SEL MTSS Toolkit for State and District Leaders

In recent years, states, districts, and schools across the country began using a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) to organize and deliver academic and behavioral support for students. At its core, MTSS serves as a f ramework to support practitioners in using data to ensure that all students are equipped with the skills they need to succeed. Education leaders are increasingly interested in explicitly incorporating social and emotional learning (SEL) within the MTSS f ramework. This interest is motivated by the desire to more intentionally connect academics and behavior to build equitable systems that ensure all students receive the support they need to succeed. The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), and the American Institutes for Research® (AIR®) developed this toolkit with the support of the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) and in collaboration with leaders f rom nine state education agencies (SEAs) across the country that are actively working to integrate SEL and MTSS.

The impact of COVID-19 and the increased attention to systemic injustice has led to a heightened sense of urgency f rom states and districts to better—and more equitably—meet the needs of the whole child. Recent interdisciplinary scholarship on the science of learning and development demonstrates that, for students to thrive, education systems must address the whole child, that is “the full range of children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical needs” (Science of Learning and Development Alliance, 2020, p. 4). MTSS and SEL are both designed to create safe and supportive environments that build positive relationships and foster student learning and development. In addition, both f rameworks prioritize adult capacity building and using data to inform decisions about student supports. In tandem, MTSS and SEL can promote the teaching and learning conditions that help children and youth build the skills and competencies that can be applied across educational trajectories.

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