Focusing in on MTSS: Ensuring Effectiveness System-Wide, Bonesteel, Spring 2020

Course Number:  EDU 5515 C35
Instructor: Libby Bonesteel
Location: Online using Canvas and Zoom Videoconferencing
Dates and Times: March 6 - May 18, 2020. Online and asynchronous. Four synchronous online meetings using Zoom on the following: March 6th 4:00-5:30, April 6th 3:30-5:00, April 27th 3:30-5:00, May 18th 4:00-5:30.
Credits: 3 graduate credits
Tuition: $975

Note: Course payment by check or purchase order, payable to Castleton University, is due at the time of registration. A purchase order number can be entered into the online registration form and the purchase order can be uploaded to the registration form. If paying by check, please mail the check to: Financial & Registration Services, Castleton University, 62 Alumni Drive, Castleton, VT 05753. To help us ensure that your payment is applied to the correct course, PLEASE WRITE “CFS” IN THE CHECK MEMO LINE. Thank you.

Course Description

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) or Response to Intervention (RTI) have been buzz words in the field of education for some time. While the intent behind MTSS was on the track, the systems that have been designed have not created the results schools crave--that all students learn at high levels because of what we, as educators, do with them day in and day out. In many places, students are "lifers" within traditional intervention systems. We hope they grow as learners. Hope, however, was never the goal of MTSS/RTI and is a cycle that needs to be broken. This course aims to do this by: 1) clearly articulating the five focus areas inherent in any effective MTSS model; and 2) providing tools and time to audit current systems to increase a school's capacity to ensure achievement for every student. Participants will have differentiated opportunities to apply what is learned to their own educational environments.

Audience: Teacher Leaders, System-Wide Administrators, Principals, Interventionists

Course Objectives:

At the completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and define the five essential focus areas of an effective MTSS model;
  2. Develop auditing tools for each focus area. Generalize this ability to any system-wide effort;
  3. Reflect and refine participant’s current system through targeted goal setting based on evidence.

Required Texts

Required Readings/Texts:

Buffman, A., Mattos, M., & Malone, J. (2018). Taking Action: A Handbook for RTI at Work. Bloomington: Solution Tree.


Fullan, M. & Quinn, J. (2016). Coherence. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.


Required and Provided in Course Materials:

Buffman, A., Mattos, M. & Weber, C. (2010). The why behind RTI. Educational Leadership, v 68, October 2010.


Galleano, E. (1992). “Bureacracy/3.” In: The Book of Embraces. New York: W.W. Norton.


Muhammad, A. (2009). Transforming School Culture: How to Overcome Staff Division. Bloomington: Solution Tree. [Chapters 1 & 2]


Dufour, R. & Mattos, M. (2013). How do principals really improve schools? Educational Leadership, v 70, April 2013.


Killian, S. (2015). 8 Strategies Robert Marzano & John Hattie Agree On. Found at June 17, 2015.

For additional course information

Libby Bonesteel


For additional registration information

Bethany Sprague
(802) 468-1325

Register online now!