Multi-Tiered System of Supports
Pennsylvania’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a standards-aligned, comprehensive school improvement FRAMEWORK for enhancing academic, behavioral and social-emotional outcomes for ALL students.
MTSS ensures equity in opportunity for students–including Black/African American and Latinx students, students with disabilities, and English Language Learners–who have been marginalized and negatively impacted by existing systems.
The resources below are collected here to help District professionals access all the materials and tools they’ll need to fully implement the supports their students need and deserve.
The implementation of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework is to ensure that all District students have the support and resources that they need to access grade-level instruction in a safe and welcoming environment. MTSS has been identified as a strategy to help reach the Board’s Goals and Guardrails.
The Office of Academic Supports Strategic Team is leading the efforts to implement MTSS Academics district-wide. The aim of MTSS Academics is to ensure all students receive high quality core instruction along with tiered instructional supports and services to meet the needs of every student within our classrooms.
La Tanya R. Miller
Directors of Special Projects
Sheree D. Ellison
Sr. Project Manager
Professional Learning Specialists (Central Office)
MTSS Professional Learning Specialists (School-Based)
MTSS has ten essential components that formulate a comprehensive system of supports for student achievement to meet students’ academic, behavioral, social-emotional learning, attendance, and health/wellness needs.
Each of these ten components are explained further in the MTSS Tier 1 Guidelines (pages 17-20). Where appropriate, a webpage link to the Office that supports a particular component is provided below for additional information.
- Common Core Standards-Aligned High-Quality Core Instruction (Curriculum & Instruction)
- Positive School-wide Climate Programming and Social-Emotional Learning (Climate & Culture) (Prevention & Intervention)
- Universal Screening (District Universal Screener)
- Shared Ownership
- Data-Based Decision-Making (Professional Learning Communities)
- Response to Instruction & Intervention (RTII): Academic and Behavioral
- Family Engagement (Family & Community Engagement)
- RTII/Specific Learning Disability Eligibility Determination
- Professional Learning
The foundation of MTSS is a strong academic, social-emotional/behavioral, and health/wellness process, which provides instruction and interventions organized into tiers (or levels) of support. The three-tiered support structure of MTSS provides efficient and effective support for all students. Each of the tiers are explained further in the MTSS Tier 1 Guidelines (page 11). Below is a brief description of what occurs at each academic tier.
- Grade-level, standards based instruction according to SDP Instructional Guides
- Differentiated instruction and re-teaching to address learning gaps
- Materials and curricula that reflect the racial and cultural diversity of SDP communities
- Well-rounded instruction that includes music, art, and physical education
- Integrated social-emotional learning opportunities
- Students who receive Tier 2 support engage in small group work of 4-6 students within core instruction.
- Core Instruction is made accessible through scaffolds based on small group needs and skill gaps.
- Computer-adaptive skills practice
- Enrichment programming for students who benefit from extra challenge
- Skill-based small group instruction
- Students who receive Tier 3 support engage in small group work of 1-3 students within core instruction.
- Core Instruction is made accessible through increased and intensive scaffolds based on individual needs and skill gaps.
- One-on-one tutoring
To enhance classroom instruction, strategies are used to help all learners by addressing different learning needs, skills mastery, levels of understanding, and strengths. In reading, there are 5 areas of concern: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Comprehension, and Vocabulary. In math, there are 6 areas of concern: Computational Fluency, Fact Fluency, Math Application: Concepts & Procedures, Algebraic Concepts, Word Problem Solving, and Vocabulary Development. Specific strategies have been identified to support students with tiered instruction to address areas of concern. For examples of strategies by areas of concern, please view the linked documents below.
Reading Areas of Concern
Math Areas of Concern
- High Quality Whole Group Instruction
- Scaffolding of content, processes, and products based on students’ needs (instructional supports to enhance a student’s learning & aid in skill mastery)
- Blended Learning (combination of classroom and online learning and includes station rotation)
- Tiered Assignments
- Instructional Strategies
- Online Adaptive Programs/Products
- Frequent Feedback (Informal, Formal, Formative, Summative, Constructive, Student)
- Flexible Grouping
- Small Group Instruction-occurs at least 3 times per week (Tier 2: 4-6 students) (Tier 3: 1-3 students)
- Increased Opportunities for Student Practice in Targeted Instruction
- Project-Based Learning
- After-school Enrichment
- Virtual Learning Opportunities
- Push-in/Pull-out Services
- Independent Study
- Student Conferencing
- Progress Monitoring
Online Adaptive Programs (OAPs) to supplement high-quality core instruction are District-approved and selected to address identified reading and math areas of concern. Online Adaptive Programs (OAPs) support students with developing their academics skills and offer teachers opportunities to progress monitor student growth for Tiers 1-3. To view the current approved OAPs, click here.
The MTSS Quick Guide provides an overview and briefly addresses academic myths and misconceptions about MTSS. To view the MTSS Quick Guide, click here.
The MTSS Tier 1 Guidelines provides details about the equity of MTSS along with the definition and elements of the MTSS process. The guidelines are intended to explain Tier 1 expectations for schools. To view a copy of the MTSS Tier 1 Guidelines, click here.
The Academic Process for MTSS 2022-2023 document provides details to assist schools with understanding MTSS Academics in the areas of universal screening, research-based supports, data-based decision-making, navigating Tiers 1-3, and assessing implementation. To view a specific area related to the academic process of implementation, click here.
Professional development will build the capacity of school leaders and instructional staff to refine the core structures and practices required for strong MTSS Academics. To view a complete list of professional development offerings click here.
Schools will receive on-going, responsive, and differentiated professional development, and support to improve their implementation of the MTSS Tier academic process. To request professional development for your school or network, complete this form.
For more information or support please email or call us for assistance.
Last modified: November 10, 2022