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Abstract/ Summary

In response to requirements of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Maine enacted a rule requiring all schools to have a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) in place by 2012 for a general education, pre-referral system of student support. The purpose of this system, generally termed Response to Intervention (RtI) by many practitioners, was to increase student achievement and decrease the growing number of students referred for special education services. It was anticipated that the system would also reduce overall costs for student support by providing early interventions. The Maine Education Policy Research Institute (MEPRI) was asked by the Maine Legislature to conduct a study of RtI or MTSS behavioral programs in Maine schools. The goal of the study is to improve the state's understanding of the current practices, challenges, and supports needed through descriptive portraits of Maine schools' MTSS programs. This can help to inform future policy changes that would help schools to implement robust programs, and also help Maine districts to learn from what others are doing. In early conversations to recruit schools for this study it became clear that curriculum leaders and superintendents in southern Maine also expressed an independent desire for more information about the ways in which districts are designing, implementing, and evaluating RtI or MTSS in their schools. Given the overlap with the purpose of the legislative study, the scope of the work was expanded to include more schools to allow a broader depiction.


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