California Multi-Tiered System of Support: Transforming Learning And School Climate Conditions

In partnership with Orange County Department of Education and Butte County Office of Education, CTS is leading a 5-year statewide pilot and strategy to test out school- based models for addressing school suspension disparities apparent by race across 35 school sites, 7 districts and 7 geographic areas using a co-designed California MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support) model. Working collaboratively with students and educators, we have designed, refined and implemented training modules that will promote improved relationships with students, particularly across race, language and socio-economic differences. Helping schools to change the way they approach discipline will also help them to address the underlying causes of behavior problems and academic disengagement.

Download our NEW Equity-Oriented Restorative Justice Resource Library

The library focuses on prioritizing restorative and racial justice in education and includes materials that schools can use to integrate restorative mindsets, practices and policies during a time of extraordinary challenges for young people, families, educators and communities.


UCLA CA MTSS Research Consortium

The UCLA CA MTSS Research Consortium is a network of educators and scholars who are experts in issues of race, education and school climate. They are working with CTS staff and the CA MTSS leadership to explore new research that can inform efforts to address discipline disparities apparent by race and income and to improve learning conditions for historically marginalized student groups.

Dr. Yolanda (Yoli) Anyon
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Social Work
University of Denver

Drawing on critical theories and mixed methods, my scholarship centers the roles of public schools and community organizations in adolescent development. Through research-practice partnerships, I study policies and processes that mitigate or contribute to opportunity gaps in these settings. I am especially interested in equity-oriented and youth-led approaches to program improvement and education reform. My current projects focus on racial disparities in school discipline, restorative justice, and participatory action research with young people. I graduated from Stanford University in 2000 with a BA in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and earned my PhD and MSW in Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012.


Dr. Clive R. Belfield
Professor, Economics Department
Queens College, City University of New York

Professor Belfield is a national expert in economic evaluation; his research has focussed on the design and analysis of cost-effectiveness and benefit-cost calculations for education interventions. Professor Belfield is also an expert on the labor market and social returns to education. His methodological research has considered how economists and education researchers do – and should – undertake economic evaluations. Professor Belfield also serves as a lead trainer for the Evaluators’ Institute, a professional training agency run through Claremont Graduate University. He is also a Principal Economist at Research Affiliate at the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Research Associate at the Community College Research Center, also housed at Teachers College. Professor Belfield served as a lead trainer for both previous IES Methods Training Programs in cost-effectiveness and benefit-cost analysis. He is a co-author on the 3rd edition of the primary cost-effectiveness textbook, Economic Evaluation in Education: Cost-Effectiveness and Benefit-Cost Analysis, 3rd Edition.

In applied work, Professor Belfield studies the economic outcomes from education and undertakes evaluations of educational interventions that range from those that increase pre-school enrollment and those that increase college completion rates.

Professor Belfield is currently a member of a research team examining the cost-effectiveness of CUNY Start, a large-scale reform intended to increase college persistence across community colleges in New York. He is also the research leader of an evaluation of the costs of Guided Pathways, a nation-wide institutional reform to improve community college outcomes. Professor Belfield has recently published articles in the Daedalus, American Journal of Evaluation, Educational Researcher, and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.


Dr. Brooks Bowden
Assistant Professor, Education Policy Division, Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania

Prof. Bowden is interested in using rigorous methods to evaluate the effectiveness and costs of programs and policies that are designed to mitigate the effects of poverty on the value of schooling. In particular, this relates to comprehensive student support, early education and child policy, transition from high school to postsecondary and the labor market, and special education or early intervention policy for children with autism.

Prof. Bowden is an expert in program evaluation and economic analysis, focusing on applications and the methodology of the ingredients method to conduct cost-effectiveness analyses. She serves as Associate Editor at the American Journal of Evaluation and is a board member of the AERA journal, Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis. She is a co-author of the primary text on cost-effectiveness, Economic Evaluation in Education: Cost-Effectiveness and Benefit-Cost Analysis, 3rd Edition. Her work was recently published in: American Journal of EvaluationJournal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

In 2018, Prof. Bowden was recognized as a top “40 for 40” early career scholar by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. She is an elected member of the board of the Association for Education Finance and Policy. She is the PI of the IES methods training program in cost-effectiveness and Co-PI of the IES predoctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania. Prof. Bowden holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University in education policy with a specialization in economics and a MSEd from the University of Pennsylvania in education policy.  She also holds a B.A. and M.S. in psychology from Auburn University.


Dr. Kamilah B. Legette
Assistant Professor, Psychology Department
University of Denver

Kamilah Legette, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at the University of Denver Psychology Department. Her interdisciplinary research investigates individual and institutional racial biases in teachers and schools and their impact on Black youth academic performance and social-emotional and identity development as well as the implications of these biases on teachers’ curricular placement and discipline decisions. Dr. Griffin’s research aims to inform effective interventions, school policy changes, and teacher preparation programs to optimize healthy development in racially minoritized youth. Dr. Griffin also holds a Master’s degree in Counselor Education from UNC-Charlotte (2011) and a B.A. in Psychology from Spelman College (2006).  Dr. Legette is also a 2019-2021 AERA-SRCD Middle Childhood Fellow.


Dr. Jason Okonofua
Assistant Professor of Psychology
University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Jason Okonofua earned his PhD in Psychology from Stanford University with a focus on processes by which racial stereotypes can shape outcomes of teacher-student relationships and scalable means to mitigate those effects to curb the school-to-prison pipeline. He is now an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley and applies various research methods to test scalable approaches to mitigate the effects of racial stereotypes in the contexts of education and criminal justice.

Jason’s research program examines social-psychological processes that contribute to inequality. One context in which he has examined these processes is that of teacher-student relationships and race disparities in disciplinary action. His research emphasizes the on-going interplay between psychological/mindset processes that originate among teachers (how stereotyping can influence discipline) and students (how apprehension to bias can incite misbehavior) to examine causes for disproportionate discipline according to race. The intersection of these processes, Jason hypothesizes, undermines teacher-student relationships over time, contributes to disproportionate discipline to racially stigmatized students, and ultimately feeds the “school-to-prison” pipeline. By investigating basic processes that contribute to misinterpreted and misguided disrespect among teachers and students, he aims to develop novel interventions that empower teachers to reach their teaching goals and interventions that help students – especially racially stigmatized youth – succeed in school and reduce their risk of discipline problems.


Daniel L. Reinholz, Ph.D. (he/they)
Associate Professor of Mathematics Education
San Diego State University
Dr. Daniel Reinholz (he/they) is an Associate Professor of Mathematics Education at San Diego State University (SDSU). He also serves as a Professor of Equity, providing professional development to faculty and staff on the SDSU campus around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Before joining the faculty at SDSU, Dr. Reinholz completed his PhD at UC Berkeley and his postdoctoral research at CU Boulder. Broadly speaking, Dr. Reinholz’s work focuses on addressing racial and gender inequities in STEM, both at the level of classroom practices and in larger organizational structures. Dr. Reinholz holds a teaching credential in secondary mathematics.
Niral Shah, Ph.D. (he/him/his)
Assistant Professor, Learning Sciences & Human Development
University of Washington, Seattle

Dr. Niral Shah is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington, where he also directs the Race, Theory, and Design Lab. His research concerns how people learn racism and anti-racism. Shah’s prior work has focused on race and racism in STEM education, specifically how racial narratives about STEM ability affect students’ identities and participation in classrooms. He is also a co-developer of the EQUIP classroom observation tool, which supports teachers and educational leaders to identify and mitigate implicit bias in classrooms. Dr. Shah is a National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellow and Postdoctoral Fellow, and his work has been funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, Spencer Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.


Danfeng Soto-Vigil Koon
Co-Director, Transformative School Leadership Program, Assistant Professor, Leadership Studies
University of San Francisco

Danfeng Soto-Vigil Koon is an Assistant Professor in the Leadership Studies department in the School of Education and the Faculty Co-Director of the Transformative School Leadership Program. Her research focuses on educational law and policy as a site of contestation and explores the ways that education law and policy further or impede efforts to create a more just society. Her passion and commitment to public education are informed by her work as an educator, lawyer, and organizer. Danfeng received a National Academy of Education/ Spencer Dissertation Fellowship for her research on Obama Administration’s Supportive School Discipline Initiative and currently serves as the Principal Investigator for the California School Discipline Study, a five-year inter-disciplinary qualitative study of community and educator efforts to challenge punitive school discipline in California. Her research has been published in the American Educational Research Journal and the Stanford Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Journal. She is a contributing author to Restorative Justice in Education: Transforming Teaching and Learning Through the Disciplines (2021).


Dr. Lawrence (Torry) Winn, J.D., M.Div., Ph.D.
Co-Founder & Co-Director, TJE Center Unit
School of Education, UC Davis

Lawrence “Torry” Winn (Ph.D. Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, MDiv Princeton, JD Vanderbilt University Law School, and BA University of California, Berkeley) is an Assistant Professor of Teaching in Education in the School of Education at the University of California, Davis and the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Transformative Justice in Education (TJE) Center. His program of research examines race, critical consciousness and social capital in out-of-school learning spaces and transformative justice pedagogy and practice within schools. A trained ethnographer, Dr. Winn is interested in the relationship and dynamics between historically marginalized communities of color (BI-POC) and schools, non-profits, and government entities such as police, elected officials, etc. With over two decades of experience in the non-profit sector, including work with Casey Family Programs and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Dr. Winn was a member of the Race to Equity Team (R2E), which published the Race to Equity Report, a comprehensive study on racial disparities in education, criminal justice, workforce and healthcare for Black and White families in Dane County, Wisconsin. He is the co-author of articles that have appeared in Theory into Practice, Race and Social Problems and Adolescent Research Review and co-editor of the book Restorative Justice in Education: Transforming Teaching and Learning Through the Disciplines (2021).