Determining the Intensity of Services to Be Provided: One SSTs Approach
The focus of a multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) approach is system change across the classroom, school, district, and state (Kansas State Department of Education, 2014). This same kind of approach can be used by technical assistance (TA) providers in making decisions about the level and intensity of services to be provided to a variety of intended recipients. At Tier 1, for example, broad dissemination of products and resources is provided, usually through electronic means, to any interested person or organization, ensuring universal access to services. At the targeted (i.e., Tier 2) level, TA is provided to intended recipients in particular areas of need most often through one-time events (e.g., workshop). The most intensive level of support is Tier 3, which often involves direct and/or individualized support through a sequenced delivery of services over time.
In Ohio, regional providers are required to provide high quality TA and professional development (PD) on the design and implementation of multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) - including academic/instruction and positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) - as part of supporting district use of the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) (Performance Agreement, Ohio's State Support Teams, 2014-2015, page 2).
For State Support Team (SST) personnel - the people who, along with their educational service center (ESC) colleagues, form the foundation of Ohio's statewide system of support - deciding what level of services to provide and when to reduce such services to a particular district can be challenging. "We never completely exit from a district because all districts have achievement gap issues," explained Dr. Teresa Purses, director of SST region 9 (Stark County ESC), which serves about 40 districts in Stark, Wayne, and Holmes counties.