Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)
What is MTSS?
MTSS is the acronym for multi-tiered system of supports, formerly known as response to intervention (RTI). In Vermont, it is sometimes referred to as VTmtss.
A robust multi-tiered system of supports should focus on academics, behaviors and social-emotional well being. Potentially the most important tier of the MTSS pyramid is tier 1, which is focused on prevention as the first intervention.
According to the Vermont Agency of Education, “MTSS is a systematic approach to decision-making for excellence and equity within a culture of continuous improvement that focuses on successful outcomes for all students.”
A critical element of a successful MTSS is the beliefs that educators have about students. Principle #1 of VTmtss states that “Success begins with committed educators who believe that all students can learn and achieve high standards as a result of effective teaching.” This is a necessary precursor to implementation.
Why are we doing MTSS?
Simply put, because it is part of Vermont education policy and it is widely recognized as “best practice”. MTSS is an amalgamation of evidence-based practices, such as ensuring a guaranteed & viable curriculum, utilizing formative assessments to provide actionable feedback and collecting student progress data to provide timely need-based interventions. MTSS (Vtmtss) is connected with other Vermont education policies and initiatives, namely Act 173 of 2018. More than being a mandate from the Agency of Education or the statehouse, MTSS is simply a matter of “good teaching”.
How does MTSS differ from special education?
Participation in the different tiers of the MTSS pyramid applies to ALL students, regardless of any other designation (EST, 504, IEP). Furthermore, Tier III is not equivalent to special education.
How do MTSS and Act 173 intersect?
The visual below attempts to show the interconnection between MTSS, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and the four “levers” of Act 173. An annotated version of this image can be found in the resources section of this webpage.
2021-2022 Implementation Goals
Most of the work this year will be at the administrative level, with a focus on creating a solid foundation for upcoming years. Specifically, there are three main goals for this year:
To design a consistent educational support team (EST) processes across schools.
To reboot and refine our professional learning community (PLC) structures.
To build school-based “guiding coalitions” (leadership teams).
To support our efforts with implementing MTSS, we have partnered with several consultants. Below we provide a brief overview of their roles at MMUUSD.
Jack Baldermann: A consultant for Solution Tree and current principal of Westmont High School in Illinois, Jack is working with our leadership team to build our collective understanding of MTSS.
Pam Arnold: An independent consultant here in Vermont, Pam is a recently retired principal from the Montpelier-Roxbury School District. She is working one-on-one with our PK-8 principals to craft context specific support with MTSS implementation efforts.
Mike Martin, Ed.D.: Mike is the former director of learning for South Burlington School District and current executive director of the Rowland Foundation. Dr. Martin will be providing some professional development around universal design for learning (UDL), which is a core element of high quality tier 1 instruction.
VTmtss Field Guide
VTmtss Guiding Principles
MMUUSD Priorities for ‘21-’22
High Quality Tier I Instruction Overview
MTSS/Act 173 Visual
MTSS/Act 173 Annotated Visual
MTSS Triangle Visual
UDL Lesson Planning Questions
Four Questions of PLCs