A Continuum of Supports

Resource - Rocky View Schools - This webpage outlines the process for determining the level of support for students with social and emotional learning needs.

Ensuring the Right Intervention for Each Child

Multitiered problem solving models are the most effective and efficient way to address social-emotional needs. In Multitiered problem-solving models, interventions are linked to the social, emotional, or behavior needs of students. Approximately 17 per cent of school-aged students require social-emotional/behavioural/mental health services. However, only one per cent of these students receive such services in special education (Merrell & Walker, 2004).

A multitiered problem-solving model allows for early support before problems develop or worsen.

Services provided through a multitiered model range from system-wide, preventative services that provide support for all students, to intensive, individualized supports for severely struggling students.

Multi-tiered problem solving models have the following common features:

  • They are evidence-based. Intervention strategies are selected according to their proven effectiveness, implemented with fidelity, and student progress is monitored through objective and validated measures.
  • They use a systemic multi-tiered problem solving and data-based decision-making approach to support the needs of all students.
  • There is a focus on prevention strategies that lead to positive behavior and social–emotional learning and high academic achievement.
  • They are culturally responsive.

Tier 1: Universal Support. All students are taught expected behaviors and reinforced for practicing them. All students are also taught skills related to self awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. At this level, data is used to identify school-wide needs and to directly teach positive social, emotional, or behavior skills. Typically, 80–85 per cent of students in a school are successfully supported at this level.

Tier 2: Targeted Support. At the targeted level, groups of students are identified who struggle behaviorally, socially, or emotionally, despite systematic and evidence-based school-wide interventions. Teams review data to identify students and select appropriate interventions to deliver in addition to Tier 1 strategies. Staff select procedures to objectively and frequently monitor student progress. An extra 10–15 per cent of students are successful in school when Tier 2 group level supports are provided in addition to Tier 1 supports.

Tier 3: Intensive Support. Students who continue to struggle behaviorally, socially, or emotionally despite high quality Tier 1 and 2 interventions require the most intensive and, sometimes, individualized intervention and progress monitoring. A team determines the need for more intensive supports, based on a variety of assessments and a lack of prior responsiveness to less intensive science-based interventions. Tier 3 interventions may require services from specialized personnel and wraparound planning.

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