The relationship between culture and climate and MTSS is cyclical. Positive school climate and the conditions for learning support effective implementation of MTSS. Similarly, when implemented with fidelity, MTSS helps districts and schools create positive environments and the conditions for learning for all students, which in turn, can improve and maintain positive school culture and climate.
Establishing and maintaining positive culture and climate are essential for implementing and sustaining MTSS. When in place, positive culture and climate increase the likelihood of districts and schools:
- Establishing and maintaining strong Tier 1 and Tier 2 preventions, interventions and supports;
- Mitigating flooding of Tier 2 interventions and supports;
- Minimizing or decreasing the number of students needing Tier 3 interventions and supports; and
- Preventing overidentification of students perceived to be in need of special education services.
Although not commonly used, there are many behavioral health screening tools and mental health screening tools that can support teams in engaging in decision making at the system, class, and individual student level. States, districts, and school may also use climate surveys, like the ED School Climate Surveys (EDSCLS), to understand the perceptions of the students, staff, and parents, monitor progress, make data-driven decisions, engage stakeholders, and respond to identified needs related to school climate.
Strong MTSS establishes the conditions for learning wherein students feel socially and emotionally safe, supported and challenged. Moreover, positive culture and climate have been found to be leading indicators for such outcomes as increased academic achievement, increased teacher retention, and reduced discipline referrals.