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Multi-tiered System of Supports

A Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a continuous-improvement framework in which data-based problem solving and decision making are practiced across all levels of the educational system for supporting students. To ensure efficient use of resources, schools begin with the identification of trends and patterns using school-wide data. Students who need interventions beyond what is provided universally for positive behavior or academic content areas are provided with targeted, supplemental interventions delivered at increasing levels of intensity.

South Dakota Multi-tiered System of Supports
History of MTSS in SD

PBIS Initiative: In 2006, South Dakota began helping districts implement Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports(PBIS). PBIS is comprised of a broad range of systemic school-wide, group, and individualized strategies for achieving important social and learning outcomes while preventing problem behavior for all students. PBIS is not a specific “model” but a compilation of effective practices, interventions, and systems change strategies that have been proven to be empirically effective and efficient. PBIS has relevant applications to educating all children and youth in schools or other community settings. PBIS is a data driven systems approach developed to assist schools and community settings achieve socially important behavior change. Systems are put in place to support staff while they teach and encourage positive, healthy behaviors.

RtI Initiative: In 2007, South Dakota began helping schools implement Response to Intervention(RtI). The National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE, 2005) defines RtI as the practice of providing high-quality instruction and intervention based on a student’s needs, changing instruction and/or goals through frequent monitoring of progress, and applying the student response data to important educational decisions. RtI represents a progressive intervention approach that identifies students at risk for learning difficulties, including those who may have a Specific Learning Disability (SLD), and provides early intervention with the goal of improving the achievement of all students. To that end, RtI also aligns itself with the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001.

In 2013, South Dakota closely evaluated these two initiatives, and in an effort to make sure all students are college, career, and life ready, made steps to merge these initiatives together into one system. The Multi-tiered System of Supports initiative provides districts with the training, tools, and support to implement a multi-tiered approach for meeting students’ needs in a proactive and positive way. Districts that were implementing RtI and/or PBIS were offered the opportunity to work with a State MTSS coordinator to assist them in scaling up their current implementation by systematically adding grade levels and focusing on both RtI and PBIS district wide. South Dakota currently has 25 districts working toward full MTSS implementation. The districts that have been working with the MTSS initiative over the past two years are: Big Stone City, Bon Homme, Dupree, Ipswich, Kadoka, Lead-Deadwood, Lennox, Oelrichs, Plankinton, Rapid City, Redfield, Rosholt, Rutland, Shannon County, Sisseton, Smee, and Todd County. In January of 2015, Belle Fourche, Bennett County, Centerville, Custer, Harrisburg, Hot Springs, Spearfish, and West Central applied and were accepted as part of the MTSS initiative. These districts will begin implementation with either RtI or PBIS during the 2015-2016 school year.

Contact the SD Department of Education's Special Education Office with questions at (605) 773-3678.