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Essential Element | Layered Continuum of Supports


Welcome to the fifth installment of our six-part blog series on the Essential Elements in NeMTSS.

The Essential Elements are one of the first things new districts learn about during Systems Training. They are encouraged to think about how each element plays a part in their district currently and how each element will help them be successful with NeMTSS in the future.

Each element is equally important to the process.

The NeMTSS Essential Elements are:

  • Shared Leadership
  • Communication, Collaboration & Partnerships
  • Evidence-Based Practices: Curriculum, Instruction, Intervention & Assessment
  • Building Capacity & Infrastructure for Implementation
  • Layered Continuum of Supports
  • Data-Based Problem-Solving & Decision-Making

In this post, we will be talking about Layered Continuum of Supports.


Layered Continuum of Supports

In NeMTSS, the focus for support should always be proactive and preventative.

When we talk about supports, we can mean anything that goes beyond the baseline curriculum. For example, supports might include extra wording on worksheets to explain directions or longer math classes for students who need more time to understand a concept.

If supports are in place before a student begins to fall behind, they help the student stay with the rest of their class and be more successful. To be proactive and preventative, there can be various supports that work together, either at the same time or one after another, so there are no gaps in support. It is also important to avoid using interventions that are contradictory to one another or undo one another.

Support should also be layered on top of core curriculum. Instead of taking students who are behind out of math class, for example, they should stay in their math class to continue learning, and then be offered additional support outside of that time to help them get caught up or understand the content better. Supports don’t replace instruction – they add to it for those who need it.


Why is Layered Continuum of Supports essential to NeMTSS?

Having a Layered Continuum of Supports is essential to NeMTSS because it increases the success of the program overall by allowing for different, more individualized programs for students.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all system, different supports can be selected — like eating at a buffet — based on what is right for the student at that particular time.

Layered Continuum of Supports is related to the Essential Element Data-Based Practices because the supports chosen by a school or district should be data-based and show evidence of success in different situations. Shared Leadership is also connected to the Layered Continuum because all school personnel can be involved in the choices of support systems.

Visit our web page on Layered Continuum of Supports to learn more. We also encourage you to read the previous posts in our series: Shared Leadership, Communication, Collaboration & Partnership, Evidence-Based Practices: Curriculum, Instruction, Intervention & Assessment; and Building Capacity & Infrastructure for Implementation.

Next time, we will look at Data-Based Problem-Solving & Decision-Making.