Demystifying the MTSS Mystery

    MTSS Basics

    As a former special education teacher/case manager and now a special education university supervisor, I have spent many an hour discussing MTSS (Multi-Tier System of Supports). My university students and I have reviewed the countless interventions and supports they are exposed to during their required observations, practicums, and culminating student teaching experiences. After conducting an informal poll with my most recent cohort, I found that many students felt that MTSS has a confusing reputation in the field. Further, I noticed that some students were using the term MTSS interchangeably with terms such as RTI, PBIS, and even pre-referral screening. As a result, I decided to take a moment to clear up what MTSS is, and what it is not.

    The 7 Guiding Principles of Response to Intervention (RTI) / Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

    MTSS Basics

    At Branching Minds, we believe that there are 7 guiding principles of RTI/MTSS:

    Now Is the Time to Invest in a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

    MTSS Basics, Instituting MTSS

    How Can Schools and Districts Reduce the Damage of the COVID-19 Slide?

    The COVID-19 global pandemic has created many unknowns for our education system. But one certainty is the challenge teachers will be faced with when students do return to the classroom. The good news is there are a number of things school and district leaders can do now to prepare for this new beginning. 

    While many school districts have made amazing efforts to continue student learning during this time, there is still an extremely large variation in the type of learning going on in students’ homes. Some students may be fortunate enough to have a parent available to work one-on-one with them and ensure they are completing their daily assignments; however, many students do not have this type of at-home support.

    During this time, many students have also experienced caregivers losing their jobs, falling into poverty, and their loved ones getting ill, being hospitalized, or passing away. These traumas will undoubtedly affect their emotions, behaviors, and motivation when they return to the classroom. When schools reopen, teachers will be faced with classrooms of students with a vast array of experiences and academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs

    What Is Response to Intervention (RTI)/Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)?

    MTSS Basics, Instituting MTSS

    Response to Intervention/Multi-Tiered System of Supports (RTI/MTSS) is a collaborative, evidence-based, approach to differentiating and personalizing instruction and intervention, across academics and behavior for all students—so that every student can achieve academic and life success.

    RTI/MTSS is one of the most effective ways to provide an equitable educational experience, because it leverages collective knowledge and expertise to help teachers understand their learners' needs and make informed and strategic decisions that best support them. 

    What is Multi Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)?

    MTSS Basics

    Multi Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a collaborative, evidence-based, approach to differentiating and personalizing instruction and intervention, across academics and behavior for all students—so that every student can achieve academic and life success.

    What is the role of Formative Assessment in Response to Intervention (RTI)?

    MTSS Basics, MTSS Assessment Data

    A formative assessment is a planned process in which assessment-elicited evidence of a student’s status is used by teachers to adjust their ongoing instructional procedures or by students to adjust their current learning tactics (Popham, 2008). To build an effective system, Tier 1 instruction may look different from school to school depending on the predominant needs of their population (e.g., LEP, FRL, Gifted). For example, one school may require intensive ESL support as a part of Tier 1 instruction to meet the 80 percent criterion and another school may require enrichment to ensure progress for high-achieving and/or gifted students as a part of Tier 1 instruction. For those schools that meet the 80 percent criterion, it is still essential to examine the effectiveness of the core and ensure growth of all students.