Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports in Montgomery County Public Schools

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       Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports and Virginia Project AWARE:
      Working Together Advancing Wellness And Resilience in Education

MCPS receiving the VTSS Leadership Award for Distinction in Implementation of Social Emotional Wellness Systems and Supports from the VDOE at the 2017 Classrooms Not Courtrooms Conference.




The Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports (VTSS) is a data-driven decision making framework for establishing the academic, behavioral and social-emotional supports needed for a school to be an effective learning environment for all students.

The VTSS systemic approach allows divisions, schools and communities to provide multiple levels of supports to students in a more effective and efficient, clearly defined process. Implementing the VTSS framework requires the use of evidence-based, system-wide practices with fidelity to provide a quick response to academic, behavioral, social and emotional needs. The practices are progress-monitored frequently to enable educators to make sound, data-based instructional decisions for students.

VTSS functions under the anchor process of integrating data, practices and systems to affect outcomes. The essential elements of an effective VTSS framework are:

  • Data Informed Decision-Making
  • Evidence-Based Practices                                          
  • Family, School and Community Partnerships
  • Monitoring Student Progress (including universal screening)
  • Evaluation (outcomes and fidelity)


Project AWARE is an initiative of the Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports. MCPS is 1 of 3 Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and Virginia 1 of 20 Sate Education Agencies (SEAs) awarded the AWARE grant. The goals of the project are to:

•Implement the VTSS multi-tiered model that integrates a comprehensive systems approach for addressing the academic, behavioral, social-emotional and mental health needs of school-aged (K-12) youth piloted in three school divisions via the Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports.

•Integrate a multi-tiered systems framework for the delivery of mental health services that will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of systems (policies, regulations, and procedures) at the state and local levels to advance collaboration, capacity, integration and coordination of services of the project at pilot sites and between state agencies.

•Expand the availability and delivery of Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) throughout the Commonwealth to increase early identification and interventions in cases of mental health distress in Virginia’s youth. Youth Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based program that teaches participants to recognize and respond to warning signs of mental health issues and crises in adolescents (12-18) and teaches a 5-step action plan for crisis and non-crisis situations. It is an interactive training with hands-on activities, role plays and simulations. 

In MCPS, Project AWARE has been able to support the county wide Student Assistant Programming (SAP) initiative by hiring two staff to be SAP Coordinators, to assist schools and teams in connecting families with the supports and services they need to be successful.  In collaboration with Montgomery County Schools, New River Valley Community Services (NRVCS) will provide professional staff to implement both prevention and intervention services related to address a wide range of issues that impede child/adolescent academic achievement.  All information exchanged between a student and the SAP staff is treated with respect and in a confidential manner. See more information about SAP in your school’s main office or contact Julie Sink (Blacksburg Community) at [email protected], Heather Vaught (Christiansburg Community) at [email protected] or Paige Walters (Eastern Montgomery/Auburn Communities) at [email protected]) if you have any questions.

Project AWARE is also helping MCPS to partner with Pulaski County Public Schools (also an AWARE LEA) and NRVCS to hire a psychiatric provider dedicated to serving our students and as well as educating school staff around mental health. 



This powerful VTSS framework strives to help our schools build a strong foundation and school culture as well as clear methods to better provide wrap around supports and interventions that meet the academic, behavioral and mental health needs of all students while in a safe and productive learning environment. Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) strive to engage, encourage and empower all students through a tiered systems framework and we are excited to be part of this amazing work taking place across our state and the nation. 

Project AWARE does require data collection to help insure the effectiveness of programming.  All data will be reported with no personally identifiable information (names, birth dates, etc…). When and if a consent form is needed, you will be contacted. The data is reported to the Virginia Department of Education, the Center for School-Community Collaboration at VCU (the evaluator of the project) and SAMHSA.

For additional information contact Kate Daby at [email protected] or Student Services at 540-382-5100.

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