Nebraska’s Multi-tiered System of Support (NeMTSS) is a framework for integrating levels, or tiers, of academic, social, emotional, and behavioral support to promote the success of all students. The ultimate goal of the NeMTSS Framework is to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for all students.
NeMTSS is not a special program, class, or intervention. Rather, it is a way of organizing adults to help all students and promote early identification of students needing additional academic, social, emotional, and/or behavioral support to be successful. NeMTSS can also be used to help identify students who may need special education if the district has processes in place to do so.
- Infrastructure and Shared Leadership gives teams the tools, resources, knowledge, and organizational structures needed to support NeMTSS implementation.
- A Layered Continuum of Support offers layers of support with increasing intensity to meet students’ social, emotional, behavioral, physical, environmental, and academic needs.
- Data-Based Decision-Making involves collaboration and communication from caregivers, as well as the district teams, using a variety of data points to identify student needs and plan for support.
- Communication and Collaboration provides opportunities for: Student engagement; family and caregiver involvement in teams; community partnerships; and communication among all stakeholders.
Student progress is monitored, and instruction and intervention are provided, in varying intensities based on individual need. NeMTSS organizes instruction and intervention into three tiers which provide different levels of support.
TIER 1 | CORE
All students receive high-quality, core academic, social, emotional, and behavioral instruction and supports.
TIER 2 | TARGETED SUPPORT
Students needing additional support receive more focused, targeted, small-group instruction/intervention and supports, in addition to core academic, social, emotional, and behavioral curriculum and instruction.
TIER 3 | INTENSIFIED SUPPORT
Individual students receive the most intense instruction based on individual student need, in addition to core and supplemental academic, social, emotional, and behavioral curriculum, instruction and supports.
Schools use a universal screener (a short social, emotional, behavioral, and/or academic assessment) to identify students in need of additional support. A school-based team helps identify students using a data-based problem-solving process to develop and implement evidence-based interventions and monitor student response.
Collaborative and student support teams include individuals, such as caregivers, educators, and school personnel, with knowledge of the student, grade-level expectations, the data-based problem-solving process, evidence-based academic, social, emotional, and behavioral interventions, progress monitoring, and diagnostic assessment.
- Early identification of academic, social, emotional, and behavioral concerns.
- Instructional and intervention support that is matched to my child’s academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs.
- Involvement in data-based problem-solving for my child.
- Feedback on how the interventions are working for my child.
- Information on my child’s progress in meeting grade-level standards/expectations.
As a caregiver, you can ask for special education evaluation at any point if you suspect your child has a disability.
The screening and progress monitoring components of NeMTSS identify students who need additional support. The problem-solving process will help identify the nature of support your child needs, the specific intervention and supports to implement, and the intensity of support needed to improve outcomes and sustain growth.
The school team discovers what works for a student through ongoing problem-solving and monitoring response to your child’s intervention. If your child is not responding to the intervention as identified through progress monitoring, they might benefit from special education services. This process is not to delay identifying special education services, but rather, to provide early and intensive interventions to allow your child to learn and grow. However, just because a student is not meeting grade-level expectations or is receiving intensive intervention support, it does not necessarily mean they are a student with a disability or need special education services.
Caregivers may request an evaluation for special education at any time. The request may be written or verbal, but it is important to document the date of the request and to whom it was given. Communicate your request to a teacher or administrator at your child’s school.
To receive special education services, a student must qualify for one of 13 IDEA eligibility categories, AND because of the disability, need specially designed instruction. Not all students with a diagnosis need special education services. For information on IDEA disability categories and eligibility criteria, visit the Nebraska Department of Education’s website, Office of Special Education, or refer directly to Nebraska Rule 51.
The school or district must respond to your request using one of these methods:
Obtain your written permission to conduct the evaluation.
The district cannot conduct a special education evaluation without your written consent. Prior to obtaining your written consent, the school team should discuss the proposed evaluation procedures with you, so you are fully informed. The school has 45 school days to complete the evaluation.
Provide a formal, written refusal with an explanation for the refusal.
Additionally, the school or district should provide you with a copy and explanation of your procedural safeguards when they respond to your request.
What if the school tells me they are not able to initiate an evaluation because my child is receiving interventions as part of the NeMTSS framework?
Caregivers may request an evaluation for special education at any time. The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) clarified in a Jan. 21, 2011 memo that Response to Intervention cannot be used to deny or delay an evaluation.
The following websites offer helpful information for families. For more information on MTSS at your child’s school, please contact the school administrator.
- RTI Action Network: Resources for Parents and Families
- National Center for Learning Disabilities: A Parent’s Guide to Response to Intervention
- Families Together, Inc: A Family Guide to Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS)
- National Center for Learning Disabilities: Parent Rights in the Era of RTI
- Understood.org: MTSS: What you need to know
- Center on PBIS: Family
- Family Guide to Special Education in Nebraska
Districts may use three methods to determine if a child is eligible for special education services under the category of Specific Learning Disability (SLD): severe discrepancy model; response to scientific, research-based intervention (i.e., RtI within an NeMTSS framework); or an alternative research-based method (e.g., PSW). Each district should communicate and document which method(s) are permissible for school personnel to use in the evaluation process.
There is no “perfect” method to determine if a child has a specific learning disability. District leaders should collaborate with their special education teachers, support personnel, and other experts to create an efficient and thorough data-based decision-making process using a common problem-solving model. As a result, the opportunities of making sound decisions using valid and reliable data to support individual student needs are enhanced.
Can an eligibility determination of SLD be made using only information that was collected through an MTSS process?
The NeMTSS process includes the need for comprehensive evaluation. The Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team (MDT) must use a variety of data-gathering tools and strategies, even if scientific, research-based interventions were provided and progress monitoring was documented to determine if the student responded to Tier 2 Targeted and Tier 3 Intensified support. Providing and documenting the student’s responsiveness scientific, research-based interventions are one component of the information reviewed as part of the required nondiscriminatory evaluation procedures.
If a child has learning problems primarily due to the result of a visual impairment, hearing impairment, orthopedic impairment, intellectual disability, behavior disorder; or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage, can the child be verified as a child with a specific learning disability?
No. Specific Learning Disability (SLD) does not include children who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; of intellectual disabilities; of emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
One of the goals of NeMTSS is to provide intervention at an early age. If the child does not make appropriate progress in their learning with intensified intervention, the child may be evaluated to determine if they have a specific learning disability. The NeMTSS Framework is not intended to delay evaluation, so if a student is suspected of having a disability, starting the nondiscriminatory evaluation process needs to be a priority.
Progress monitoring data are critical for determining whether a child has made sufficient progress in response to a scientific, evidence-based intervention process; however, these data are not the sole basis for identifying a Specific Learning Disability.
There are eight achievement areas listed in federal and state laws in which children may verify as having a specific learning disability. Are these the only areas in which the child may verify?
Yes. Both federal and state laws state that the child must meet the verification guidelines for one or more of these eight areas of achievement:
- Oral expression
- Listening comprehension
- Written expression
- Basic reading skill
- Reading fluency skills
- Reading comprehension
- Mathematics calculation
- Mathematics problem-solving
If the child has other difficulties, the child may be evaluated to determine if s/he may have a different disability.
Must a child have average or higher intelligence in order to be verified as a child with a disability in the category of specific learning disability?
No, but if there is a reason to suspect the child may have an intellectual disability, then that verification category must be ruled out.
The NeMTSS process requires comprehensive nondiscriminatory evaluation. The Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team (MDT) must use a variety of data-gathering tools and strategies, even if an NeMTSS process is used. The results of an NeMTSS process will be one component of the information reviewed as part of the required evaluation procedures. Through the nondiscriminatory evaluation process, the MDT will determine if the student’s characteristics of dyslexia are impacting their education. Further guidance can be found in NDE’s Dyslexia Guide.