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Applying whole-child design to a school's tiered system of supports


Continuously Improving Your Tiered System of Supports

One final component of a Tiered System of Supports is the process of analyzing and discussing referral data (student and teacher), student support plan data, implementation data, and progress monitoring data. When schools intentionally use this data from their Tiered System of Supports, it will provide insight to make intentional shifts or changes, ensuring that high-leverage and effective schoolwide universal and personalized supports are equitably provided to all students. 

At the onset of designing a Tiered System of Supports, we discussed the importance of schools putting effort toward continuously improving and refining their Tiered System of Supports to ensure they are responsive to the needs of students and aligned to whole-child design.  

We introduced and shared the Tiered System of Supports Health Assessment, one way to assess the quality of a Tiered System of Supports. However, we know that this data only tells part of the picture. While it provides some insight into the foundation, mindset, and structures and practices in place to support the work of supporting students holistically, what is missing is an understanding of how well a Tiered System of Supports is serving the school community as a whole, including how well schools are building the capacity of educators to meet the needs of students in a holistic way.  

Ensuring schools are providing supports in an equitable manner, aligned with whole-child design, and building the capacity of educators is much more complex. Periodically, reviewing tiered supports data in an intentional way allows schools to capture a more holistic picture of the functioning of their Tiered System of Supports.  

Here are some examples of questions school teams can ask when analyzing their Tiered System of Supports data:  

  • What does the data tell us about how we might proactively support teachers?  
  • Are there trends reflective of unconscious bias in the characteristics of students who are being referred? 
  • What type of strategies are most utilized to support students?  

This process of analyzing and discussing the data to continuously improve should occur at both Tier 2 and Tier 3. Explore our tools below, designed to support school teams with making refinements to their Tiered Systems of Supports using referral and implementation data.  


Explore the tools below to learn about continuously improving your system:

Path 3

Getting Started: Cycles of Continuous Improvement


Learn more about how to engage in ongoing, continuous efforts to improve or refine your system with the goal of providing better support for your school community.


Path 3 Copy

Continuous Improvement: Guidance for Analyzing and Discussing Tiered System of Supports’ Data


The purpose of this tool is to provide some guidance on how to document, analyze and discuss your Tiered System of Supports data and complete the Continuous Improvement: Tiered System of Supports Refinement Planner.


Continuous Improvement: Data Tracker


The purpose of this tool is to document students who have been referred and are receiving supports. This tool also provides valuable data in terms of highlighting referral, support and implementation trends. This data is valuable in reflecting and deciding on additional schoolwide approaches to support students.


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