Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

What is MTSS?

The Massachusetts Tiered System of Support (MTSS) is a blueprint for school improvement that focuses on system structures and supports across the district, school, and classroom to meet the academic and non-academic needs of all students. It was developed to help guide the establishment of a system that provides

  • high-quality core educational experiences in a safe and supportive learning environment for all students; and
  • targeted interventions/supports for students who experience academic and/or behavioral difficulties and students who have already demonstrated mastery of the concept and skills being taught.

The MTSS blueprint describes the flexible tiers, academic and non-academic core components and school and district system of supports. 

The flexible tiers represent increasing intensity of academic and non-academic support and interventions. Flexibility allows movement between the tiers (to both a more or less intensive type of support/intervention). To ensure that students eligible for special education services are able to access fully the system of tiered support, relevant information from their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) is to be incorporated into the design and implementation of instruction and assessments in all tiers.

The academic and non-academic core components of MTSS are:

  • high-quality core curriculum and instruction implemented with fidelity; and
  • research-based academic interventions and assessment practices; and
  • research-based behavioral interventions and supports; and
  • universal screening and progress-monitoring; and
  • collaboration and communication between educators and parents.

What does CES do to support Tiered Systems of Support?

CES services and offerings designed to support students with needed and flexible interventions are many and diverse.

In particular, the services and interventions offered through our supports for Special Education, English Language Learners, and students needing Alternative Education Programs that work to either supplement the work of their sending schools or toward the goal of successfully transitioning the student back to their sending school or on to post-secondary settings. Please refer to those program areas for more information.

You will also find an array of services offered in the area of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction, and Professional Development, intended to provide assistance to teachers, schools and districts on research-based interventions to help struggling learners.

In addition, CES provides specific assistance for Response to Intervention programs. Please visit our RtI page to learn more.

How can I learn more?

Please contact profdev@collaborative.org, or visit the program page links above.

For more information about the Massachusetts Tiered System of Supports, visit