Student Services - Prevention and Intervention Practices

PBIS Supporting the whole child

General Information

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), referred to in Georgia as Georgia’s Tiered System of Supports for Students, is a tiered framework that integrates evidence-based assessment and intervention within a school-wide, multi-level prevention system to maximize student achievement and reduce behavioral problems. It promotes systems alignment to increase efficiency and effectiveness of resources. MTSS provides an effective framework for district and school improvement, reforming curricula to better meet student learning needs, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and by advancing the work of Georgia’s Systems of Continuous Improvement.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an evidence-based, data-driven framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety, improve school climate, and support improved academic outcomes for all students. It is Implementation framework for maximizing the selection and use of evidence-based prevention and intervention practices along a multi-tiered continuum that supports the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral competence of all students.

Both MTSS and PBIS are grounded in differentiated instruction. The critical factors established at the universal (or primary) level of prevention (Tier 1) include proactive core instructional practices designed to meet the needs of all students (approximately 80%). At the targeted (or secondary) level of prevention (Tier 2), evidence-based interventions that are highly efficient and effective are implemented with some (approximately 15%) students in a small group. At the intensive (or tertiary) level of prevention (Tier 3), intense and durable procedures for evidence-based interventions are implemented with a few (approximately 5%) students individually or in a very small group. The shared characteristics of these approaches to meet the needs of the “whole child” by addressing both academic and behavioral strengths and areas for further development is illustrated below.

PBIS Systems for student success

The essentials components of MTSS, or Georgia’s Tiered System of Supports for Students, are:

• Screening – brief measures administered up to 3 times a year that are valid, reliable and evidence-based and provided to all students at a grade level; helps identify students in need of enrichment/acceleration or students at-risk of poor learning outcomes and/or challenging behaviors; MCSD uses the Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (BESS) to identify behavioral and social-emotional needs and Star Early Literacy, Star Reading and Star Math to identify academic needs

• Progress Monitoring – valid, reliable and evidence-based tools used to monitor students’ response to universal instruction, or targeted or intensive intervention, to estimate rates of improvement and determine whether adjustments are needed to boost student progress; occurs at regular intervals based on the intensity of the tiered support provided

• Multi-Level Prevention System – a framework designed to provide support matched to
student needs to maximize achievement and reduce behavior problems; consists of three levels of intensity or prevention that include high-quality core instruction and evidence-based interventions and supports

• Data-based Decision Making – a process for making informed decisions about instructional
needs, the effectiveness of instruction, and level of intensity needed within a multi-level prevention system; utilizes the problem solving process (i.e., identify needs, select interventions, plan implementation, implement plan, and examine progress) which drives Georgia’s Systems of Continuous Improvement to ensure fidelity of implementation of Georgia’s Tiered System of Supports for Students

• Infrastructure and Support Mechanism - the organizational structure necessary to fully operationalize all components of Georgia’s Tiered System of Supports for Students to meet the established goals; includes leadership, professional learning, effective teaming, and family and community engagement

Some of the critical elements of PBIS are:

  • PBIS Leadership Team that guides the implementation
  • A Statement of purpose
  • Three to five school-wide positive behavioral expectations
  • Procedures for teaching the expectations, including a behavioral matrix explaining how those expectations will look in the school
  • Lesson plans that incorporate the behavioral expectations
  • Acknowledgement system that recognizes students using expected behavior – both within and outside the classroom
  • Flowchart of detailed procedures showing how to handle student misbehaviors school-wide – both within and outside the classroom
  • Data-based system for monitoring implementation, fidelity, and outcomes

Documents and Resources

Universal Screening Parent Video: Why Social-Emotional and Behavioral Screening is Important -
Universal Screening Parent Video: How to Complete the BESS Parent Form -
MCSD Mental Health Wellness Short: (K-5) Diversity | Celebrating Our Differences -
MCSD Mental Health Wellness Short: (6-12) Diversity | Stay Calm & Carry On -
MCSD Mental Health Wellness Short: (K-5) Grief -
MCSD Mental Health Wellness Short: (6-12) Grief -
MCSD Mental Health Wellness Short: (6-12) Depression -
MCSD Mental Health Wellness Short: (K-5) Bullying -
MCSD Mental Health Wellness Short: (6-12) Bullying -
MCSD Mental Health Wellness Short: (K-12) Self Esteem & Social Media -
A Family Guide to Understanding MTSS
Georgia's Tiered System of Supports for Students
GaDOE Parent Mentor Partnership:MTSS and the Tiers
Parent to Parent of Georgia:MTSS for My Child
Ga DOE Strategic Plan
PBIS World
GA Department of Education PBIS Webpage
National PBIS Website
Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification Course

Community Resource Directory

Evidence-Based Classroom Strategies for Teachers
Georgia Map of Active PBIS Districts
19-20 Georgia PBIS Levels of School Recognition
What is PBIS?
Universal Screening - BESS Parent Informational Letter (English)
Universal Screening - BESS Parent Informational Letter (Spanish)

Frequently Asked Questions

MTSS emphasizes the principle that all teachers can differentiate instruction to enhance the learning of all learners. The framework emphasizes early intervention and the use of a multi-tiered system of research- or evidence-based interventions. The framework also emphasizes a problem-solving and decision-making approach that depends on the use of reliable data and the progress monitoring of learners to assess the effectiveness of interventions. All schools in MCSD are implementing MTSS, also known as Georgia’s Tiered System of Supports for Students.

Contact Information

Dr. Kenya Gilmore Director, Prevention and Intervention Practices


Dr. Nikki Sutton Program Manager of MTSS Implementation/Section 504 Coordinator


Courtney Lamar Mental Health Coordinator


Michelle Pate Technical Assistant, Prevention and Intervention Practices