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RTI Implementation in Texas: Challenges and Success TEDA 2011 Edward K. Schultz, Ph. D. , Midwestern State University
Overview Elementary and Secondary Differences Challenges Questions/Discussion
Critical Elements Implications Understanding the RTI Model: Since the instructional focus is much broader at the secondary level, (e. g. , chemistry, biology, geometry, band), obtaining universal understanding (and buy-in) will have to address the specialized areas of instructions. Critical to success, worth spending time on. Staff need to be clearly informed (and Understand) the role they will play with Rt. I. Purpose (s) of RTI needs clear definition Rt. I: Key Differences-Elementary and Secondary
Critical Elements Implications Universal Screenings: By secondary school most students who struggle to learn are already identified “at-risk. ” In addition, few screening instruments have been validated at the secondary level. Systematically organize and analyze existing data to identify and group students. Use multiple indicators (e. g. , end of years scores, grades, etc. ) to determine status. Rt. I: Key Differences-Elementary and Secondary
Critical Elements Implications Interventions and Instruction: Significant variance in the ability and academic levels of secondary students will change the delivery and access to supplemental instruction/intervention, In addition, many secondary students lack basic academic skills (e. g. , decoding) and secondary teachers this expertise. Diagnostic assessments will be of greater importance. Self-directed instruction and self-regulated strategies are emphasized. Intervention and assessment teams may be worth considering by blending and braiding services. Rt. I: Key Differences-Elementary and Secondary
Critical Elements Implications Adolescent Development: A multitude of issues confront secondary school including: typical development into adulthood, graduation and career, longer school history (sometimes of failure), motivation, etc. Secondary students need to be involved in every phase of RTI as it pertains to them. Intervention periods need to be considered in the context of graduation requirements. Problem solving teams will have to address other factors other than poor academic skills (motivation, peer pressure, athletics (Football), extracurricular. Rt. I: Key Differences-Elementary and Secondary
Rt. I: Drop-Out Prevention? “Currently, there is not an extensive menu of proven strategies and interventions tailored for key dropout prevention initiatives most appropriate for various risk factors at differing stages across the education pipeline. However, there a few proven dropout prevention programs featuring key components, such as (p. 2): Source: National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (2007) Authors Louise Kennelly and Maggie Monrad.
Drop-Out Report Rt. I • attendance and behavior monitors, • tutoring and counseling, • engaging catch-up courses, • benchmarking, • progress monitoring, • tiered interventions, • a focus on equal access to rigorous coursework and high expectations, Yes Yes Rt. I: Drop-Out Prevention?
Drop-Out Report • establishment of small learning communities for greater personalization, • Ninth Grade Academies, • homerooms, • career/college awareness, • community engagement, and • eighth-to-ninth grade transition programs. Rt. I Does Rt. I Conflict? How could Rt. I enhance these practices? How can Rt. I be integrated? Rt. I: Drop-Out Prevention?
Why Rt. I at the Secondary Level? To provide continuity of services from the elementary level through middle and high school; Despite Rt. I services in elementary, some secondary students will continue to struggle; Special education is not a viable option for all students who struggle; Rt. I offers options within the regular curriculum. Graduation requirements (state assessments)
What We Know: Rt. I at the secondary level will look different than Rt. I at the elementary level; Complexity of the secondary organization (scheduling); Urgency as student approaches graduation; Adolescents do not want to be “singled out”; Instruction shifts from learning basic skills to learning content and higher order thinking skills; Research literature offers few strategies or models of implementing Rt. I in secondary settings. --(NASP Communique, Feb. 2007)
4 Myths to Combat: Myth #1: It is fruitless to spend time and money on struggling adolescents because they have passed the point at which instruction or intervention can make a real difference. Myth #2: Instruction that works with young children will be equally effective for older students. Myth #3: Literacy is not the job of secondary educators. Myth #4: Little can be done for students who are not motivated to engage in learning. --Rt. I Action Network
7 “Lessons Learned” from District-Wide RTI Training #1: Change is much more difficult than may be realized initially; the importance of campus preparation cannot be overemphasized. Trust Strong, healthy climate Empowered teachers Safety to risk—psychological safety net
#2: The campus principal must be proactive, enthusiastic, and persistent. Time commitment Limit competing initiatives 3 -5 years to implement
#3 Teachers must have the necessary resources for successful implementation of Rt. I. Training Time Tools Support Strong regular education curriculum
#4 Time must be provided Dedicated time for small group interventions A few minutes off each period can create a “flex period. ” Schedule mid-morning or lunchtime—not after school. Intervention time can be scheduled as an elective class (be cognizant of credit necessary to graduate).
#5 Students in need of intervention must be carefully screened and selected. Diagnostic Assessment helps guides instruction Informal Assessments (error analysis on state standard measures, by objective). Identified by universal screener(s) using multiple indicators Criteria for selection: “I can’t” vs “I won’t” ◦ Not refusal to do homework ◦ Not excessive absences
#6: Intervention time is not tutorial time, it is not TAKS worksheet time, it is not homework assistance time. Content based measurements and progress monitoring define the focus of interventions. Focus on basic skills will lead to improvement in grades and state assessment scores.
#7: Interventionists must be carefully selected. Content teachers ◦ Models of scheduling to maximize personnel: 1: content teachers as interventionists; study hall 2: content teachers as interventionists; elective classes 3: Flex period at lunch. Content teachers as interventionists; longer lunch, study hall, sports time 4: content teachers as interventionists. One content teacher in each area serves all students in study halls.
References Owen, J. C. & Schultz, E. K. (2010). Response to intervention: A secondary administrator’s perspective. Texas Study of Secondary Education, Spring 2010, 18 -20. Schultz, E. K. (2009). Response to Intervention for School Leaders, Attainment Publishing, Verona, WI.