Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)
Often referred to as the “way of doing the business of schools,” MTSS is an organizational framework intended to improve outcomes through the effective collaboration of adults. The framework utilizes high quality evidence-based practices to provide the level of support needed for each educational stakeholder and for the whole system (i.e., classroom, school, program, or district). With MTSS, schools and districts integrate and align academic standards, behavioral expectations, and adult activities. Because MTSS is a comprehensive, continuous-improvement framework, data-based problem solving and decision-making is practiced across all levels by each and every stakeholder within the educational system.
Within Colorado, the evolution of responsive learning frameworks has led to the current, clear understanding and definition of MTSS. Consistent within MTSS is the guiding principle of prevention. By setting up systems and structures that reduce or remove learning challenges or operational barriers, MTSS enables each stakeholder to benefit from a safe and supportive environment. The Thompson School District (TSD) aligns its implementation of MTSS with the state's description.
The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) defines MTSS as:
a prevention-based framework of team-driven data-based problem solving for improving the outcomes of every student through family, school, and community partnering and a layered continuum of evidence-based practices applied at the classroom, school, district, region, and state level. (CDE, 2016)
In TSD, the plan is to implement MTSS with fidelity and to sustain it over time, and that priority has been named in Strive 2025 (the TSD strategic plan). Through the effective application of implementation science and the active engagement of each stakeholder, TSD will prepare students for any pathway - for college, career, and life.
Because there have been different understandings about MTSS, some confusions exist about what MTSS is and what value it can offer to educational systems. For example, MTSS has been described as replacing Response to Intervention (RtI) or Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). In actuality, both RtI and PBIS have identities within the MTSS framework. The following chart is intended to provide some clarification, and subsequent web pages explore even more about the MTSS framework and provide various resources. Links to CDE's websites are included below, and TSD's MTSS Coordinator's contact information is provided, as well.
You may use the left-hand navigation menu to learn more about MTSS in TSD.
This TSD MTSS website (© August 2019) aligns with state and national guidance and will be updated regularly.
Questions or requests for technical assistance? Please contact Kim Watchorn (TSD MTSS Coordinator).