SWIFT Terminology

Hover to reveal our definitions of each term.

What is Equity-based MTSS?

Equity-based Multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) is a complex schooling structure that brings together educator knowledge of context, science, and systems, resulting in positive benefits for all students. It is an organizing framework that uses specific data sources to inform decisions coordinating diverse academic, behavioral, social, and emotional resources to meet the needs of each and every student in a dynamic and timely fashion.

What is the 10 Point Paradigm?

SWIFT’s 10 Point Paradigm is a framework for understanding different facets of equity that need to be considered in order to shift mindsets and create restorative educational ecosystems.

What are Transformation in Action Practices?

The Transformation in Action (TA) Practices are evidence-based methods for transforming educational systems. The TA Practices help educational leaders implement sustainable change.

What are Equity Actions?

SWIFT’s Equity Actions are a set of tools and practices that ensure implementation efforts are working toward equity in both process and results. The Equity Actions help educational leaders implement equitable change.

How does SWIFT define equity?

SWIFT defines educational equity as an intentional paradigm shift through which historically disenfranchised students and their communities build and retain systemic power within education; the process is dynamic, responsive, and advances a pluralistic culture of teaching and learning distinguished by intersectional affirmation, sociohistorical transparency, and contextualized resource allocation, and promotes collective health, healing, safety, connectedness, and the vital future of students, faculty, and communities.

What is Universal Design for Learning?

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn through multiple means of engagement, representation, action, and expression. For more information, visit our friends at CAST.org.

Other Glossary Terms

Equity-based MTSS
Social-Emotional Instruction

A proactive approach to teaching social-emotional skills. Schools intentionally build environments where students can manage social relationships and their own emotions in culturally responsive ways that promote their own and others’ well-being.

Master Schedule

A tool to manage how the school allocates time as well as the personnel and facilities listed in a Resource Inventory. When developing a Master Schedule, schools consider how to ensure all students have access to universal curriculum, when to deliver additional and intensified support, and how to collaboratively utilize all personnel in support of all students. In an MTSS, the schedule includes time for providing additional and intensified support and indicates who will be available to deliver it.

Resource Map

A tool that prompts a school team to identify a wide variety of resources used to support students, such as personnel, facilities, and curriculum. This map or inventory can help schools consider possible reallocation of resources to best support all students within an MTSS framework.

Tiered Instruction Matrix

A tool for schools to organize universally available curriculum for all students; guidelines to inform decisions about which students may need additional and/or intensified support; instruction and supports to consider as best matching student needs; and progress monitoring tools and criteria for informing decisions about when to change or remove these supports. Completed matrices lay out the available curriculum or instructions from a Resource Map to consider for students who are not meeting decision guideline levels as well as for students who are exceeding them.


Universal / Additional / Intensified

The basic tiers of support in an MTSS model, (similar to other tiered systems’ Tier I / Tier II / Tier III). All students participate in Universal support, while a small portion of students receive additional support when needed, and a few students receive intensified support, when warranted.  All tiers of instruction and support are related to the general education curriculum and standards.

Behavior Instruction

Behavior instruction and support refer to proactive as well as responsive policies and practices that address how students feel and act, and how adults in the school routinely respond to them.

College & Career Readiness

Students have access to rigorous curriculum and standards that build towards college and or career ready high school graduation requirements.

Professional Learning

Professional learning includes educator support in the form of technical assistance, coaching or resources intended to improve teaching and learning. Professional learning is sometimes referred to as professional development.


A way of describing a practice or instruction that is supported by research or evidence of effectiveness.


SEA stands for State Education Agencies, and LEA stands for Local Education Agencies.

School Leadership Team (LT)

May include a Principal, a school “coach,” general and specialized educators, support staff, family members, and community members. A school coach is a school staff member who, along with a school administrator, assumes a role of providing site-based support for equity-based MTSS implementation.

Technical Assistance

Technical assistance (TA) is a term used to refer to the guidance, support, advice, assessment, and/or professional training provided to state and local educational agencies, schools, and other organizations in the field education.

10 Point Paradigm
Kincentric Systems of Engagement

The term “kincentric” has its roots in Native American ecological research. Applied to educational settings, we use the term to describe educational systems that feel more familial than institutional and are grounded in healthy relationships, acceptance, forgiveness, and unconditional support.

Rightful Presence

A framework for thinking about equity in schools that highlights the importance of individuals having a sense of belonging and the power to contribute to educational decisions.