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Crisis Component of a Tiered System of Supports

The referral pathway within an existing tiered supports system that allows students to receive support immediately is called the Crisis Component of that system. This pathway operates primarily at the Tier 3 level of support. It is designated for students with needs unmet by proactive Tier 1 universal supports. The nature of the need is significant enough that it requires an urgent response, as opposed to providing support through a typical referral process that may take some time to address student needs.


For some students, this may be a one-time occurrence, such as the death of a loved one or an incident of physical abuse or neglect. Whereas for many students, their experiences may be ongoing, systemic and/or compounded by a crisis as indicated above. For example, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) continue to face systemic racism, oppression and violence in our country. In addition, experiences like collective trauma, physical or mental health challenges, substance use, and food and housing insecurity add to the stress of many students.

According to the Children’s Defense Fund, “Nearly 1 in 6 children lived in poverty in 2018 – nearly 11.9 million children. The toxic stress of early poverty stunts children’s development, creating opportunity gaps that can last a lifetime and harm the nation’s economy.”

If you need support in designing or refining your school’s tiered supports Crisis Component, please click here to get started.

Return to Understanding Differences Between Tier 2 and Tier 3

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