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American Academy

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

American Academy Multi-Tiered Support of Supports (MTSS)
American Academy has made the switch from Response to Intervention (RtI), to Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). RtI and MTSS are very similar ideas and practices. The main difference is RtI is a model for identifying and addressing the specific academic needs of struggling students, while MTSS has a broader scope, addressing both academics and social-emotional/behavioral concerns. American Academy MTSS uses data-driven problem-solving and incorporates system-level change to address both academic and non-academic needs of students.

The FIRST TIER in MTSS is universal supports & core instruction. Approximately 80-85% of students do well with Tier 1 universal supports & Instruction. Tier 1 universal supports for American Academy students includes some of the following:

    • Ability grouping
    • Data gathering assessments such as iReady to monitor the progress of all students
    • AA Characters & Manners
    • Safe2Tell
    • Suicide Prevention Program and Bullying Protocols
The SECOND TIER in MTSS is Targeted Supports. Approximately 10-15% of students need targeted supports to increase their skill levels. Examples of Tier 2 supports can include:

    • Extra practice with support for skills such as reading fluency or math calculation, in addition to what is received during reading or math instructional times
    • Accommodations such as extra time for assessments, breaking down large assignments or tests to more manageable pieces, audio books, etc.
    • Small social groups facilitated by mental health staff
    • Check in/check out: this is process where a student and teacher/parent set a goal for the day and they “check in/check out” to review how closely they met their behavior g​oal
    • Executive function strategies and resources provided to teachers, students, and parents
The THIRD TIER of MTSS is for Intensive Supports and approximate 5% of students may need intensive supports for academic and/or nonacademic needs at some point. If intensive supports continue to be unsuccessful, the MTSS team, which includes parents, may make a referral for a Section 504 or Special Education Evaluation. Examples of 3rd Tier interventions can include:

    • Additional academic instruction outside of the classroom provided by an interventionist
    • More intensive intervention focuses on remediation of skills
    • Functional Behavioral Assessment/Behavior Intervention Plan
    • Individual, time-sensitive support counseling

American Academy MTSS Steps

  1. A student is recommended for MTSS support by teacher, or sometimes parents, and a Phase 1 meeting is scheduled.
  2. During the Phase 1 meeting, the teachers along with MTSS Team members, discuss the student concerns. They develop a goal that is reasonable to attempt to reach in approximately 4-6 weeks.
  3. American Academy’s Phase 1 is actually Tier 2 of MTSS. It is named Phase 1 because it is the first stage after universal supports that require additional planning. During this meeting, teachers and staff identify the following:
    1. Concern or skill deficit
    2. Goal
    3. Interventions to meet goal
    4. How interventions are measured
    5. How long will interventions be in place before moving on to the next Phase or exiting.
  4. Typically, the interventions implemented during Phase 1 are doing within the classroom, but in addition to universal supports that all students receive.
  5. If Phase 1 interventions are determined to be ineffective, the student will move to Phase 2. The Phase two meeting is held with the following team members:
    1. Parents
    2. Teachers
    3. MTSS team members
    4. Other possible participants: nurse, principal, dean
  6. Phase 2 interventions are typically provided outside of the general education classroom and in addition to classroom instruction. Intervention Blocks at the end of the day have been used to provide additional instruction & intervention to struggling readers. Phase 2 is similar to Phase 1 in that it has a goal, matching interventions, how interventions will be measured, and a timeframe to determine if MTSS supports have met the goal.
  7. When MTSS is unsuccessful and students continue to struggle or will return to struggling once MTSS is discontinued, the team may referral the student for a Section 504 or Special Education Evaluation.
  8. Additional MTSS notes:
    • MTSS is required to be utilized before a special education team can find a student eligible for a disability.
    • MTSS is not a permanent solution or plan for a student. MTSS is a time-sensitive, problem-solving process. If a MTSS fails to remediate concerns, then an evaluation is the next step.
    • MTSS is a collaborative process between students, families, and staff members. Many interventions require the participation of BOTH home and school team members in order to be successful.
Examples of American Academy MTSS Interventions






Universal/Core Instruction


Ability Grouping

Data Collection & Monitoring (e.g., iReady)

Research-based Core Instructions

Differentiation of Instruction

AA Characters & Manners

Classroom Lessons

Bullying & Suicide Prevention Programs

YESS Program


Targeted Intervention Examples (AA Phase 1)


Academic goals w/matching interventions

In class interventions such as: extra time, chunking assignments & assessments, directions read to student, etc.

Read Plans

Small Counseling Groups

Peer Mentoring

Check in/Check out

Executive function strategies provided to teachers, parents, and students


Intensive Intervention Examples (AA Phase 2)


Intervention Block Instruction

Targeted Instruction with an interventionist

Additional instruction provided outside the general education classroom

Functional Behavioral Assessments

Behavior Intervention Plans

Individual, time-sensitive support counseling

Safety Assessments (Threat & Suicide)

Colorado Department of Education: Definition of Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) 
Colorado Multi-Tiered System of Supports (CO-MTSS) is defined 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, LEA, region, and state level. Our mission is to shape, develop, and increase the collective capacity of schools and LEAs to implement and sustain a multi-tiered system of supports through a problem-solving culture that integrates data, practices, and systems to improve educational outcomes for every student.
CO-MTSS sees our partnerships with LEAs as an integral collaboration to achieve five major goals: 1) increase state leadership capacity for CO-MTSS infrastructure; 2) increase regional and district CO-MTSS capacity and sustainability; 3) increase preschool-12, school level capacity for CO-MTSS through the implementation of evidence-based practices, data-based problem solving, and short-cycle action planning; 4) support improved teacher effectiveness in the classroom; and 5) increase partnering with families, schools, and the community.
CO-MTSS includes five Essential Components that create a more efficient and effective system of supports that benefit the outcomes of all students including those in low performing schools:
1. Team-Driven Shared Leadership: Teaming structures and expectations to distribute responsibility and shared decision-making across school, LEA, and community members (e.g. students, families, generalists, specialists, and LEA administrators) to organize coordinated systems of training, coaching, resources, implementation, and evaluation for adult activities.

2. Data-Based Problem Solving and Decision-Making: A consistent process is used by stakeholder teams and applied at multiple levels to analyze and evaluate relevant information to plan and implement strategies that support sustainable improved student and system outcomes.

3. Family, School, and Community Partnering: The collaboration of families, schools, and communities as active partners in improving learner, classroom, school, LEA, and state outcomes.

4. Layered Continuum of Supports: Ensuring that every student receives equitable academic and behavioral support that is culturally responsive, matched to need, and developmentally appropriate, through layers that increase in intensity from universal (every student) to targeted (some students) to intensive (few students).

5. Evidence-Based Practices: Approaches to instruction, intervention, and assessment that have been proven effective through research indicating improved outcomes for students.