Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS) » Overview



The Indiana Area School District is committed to providing students with opportunities to reach their full potential emotionally, socially, and academically.  By aligning our practices to a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework, we are able to meet the needs of all our students.  

Definition of Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) is the practice of matching students’ needs to high-quality, research-based instruction, intervention, and enrichment.  Universal screening data are used to make informed decisions that will support students’ growth and achievement. The MTSS process and structure helps school teams design, implement, and evaluate, the academic, emotional, and behavioral needs of the students.  By creating a culture rooted in best practices for academics and social-emotional learning, we are able to provide students with a comprehensive, well-rounded education. 

MTSS:  A Three-Tiered Framework

MTSS is a three-tiered model.  Each Tier is explained in depth below.


  • Universal screening - According to research, 80% of students in a school will respond to a high-quality core curriculum and will make measurable growth.
      • Brief assessments conducted with all students at a grade level, and followed by additional testing or short-term progress monitoring, to evaluate students’ needs.
      • Occurs three times per year (Fall, Winter, Spring)
  • Standards-aligned instruction in academics and social emotional learning that includes differentiated instruction in the general education program  
  • Instruction at Tier 1 includes research-based core curricula and high-quality instructional delivery provided by our State certified teachers


  • Universal screening must occur three times per year.  Universal screening data will be used to monitor student progress and will be reviewed three times per year.
  • All students receive instruction in an empirically supported standards-based core curriculum.
  • Classroom teachers execute the core curriculum and provide differentiated instruction in Tier 1.
  • Grade level team meetings are held to analyze data and adjust flexible groupings as students progress with differentiated instructional practices.
  • If less than 80% of students are at benchmark on the universal screener, problem-solving around the core curriculum (Tier 1) must take place. 


  • Grade level teams discuss and identify students in need of intervention beyond Tier 1 Core instruction.
  • Students who are at-risk, and in need of additional intervention, are identified as a result of universal screening data.
  • Tier 2 Strategic instruction includes standards-aligned instruction with supplemental, small group instruction.  Tier 2 is provided in addition to Tier 1 instruction. In other words, students are full participants in the core curriculum and classroom differentiation at Tier 1.  
  • Standard protocol interventions (SPI) are used as part of Tier 2 Strategic instruction.  Standard protocol interventions are research-based and designed to target specific skill needs.  
  • Students with similar needs receive intervention in a small group setting (approximately 6 to 8 students, depending on need) for a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks, with progress monitoring occurring every ten (10) days of instruction.  
  • Students continue with the assigned intervention as long as the progress monitoring data show growth and improvement on the targeted skill.
  • Most students at this level will make sufficient progress given this supplemental instruction and may be released back to Tier 1 instruction only, once they are achieving grade level benchmark/standards.
  • Once a student has three data points above the aimline in the skill area being monitored, the student’s intervention plan is revised to realign their instruction to their needs.
  • If a student is not progressing within an intervention, adjustments will be made regarding the type of intervention, as well as the intensity and duration of instruction.


  • Students who do not respond adequately to the core curriculum and interventions at Tier 1, based on at least 3 to 6 weeks of intervention and analysis of three (3) progress monitoring data points, should be placed in Tier 2 intervention.
  • Students requiring Tier 2 instruction should not exceed 20% of the students in a school.
  • Teachers gather all relevant pieces of diagnostic and classroom data to reference during brief problem solving at grade level data team meetings.
  • Students who need supplemental instruction at Tier 2 (in addition to core instruction in Tier 1) will participate in a standard protocol intervention, which includes progress monitoring.
  • Grade level data meetings will take place approximately every four (4) weeks to monitor data and determine if a student is on track to meet an established goal.  


  • Tier 3 is considered a problem-solving, team approach through which students with significant needs are identified, measurable, targeted goals are collaboratively planned, intensive intervention plans are developed, and student progress is continually monitored.  
  • Intervention is delivered in small groups (approximately 3 to 5 students, depending on need) and follows a 6 to 8 week cycle.


  • TIER 3 expectations and procedures are in the process of being built and will be rolled out during Year 3 of implementation.
  • In the meantime, any students requiring intensive intervention will be provided as prescriptive of an intervention plan as possible to follow Child Find guidelines.  
  • Special education evaluation and eligibility will be initiated as needed to be based on student’s rate of improvement and input of the student’s team (parent, principal, school psychologist, teacher, reading specialist and/or guidance counselor).