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Kim Whitt
Exceptional Children Director


Covid  Multi-Tiered System of Supports( RTI)  Q AND A


Frequently Asked Questions

During an Extended Period of Hybrid and/or Remote Learning


Q: What are the “absolutes/must-haves” for local schools and districts regarding procedures/processes for a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS)?

A: The “must-haves” are defined in the following statutes and regulations:

KRS 158.305 (2) and (3) require KDE regulations for the implementation of the district-wide response-to-intervention system as a means to identify and assist any student experiencing difficulty in reading, writing, mathematics, or behavior and to determine appropriate instructional modifications needed by advanced learners to make continuous progress. 

KRS 158.840 establishes the importance of students’ reading and math skills in achieving scholastic goals. 1(a) All students in the primary program having difficulty in reading and mathematics receive early diagnosis and intervention services from highly trained teachers; (b) All students demonstrate proficiency in reading and mathematics as they progress through the relevant curricula and complete each assessment level required by the KDE, and (c) Students who are struggling in reading and mathematics or are not at the proficient level on statewide assessments are provided research-based and developmentally appropriate diagnostic and intervention services, and instructional modifications necessary to learn.

KRS 158.6459 addresses required intervention strategies for accelerated learning designed to address the needs of high school students scoring below benchmark in English, reading, and mathematics prior to high school graduation. 

704 KAR 3:095 establishes the requirements for a districtwide response-to-intervention system for students in Kindergarten through Grade 3. Section 1(7) defines “response-to-intervention” as a multi-tiered prevention system to maximize student achievement and social and behavioral competencies through the integration of assessment and intervention. 

Section 2:  Describes the components of a comprehensive response-to-intervention system each local the district is required to implement:  

  1. Multi-tiered system of supports, including differentiated core academic and behavioral instruction and targeted, intensive academic and behavioral intervention, delivered by individuals most qualified to provide the intervention services that maximize student achievement and reduce behavioral problems;
  2. Universal screening and diagnostic assessments;
  3. Interventions that:
    1. Are evidence-based;
    2. Vary in intensity and duration based on student need;
    3. Meet the needs of the individual student;
    4. Are implemented with fidelity;
    5. Are delivered by individuals most qualified to provide the intervention services; and
    6. Are monitored through a comparison of baseline data collected prior to intervention and on-going progress data;
  4. Support for early intervention to address academic and behavioral issues; and
  5. Data-based documentation of:
    1. Assessments or measures of behavior;
    2. Progress during instruction;
    3. Evaluation, at regular intervals, for continuous progress; and
    4. Individual student reports shared with the parents of each student in K-3 that summarize the student’s skills in math, reading, and writing; the student’s behavior; and any intervention plans and services being delivered.

Related resource:

Returning to School During and After Crisis: A Guide to the Supporting States, Districts, Schools, Educators, and Students through a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Framework during the 2020-2021 School Year - This guide describes the use of a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) framework to support students, families, and educators during the transitions back to school, during and following the global pandemic in a manner that prioritizes their health and safety, social and emotional needs and behavioral and academic growth.


Q: How can schools navigate the MTSS during this time (Covid-19), especially regarding behavior?

A: Collaborative Leadership Teams and a process for data-based decision-making are two essential components of an effective MTSS that will help during this time of transition back to school, during remote/hybrid/in-person learning, and following the pandemic.  It is recommended that school and district teams continue with the implementation of the core MTSS components. This includes high-quality core instruction and interventions to support academic proficiency, behavior, and social-emotional wellness. 

Some questions to consider:

  • Does the district and/or school have an effective Tier 1?  Are at least 80% of students at benchmark academically?  Behaviorally? 
  • What does the district/school leadership team need to know to move forward with instructional design and delivery of services?  What data is available to identify where students are right now? What data is needed?
    • Can the existing screening and progress tools be administered virtually? Will it be feasible?  Is there guidance from the vendor?
    • Does the data give an accurate representation of what we want to know (student performance? Fidelity?)
    • What is needed to implement assessments and interventions with fidelity whether in-person or remotely?
    • How does our current screening data compare to last year (e.g., entering third graders this fall compared to entering third graders last year; by subgroups?)
    • What trends are notable when analyzing universal screening data from multiple pre-COVID time periods screening compared to post-COVID screening data? 
    • What data do we have around behavior?  Attendance history?  Participation? Office referrals? Detention? In- and Out-of-School Suspensions? # Students receiving mental health supports?
    • Are there “missing students” in the current screening data?
  • How will teams problem-solve around the data and design differentiated instruction and targeted supports in Tier 1 to support the effects of learning loss during school closures? 
    • What subject areas/grades were most impacted?
    • How can the data be disaggregated to provide more in-depth information for problem-solving around the system and student needs?
  • What sources of data are available to guide instruction and system supports in other areas:  mental health, trauma-informed practices, proactive support around the Covid-19 pandemic, and racial injustice?
  • What existing data is available to identify students who were “at-risk” prior to school closures in the spring?  For example:
    • Previous screening and diagnostic data
    • Progress monitoring data for students previously receiving support services – Which students were making the expected rates of progress in response to the interventions? Which students were not making expected growth and an intervention change was indicated?
    • What data is available to identify students who are or were at-risk for insecurity around food, shelter, and finances?
    • Which students are “at-risk” for attendance/participation issues?
    • Are data from student/parent surveys available?
  • When will/did districts administer fall universal screenings? Keeping in mind that traditional screening data may not be reliable until after a period of robust T1 intervention for all students.
  • Are there a few evidence-based and culturally relevant practices across academic, social, emotional, and behavioral domains that have had (or will have) the most impact, and how can they be adapted to meet the needs of virtual, hybrid, and/or in-person instruction?
  • What Tier 2 academic supports can be provided virtually? Is there information from the vendor?  Can family members or support staff be trained to provide additional opportunities for practice and feedback?
  • What Tier 2 social-emotional behavior supports currently identified for use at the school can be provided virtually? Is there information from the vendor/developer? What targeted skill groups can be delivered virtually by school-based mental health professionals (school counselors, school social workers, school psychologists)? How are community mental health professionals included in the planning and monitoring of the services they provide?
  • How will schools accommodate students with the most intensive needs when all students are working remotely?  Intensify the frequency or duration of the intervention? Bring in small groups for in-person delivery?

Related Resources:

Creating a PBIS Behavior Teaching Matrix for Remote Instruction - This practice brief shares tips for maintaining continuity of learning through defining classroom expectations for remote (i.e., distance) instruction and online learning environments. With a few adaptations, teachers can use a PBIS framework to make remote learning safe, predictable, and positive.

Guidance on Adapting Check-in Check-out (CICO) for Distance Learning – This brief provides considerations and suggestions for adapting Check-in Check-out (CICO), an evidence-based Tier 2 school intervention, for situations where students are learning from home.

Resources ( – This webpage links evidence-based instructional practices for in-person and remote learning from What Works Clearinghouse


Q: Are districts or MTSS teams permitted to postpone or delay referring students suspected of having a disability under the IDEA for a special education evaluation until in-person learning resumes?

A: No, according to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Memo 11-07, “the use of RTI strategies cannot be used to delay or deny the provision of a full and individual evaluation, pursuant to 34 CFR §§300.304-300.311, to a child suspected of having a disability under 34 CFR §300.8”.  


Q: What should schools and MTSS teams consider when designing and implementing research-based instruction and interventions during remote learning to ensure they are delivered to students with fidelity?

A: Some guiding questions for the MTSS district/school leadership teams include:

  • Does the district/school’s MTSS process clearly outline how school teams will use progress monitoring data to know if remote research-based instruction and interventions are working compared to in-person delivery?
    • Frequently Asked Questions on Collecting Progress Data Virtually from the National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII) offers some considerations for MTSS teams as they discuss how best to collect and analyze research-based instruction and intervention data. This resource includes Academic and Behavior Tool charts where vendors share resources to support virtual administration.
  • Does the district/school have an established system of decision rules in place for identifying “at-risk” students needing more targeted research-based instruction and intervention(s)? 
    • How does current screening data compare to previous screening data? % of students at benchmark? What areas/grades have experienced the most impact?
  • Does the district/school have an established process within its MTSS system which includes:
    • Matching research-based instruction and intervention(s) to identified student need, setting goals, and selecting the appropriate progress monitoring tool;
    • A written plan for how students previously identified for research-based instruction and intervention(s) continue receiving that instruction and those intervention(s) during periods of remote learning; 
    • A procedure for determining which research-based instruction and interventions produce the best outcomes for students in specific areas of need by setting: in-person, hybrid, and/or remote instruction; and
    • A procedure for determining which research-based instruction and interventions are the most easily adaptable to remote instruction (see guidance from vendors)?
  • Does the district/school have an established process within its MTSS system that specifies the most effective research-based instruction and intervention practices that it needs put in place when implementing such instruction and intervention? Examples include but are not limited to:
    • Students engaged in the lesson (what opportunities are in place for face-to-face time?);
    • Explicit instruction in new skills to promote acquisition and mastery;
    • Increased opportunities for student practice to promote fluency, maintenance, and generalization of skills; and
    • Increased opportunities for student response and instructional feedback.
  • Does the district/school’s MTSS system have a plan for how staff will regularly monitor the fidelity of evidence-based instruction and intervention implementation? (This is critical for both in-person and remote delivery.)


Related Resources:

Providing Virtual Intervention and Progress Monitoring- This is a presentation delivered by Dr. Tessie Rose Bailey as part of the Colorado Multi-Tiered System of Supports Virtual Summit 2020. In the presentation, Dr. Bailey focused on considerations for providing virtual intervention and progress monitoring and highlights resources developed by the National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII).

Supporting Students with Intensive Needs During Covid-19-(NCII) virtual lesson resources are organized by topic area. Many of these resources were developed by educators participating in a community of practice in spring 2020. They include example lessons, implementation videos, tip sheets, and data coll


Response to Intervention

A Multi-tiered System of Supports


In an effort to help all struggling students, Congress has added requirements to require schools to provide a research-based process called Response to Intervention (RtI). According to the National Center on Response to Intervention, the goals of RtI are to:

  • Identify students at risk of failure
  • Monitor student progress
  • Provide research-based interventions
  • Make changes to interventions based on student progress
  • Identify students with Learning Disabilities



The use of RtI with all struggling students has the potential of limiting academic failure and increasing the accuracy of special education evaluations. The use of RtI information may also lead to earlier identification of students who have disabilities and need special education services.

Response to Intervention (RtI) involves multiple steps including screening and using the results from the screening to determine specific interventions to meet the needs of entire classrooms or individual students. The focus is on improving instruction based on student needs. Nothing in the RtI process prevents teachers or parents from referring a student they suspect may have a disability. RtI must not delay or deny an evaluation for children with a suspected disability. In Kentucky, RtI is part of the referral process for all disabilities. In most cases, RtI is completed prior to a referral to ensure the student has been provided with appropriate learning experiences to meet their unique needs, but in some cases, it is appropriate and possibly preferable to complete RtI during the evaluation process. Parent permission is not required during the RtI process since it is available to all students, but school staff is required to inform parents regarding their child’s progress on interventions provided by the school.

 If you have any questions or would like more information about KSI, please contact Kim Whitt (, Bath County Schools RTI Coordinator.