Massachusetts Tiered System of Support (MTSS)

SfSS Academies 2017-2018

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is pleased to offer four intensive professional development academies designed to aid school and district teams with the implementation of tiered systems of instruction and support. Level 3, 4 and 5 schools and districts are prioritized for enrollment and their participation is free (or greatly subsidized).

Eligible districts are encouraged to submit applications for schools that are ready and committed to participate in a rigorous professional development opportunity over the course of three years. Schools already participating in an academy must re-enroll for school year 2017-2018.

Although the deadline to apply was originally August 18th, we still have slots available for the Tiered Literacy, Tiered Math and Inclusive Tier 1 Instruction Academies and will continue to accept applications. Please complete the enrollment link as soon as possible because space is limited.* Applicants for new and returning schools require sign-off from the district’s Regional Assistance Director (RAD) or District Liaison. The application will automatically prompt this sign-off. Once schools are notified of new or continued enrollment, a secondary application form will be sent out for additional school-based information.

*Note: New application decisions may come earlier as academy enrollment fills. Please submit your application as early as possible.

For questions, please reach out to Rebecca Shor (

Below you will find information and application links for each of the four academies sponsored by the Department. You may also access the application and re-enrollment links using the following table:




Inclusive Tier 1 Instruction

New School Application

Apply Apply Apply Apply

Returning School Re-Enrollment

Apply Apply N/A N/A

Positive Behaviors Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Academy

The Center for Behavioral Education Research, out of the University of Connecticut, serves as ESE’s partner in facilitating the PBIS Academy. This Academy supports district and school based implementation teams with the implementation of school-wide PBIS. It also builds capacity of in-district coaches to support the implementation, sustainability and replication of this work. The Academy is composed of full day trainings, networking and on-site technical assistance and consultation over the three years.

These trainings and activities include: district mapping of current structures in systems to develop multi-year action plans towards adopting and implementing evidence-based, culturally relevant practices; a readiness assessment for training at the whole school level; coaches’ readiness training; school-wide universal PBIS training for school-wide teams; customized, on-site job embedded support; and training in data systems and analysis.

The PBIS Academy focuses on Tier 1 implementation. However, schools that have reached a pre-requisite level of implementation fidelity may qualify to participate in a Tier 2 Academy, also facilitated by UConn.

For more information about PBIS please go to

Overview Video:

Download Word Document
MTSS: PBIS Academy Flyer

New Schools can apply.

Returning Schools can re-enroll.

Tiered Literacy Academy

Facilitated by the HILL for Literacy, the content of the Literacy Academy and coaches meetings will focus on establishing routines and structures that support continuous improvement in literacy instructional practices, increased capacity at the school and district level, distributed leadership and improved student outcomes. District and school leaders will be given the necessary tools to evaluate current literacy practices, build a multi-tiered instructional and assessment model utilizing scientifically-research based methods, embedded professional develop plan and systems for measuring fidelity of implementation and effectiveness of instruction. It will be expected that participants will take the tools and training delivered during the modules and implement with their district and school based teams. School-based teams will participate in a series of in-person content trainings, and coaches will participate in regular coaches meetings to help deepen content learning and build systems to support literacy instruction.

The Literacy Academy aims to help schools and districts (a) establish effective district and school level leadership teams, (b) develop and implement a multi-year strategic literacy plan based on needs assessment and student data, (c) organize and utilize formative assessment data to inform decision making related to professional development activities, resource allocation, and coaching, (d) build multi-tiered systems of support utilizing research-based instructional tools and approaches, (e) create consistent teacher knowledge base on the core components of literacy and principles of effective instruction, (f) create master schedules that support academics as the top priority and resource allocation to deliver differentiated instruction, and (g) identify the activities and routines of effective leaders that are most critical to leading successful literacy change.

Modules will be delivered in two tracks: Elementary Academy and Middle School / High School Academy.

For more information about The HILL for Literacy please go to

Download Word Document
MTSS: Tiered Academic Instruction - Literacy Flyer

Overview Video

New Schools can apply

Returning Schools can re-enroll

Tiered Math Academy

The Department is excited to offer a Tiered Math Academy, beginning in Fall 2017, for schools and districts seeking to participate in a three year professional development opportunity focused on mathematics academic content delivery through a tiered system of supports. The Mathematics Academy will train and coach district and school personnel in the creation and implementation of a tiered system of supports that focuses on mathematics and follows a train the trainer model. ESE is currently procuring a vendor to facilitate the Tiered Math Academy. The number of schools and districts eligible to participate will depend on the selected vendor’s capacity. Schools and/or districts who are interested should submit an interest form. Once a vendor is selected, ESE will contact interested schools/districts to determine if the program specifics match their identified needs.

Download Word Document
Math Tiered Academy Description


Download PDF Document
Informed Assessment for Mathematics Instruction
Download PDF Document
Download PDF Document
Intervention Specialist

Schools can apply

Inclusive Tier 1 Instruction Academy

Join internationally recognized leaders in the field for a multi-year statewide inclusive practices academy! Topics will include but are not limited to: Universal Design for Learning, meeting the instructional needs of all students, culturally relevant pedagogy, and designing systems to implement long range plans to support inclusive practices (addressing relevant factors such as PD staffing and scheduling).

Research shows that outcomes for students are improved when they are educated in inclusive environments that meet their needs. This academy will provide customized supports to effectively include students with diverse learning needs in their general education settings.

The Inclusive Tier 1 Instruction Academy will provide support for schools from Level 3, 4, and 5 districts on:

  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Culturally relevant pedagogy
  • Integrating PBIS and Social Emotional Learning into Tier I Inclusive Practices

Regional Team Meetings (Full Day)

January 22
February 26
March 19

April 23
May 21
June 11

In-person Coaching Sessions (Full Day)

February 5

Snow Dates

April 9

May 14

Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
MTSS: Inclusive Tier 1 Instruction Academy - Flyer

Schools can apply

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.