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Sean Martinson

RtI is something that is being talked about in our region as well. From what I've heard you've hit it on the head with time commitments and expectations.

You mention "It takes a lot of work to implement systems which assist the RtI method" and that we need to "develop a strong sense of buy-in". Is there anything you can share to these two points that was talked about at the conference you attended?

Rob Jacobs

RtI is in development in my district, but my school spearheading the way by implementing RtI now. Really it's about using the best teaching practices in the classroom and when necessary moving through a continuum of responses when that is not enough.

RtI is based on the following core principles:

• We can effectively teach all children.
• Intervene early.
• Use a multi-tier model of service delivery.
• Use a problem-solving method to make decisions within a multi-tier model.
• Use research-based, scientifically validated interventions/instruction to the extent
• Monitor student progress to inform instruction.
• Use data to make decisions.
• Use assessments for three different purposes: (1) screening applied to all
children to identify those who are not making progress at expected rates; (2)
diagnostics to determine what children can and cannot do in important academic
and behavioral domains; and (3) progress monitoring to determine if academic or
behavioral interventions are producing desired effects.

Three key components of RtI are:

• High-quality instruction/intervention, which is defined as instruction or
intervention matched to student need that has been demonstrated through
scientific research and practice to produce high learning rates for most students.
Individual response is assessed in RtI and modifications to instruction/
intervention or goals are made depending on results with individual students.

• Learning rate and level of performance are the primary sources of information
used in ongoing decision making. Learning rate refers to a student’s growth in
achievement or behavior competencies over time compared to prior levels of
performance and peer growth rates. Level of performance refers to a student’s
relative standing on some dimension of achievement/performance compared to
expected performance (either criterion- or norm-referenced). Decisions about the
use of more or less intense interventions are made using information on learning
rate and level. More intense interventions may occur in general education
classrooms or pull-out programs supported by general, compensatory or special
education funding.

• Important educational decisions about intensity and likely duration of
interventions are based on individual student response to instruction across
multiple tiers of intervention. Decisions about the necessity of more intense
interventions, including eligibility for special education, exit from special
education or other services, are informed by data on learning rate and level.

This is the future of education in California and I would expect most states to follow.

Matt Hillmann

Thanks for the feedback!

Sean - my understanding is the work comes in setting the systems and the formal multi-tier intervention systems. There are problem-solving teams which provide specific intervention recommendations. Simply getting the quality professional development at each of the three tiers are important. The buy-in is important, according to the folks at the conference, because classroom teachers are on the front lines of delivering some of the interventions. As you know, any individual intervention takes more work and careful monitoring. If we don't have buy-in, some question the effectiveness of interventions and data collection. Parent understanding will be key because this could be the first step towards qualifying for special education. Some parents, especially at primary grades, get very concerned when you begin to assert their child needs special assistance to be successful in school.

Rob -

Thank you for your comprehensive outline of RtI in your school. Your post differentiates those of us just getting into this versus those who are living it! I appreciate you taking the time to be involved in the conversation. Are you using data collection software? How are you keeping track of intervention success/failure?

Rob Jacobs


Right now we are exploring different options ranging from keeping the data local on a spreadsheet to setting up data fields and reports in Data Director (the data service my district contracts with). This is a crucial element and needs to be carefully thought out.

Mike Dawson


My school is moving in this direction and asking a lot of the right questions. Over the past four years our system has broken down, but now that teachers are crafting the process the “buy-in” is much better and shows promise for sustained success.

How are your teachers’ harnessing the information? Did they, you or a team create a folder system to collect the data (work samples, scores, etc.) How does a student move from tier to tier? Is their a review team at each tier? Can you talk a little about your process? Thanks for your leadership.

Ann Casey

It is great to see people discussing RTI. I wanted to mention a resource that is available in MN schools: MN RTI Center hosted by the St. Croix River Education District and funded by the Legislature. The Center is doing 9 introductory sessions on RTI in Nov. at locations around the state. We also will be coaching approximately 40 schools in the implementation process. For information on the seminars and coaching please visit the Center website at: www.scred.k12.mn.us/RTI/RTIcontact.htm.

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