Improving Outcomes for All Kids: MTSS, A Coherent and Integrated Systems Approach

Considerations for MTSS Implementation

Haskins-Powell, D. A. (n.d.). Designing the K-12 achievement curriculum: Strategies for delivering multi-tiered, equitable instruction. McGraw Hill Education. Available at

This report offers a framework for designing a K-12 achievement curriculum rooted in equity using multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS). The author explains how MTSS moves beyond multiple, isolated interventions and outlines what makes it a comprehensive and district-wide system. The report argues that combined with adherence to state standards, a focus on equity and access, and inclusion of data-driven assessments, it can effectively offer individualized and differentiated instruction for all students. The author also describes ways in which MTSS extends beyond the response to intervention (RtI) approach by incorporating both RtI and other models of support to address the needs of all learners. The report concludes by offering steps to designing a system using the six strategies of Inclusion, Curriculum Balance, Performance Monitoring, Blended Learning, Professional Development, and Evidence-Based Curricula.

Dulaney, S. K., Hallam, P. R., & Wall, G. (2013). Superintendent perceptions of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS): Obstacles and opportunities for school system reform. AASA Journal of Scholarship & Practice, 10(2), 30–45. Available at

This paper provides a basic overview of MTSS and then describes superintendent perceptions of MTSS, based on a survey of superintendents in a southwestern US state (66% of 41 districts responding) and follow-up interviews with 9 respondents. The researchers found that superintendents were more likely to be familiar with MTSS when its principles were described in terms of RtI and professional learning communities (PLC), suggesting that there needs to be more effort put into developing a common language around the MTSS framework. Other important factors cited as shaping the successful implementation of MTSS are a collaborative culture and supportive PLCs, building capacity in principals and other administrators, and training educational professionals to become more data driven. The researchers also found that implementation is more difficult in secondary schools and in rural areas, and suggest that more research in these areas is needed.

Mundschenk, N. A., & Fuchs, W. W. (2016). Professional learning communities: An effective mechanism for the successful implementation and sustainability of response to intervention. SRATE Journal, 25(2), 55–64. Available at

This article examines the essential features of PLCs and RtI leadership teams and argues that by integrating these two mechanisms, schools can build capacity and ensure sustainability of educational change. The authors define a PLC as a group of teachers who generate timely responses to student issues that are based on intervention rather than remediation, and generate action steps to ensure the implementation of evidence-based practices. RtI is defined as a model that includes the universal screening of all students, multi-tiered instruction, and the frequent monitoring of student progress. The authors argue that the successful implementation of RtI requires teachers to engage in a collaborative, iterative process that depends on an organizational structure like a PLC to support meaningful change at the school.