Introduction: Developing an effective MTSS Behavior Support System for virtual learners

An introduction to virtual learning expert and Pulse user Chris Loiselle’s blog series

For many K-12 schools, MTSS, or Multi-Tiered System of Supports, is a critical part of developing a student-centered support model.  In a virtual environment a well planned MTSS operating structure becomes even more important.  That’s because virtual learners do not benefit from the ‘captive audience’ benefit of a traditional seated program.  Those benefits include a daily pre-established and predictable schedule, face-to-face contact, multiple adult support providers readily and physically accessible, a learning environment separate from personal distractions, and other such benefits.  

When a learner transfers to a virtual environment they are required to learn new skills that adults even find difficult – goal setting, managing time, knowing how to ask for help, and developing intrinsic motivation are a few examples. A virtual school’s Student Support System must be structured in a way which identifies struggling students quickly, helping staff quickly develop appropriate supports accordingly.

We’ve identified one way in which a virtual school can implement an effective MTSS operating structure which can help students succeed.  This series of posts will share how one school was able to implement an effective MTSS system that helped staff effectively and efficiently support students in a virtual environment.

The school used a 6 step process which helped to ensure the fidelity of their MTSS system.  Those steps were as follows:

  1. Determine Students Greatest Needs – Student Surveys
  2. Map Your MTSS Support Strategy Based on Student Needs
  3. Create an MTSS Handbook for Training Purposes
  4. Involve and Train Your Staff
  5. Train Your Staff in the MTSS Model
  6. The Validation and Certification Process — Use of GESP
  7. Automate and Simplify the MTSS Collection and Reporting Process Using Pulse

In our next blog we will cover Step 1: Determining your student’s greatest needs through student surveys


Since 2011 Chris Loiselle has worked as building administrator, CFO, and Chief Strategic Officer for Success Virtual Learning Centers and Berrien Springs Public Schools, where he is currently filling the Director of Quality Assurance role. While working at Success, Chris was instrumental in the development of the Pulse student support software. His passion is working in K-12 managing e-learning centers and building software to help improve virtual learning outcomes. 

Chris first presented this 6-step process for effective MTSS at the Digital Learning Annual Conference in Atlanta, in February 2022. 

His goal is to be able to help people prosper and succeed in today’s challenging educational environment.

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