The School Counselor and Multitiered System of Supports
(Adopted 2008, revised 2014, 2018, 2021)
ASCA PositionSchool counselors are stakeholders in the development and implementation of multitiered system of supports (MTSS), including, but not limited to, response to intervention and responsive positive behavioral interventions and supports. School counselors align their work with MTSS through the implementation of a school counseling program designed to affect student development in the academic (achievement), career (career exploration and development) and social/emotional (behavior) domains.
The RationaleMTSS is a culturally sustaining, evidence-based framework implemented in pre-K–12 schools using data-based problem-solving to integrate academic and behavioral instruction and intervention at tiered intensities to improve the learning and social/emotional functioning of all students (Sink, 2016). Guided by student-centered data, MTSS teams engage in cyclical data-based problem solving; make informed decisions about general, compensatory and special education; and assist in the creation of a well-integrated and seamless system of instruction and intervention (Ehren, Montgomery, Rudebush, & Whitmire, 2006).
Within the framework of a data-informed school counseling program, school counselors augment their collaboration, coordination and leadership skills (Shepard et al., 2013) to meet the needs of all students and identify students who are at risk for not meeting academic and behavioral expectations. School counselors collaborate across student service disciplines with teachers, administrators and families to design and implement plans to address student needs and to promote students’ academic, career and social/emotional success (ASCA, 2019). Data is collected and analyzed to determine the effectiveness of the learning supports for continual improvement efforts over time.
MTSS offers school counselors opportunities to have a lasting impact on student academic success and behavior development while integrating the framework within a school counseling program (Ziomek-Daigle, Goodman-Scott & Donohue, 2016). The application of MTSS aligns with the role of school counseling at any grade level and can be used across the academic, college/career and/or social/emotional domains established in the ASCA National Model (Goodman-Scott et al., 2020).
The School Counselor's RoleSchool counselors enhance student academic, career and social/emotional development through the implementation of a school counseling program based on the ASCA National Model (2019). Through these programs, school counselors align with the school’s MTSS by:
- providing all students with standards-based school counseling instruction to address universal academic, career and social/emotional development and analyzing academic, career and social/emotional development data to identify students who need support
- identifying and collaborating on research-based intervention strategies implemented by school staff
- evaluating academic and behavioral progress after interventions
- revising interventions as appropriate
- referring to school and community services as appropriate
- collaborating with administrators, teachers, other school professionals, community agencies and families in MTSS design and implementation
- advocating for equitable education for all students and working to remove systemic barriers
- Tier 1 interventions in the form of classroom instruction and schoolwide programming and initiatives
- Tier 2 interventions including small-group and individual counseling, consultation and collaboration with school personnel, families and community stakeholders
- Tier 3 indirect student support services through consultation, collaboration and facilitation of referrals (Goodman-Scott, et al., 2020).
School counselors collaboratively support the process of MTSS universal screening for mental health (Donohue et al., 2016), academic and behavioral supports. The school counselor may also provide indirect student service by presenting data or serving as a consultant to a studentsupport team. The school counselor engages as part of the leadership team in MTSS but “should not be the sole leader of MTSS in our buildings” (Goodman-Scott, et al., 2020, p. 33).
SummarySchool counselors implement school counseling programs addressing the needs of all students. Guided by review of student data, school counselors deliver instruction, appraisal and advisement to students in Tier 1 and 2 and collaborate with other specialist instructional support personnel, educators and families to provide appropriate instruction and learning supports for students in Tier 2 within the school’s MTSS program. School counselors also work collaboratively with other educators to remove systemic barriers for all students and implement specific learning supports that assist in academic and behavioral success.
ReferencesAmerican School Counselor Association. (2019). ASCA national model: A framework for school counseling programs (4th ed.). Alexandria, VA: Author.
Betters-Bubon, J., Brunner, T., & Kansteiner, A. (2016). Success for all? The role of the school counselor in creating and sustaining culturally responsive positive behavior interventions and supports programs. Professional Counselor, 6(3), 263–277.
Betters-Bubon, J., & Donohue, P. (2016). Professional capacity building for school counselors through school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports implementation. Journal of School Counseling, 14(3).
Donohue, P., Goodman-Scott, E., & Betters-Bubon, J. (2016). Using universal screening for early identification of students at risk: A case example from the field. Professional School Counseling, 19(1), 133–143. https://doi-org.wsuproxy.mnpals.net/10.5330/1096-2409-19.1.133
Dart, E. H., Cook, C. R., Collins, T. A., Gresham, F. M., & Chenier, J. S. (2012). Test driving interventions to increase treatment integrity and student outcomes. School Psychology Review, 41, 467-481.
Ehren, B., Montgomery, J., Rudebusch, J., & Whitmire, K. (2006). New roles in response to intervention: Creating success for schools andchildren. Retrieved from https://www.asha.org/uploadedFiles/slp/schools/prof-consult/rtiroledefinitions.pdf
Goodman-Scott, E., Betters-Bubon, J., Olsen, J., & Donohue, P. (2020). Making MTSS Work. American School Counselor Association.
Goodman-Scott, E., Doyle, B., & Brott, P. (2013). An action research project to determine the utility of bully prevention in positive behavior support for elementary school bullying prevention. Professional School Counseling.
Sherrod, M.D., Getch, Y., & Ziomek-Daigle, J. (2009). The impact of positive behavior support to decrease discipline referrals with elementary students. Professional School Counseling, 12, 421-427.
Shepard, J.M., Shahidullah, J.D., & Carlson, J.S. (2013). Counseling Students in Levels 2 and 3: A PBIS/RTI Guide.
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Sink, C. (2016). Incorporating a multi-tiered system of supports into school counselor preparation. Retrieved from http://tpcjournal.nbcc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Pages203-219-Sink.pdf
Ziomek-Daigle, J., Goodman-Scott, E., Cavin, J., & Donohue, P. (2016). Integrating a multi-tiered system of supports with comprehensive school counseling program. http://tpcjournal.nbcc.org/integrating-a-multi-tiered-system-of-supports-with- comprehensive-school-counseling-programs/
Betters-Bubon, J., Donohue, P., Edirmanasinghe, N. & Goodman-Scott, E., Olsen, J., Pianta, R. & Sweeney, D. (2021). School counselors for MTSS. https://www.schoolcounselors4mtss.com/
McIntosh, K. & Goodman, S. (2016). Integrated Multi-Tiered systems of support: Blending RTI and PBIS. Guilford Publications.