RTI Blog

Every week we will have a new editorial from an experienced implementer and/or researcher who will be posting commentary about common, emerging, or controversial issues regarding RTI. Readers are invited to post their reactions and thoughts.

MTSS/RTI: The Power to Transform Schools and Districts
While Response to Intervention (RTI) may have stemmed from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as an alternative to the discrepancy model for identifying students with learning disabilities, many schools and districts across the country have realized that when they pair RTI with a Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS), the result is a reform methodology that not only provides better supports for students who struggle academically, but improves instruction and outcomes for every student. MTSS provides consistent methods to identify students who struggle, target tiered instruction and intervention supports, determine progress, and support professional learning efforts of staff. RTI provides a consistent methodology for evaluating the effectiveness and success of that system of supports. Both MTSS and RTI are needed to ensure the success of every student in a school or district.
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A Middle School Principal’s Perspective: Challenges to Scheduling a Multi-Tier System of Supports
Before discussing scheduling challenges, I should mention an intervention that we have in place. It will come in handy to understand as I progress through this blog entry. You may remember from my last blog post that we offer a “split” Language Arts program in our 6th and 7th grade classes. All students in these grades get both a Literature and Writing class. I described our intervention course for students who need help in Literature, but neglected to do so for Writing.
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Progress Monitoring: Teacher and Student Reflections for Problem-Solving
The practice of monitoring student progress for instructional decision making is an essential component of a tiered system of support. The purpose of progress monitoring is to have feedback systems so we know when students are learning and demonstrating essential skills and when we need to plan differently to meet their needs.

This concept was right in line with a recent endeavor of mine. I purchased a Fitbit – one of those bracelets that tracks my activity throughout the day. I can synch effortlessly with my iPhone, iPad, or through my computer. Instant feedback! I have learned very quickly that the daily monitoring, without a concentrated focus on changing my exercise habits, only makes my graph look good by chance (i.e., those days I happened to have a schedule that took me to many buildings and classrooms). For several weeks I was hoping that a daily look at the data would motivate me to get my routine going more consistently. It hasn’t. It will happen. As I’ve humbled myself to the point of getting serious, I find myself reflecting on the questions that I must answer in order to develop a plan that has a chance of working. I’m fortunate that my desire for a more fit and healthy lifestyle is one of preference and not a medical must.
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Scheduling Challenges: Tiered Math Intervention
In a previous blog I discussed sample scheduling models for tiered reading intervention that provided structured support for students who were not yet proficient in reading while protecting essential Tier 1 core instructional time. This month I would like to turn my attention to scheduling models that provide the same level of tiered intervention for students non-proficient mathematics. Tiered math intervention scheduling creates challenges that differ from those in reading. While both the guided reading group and the reading workshop models have built-in time for tiered reading interventions, the math instructional block is shorter and scheduling interventions without removing students from Tier 1 core instruction is much more challenging.
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A Middle School Principal’s Perspective: A Multi-Tier System of Supports for Reading and Literature
Most people familiar with any sort of Response to Intervention (RTI) process likely think of it as a reading intervention. While it has branched out into other areas such as Math, most of the success that I have seen has been with helping struggling readers. In previous posts I have discussed the framework we established when I worked at my previous school in order to address the large number of students who were not achieving proficiency in our state reading assessments(around 30-35% non-proficient). In my current school, that percentage is significantly lower (less than 10%), which makes creating and sustaining the multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) an entirely different challenge.
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See all entries in the archive.