Secondary MTSS: Implementing MTSS in middle and high schools

Welcome to your Secondary MTSS page. This page is a starting point for learning more about implementing MTSS in North Carolina middle and high schools. This page is designed to:

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In 2011, our state collaborated with the Oak Foundation on a Secondary Grant to install and implement an MTSS framework in selected pilot sites. Learn more about the Oak Foundation by exploring the following link: Oak Foundation's Learning Differences Program

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Goals of the Grant: Install, implement and sustain a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) in a middle/high school feeder pattern leading to

  • Increases in student achievement, graduation rates & student attendance rates

  • Reduction in office discipline referrals, out of school suspensions and dropout rates

  • Increases in alignment of resources and practices

In 2011, three districts were selected and agreed to begin the work of exploring and installing MTSS in secondary sites. These three districts were: Asheville City Schools, Cabarrus County Schools, and Johnston County Schools. In 2015, the initial sites were offered the opportunity to expand to an additional feeder pattern, and, two new districts were invited into the work. One district, Carteret County Schools came on board.

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Pilot sites selected school and district team members to attend national conferences, exploring Secondary MTSS. In addition to national conference attendance, the work has focused on 3 areas: academic literacy, PBIS and math. After training on MTSS as a framework for total school improvement, the three pilot sites targeted their work on academic literacy. Two different approaches to academic literacy* have been utilized: Content Literacy Continuum and Keys to Literacy. The initial sites focused on Content Literacy Continuum and the expansion site focused on Keys to Literacy. PBIS training has been available and offered within the district. Math training on universal screening and core curriculum and instruction took place in the third year of the grant, in 2014.

*Additional information on the literacy approaches is available here:
Content Literacy Continuum:
Keys to Literacy:

To learn more about our Secondary Grant and participating schools and districts, please review the Grant History file below:

Contact information for connecting with pilot sites and districts:

Asheville City Schools: Asheville City Schools

Initial Site Asheville Middle SchoolExpansion Site Asheville High SchoolDistrict MTSS Coordinator: TBDSecondary Grant Contact: Shane Cassida

Cabarrus County Schools: Cabarrus County Schools

Initial Sites Harold E. Winkler Middle School, Mount Pleasant High SchoolExpansion Sites Mount Pleasant Middle School, Northwest Cabarrus Middle School, Northwest Cabarrus High SchoolDistrict MTSS Coordinator: Holly Niedermeyer,

Carteret County Schools: Carteret County Schools

Expansion Sites Newport Middle School, West Carteret High SchoolDistrict MTSS Coordinator: Heather Boston,

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Start your exploration by listening to those who have engaged in this work. To support your learning, we are capturing stories from our middle and high school pilot sites, including website connections and helpful resources. We hope you enjoy exploring secondary implementation in our state.

Problem Solving: A Perceived Tardy Problem

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Listen (4:11) as Adam Olander, Assistant Principal at West Carteret High School shares how that his team used the problem-solving model to delve into a perceived tardy problem.

Listen to stories from the field on effective scheduling practices and active engagement

Scheduling Practices

In this video clip (2:33), Wake County students and staff talk about their SMART lunch program.

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Active Engagement: Academic Literacy

In this video clip (5:10), Dr. Feldman talks about engaging both our students and our staff in the work.

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Also, please check out this National Public Radio audio clip (17:42):

Friday, March 11 – We visit with Dr. Kevin Feldman, a national expert on literacy who has been leading events around the state to help educators as part of the “Improving Academic Literacy” project. Also joining us is Connie Molony, English language arts specialist with the South East Education Cooperative

Quotes and supporting documents follow: "Everyone does everything." "Learning is not a spectator sport." "Mistakes are a part of learning." "Focus on what we can control."

To honor our time and resources, start with what is proven to work. Check out this quick-start video that shows you how to use the Doing What Works Library.

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Consider exploring these IES Practice Guides to further conversation in your school or district. Click on the image to access web resources and the IES Practice Guide. Or, click on the file below the image to access the Practice Guide.

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As you explore MTSS implementation in middle and high schools, consider the following resources:


Better High Schools

Early Warning Systems

Middle School Matters

NC Virtual Public High Schools


College and Career Readiness and Success Center

Great Schools