MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support)

The Butte County SELPA is dedicated to the belief that all students can learn, and that students with special needs shall be guaranteed an equal opportunity to become contributing members of society. Butte County SELPA believes in success for all students and supports inclusion in all aspects of life. A Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS), specifically, CA MTSS, is an equity-based inclusive framework that uses a strengths-based approach to assist schools in creating an optimal culture for learning for all students. The key components of MTSS framework include the effective use of data and evidence-based processes to connect students to the proper supports; transformational leadership in creating purpose and relational trust to engage staff and students; collaborative inquiry that involves staff in action research to improve teaching and learning; and a prevention-driven, tiered support system not only for academics, but also for behavior and social emotional needs.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides greater flexibility to states in determining specific practices and service delivery models to improve school climate, increase school safety, and expand access to comprehensive learning supports. MTSS enables the integration of multiple school improvement efforts and represents an effective strategy to accomplish the following goals:Image of Dr. Katie Novak at the beginning of a video on MTSS that is linked from YouTube.

  • Improve outcomes for all students, including high-performing students, English language learners, students receiving special education services, and those struggling with barriers to learning;
  • Improve instruction and alignment of curricula across general and special education;
  • Improve school climate and safety;
  • Create safe and supportive learning environments free from bullying and harassment;
  • Support students’ mental and behavioral health; and
  • Implement effective discipline policy and practice.

Click on the image on the right to listen to renowned author and educational researcher Dr. Katie Novak break down MTSS. 

MTSS is a framework to help students graduate from high school ready for career, college, and life. It offers different levels of academic and non-academic services and supports based on individual student needs. MTSS incorporates elements of Response to Intervention and Instruction (RtI), Positive Behavior Instruction and Supports (PBIS), Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and other evidence-based methodologies that have a proven record of success in helping all students to better succeed. For a more complete description of MTSS, see the following link to the California Department of Education (CDE) description of MTSS components and explore the links below.  


Butte County SELPA Governing Board Policy on MTSS

Butte County SELPA Procedures on MTSS and English Learners with Disabilities

California Department of Education MTSS Guidance webpage

California Scale Up MTSS Statewide (SUMS) Iniative website
(Collaboration of the Orange County Department of Education, Butte County Office of Education, CDE, and SWIFT)  

Difference Between MTSS and RtI, a quick read from Dr. Katie Novak

MTSS Blueprint for Massachusetts Educators, 2018 - by Dr. Katie Novak