New Jersey Department of Education

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New Jersey Tiered System of Supports

NJTSS Overview

PowerPoint Presentation

Narration Script

Slide 1

The following presentation is an introduction to the New Jersey Tiered System of Supports, a framework for academic and behavioral intervention, based on three-tiered models of "Response to Intervention (RTI)" and Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS)."  The presentation can be used by individuals, professional learning communities, district leadership teams, or other planning teams to begin discussions about enhancing supports and enrichment opportunities for all students in a district. 

This presentation is one of a number of resources available on the NJDOE web site to assist districts, in collaboration with families and community members, in reviewing their current intervention and enrichment practices and identifying areas where enhancement is needed.  Resources include:

Definitions of the Nine Essential Components of NJTSS with national resources to assist with implementation;

A Step-by-Step Process for implementation of NJTSS beginning with nationally recognized tools for  district long-term planning;

A link to the Learning Resource Centers, four centers located around the state that offer free materials on RTI and MTSS that educators and parents can borrow.

Slide 2

At the conclusion of this powerpoint, participants should be able to:

Identify three reasons why NJTSS is a good idea

Describe the essential components of the New Jersey Tiered System of Supports 

Identify steps for initial planning for implementation and

Identify key resources for implementation

Slide 3

The NJDOE has been working toward the goals of 1) increasing the number of students who are ready for college and/or career and 2) decreasing performance gaps (Commissioner's convocation, 2015) . 

Resources for students who need more intensive assistance to achieve these goals have often been disjointed and provided through separate programs and services.  Staff from across the department, in partnership with stakeholders, have been engaged in an effort to create an evidence-based, multi-tiered framework for implementing academic and behavioral supports and interventions in a coordinated manner.  This framework is the New Jersey Tiered System of Supports.  Based on models of RTI and MTSS, NJTSS is a blueprint for schools for aligning assessment, core instruction and intervention  to meet the instructional and social needs of all students.

RTI has been in schools for over 15 years.  Within recent years, RTI has evolved into a multi-tiered system of support or MTSS, which incorporates system components that support the core instruction and intervention components.  Districts in every state are currently implementing RTI or MTSS.  Approximately 40 states have state-level models in place.  

NJTSS maximizes the efficient use of resources to improve support for all classroom teachers and target interventions to students based on their needs. NJTSS  builds on effective practices and initiatives already in place in schools, including intervention and referral services, and provides a framework for the integration of multiple interventions into one continuum.

Slide 4

With considerable input from stakeholders, and review of research and RTI/MTSS models in place across the country, we identified 9 essential components of NJTSS.  The first six are critical elements of many RTI models, aligning assessment and instruction, and fostering  problem solving by teachers and specialized personnel, using student achievement and progress data. 

Optimally, these assessment, instructional and planning processes occur within a school that has the final three foundational components in place: a positive school climate and culture, strong, coordinated district and school leadership, and an ongoing process for evaluating and improving family and community involvement in school activities, including the intervention process.

Slide 5

  • A quick search on the internet will reveal extensive resources for developing a model of RTI or MTSS.  Although there are some components in all RTI/MTSS models, there are differences.  In building a model for New Jersey, we wanted to build on what some districts in our state have implemented with success as part of a multi-tiered intervention system or intervention and referral services.  Engaging stakeholders, including district staff, college professors who have knowledge of these systems and parents, was a key factor in development of NJTSS.
  • In 2014, the New Jersey School Boards Association studied the efficiency and effectiveness of special education.  The report issued as a result of the study emphasized the need for early intervention and included a recommendation for a state model of a multi-tiered system of supports.  The report called for the state to provide materials for districts to use to implement and sustain a system as well as to offer technical assistance and to align the system to the state's content standards
  • In 2012, the Legislature established the Special Education Task Force.  Its report recommended the early identification and remediation of reading disabilities through a systemic, coordinated response to intervention model.  The task force, whose charge was to make recommendations with regard to the effectiveness and efficiency of special education, determined that an RTI or MTSS system would address barriers to learning encountered by students with disabilities and increase opportunities to learn in environments with their nondisabled peers
  • NJTSS responds to these recommendations and builds on existing New Jersey initiatives including the requirements for intervention and referral services, positive behavioral supports in schools and the Connected Action Roadmap (CAR) model of curriculum development.•NJTSS builds on what districts have in place – as one NJ district administrator recommended, the model should ask districts to "start where they are," enhancing what is working already.
  • NJTSS builds on what districts have in place – as one NJ district administrator recommended, the model should ask districts to "start where they are," enhancing what is working already.


Slide 6

The NJDOE convened a number of groups to develop NJTSS representing offices across the Department, senior staff and knowledgeable stakeholders.  

Slide 7

Why implement NJTSS?

  • NJTSS offers a systematic, consistent approach to prevention, intervention and enrichment;
  • NJTSS emphasizes setting high expectations for all students with a continuum of supports to keep all students on the path to meeting those expectations;
  • NJTSS prepares teachers, through a focus on Universal Design for Learning and explicit, direct instruction, to address the variability among learners in every classroom;

NJTSS also relies on teachers and other specialized personnel to analyze data and identify needed interventions using a professional learning community (PLC) structure; and

Finally, the use of tiered systems of support has been correlated with preparing students at risk for life after high school.

Slide 8

These are some of the studies that have demonstrated the positive results of implementation of the components of a tiered system of supports.

With a tiered, systematic approach to intervention and enrichment, support becomes a collaborative effort.

A tiered system promotes support that is targeted, data-driven, inclusive of all students, makes use of currently available resources, and that is proactive instead of reactive – we assist children before they fail instead of using failure as a prerequisite for support.

Slide 9

    • This is a graphic representation of the nine essential components of NJTSS.  The foundation of the system is represented by the outer triangle which includes the three components essential to the success of any improvement strategy. 

    The inner triangle represents three tiers of instruction and academic and behavioral intervention which include the remaining 6 essential components of the system.  
    Click to show Tier 1 detail

    • TIER 1: Tier 1 refers to high-quality core instruction and addresses the needs of most students.
    • All students in Tier 1 are screened in literacy and mathematics two or more times per year.  Results are used to identify students who are on track, and those at risk. 
    • School wide behavioral expectations are established and taught, and classroom teachers provide positive behavioral supports in their classrooms.
      • Since students learn differently, teachers present information in multiple ways and give students the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned in a variety of ways.
      • Problem solving teams review screening data and determine which students need additional challenges through enrichment activities and which students need additional support. The team may identify some strategies the teacher may use in the classroom to improve growth or determine that a Tier 2 intervention is needed.

    Click to show Tier 2 detail

    • TIER 2:  includes the core instruction provided in Tier 1 and supplemental supports and interventions that may be delivered in small-group instruction, delivered in either the general classroom during flexible grouping or centers or during an additional period.
    • Teachers use evidence-based instructional practices and interventions.  Interventions are increased in intensity, frequency and duration based upon the review of data from progress monitoring, collected at regular intervals.
    • Limited, but targeted supports are provided to remediate academic skill deficits and reduce behavior problems to help students succeed in Tier 1.
    • Additional supports may be provided but a student with an IEP may continue to receive instruction by the intervention teacher in addition to core instruction in the general education classroom. 

    NOTE: A student may be referred to special education at any time if a disability is suspected; however, referral or determination that a student has a disability does not mean that the student must receive instruction in another environment. 
    Click to show Tier 3 detail

    • TIER 3: includes the practices described in Tiers 1 and 2 and is characterized by an increase in the length of time, duration or frequency of the intervention targeted to a student who is not making adequate progress with Tier 2 supports—Tier 3 includes all of the elements of Tiers 1 and 2.
    • It is important to note that students may receive Tier 2 or 3 interventions in one content area but not another and may move in and out of interventions throughout the year.  Accommodations for students with disabilities and students who are English language learners are provided to students who need them at all levels of intervention.

Slide 10

The NJTSS framework is aligned with the components of MTSS and builds upon the core components of intervention and referral services and Response to Intervention.  This diagram demonstrates that relationship. 

  • Intervention and Referral Services includes Multi-Disciplinary School Based Team, Data-Based Decision Making, Teacher Professional Development, Interventions and Progress Monitoring;
  • Response to Intervention adds High-Quality Curricula and Instructional Practices, Universal Screenings, Data-Based Decision Making, Continuum of Supports and Interventions, and a Multi-Tiered Prevention System; and
  • NJTSS, a Multi-Tiered System of Supports model, adds  School Leadership, Climate and Culture, and Family and Community Engagement

Slide 11

NJTSS provides a way for districts to implement the requirements for intervention and referral services to assist students experiencing learning, behavior and/or health difficulties AND for staff who experience difficulty addressing student needs.  This table, and the table on the next slide, illustrate the current requirements along with the components of NJTSS that help districts meet those requirements.  The document on the NJTSS web page entitled, ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS FOR EFFECTIVE NJTSS IMPLEMENTATION provides specific information and resources for implementing these components.

Slide 12

Slide 13

NJTSS provides a mechanism for implementing other existing state and recent federal requirements for supporting struggling learners and improving schools in addition to I&RS.

  • NJTSS essential components include "positive school climate and culture."  The required school climate team can be a resource for implementing this component.
  • Implementation of the NJTSS 9 essential components offers a systematic approach for implementing the turnaround principles.
  • Finally, the Office of Special Education Programs has had as its framework for improvement, the State Performance and Annual Performance Plans required by IDEA.  Data related to specific student outcomes such as, placement in the least restrictive environment, academic achievement and achievement of post secondary goals, are used to identify schools that have positive outcomes for students with disabilities and those that need assistance.  The state is charged with engaging schools in need of assistance in activities to improve student outcomes in these areas.  NJTSS is included in the plan as a mechanism for districts to improve student outcomes.

Slide 14

NJTSS  is aligned with the intent of the Every Student Succeeds Act since it incorporates supports for specific subgroups into one system of supports that promotes equity.  Under ESSA, both school wide and targeted assistance school plans must include the strategies that strengthen the academic program in the school and the amount and quality of learning time.  This may include:

 "a school wide tiered model to prevent and address problem behavior, and early intervening services, coordinated with similar activities and services carried out under the IDEA" (ESSA Sec 1114 & 1115).

Slide 15

Recently, the NJDOE was awarded a $6.1 million, five-year, federal IDEA grant to build teacher capacity for providing effective reading interventions in grades Kindergarten through grade three using the NJTSS model. Literacy coaches in a total of 60 schools in 60 districts will receive two years of coaching from trained NJDOE staff over the next five years. 

The grant was developed in partnership with professors from Rutgers School of Applied and Professional Psychology who will provide the training to the state-level coaches.  Other partners include SPAN, NJPSA  and the Dumont School District.  SPAN will work with schools and families to improve family and community engagement.   The Dumont School district, which currently implements many of the essential components of NJTSS, will provide a district's perspective to the grant team.  NJPSA will provide "administrator to administrator" training on NJTSS to administrators in districts selected for the coaching.

Additionally, the grant will fund consultation from national experts in reading, RTI and the science around sustaining improvement initiatives.

Districts will be invited to participate in grant activities based on student performance and other district and school data.

Slide 16

The NJDOE has developed a web page, at the link listed, that includes the documents described in this slide.  These resources can be reviewed with your district leadership team or professional learning community for planning, implementation as well as evaluation of the effectiveness of your intervention system.   Additional guidance for districts will be  posted on the NJDOE web site as we continue to work with our stakeholders and implement grant activities. 

Slide 17

The New Jersey Department of Education would like to thank educators, researchers and family members involved in the development of resources at the centers and state departments listed.  These resources were integral in the development of NJTSS.  Additional resources are available at these sites.