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Systems for Student Success Office

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Academies: SY2020-2021

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is pleased to offer eight intensive professional development Academies designed to aid school and district teams with the implementation of tiered systems of instruction and support. Any school and/or district may apply for these MTSS Academies. However, please note that first priority will be given to schools that are designated as underperforming or chronically underperforming and/or schools requiring focused/targeted or broad/comprehensive support. Additional teams will be accepted for participation based on availability, readiness, and relative need.

Districts are encouraged to submit applications for school and/or district teams that are ready and committed to participate in a rigorous, multi-year professional development opportunity. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and we will take stock of submissions after Wednesday, May 22nd, to make a first round of enrollment decisions. For questions, please reach out to Rebecca Shor.

When applying to one of the MTSS Academies, please also be aware of the following information:

  • Fall District MTSS Institute: This fall, all MTSS Academies are planning on co-hosting a regional, two-day institute for districts with at least one school participating in an MTSS Academy. This convening will support MTSS knowledge-building, academy expectations, and ways to build district-level systems and supports to ensure schools are getting the most from the Academy experience. Prior to COVID-19, we tentatively planned to host these institutes (one offered in western MA and the other offered in eastern MA) in the beginning of October. Given the current situation, it is highly likely that the support will be provided virtually. Whether in-person or online, applicants should be prepared to send a district-level team that is inclusive of senior leadership.
  • Evaluation & Improvement Efforts: As participants in DESE MTSS Academies, district and school teams agree to participate in any ongoing evaluation and improvement efforts. The following is a list of possible school- and district-level data that may be shared between academy partners, DESE, and/or potential third party evaluators.
    • Participation Data (e.g., attendance in trainings, technical assistance sessions, etc.)
    • Implementation Data (i.e., measures of implementation fidelity that could be reported by the school/district teams, by the Academy provider, or through observations and surveys, etc.)
    • School and District Outcome Data (e.g., suspension data, school climate data, attendance data, office discipline referrals, MCAS scores, etc.)
  • Possible Impact of COVID-19 on MTSS Academy Budgets and Activities: Please note that DESE's ability to add a new cohort of teams to each Academy is contingent on the availability of the necessary funds. In light of the extreme fiscal demands that the COVID pandemic has put on both state and federal budgets, there is a chance that DESE will not be able to accept as many teams as currently planned. We do not currently expect this to be the case but would be remiss in not mentioning the possibility. Likewise, DESE is considering how the COVID-19 pandemic may have a longer-term impact on both the content and delivery of professional learning supports. In particular, scheduled in-person trainings and convenings are subject to change depending on the local and national guidelines on social distancing.

Academy Update:

The following academies are currently accepting applications: Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) and Systemic Student Support (S3). All other academies have reached full capacity and are no longer accepting applications.

Below you will find information and application links for each of the MTSS Academies. In addition, the Department hosted a webinar on May 11th about all eight Academy offerings. You may access the slide deck: MTSS Academies Webinar, May 11, 2020 Download PowerPoint File. You may also access the applications using the following:

MTSS Academies Application:

Last Updated: August 19, 2020

Contact Us

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

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


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