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A Parent's Guide to MTSS

A Parent's Guide to Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS)

What is MTSS?

Use of a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) provides responsive services for all students. It is a process that provides high-quality, research-based instruction based on learner needs. Needs are identified by monitoring students’ progress. Adjustments to instruction and interventions are based on students’ performance and rate of success. MTSS promotes a well-integrated system, connecting general, gifted, and special education with intervention and enrichment services. MTSS provides high-quality, standards-based instruction and intervention that is matched to students’ academic, social and behavioral needs. MTSS was previously referred to as Response to Intervention.

Key Principles of MTSS

  • Intervene early
  • Use a multi-tiered model of service delivery
  • Match instruction to the learners’ needs
  • Use progress-monitoring data to change instruction within each tier
  • Use research-based interventions and instruction
  • Monitor student-progress frequently
  • Employ practices to ensure that interventions are implemented consistently and correctly
  • Document and encourage parental-involvement in all steps of the process

Potential Benefits of MTSS

  • Improves education for ALL students
  • Eliminates the "wait to fail" situation that prevents at-risk students from receiving services earlier rather than later
  • Provides instructionally relevant, easily understood information through progress-monitoring techniques
  • Allows us to know what works NOW to improve students’ skills
  • Encourages collaboration among educators, families and community-members

Key MTSS Terms

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support provides different levels of instruction based on student needs.

  • Tier 1 (low risk) consists of the core curriculum and should meet the needs of approximately 80% of students
  • Tier 2 (some risk) is aimed to provide a focused intervention for students who are not fully responding to core instruction. Up to15% of students may require small group instruction designed to supplement the core curriculum
  • Tier 3 (high risk) is the most intensive level of intervention. Approximately 5% of students may need this level of individual or small group intervention

Universal Screening:  Universal screening procedures provide a brief and efficient assessment of student performance and allows for analysis and action planning at the district and school-wide levels, classroom levels, and student-level.  As the name implies, universal screening involves all students in order to provide an equitable and systematic way of identifying those who may need additional supports.  Examples of universal screening activities used in the Bozeman Public Schools include:


  • Vision screening
  • Hearing screening


  • Acadience Reading
  • STAR Reading assessments
  • STAR Math assessments

Social Emotional

  • Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA)

Universal screening activities do not provide in-depth diagnostic information. Additional individually administered targeted assessments may be used, with parent permission, for those students who are identified through universal screening.

Progress-Monitoring: A practice used to frequently assess students’ academic progress to determine the effectiveness of an intervention.

Response to Intervention (RtI): A specific, legal means to qualify a student for special education services that can be an outgrowth of a Multi-Tiered System of Support.

What is the Role of the Parent/Guardian in MTSS?

Parents play a critical role in supporting what their children are learning in school. Research is clear that the more parents are involved in student learning, the higher the student achievement. Parents can be involved in the process by communicating any concerns to the child’s teacher, providing insight into their child’s learning and development and assisting with identified interventions at home.


A Parent’s Guide to Response to Intervention. Available online at:

Response to Intervention(RTI): A Primer for Parents. Available online at:

Montana Office of Public Instruction RtI/MTSS website. Available online at: