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Virtual Kit: Kansas Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS): Integrating Preschool Programs

Kit QT

The Kansas Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) is a coherent continuum of evidence based, system-wide practices to support a rapid response to academic and behavioral needs, with frequent data-based monitoring for instructional decision-making to empower each Kansas student to achieve high standards. It is a framework that has been created to support the needs of students from preschool through the twelfth grade. Through the implementation of research and evidence based curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices, this framework helps prevent or remediate academic/behavioral challenges. Within this fluid framework, adults collect and analyze assessment data in a proactive and ongoing manner, match the appropriate interventions to individual children who require more support than the core curriculum alone can provide, and monitor the effectiveness of these additional interventions to inform further instructional decisions.

As previously stated, the Kansas MTSS is a framework that can and should be utilized with programs serving preschool children. Guidance documents available on their website include descriptions of the principles and practices necessary for creating leadership structures and steps for implementing the model with fidelity. When integrating preschool programs into the Kansas MTSS framework it is important to understand that the procedures described in the structuring and implementation guidance documents are based on a "school-wide" model rather than a "program-wide model". This means that guidance best fits those preschool programs that are based within an elementary school building, herein referred to as building leadership teams (BLTs), or have close ties to a specific elementary school and is willing to participate on the building leadership team as a member. Preschool programs who are not associated with a specific elementary school, or school district may use the Kansas MTSS framework and corresponding guides, however, they my find it necessary to adjust some of the language and directions of activities to suit their constituents. Such teams are referred to as "program leadership teams" (PLTs).

There will be times when the application of an MTSS to early childhood may look slightly different than what is put into place for older children, and the team should not view preschool as a push down from what is expected at the kindergarten level. Therefore, BLT members must be sensitive to the similarities and differences between programming for very young children and those in the primary grades. Conversely, it is equally important that preschool representatives understand the critical components of MTSS as they are implemented in the primary grades. The goal is that all parties have a working understanding of different populations, and can therefore make appropriate decisions that create logical and smooth services and programs benefiting all children.

The BLT must also consider administrative and programmatic differences that exist between specific preschool programs that may impact the feasibility to which MTSS implementation may be carried out. Preschool services are not mandated; however, preschool programs are available to a targeted population of children and supported to public funds (e.g. Head Start, Kansas Preschool Program, Kansas Pre-K, Early Childhood Special Education). Each program has a different set of guidelines and requirements, and vary greatly in the ability of the local program to determine curriculum, assessment, and instructional strategies. In addition, individual preschool programs may follow a different calendar than the elementary school, hire staff with/without degrees, and may organize their classrooms in different ways (by age, multi-age). These variables may significantly impact the BLTs ability to establish an appropriate curriculum protocol, comprehensive assessment plan, or other such activities necessary to full implementation of an MTSS.

The Kansas Multi-Tiered System of Supports website is the primary location for gathering information related to MTSS as it is implemented within the state of Kansas. This site provides extensive information related to the Kansas MTSS system including sections devoted to 1) Overview, 2) Frequently Asked Questions, 3) Presentations, 4) Resources, and 5) Training. The guidance documents outlining specific structuring and implementation activities can be found on their website. This page includes all the necessary documents used in the structuring and implementation phases of MTSS and are available for download. In addition topical briefs, book study opportunities, and other material and other relevant Internet links can be accessed from this page.

The purpose of this Virtual Kit is twofold. First, to connect interested parties with the official Kansas MTSS documents outlining the scope and sequence of the work and methods for connecting with Recognized MTSS Facilitators to help programs through this intensive process (found within the links provided within this QT section). Second, is to provide links to research and resources from which preschool implementation of Kansas MTSS was founded (found within the links that follow below).

Show me now! (I need this tomorrow.)

These websites will help you find an evidence-based practice or the evidence base for your practices.

What does this look like in practice? (I have a little more time to read about this.)

What does the ECRC have on this topic?

Below are selected resources from the Early Childhood Resource Center. For additional resources related to the alphabet knowledge and early literacy go to the KITS Early Child Resource Center and click on ECRC catalogue, or call (620) 421-6550 ext. 1638 for personal assistance.

  • Buysse, V., & Peisner-Feinberg, E. (Eds.) (2013). Handbook of response to intervention in early childhood. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.
  • Carta, J., Greenwood, C., Walker, D., and Buzhardt, J. (Eds.) (2010). Individual growth and developmental indicators: Tools for monitoring progress and measuring growth in young children. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.
  • Crumrine, L., & Lonegan, H. (2000). Phonemic-awareness skills screening (PASS). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
  • Crumrine, L., & Lonegan, H. (1999). Pre-literacy skills screening (PLSS). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
  • Ginsburg, H. P. & Baroody, A. J. (2003). Test of early mathematics ability (3rd ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
  • Invernizzi, M, Swank, L. & Juel, C., Meier, J. (2004). PALS-PreK: Phonological awareness and literacy screening. Charlottesville, VA: University Press.
  • Printz, P. H., Borg, A., & Demaree, M. A. (2003). A look at social, emotional, and behavioral screening tools for Head Start and Early Head Start. Washington, DC: Education Development Center.
  • Reid, K., Hresko, W., & Hammill, D. (2001). Test of early reading ability. Austin, Texas: Pro-ed.
  • Spencer, T. D., & Petersen, D. B. (2012). Story champs (Level C/D). Language Dynamics Group.
  • Walker H.M, Severson H.H., & Feil E.G. (1995). Early screening project: A proven child-find process. Longmont, CO: Sopris West Inc.• Whitehurst, G., & Lonigan, C. (2009) Get ready to read: Revised early literacy manual. Minneapolis, MN: Pearson.

How can I find training materials on this topic?

Visit the KITS online Collaborative Calendar to find out if there might be an upcoming training related to this topic.

What if I still need help?

Contact KITS by e-mail to request assistance or by calling 1-800-362-0390 ext. 1638.

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Please take a minute to complete a brief survey to let us know what you think about this virtual kit, and what other topics you would like to see addressed in the future.


Buysse, V., & Peisner-Feinberg, E. (Eds.) (2013). Handbook of response to intervention in early childhood. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

Buysse, V., & Peisner-Feinberg, E. (2010). Recognition and response: Response to intervention for pre-k. Young Exceptional Children, 13(4), 2-13.

Gettinger, M., & Stoiber, K. (2007). Applying a response to intervention process for early literacy development in low-income children. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 27, 198-213.

Greenwood, C.R., Bradfield, T., Kaminski, R., Linas, M., Carta, J.J., & Nylander, D. (2011). The response to intervention (RTI) approach in early childhood. Focus on Exceptional Children, 43(9).

Greenwood, C. R., Carta, J. J., Baggett, K., Buzhardt, J., Walker, D., & Terry, B. (2008). Best practices integrating progress monitoring and response-to-intervention concepts into early childhood. In A. Thomas, J. Grimes & J. Gruba (Eds.). Best practices in school psychology V. Washington DC: National Association of School Psychology, Washington, DC.

Hemmeter, M.L. & Fox, L. (2009). The teaching pyramid: A model for the implementation of classroom practices within a program-wide approach to behavior support. NHSA Dialog, 12, 133-147.

Hojnoski, R.L., Gischlar, K.L., & Missall, K. N. (2009a) Improving child outcomes with data-based decision making: Collecting data. Young Exceptional Children, 12, 32-44.

Hojnoski, R.L., Gischlar, K.L., & Missall, K. N. (2009b) Improving child outcomes with data-based decision making: Graphing data. Young Exceptional Children, 12, 15-30.

Hojnoski, R.L., & Missall, K.N. (2007). Monitoring preschoolers' language and early literacy growth and development. Young Exceptional Children, 10(3), 17-27.

Justice, L.M., McGinty, A., Guo, Y., & Moore, D. (2009). Implementation of responsiveness to intervention in early education settings. Seminars in Speech and Language, 30(2), 59-74.

Pretti-Frontczak, K., Jackson, S., McKeen, L., & Bricker, D. (2008). Supporting quality curriculum frameworks in early childhood programs. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology V (pp. 1249-1259). Washington, D.C.

VanDerHeyden, A.M & Snyder, P. (2006). Integrating frameworks from early childhood intervention and school psychology to accelerate growth for all young children. School Psychology Review, 35, 519-534.

VanDerHeyden, A. M., Snyder, P., Broussard, C., & Ramsdell, K. (2008). Measuring response to early literacy intervention with preschoolers at risk. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 27, 232-249.

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