Center for Urban Education

Strategy 3. Integrate Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

One of the most prominent systemic approaches to improving social, emotional, and academic outcomes for students in K-12 schools that may have particular relevance during the pandemic is multi‐tiered systems of supports (MTSS). MTSS includes three tiers of support. Tier one includes universal interventions to support all students and staff. Tier two interventions are more targeted to students and staff with demonstrable needs and typically apply to about 15% of the school population. For students and staff with the most intensive needs, tier three interventions are individualized. Schools should select evidence-based practices for each of the three tiers, and they should use their own needs assessment data to determine which interventions are needed and for whom. Below are strategies to support MTSS that is culturally sensitive to the needs of all students and staff.

  • Collaborate to (re)establish, teach, and model school-wide expectations for students and staff members every school year with regular opportunities for recognition of positive behavior. It is pertinent that these expectations are communicated to families as well.
  • Disaggregate data to determine if certain groups may have particular needs for support. 
  • Engage all school staff in ongoing professional learning about tier-one, universal strategies for relationship building, proactive classroom management, equity, and implicit bias.
  • Establish and maintain behavioral expectations, rules, and routines in the district, school and by individual teachers. Make sure that these expectations, rules, and routines are communicated and modeled for students. It is also pertinent that these guidelines are communicated to families as well.
  • Greet students at the start of the school day and implement social-emotional learning and community building activities face-to-face or virtually.  
  • Use restorative practices as a holistic framework to relationship building and conflict resolution that extends beyond specific disciplinary incidents and is integrated into the broader workings of the school.
  • Use parent-teacher home visits.
  • Provide trauma-informed practices professional development for teachers, staff, and administrators to support students at each tier within MTSS.

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