The Kansas Multi-tier System of Supports (MTSS) is a prevention-focused approach that includes three tiers of increasingly intensive interventions to ensure student social and academic success. This prevention-oriented service model was adopted from public health and community mental health and applied to educational settings.

This whole school approach means that at Tier 1 or Primary Prevention, all students receive social and academic interventions that are intended to ensure student success. Data-based, decision-making systems are employed by school teams to provide ongoing progress monitoring and to intervene early with any academic and social difficulties a student may experience. Tier 2 or Secondary Prevention is intended to identify and support students who have learning, behavior, or life histories that put them at risk of engaging in more serious problem behavior. Tier 3 or Tertiary Prevention focuses on individualized and intensive PBS plans designed for a smaller number of students who need more support than interventions implemented at primary and secondary prevention levels.

School-wide planning teams work closely with school staff using consensus-based strategies to design interventions at each tier. The MTSS Behavior Resource Site allows schools and districts interested in MTSS for behavior to find tools, materials, and resources efficiently. To access the site, click on the menu button that says “Behavioral Resources.”


There are two different types of resources on this website. First, there are buttons related to the major content organized within this website (www.pbskansas.org/swpbs/schoolwide/index.html). The second type of button takes you to other important websites that you can explore to learn more about MTSS for behavior or to assist with implementation efforts.

Variations of MTSS Terms

You will see MTSS for behavior referred to in a variety of ways depending upon which website you are visiting. Nationally, the term response to intervention or response to instruction (RtI) is commonly used to describe the MTSS model for both academics and behavior. Since each group implementing prevention-focused interventions are slightly different, it is important to look for definitions for the language used. For instance, it is common to hear RtI referred to as only academic in focus. Click here for the Kansas definition of MTSS.

In addition, school-wide positive behavior support, positive behavior support, positive behavioral interventions and supports are all examples of terms you will see within this website and in other websites that are connected to www.pbskansas.org/swpbs/schoolwide/index.html. There may be some other terms referred to as MTSS for behavior as well.

The reason for these variations are due to the fact MTSS for behavior is not a “cookbook” or canned approach that is replicated the same way in each state, district, or school. Instead, MTSS for behavior is a framework for implementing prevention-based strategies that emphasizes a systems approach. Because an essential part of MTSS is data based decision making and progress monitoring, states, districts and schools across the nation are now using tools that help to show the amount and fidelity of implementation that is taking place in schools.

How Does a School Get Started Implementing MTSS for Behavior?
First, MTSS for behavior is much easier to implement when a district-wide model is used. This is true for a number of reasons. Access to data based decision making software programs that can organize office discipline referral data, budgets allocated for schools to implement MTSS interventions, and time available for inservice planning are all areas in which districts can provide schools support for MTSS. Sustainable implementation of MTSS requires districts to build capacity for training and technical assistance for a) school MTSS teams, b) student improvement teams, and c) for school professionals who will be facilitating intervention planning meetings for students with highly intense and chronic problem behaviors.

Click here for a description of the critical features of MTSS for Behavior at the school, district, and state level

Click here for introductions to MTSS for Behavior

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The content and organization was initiated by support provided by the Kansas Department of Education. Current maintenance and continued work is supported by the consortium of districts and by PBS Kansas. Copyright, 2009 University of Kansas. Request for edits or changes in content to these pages should be made only after contacting the authors.
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