Tier 2 and Tier 3 Trauma-Informed Interventions

Tier 2 and Tier 3 Trauma-Informed Interventions

0.50 USBE Credit
The Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a framework for integrating assessment and intervention to improve student outcomes by increasing achievement and decreasing problem behaviors. This system provides increasing levels of support for students based on data collection and evaluation.


To earn this 0.5 USBE credit microcredential you will submit two evidence items demonstrating your effective and consistent implementation of Tier 2 and Tier 3 trauma-informed interventions. You will also complete a short written or video reflective analysis.


You will be charged $20 by the badge provider. You'll be charged at the point you submit your badge for final review.


There are three tiers of support within the MTSS process.

Tier 1: Tier 1 is the foundation of instruction for academic and behavioral support for all students. It includes proactive classroom management strategies to create a positive culture and climate. It is estimated that approximately 80% of students respond to Tier 1 instruction.

Tier 2: Tier 2 provides targeted support with additional services in small groups for students who need extra assistance in meeting academic and behavioral goals. It is estimated that about 15% of a student body may need Tier 2 support.

Tier 3: Tier 3 provides the most intensive support, usually with interventions that are one-on-one. It is estimated that about 1-5% of the school population will need intensive, Tier 3 intervention.

This microcredential will address the MTSS process (specifically Tier 2 and Tier 3) with a trauma-informed lens. This means that a student’s past and current trauma will be considered while selecting and implementing Tier 2 or Tier 3 interventions.

It is important to have a strong school-wide Tier 1 foundational system in place for all students to have the same clear expectations, student support, rules, and proactive prevention strategies before implementing Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions. However, this microcredential is intended to focus on Tier 2 and Tier 3 trauma-informed practices/interventions within a school.

It is not intended for educators to do Tier 2 and/or Tier 3 interventions on their own. These interventions are selected and implemented through the MTSS process with teachers, school social workers, school psychologists, administrators, and parents as possible members of the MTSS team.


MTSS: A framework focused on three instructional tiers (Universal, Targeted, and Intensive) engineered to meet student needs using a systematic approach.”

Tier 2 instruction : Supplemental, small group instruction designed for approximately 15% of students not making adequate progress in Tier I Interventions are designed to match the needs of students identified as at-risk through screening and progress monitoring measures.Targeted instruction is provided multiple times per week by trained, knowledgeable and skilled school personnel. It is acceptable to have Tier 2 instructors push in during Tier 1 instruction time. (Definition from Granite School District)

Tier 3 Instruction: Supplemental, individualized and customized intervention provided for approximately 5% of students in a smaller group format and delivered with greater frequency and duration than Tier 2. Students in Tier 3 continue to receive core instruction at Tier 1. Interventions at Tier 3 are tailored to the student’s needs and provided by a highly trained, knowledgeable, and skilled educator. (Definition from Granite School District)

Trauma: An event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.

Acute trauma: Trauma that results from a single incident.

Chronic trauma: Trauma that is repeated and prolonged such as domestic violence or abuse.

Complex trauma: Exposure to varied and multiple traumatic events, often of an invasive, interpersonal nature.


The second grade is experiencing high levels of behavior that require more small group and individual interventions. Many of the students display behaviors such as fighting, running out of the classroom, poor self-regulation, work refusal, arguing with teachers, defiance, along with high levels of anger. Teachers note that their students have been talking to them more often about traumatic experiences that they have had and/or are having. Teachers are requesting additional support by bringing students to the MTSS team for assistance. Some of these students will need Tier 2 interventions and a few students will require Tier 3 interventions. The school is working to incorporate a trauma-informed perspective in their MTSS process so that their interventions take into account trauma a student may have experienced. They believe that this will decrease student behavior problems and increase student success.


Student Work: Submit a description of two different Tier 2 and/or Tier 3 interventions where trauma-informed practices have been incorporated into the intervention. Make sure to provide background information and data as to why the intervention was chosen and why trauma-informed practices needed to be considered.

Your description should be at least a page, and include how to implement the intervention, what students may benefit from the intervention, how long it takes for intervention implementation, and what staff in the school may be involved in the implementation of the intervention.

Evidence could include a functional behavior assessment (FBA) and behavior intervention plan (BIP), a written protocol for the intervention, and/or lessons included in the intervention (for small group/individual counseling).

Learner work samples should follow all relevant district/charter and FERPA guidelines.

Student Performance Data: Collect at least three baseline data points prior to the start of a Tier 2 or Tier 3 trauma-informed intervention and then at least six additional data points while implementing the Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention. Provide a graph showing the student’s progress or response to the intervention. Data can be collected from a variety of sources, but must match the behaviors you are addressing with the intervention.

Evidence should follow all relevant district/charter and FERPA guidelines.

Testimonial: Submit at least three testimonials from students, parents, or colleagues discussing how the applicant is integrating trauma-informed practices with at least one or more school-wide frameworks (e.g., PBIS, RP, MTSS, SEL, etc.) into your school and/or classroom for supporting student outcomes. Testimonials should include at least two specific trauma-informed practices that you are using and how these practices integrate with the other school-wide frameworks.

Candidates are required to make 2 evidence submission(s).

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: Evidence demonstrates a clear understanding of the difference in the intensity of interventions between Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions as well as an understanding of what students may need Tier 2 vs. Tier 3 interventions.

Criterion 2: Evidence demonstrates that background information is considered to determine that the intervention should be trauma-informed in order to provide for the best student outcomes.

Criterion 3: Evidence demonstrates the applicant understands the MTSS process. It should include information about the process which the MTSS team goes through in order to make decisions regarding interventions for students.


  1. Describe how you might incorporate trauma-informed practices into two different interventions for a student exhibiting behavior problems that you know has experienced trauma.

  2. Describe your role as a school professional (teacher, school-based mental health professional, administrator, paraprofessional) in implementing a Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention.

  3. Describe how students may benefit (e.g., increase their resilience) through successfully completing a Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention.

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: Reflections demonstrate the applicant’s understanding of trauma-informed interventions and how they impact students.

Criterion 2: Reflections demonstrate your understanding of the MTSS process, and how to integrate trauma-informed practices into Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions.

Criterion 3: Reflections demonstrate understanding of how Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions can improve student success with additional support from personnel, such as teachers, social workers, administrators, Behavior Health Aides (BHA’s), and school psychologists within the school setting.


Alignment of the PBIS Framework and Trauma Informed Classrooms/ Trauma Sensitive Schools
This article provides information on how to align trauma-informed practices with the PBIS framework, including suggestions of interventions that align.

Creating, Supporting, and Sustaining Trauma-Informed Schools
The systems and framework of what a trauma-informed school may look like.

Getting Started With Trauma-Informed Practices
When teachers use strategies tailored to children who have experienced trauma, all students reap the emotional and academic benefits.

How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime
Ted Talk by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris. In this Ted Talk she explains the toll that childhood trauma has on young developing brains and the physical effects on the body.

Integrating Trauma-Sensitive Practices in Schools
Understanding how trauma can affect learning in the classroom. Using trauma-informed practices to increase success in a school setting for students who may need Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions.

Missouri Department of Mental Health for Early Childhood Mental Health
This website provides information regarding childhood trauma and its impact.

The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity
Find it on Amazon.com
Nadine Burke Harris was already known as a crusading physician delivering targeted care to vulnerable children. But it was Diego—a boy who had stopped growing after a sexual assault—who galvanized her journey to uncover the connections between toxic stress and lifelong illnesses. The stunning news of Burke Harris’s research is just how deeply our bodies can be imprinted by ACEs—adverse childhood experiences like abuse, neglect, parental addiction, mental illness, and divorce. Childhood adversity changes our biological systems, and lasts a lifetime. For anyone who has faced a difficult childhood, or who cares about the millions of children who do, the fascinating scientific insight and innovative, acclaimed health interventions in The Deepest Well represent vitally important hope for preventing lifelong illness for those we love and for generations to come.

Tier 2 Interventions PBIS
PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports) has various ideas and support regarding Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions.

Tier 3 Interventions PBIS
PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports) has various ideas and support regarding Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions.

Trauma Informed Practices in Schools: Considerations for Educators
This webinar is part of the California PBIS Coalition (CPC) webinar series. "Trauma Informed Practices in Schools: Considerations for Educators" will support educators in understanding the impact of trauma on students and how they can integrate strategies into the PBIS Framework.

Trauma-Informed Practices within a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Framework: a Guide for Implementation
This is a guide for using the PBIS framework that uses a trauma-informed practices for students dealing with trauma.

Understanding Trauma: Learning Brain vs Survival Brain
This video reframes a trauma perspective in terms of learning brain versus survival brain as a way to make it easier for teachers to talk about trauma with students.

USBE Trauma-Informed Professional Learning Modules
The Utah State Board of Education’s Trauma-Informed Learning Modules are available through Canvas and are designed to help participants develop the knowledge and skills necessary to become trauma-informed and trauma-aware.

What Are the Effects of Childhood Trauma
It is important to understand the effects of childhood trauma and all of the ways it impacts the body and the brain. It interferes with childhood development and impairs many areas of life. Each child is different and it will be essential to have a good understanding and knowledge of how trauma affects the body and the brain. They are not separate. They work together.


Theresa Richardson
Theresa Richardson


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