Many schools are transitioning towards a preventative approach to meet the needs of at-risk learners with academic and/or behavioral concerns through the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework. This qualitative study explored the perceptions of the impacting factors for MTSS and the needs of building leadership teams through semi-structured interviews using a video conferencing-based online platform. Participants included 15 building administrators from school districts in a mountain west state of the United States. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed through thematic analysis. A total of four themes or impacting factors were identified. First, participants reported that MTSS relies on the district's capacity to provide support and partnership, like administrators or district leadership. Second, provision and prioritization of resources (e.g., personnel, time, or training) was perceived as key to MTSS implementation. Third, stakeholder buy-in and disposition were perceived as effecting MTSS practices, including staff buy-in, the awareness of the need for MTSS, and building's culture and established practices. Lastly, other contextual factors in the building were reported as also influencing MTSS implementation. The results of this study can act as an implementation guide for building and district MTSS teams looking to strengthen and enhance their MTSS efforts. It is also a call to action for school districts nationwide to prioritize their MTSS practices through ongoing training, provision of resources, and consistent support to building-level teams. Finally, this study sheds light on the day-to-day realities of MTSS implementation. Limitations of this study include the following: (a) limited generalization of findings to other geographic regions; (b) little to no involvement of the participants in day-to-day implementation of MTSS interventions; (c) potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; and (d) possible confirmation bias during data analysis. Steps were taken to ensure the trustworthiness of the data, including pilot interviews, member checks, analyst triangulation, and audit trailing.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, interventions, building administrators, effectiveness, fidelity



Included in

Counseling Commons