A Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) is a term used in Kansas to describe how schools go about providing supports for each child in their building to be successful and the processes and tools teachers use to make decisions.

There are two federal laws that have made a difference in how schools deliver and coordinate services for children. The first is the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA); most recently referred to as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. This Act requires that by the year 2014 all of students are to meet the proficiency targets in the areas of reading and math, that schools would have a high graduation rate, and conversely a low dropout rate.

The second law influencing districts and schools is the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA is the federal law that defines special education. The concept of Response to Intervention (RtI) was introduced in the 2004 reauthorization of IDEA and has influenced the way districts identify and serve students with exceptionalities.

These two laws, when taken together, support the beliefs and practices behind Kansas' Multi-Tier System of Supports.


MTSS is a coherent continuum of evidence based, system-wide practices to support a rapid response to academic and behavioral needs, with frequent data-based monitoring for instructional decision-making to empower each Kansas student to achieve to high standards.


The focus of MTSS is system level change across the classroom, school, district and state.

Core Beliefs

  • Every child learns and achieves to high standards
  • Learning includes academic and social competencies
  • Every member of the learning community continues to grow, learn and reflect
  • Every leader at all levels is responsible for every child
  • Change is intentional, coherent and dynamic

To Achieve these Beliefs

  • Every child will be provided a rigorous and research-based curriculum
  • Every child will be provided effective and relentless teaching
  • Interventions will be provided at the earliest identification of need
  • Policy will be based on evidence based practice
  • Every educator will continuously gain knowledge and develop expertise to build capacity and sustain effective practice
  • Resources will be intentionally designed and redesigned to match student needs
  • Every leader will be responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating
  • Academic and behavioral data will be used to inform instructional decisions
  • Educators, families and community members will be part of the fundamental practice of effective problem-solving and instructional decision making
  • An empowering culture will be enhanced/developed that creates collective responsibility for student success