OSSU believes that Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) improves student outcomes by building capacity within schools and supervisory unions to meet the academic and behavior needs of all students.  We believe that all students, including those with the most intensive needs, should experience high quality instruction within inclusive educational settings.  

Over the past three years, OSSU has begun to invest in the process of developing and implementing this comprehensive and systematic framework that uses a collection of research-based strategies and practices designed to meet the academic and behavior needs of all students. High-quality universal instruction for all students, with supplemental supports for some students, and additional intensive supports for a few students is at the heart of this framework. The Leadership Team within OSSU work collaboratively to support all staff and students, at every level throughout the school system to ensure that students have the skills and behaviors they need to lead successful, healthy lives.

Overview of MTSS in OSSU

Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) is a framework to provide all students with the best opportunities to succeed academically and behaviorally in school. MTSS focuses on:

  • providing high quality instruction and interventions matched to student need. 
  • monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals.
  • using data to allocate resources to improve student learning.
  • supporting staff implementation of effective practices.
  • using learning rate over time and level of performance to make important educational decisions.

Key Resources

  • MTSS-RTII Field Guide Vermont: an overview of Vermont’s multi-tiered approach to RTII, describing its major guidelines on key components of a MTSS, and the varied ways it can be implemented.  
  • OSSU MTSS Manual: a comprehensive guide to implementing MTSS within the schools so OSSU
  • PBiS-Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports: a State-wide effort designed to help school teams form a proactive, school-wide, systems approach to improving social and academic competence for all students.


Common Questions

What is Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)?

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) is a system of instruction that supports success for all students:


  • MTSS provides early academic and behavioral help, rather than waiting for a student to fail;
  • MTSS provides an improved way for school teams to meet the individual needs of your child;
  • MTSS provides instruction at different levels or tiers depending on the needs of each student; and,
  • MTSS is available to all students to help them succeed and to increase student achievement.

What are OSSU's Goals for using MTSS?

The goals of MTSS at OSSU include:

  • Improve the quality of instruction;
  • Prevent unnecessary academic and behavioral failure;
  • Provide proven, or evidence-based, interventions for all students;
  • Prevent unnecessary referral to special education;
  • Prevent rather than react to student difficulties;
  • Involve and support parents as partners in the educational process;
  • Support teachers’ use of effective instructional strategies and practices.

What is the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Process?

While the MTSS process may vary from school to school, the following is a basic framework for how most schools implement MTSS within OSSU: 

  • Tier 1: All students are provided with high quality first instruction and all students are screened both academically and behaviorally to determine how they are progressing. The school reviews the instruction provided to all students, and ensures that each student’s progress is monitored. Teachers differentiate instruction, or use different approaches, to meet unique student needs.
  • Tier 2: For students who are still not making adequate progress, the school gathers more specific information about the individual needs of the student; develops an intervention plan for each student, including how the information will be collected and reviewed with the parents throughout the process; and, provides evidence-based intervention matched to the need of the student.
  • Tier 3: For students who have not achieved the goals established in the intervention plan, the school provides increasingly individualized interventions and/or provides interventions on a more frequent basis.

What Role Does Family play in MTSS?

Family involvement plays an important role in student achievement, and has a positive impact on student achievement. Families are partners within the MTSS process. Families need information about the process when their child is first identified at-risk or is struggling in school. Communication and teamwork throughout the MTSS process improve results for all students.

What Can I Do if I Have Concerns about My Child’s Progress?

Here are some ideas on how to communicate with schools staff:

  • Communicate regularly with your child’s teacher.
  • Contact your child’s teacher, counselor, or other staff member and ask for a team meeting.
  • Request and review MTSS data; your child’s strengths, work samples, peer relationships, and challenges.
  • If at anytime in the process, the parents or the school suspect that the student has disability, the student should be referred for a special education evaluation. Any information collected from the intervention process will and should be reviewed as part of the evaluation. Students may continue to receive support and interventions while the special education evaluation is occurring.

Related Statutes

  • Essential supports for Vermont’s Educational Quality Standards
  • EQS 2121.5 Tiered System of Academic and Behavioral Support
  • 16 V.S.A. §2902 - MTSS and EST
  • State Board Rule 2914- MTSS and EST

Related Info

MTSS-RTII Field Guide Vermont


PBiS-Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports   


Heather Freeman
Director of Student Services

Rhoda McLure
Director of Instruction, Assessment & Grants