• Sharon Hoover, PhD

Tailoring MTSS to Your District or School

Updated: Mar 24

Sharon Hoover, PhD

Co-Director, National Center for School Mental Health



In our recent NCS3 Virtual Learning Session,

one of our participating districts, Casa Grande

Elementary School District in Arizona, shared the newly developed school mental health framework. As do most comprehensive school mental health frameworks, this framework reflects a multi-tiered system of services and supports (MTSS) to promote positive mental health and identify and address student mental health challenges. The beauty of the Casa Grande school mental health framework

is that it not only illustrates the specific components of their unique MTSS, it also celebrates the community and land that houses their schools and students.



Through my years providing technical assistance and training to states, territories, tribal nations, districts, and schools, I have witnessed the desire to tailor existing school mental health frameworks to local settings. Some examples include Wisconsin’s and Colorado’s depictions of statewide school mental health systems:




Boston Public Schools offers a local school district example of comprehensive school behavioral health MTSS in the form of a lighthouse:


While we recognize the value in having national performance standards and benchmarks for school mental health quality, as found on the SHAPE system, we also acknowledge that effective MTSS implementation requires careful consideration of the “fit” with local values, beliefs, practices, and traditions.

Some questions to consider as you design your own MTSS include:

  • What elements are foundational to our MTSS and may be represented as circling or at the base of the MTSS?

  • What practices, programs and/or strategies will be included in each tier?

  • What aspects of our community and population can we highlight and celebrate as we illustrate and describe our MTSS?

  • How does our MTSS capture the values of our community, including our students, families, and educators?


If you have existing MTSS framework illustrations or descriptions that you would like to share with us and with others across the nation, please send them to connect@ncs3.org


We look forward to seeing how others have shaped MTSS to fit their communities!