst

Christi Tapia

Bess Wood

Signs of MTSS @ SCUSD

Sutter's Classroom Expectations

Sutter Elementary defines, teaches and notices when students are being respectful, responsible and safe. Each class has common expectations posted where students, staff, volunteers, and substitutes can easily reference them.





How MTSS can Benefit Educators

Panorama State of MTSS Survey 2023

Panorama Education surveyed teachers and other educators about the state of MTSS in their school and classroom. This excerpt from their report, shows the perceived benefit of implementing MTSS.