What is MTSS?

Intervention for students is a crucial aspect of a school system. Such as ensuring that students’ social and emotional needs are properly met, identifying and predicting students who may be at risk for behavioral, mental, or academic issues, and offering assistance to students experiencing issues concerning the content of their studies. Previously, Gwinnett County offered the RTI, or Response to Intervention method of interception for students, however a new Gwinnett County school superintendent has installed a different intervention program known as MTSS, or Multi-tiered System of Supports. This alteration to the school’s intervention program has managed to slip under students’ radars, so why should you care about the modifications to our school’s system of interception? And what new intervention methods does this program implement or change, exactly?

According to the Georgia Department of Education, MTSS is defined as a, “tiered system of supports that integrates assessment and intervention within a school-wide, multi-level prevention system to maximize student achievement and reduce behavioral problems.” In essence, MTSS is a more in-depth intervention program for students when compared to RTI, as MTSS is a program combining several different intervention methods used in schools, essentially amalgamating them all into one. While RTI primarily focuses on students’ academic struggles, MTSS has no one focus in regards to students’ concerns. MTSS focuses on the social, emotional, and physical as well as academic issues students face. MTSS also includes intervention methods such as PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports), SST (Student Support Teams), SMH (Student Mental Health), and WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan, also known as Wraparound Services).

The combination of these plans makes for a more well-rounded student intervention program, when compared to the previously used alternative of RTI. Not to mention it’s more likely to benefit students in the right ways, as schools only intervening when students struggle academically, and assisting students by only providing more or improved instruction often misses the point entirely. Students’ concerns in school, even when they are almost failing academically, is hardly ever a purely academic issue; by that I mean there’s often outside components contributing to students’ academic stagnancy or retrogression. These issues can include (but are not limited to) students’ concerns with socializing with peers, familial issues, or other personal issues that could lead to worsening mental, social, and emotional health issues when left unnoticed or untreated. The Georgia Department of Education says this about MTSS, “It is essential to consider the ‘whole child,’ the background each brings to school…Each student is a unique learner comprised of interacting dimensions, such as cognitive, physical, behavioral, social, and emotional.” Expanding on the idea of helping all students, not just the ones who experience obvious struggles academically or behaviorally. MTSS focuses on the whole student as a person; not just a student.

So, if you’re a student at Lanier High School, you can rest easy knowing that LHS has programs in place to help you socially, emotionally, and mentally, as a person; not just academically, as a student.

Resources:

Carr, C. (2019). Microsoft Word – Definition. Georgia Department of Education. https://www.gadoe.org/wholechild/Documents/GaMTSS/MTSSDefinition.pdf
Accessed 23 August 2022.

Georgia’s Tiered System of Supports for Students (MTSS) for English Learners. (2019). Georgia Department of Education. https://www.gadoe.org/School-Improvement/Federal-Programs/Documents/Title%20III/Georgia%27s%20Tiered%20System%20of%20Supports%20for%20Students%20%28MTSS%29%20for%20English%20Learners%20%20-%20%20Read-Only.pdf
Accessed 1 September 2022.