Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) is a framework used to support schools in utilizing evidence based practices and data-based decision making to enhance student academic achievement and pro-social behaviors. Research shows that when a child suffers with behavior difficulties in the school environment they also suffer academically. MTSS utilizes evidence-based practices and incorporates School Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to create systemic change aimed at positively influencing social and academic competencies for all students. Schools utilizing PBIS and MTSS frameworks have less discipline referrals, suspensions, and expulsions and show higher academic achievement scores.
Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) is a unique county office serving the rural expanse of Northern California. HCOE supports 32 separate school districts and 74 schools with approximately 70 percent of the 18,236 students on a free and reduced lunch program. Humboldt County spans approximately 4000 square miles in Northern California and consists of rural coastal and mountain communities. Lending to the rural nature of the county, Humboldt County often does not have access to many resources that support student mental health and education. Humboldt County residents are one of three counties in the state of California which are affected by the highest number of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Individuals with high ACEs are more likely to suffer from physical and mental health issues. The Humboldt County Office of Education recognizes the need and importance of supporting the improvement of school climate, social emotional learning, and supporting all students in their educational setting. This commitment to student learning and growth led to the formation of the Northern California MTSS Coalition, established during this 2015/16 school year. The coordinators of the MTSS Coalition, Peter Stoll and Haley Jones, work as trained consultants supporting districts and school site with the training, implementation, and coaching involved with this initiative. The goal of the first year was to support a number of districts in the county in implementing PBIS to reduce disproportionality of discipline, decrease overall suspension rates, improve academic improvement and support healthy learning environments for all students.