RTI Action Network

Communities of Practice in RTI

By: Dawn Miller, Ph.D.Published: September 28, 2010
Topics: Implementation Planning and Evaluation, Leadership, Professional Development

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Those involved in RtI implementation realize that RtI is a set of practices that operate within a problem-solving or school improvement framework. As such, RtI has afforded us an opportunity to make school improvement a more dynamic and responsive process. Initially, "implementation of RtI" will involve seeing all the practices put into motion in an organized and systematic manner. From there on out, the system must rely on the data, structures (e.g., grade level data reviews, progress monitoring reviews) and the research to impact subsequent decisions regarding practices. A powerful and supportive complement to the staff development system we have created has been the use of regional Communities of Practices (CoP).

In general, a Community of Practice is created by a group of people who share a common interest and value the process of sharing experiences and expertise for the overall benefit and growth of group members. Approximately five years ago, Jodi Henderson started the first RtI-CoP for school psychologists in Kansas. This has been followed by the creation of a RtI-CoP for principals and a newly developing RtI-CoP for reading specialists. This blog will focus on benefits of a RtI-CoP, suggestions for getting started, and ideas to consider moving forward.

Benefits of a RtI-CoP

The benefits of a RtI-CoP have been rich and varied in Kansas. Some of the key benefits experienced to date include providing an opportunity for:

Getting Started

All that is necessary to start a RtI-CoP is a group of willing and able participants! Some considerations should include:

Ideas for the Group

My experience with RtI-CoP's is that generating topic ideas for the group has never been a problem. Some discussion-starters we have used that received excellent feedback include:


Generate the next agenda at the conclusion of each meeting. This allows the focus to stay current and relevant. After selecting the topic, brainstorm ideas of what will be discussed and shared so members can all come prepared.

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