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Practice Profile - Family, School and Community Partnering

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

Colorado has defined Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) as a prevention-based framework of team-driven, data-based problem solving for improving the outcomes of every student through family, school, and community partnering and a layered continuum of evidence-based practices applied at the classroom, school, district, region, and state level.

Essential Components of MTSS Implementation

Colorado has identified five Essential Components fundamental in implementing a Multi-Tiered System of Supports framework. The five components are:

  1. Team-Driven Shared Leadership
  2. Data-Based Problem Solving and Decision-Making
  3. Family, School, and Community Partnering (FSCP)
  4. Layered Continuum of Supports
  5. Evidence-Based Practices

These components are complementary and iterative. They are neither mutually exclusive nor hierarchical. If the components are integrated and effectively-implemented, student outcomes will improve.

Purpose of this Practice Profile

A Practice Profile is utilized to support the adoption and implementation of an innovation; in this case, the innovation referred to is the MTSS framework, with each profile representing one of five Essential Components. A Practice Profile is an instrument used to operationalize the features of a practice, program, and/or system. This Practice Profile defines the guiding principles and critical components of Family, School, and Community Partnering, an Essential Component of MTSS implementation. It defines this Essential Component according to the ideal or "gold" standard of implementation, acceptable variation, and unacceptable variation. The content for this profile is adapted from the National Family-School Partnership Standards (National PTA, 2008) and the Dual Capacity-Building Framework (U.S. Department of Education, 2013).

Family, School, and Community Partnering Defined

The collaboration of families, schools, and communities as active partners in improving learner, classroom, school, district, and state outcomes.


Ideal "Gold Standard"

Acceptable Variation

Unacceptable Variation

Welcoming All Families

Families are active participants in the educational system, and feel welcomed, valued, and connected to each other, to staff, and to what students are learning and doing. Positive relationships exist. The school community respects and includes every family.

Relationships have been established between families and between families and educational staff. Families feel comfortable attending school/district activities, at school(s) and in the community.

Families feel intimidated by the school(s). Some families are not included in efforts to partner effectively. Relationships are not established.

Communicating Effectively

Families and staff engage in regular, two-way, meaningful communication about student learning. Communication is timely and reciprocal, authentic inquiries are made of families, and staff members are responsive. Multiple methods of communication ensure access and equity. Communication is ongoing.

Plans for multiple methods of communication are being developed and implemented. Staff members share information on relevant topics (e.g., instruction, issues, and decisions). Families are encouraged to initiate communication.

Communication is one-directional. Information is infrequent &/or minimal. Only one communication method is used. Content is rarely related to student learning. Access and equity are not considered.

Supporting Student Success

Families and staff continuously collaborate as active partners to support students’ learning at home and at school through a tiered system of supports. Information is shared about student-level and system-level progress.

School-based learning activities are known and supported by families and staff.

Student-level progress data is consistently shared with each family.

There is no home and school coordination for student learning and progress. Learning is school-owned. Progress data is not known by all.

Speaking Up for Every Child

Families are empowered to be advocates for their own and other children, to ensure fairness and access.

Families know how school systems operate, how to raise questions, and what their rights and responsibilities are.

Families feel empowered to advocate for their own children. Every family has awareness of family rights and responsibilities.

Families feel discouraged from asking questions or advocating. Families are not aware of their rights or how school systems operate.

Sharing Power

Families and staff are partners in decisions that affect children and families and together inform, influence, and create policies, practices, and programs. Family voice and family leadership are evident. Shared responsibility is exhibited in problem solving processes.

Select policies, documents, and procedures are results of partnering. Common language but inconsistent protocols are used in problem solving and decision- making processes.

Family voice is absent from individual and system-wide decision-making.

Strategic, inclusive problem solving is not taking place.

Collaborating with Community

Families and educational staff mutually collaborate with community partners (e.g., businesses, organizations, institutions of higher education) to connect students, families, and staff to expanded learning opportunities, community services, and civic participation.

Links to community resources exist. The school/district has a place in the life of the greater community.

Families, educational staff, and community partners do not collaborate on projects. There is no mutual commitment between stakeholder groups to support student learning.

Dual Capacity - Building

Evidence-based adult learning principles are applied in an enabling context to provide varied opportunities (e.g., side-by-side workshops, online modules, forums, academies, etc.) to support the capabilities, connections, cognition, and confidence of families and educators to partner effectively throughout a multi-tiered framework.

Learning approaches, language, and content are considered when planning for adult learners. Tiered supports for families and educators are evidence-based. Delivery methods are limited.

Adult learning principles are not considered. Partnering content and/or skill development is not available. A single delivery method or stakeholder group is served. Multi-tiered partnering is not visible.