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Continuum of Supports

Every learner deserves the supports they need to be healthy and whole. One size does not fit all children. By providing a range and level of supports, every learner gets what they need to be college and career ready. Staff, learners, families, and the community are engaged in the selection and implementation of these supports.

Building supports to match the range of learner needs

Schools provide multiple levels of proactive and responsive supports built to match the range of learners’ developmental, academic, behavioral, emotional, and social needs. Supports are appropriate for the learner being served, validating their knowledge and experiences, and acknowledging their diverse identities.

Using data to provide appropriate level of support

To identify the nature and intensity of support best matched to learner needs, teams:

  • review multiple forms of data
  • modify instructional practices, time, frequency, group size, and/or expertise of the provider to best respond to learner needs

As the intensity of supports increases, so does the frequency of progress monitoring and collaborative review of data. Supports are fluid, based on review of learner progress and instructional fidelity (used as intended) data.

Universal supports (tier 1)

The universal level of support (tier 1) is provided to all learners. In sustainable systems, at least 80% of learners have academic, behavioral, developmental, emotional, and social needs met through the universal level of support.

Selected supports (tier 2)

The selected level (tier 2) includes supports intended for learners with academic, behavioral, developmental, emotional, and social needs that extend just beyond the reach of the universal level. This level is short-term to develop specific skill needs. In sustainable systems, typically, 5-15% of learners access selected supports in addition to the universal level.

Intensive supports (tier 3)

The intensive level (tier 3) is intended for learners with needs extending well beyond the reach of the universal level. In effective systems, typically, 1-5% of learners access this level of support. For academic, behavioral, developmental, emotional, and social achievement that is well below benchmark, learners access intensive supports in addition to the universal level.

How do you know your system has continuum of supports in place?

Is your continuum of supports (instruction, collaboration, and strategic use of data):

  • Proactive
  • Provided in a timely way
  • Responsive to learners’ academic, behavioral, social, and emotional needs
  • Culturally responsive
  • Coherently aligned across levels of supports
  • Selected and implemented through staff, learner, family, and community engagement
  • Modified and adjusted fluidly based on data

Resources for this Key System Feature