Parent Guide to Multi-Tiered System of Supports

This page provides an overview of the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) used by SCPS. Parents with additional questions should contact their student's school.  This information was adapted from the Florida Department of Education's Parent Guide to Multi-Tiered System of Supports brochure.


Your student’s school is committed to providing high-quality instruction and support to promote the highest achievement of all students. At the school level, the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a framework used to maximize the success of all students.

A parent video explaining the Multi-Tiered System of Supports can be viewed at

What is a Multi-Tiered System of Supports?

♦ A Multi-Tiered System of Supports is not a separate program, class or intervention but rather a way of organizing instruction and intervention to help all students. The goal of the multi-tiered framework is to provide high-quality instruction and supports based on student need.

♦ This framework also helps educators by providing information (data) to identify students needing additional support (academic and behavioral) and also identify students who may need special education.

What is Response to Intervention?

♦ Response to Intervention (RtI) is the practice of using data to help educators match the correct level of support to what students need.

♦ Educators monitor student Response to Intervention to find out what works.

Define the problem, develop a plan, implement the plan, and evaluate

What are the key components of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports?

♦ High-quality instruction;

♦ Universal screening to identify students needing supplemental support;

♦ Multiple tiers of academic and behavioral support that are progressively more intensive;

♦ Evidence-based interventions matched to student need; and

♦ Ongoing progress monitoring of student performance (RtI).

What are tiered supports?

A Multi-Tiered System of Supports organizes instruction and intervention into tiers, or levels of support:

♦ Tier 1 – All students receive high-quality instruction in academics.

♦ Tier 2 – In addition to Tier 1, students needing more support also receive small-group intervention and supports. The difference is increased time, smaller groups of students or narrowed focus of instruction.

♦ Tier 3 – In addition to Tiers 1 and 2, students receiving Tier 3 intervention receive the most intensive supports based on individual need. The difference is individual team-based problem-solving, increased time, smaller groups of students and narrowed focus of instruction.

Academics and/or Behavior

How does the school identify and support students?

♦ During the year, schools screen all students to see which students are meeting grade level standards and which students need additional support.

♦ For the students needing more support, a school-based team uses a problem-solving process to plan interventions and monitor progress (Tiers 2 and 3).

♦ Tier 2 small-group problem-solving teams may include principals, educators, school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, instructional coaches, intervention specialists and parents.

♦ Tier 3 individual problem-solving teams should include parents and staff knowledgeable about the student, grade-level expectations and the problem-solving process.

♦ At Tier 3, individual diagnostic assessments may be administered to help plan the intervention.

♦ Parents are not required to attend problem-solving meetings, but must be given opportunities to participate in problem-solving for their child.

What can I expect from schools using a Multi-Tiered System of Supports?

♦ Information on my child’s progress in meeting grade-level standards;

♦ Notice of academic or behavior concerns (early identification);

♦ Instruction and intervention that is matched to my child’s needs;

♦ Feedback on how my child is responding and making progress; and

♦ Involvement in individual, data-based problem solving for my child.

Parent Information for Students Receiving Intensive Interventions.

What can I expect if my child needs intensive intervention?

If your child needs additional academic or behavior supports, you can expect the following:

1.To be included in the problem-solving and intervention-planning process;

2.To be made aware of the interventions being implemented (e.g., what it is and how often);

3.To be informed about the data and graphs that will be used to monitor your child’s progress; and

4.To receive progress monitoring reports showing your child’s progress and RtI

What is problem-solving?

Problem-solving is a way of asking questions about data. Teams use the problem-solving process and student data (RtI) to ask the following key questions that guide decisions:

♦ What is the gap between my child’s current performance and expectations?

♦ Why is the gap occurring?

♦ What will we do to close the gap?

♦ Is the intervention working?

How do I know if my child is making progress?

♦ Progress monitoring or RtI data will be shared with you on a regular basis.

♦ Progress monitoring data are usually shared in a graph format that shows how well your child is responding to instruction and intervention and if the gap between expectations and performance of peers is closing.

What happens if my child is not making sufficient progress?

♦You will be invited to be a part of the team that explores why your child is struggling and what works best to help him.

♦ Using the problem-solving process and key questions, the team may adjust the intervention based on your child’s response to the intervention.

♦ It is important to remember that your child will continue to receive instruction and targeted, small-group instruction while receiving intensive individualized instruction.

How does using a Multi-Tiered System of Supports help me know if my child may need special education?

♦Your child’s Response to Intervention will help determine the need for specialized instruction.

♦ If your child is not making enough progress after receiving effective intensive intervention or only making progress due to very intensive supports, this may indicate your child may be a student with a disability.

♦ In MTSS, just because your child receives additional supports does not mean that he is a student with a disability or needs special education.

What if I think my child needs an individual educational plan (IEP)?

Parents can request an evaluation for special education at any time. Communicate your request to the school counselor, exceptional student education (ESE) coordinator or administrator at your child’s school, or contact the district ESE office. Document the date the request was made and the person to whom it was given. In order to receive special education services, which are documented on an IEP, a student must meet the criteria for one of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) disability categories AND, because of the disability, need specially designed instruction.

Not all students with a medical or psychological diagnosis need special education services. For information on IDEA disability categories and eligibility criteria, visit the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services’ website at

What happens after I request an evaluation for special education?

The school (or district) must respond to your request for an evaluation within 30 calendar days with one of the following options:

♦ Obtain your written permission to conduct the evaluation. Prior to obtaining your written consent, the school team should discuss with you the evaluation procedures that they are proposing to conduct. The school has 60 calendar days from when consent is obtained, with some exceptions, to complete the evaluation.

♦ Provide a formal, written refusal with an explanation for the refusal to conduct the evaluation. The school (or district) should also provide you with a copy and explanation of your procedural safeguards when they respond to your request.

What if my school tells me that they cannot initiate an evaluation until the MTSS “process” is completed?

If an evaluation is initiated, the RtI data required for eligibility is collected during the 60-day evaluation period. MTSS cannot be used to deny or delay an evaluation. Unless the school provides a written notice of refusal, the school must provide you with the opportunity to provide consent for the evaluation within 30 calendar days.

Where can I obtain more information about MTSS, RtI and evaluations for special education?

Florida’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports

Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services

National Center on Response to Intervention Parent Frequently Asked Questions about RtI

National Center for Learning Disabilities

RTI Action Network – Resources for Parents and Families

Who do I contact if my student is struggling and needs help?

Contact your student’s educator, the school administrator or the school counselor with your concerns.