Author (Your Name)

Catherine "Cat" MerkleFollow

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Education Program


Adam Howard

Second Advisor

Denise Bruesewitz


Multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) is an educational framework that aims to make the general education classroom more inclusive to all students and types of learners. MTSS has been found to improve student growth and achievement and decrease special education referrals through the use of layered supports that allow students to stay in the classroom as much as possible. There is a direct focus on progress monitoring, universal screening, and data-based decision making in order to ensure that all students are getting the support they need, whether it be universal, group-based, or individualized. This study aimed to understand what factors allow schools to successfully implement the framework. Through interviews with staff at two elementary schools in a New England state, findings shed light on why these schools have been successful in implementing MTSS when others have struggled. These findings suggest that collaboration between educators, families, and the state is necessary to fully support both students and teachers. Strong school leadership that prioritizes communication and listening also seemed to contribute to teachers’ abilities to better support students. Teachers’ understanding and buy-in to the framework further enhanced their implementation. Despite these positive factors, educators identified areas for improvement, such as their communication from the state during the exploration phase, efficiency of everyday processes, and integration of gifted programs in an MTSS. This research may be able to inform some scaffolding for other schools looking to implement MTSS in the future. These findings contribute to the conversation on successful MTSS implementation and provide implementation recommendations.


Education, Multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), Implementation, Teacher Collaboration, Teacher Leadership, Teacher Support