Center for MH in Schools & Student/Learning Supports  


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Information and resources on topics of current interest

Ongoing Hot Issues
Analysis briefs delineating ongoing issues relevant to MH in schools and addressing barriers to learning and teaching
Test Scores Plateauing? Here’s What’s Missing in School Improvement Efforts

School Reform is Failing to Address Barriers to Learning

Getting Back to Real Policy Basics:
Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child

Improving Schools? Not Another Special Initiative!

What is Personalized Learning?

More commentaries are listed as part of the National Initiative for Transforming Student/Learning Supports, click here

MTSS: Strengths and Weaknesses

ESSA (the Every Student Succeeds Act) stresses a devolution of power to states and districts. How is that power being used to enhance how schools address barriers to learning and teaching?

 One trend has been a widespread adoption by states/districts/schools of some form of multitiered system of support (usually referred to as MTSS, although some places are using other acronyms). This is not surprising given this framework's emphasis in federal legislation.

 In ESSA, for example, a schoolwide tiered model (also referred to as a multitier system of supports) is referenced for preventing and addressing behavior problems. The tiered model is defined as "a comprehensive continuum of evidence‑based, systemic practices to support a rapid response to students' needs, with regular observation to facilitate data based instructional decision making."

 The tiered model (including use of early intervening services) and specific approaches such as positive behavioral intervention and supports are presented as strategies for enabling children with disabilities and English learners to meet challenging state academic standards and are to be coordinated with similar activities and services carried out under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

 Our Center has sent out inquiries about how school districts, state departments of education, and leadership organizations are pursuing the opportunity to transform the way schools address barriers to learning and teaching and re‑engage disconnected students. In that context, we also have been seeking and receiving responses about the strengths and weaknesses of MTSS (Multi Tiered System of Support) as a framework for improving student/learning supports.

 For a summary of concerns and  a sample of comments from the field, go to .




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