Now is the Time to Get Serious!

It is the best of times… maybe. It is the worst of times… maybe. It is a wrenching time… absolutely! It is a time of budget shortfalls and stimulus money and 401Ks turning into 101Ks. It is a time to get serious.

The CEO of General Electric recently said that this economic crisis is not an adjustment. He said that this crisis is a reset! The problem is that we do not know what all of this is resetting to!

It is my deep conviction that times of great ambiguity demand bold action. The bold action we need to make Response to Intervention (RtI) work to improve outcomes for all students is simple to say and tough to do. Let’s commit ourselves to data-based decision making, 100% of the time. If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, STOP!


Textbook sales have increased exponentially in the last 30 years. What has happened to achievement? Achievement has NOT increased. Why?

Of course there are many reasons. However, I believe a major reason has to do with what curricula and interventions we have chosen and how we have chosen to use them. We have purchased materials based on which company gives us the most free stuff rather than based on which materials have a proven track record of working with our target students. We have not demanded that even proven materials be used with fidelity.

If we are going to be serious with RtI, we must boldly dedicate ourselves to choosing materials with external validation that they work with our students. NEVER purchase materials because of the amount of free stuff you get. NEVER accept validation prepared internally by any publisher.

Then, we must demand of ourselves that we implement these investments with fidelity. Proven practice will not have the predicted success unless it is implemented in the spirit in which it was hatched.

The student achievement gap can be solved only when the adult gap between what we know and what we do is reduced to zero. We can do this. It is a matter of will, not skill.

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Read what others had to say...

Mindy, Sorry for this deep delay. I think the next step is identification of standard protocols for various student problems districtwide.

I heard you speak in Newport News for the Virginia DOE. This is our first year as a pilot school and we have focused on our core instruction and building in an intervention/enrichment block for all students in our school. We are JK-5 school with around 600 kids. I am the AP and am not sure about the management/scheduling of the intervention time. This year the teachers do their own interventions with support of another teacher in their classroom. Next year we want to do more of the true tiered intervention based on specific skill need and this will require some shuffling of students.