Multi-Tiered System of Supports  

April 11, 2016

While most ESU 10 schools applying Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) work to improve academic outcomes, some schools are working to improve students’ social/emotional/behavioral learning outcomes. According to Elias et al. (1997), social and emotional learning (SEL) is “the capacity to recognize and manage emotions, solve problems effectively, and establish positive relationships with others, competencies that clearly are essential for all students.” A 2015 cost-benefit analysis was completed by Teachers College of Columbia University which concluded, “ ‘for every dollar invested [in SEL]…there is a return of eleven dollars, a substantial economic return’ as measured by school and community benefits such as enhanced educational outcomes (e.g., attendance rates, test scores, graduation rates), reduced crime, lowered substance abuse, and decreased teen suicide attempts.” Given this information, the benefit of this type of MTSS work is obvious.

According to an MTSS model, SEL is systematically taught universally to all students in Tier 1. Schoolwide behavioral expectations are established and taught across all environments. Once a solid foundation is developed, schools can more easily focus on intervening with students who have not yet learned social/emotional/behavioral skills. The intensity of support to students matches their level of need in Tiers 2 and 3.

To help schools with this process, four members of the ESU 10 MTSS team attended the training “5 Social and Behavioral Interventions in 1 Day” in Salina, KS, on February 10. Patrice Feller, Nicole Langrud, Stacey Romick-Imig, and Jennifer Rumery prepared to lead schools in developing five focused classroom strategies which support classroom management at all Tiers. These research-based strategies include Behavior Specific Praise and Feedback, Opportunities to Respond/Explicit Instruction, Active Supervision, Instructional Choice, and Pacing and Active Engagement. Development of these strategies will align with ESU 10’s current Academic Literacy Project. The team also prepared to bring back information to share with ESU 10 schools on research-based Tier 2 and 3 interventions such as Check-In/Check-Out, Behavioral Contracts, Behavior Specific Praise, Self-Monitoring, and Mentoring.

There are two MTSS teams currently structuring up to implement the social/emotional/behavioral model of MTSS: Ravenna Public Schools and Broken Bow Public Schools. Several other districts have expressed interest in working on this during the 2016-2017 year. Schools recognize that academic outcomes are supported when social/emotional/behavioral outcomes are developed in an integrated manner.

Elias, M. J., Zins, J. E., Weissberg, R. P., Frey, K. S., Greenberg, M. T., Haynes, N. M., Kessler, R., Schwab-Stone, M. E., & Shriver, T. P. (1997). Promoting social and emotional learning: Guidelines for educators. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Kansas State Department of Education. (2015). Kansas Multi-Tier System of Supports: MTSS Integrated Structuring Guide. Topeka, KS: Kansas MTSS Project, Kansas Technical Assistance System Network.

-by Patrice Feller, MTSS Facilitator/Coach