RTI Implementation

August 28, 2012, The IRIS Center

Melissa Brock, a literacy coach at Kirkpatrick Elementary Enhanced Option School in Nashville, Tennessee, discusses issues related to her school’s implementation of response-to-intervention (time: 7:19).

Questions asked of Melissa Brock in this audio:

  1. Ms. Brock, your school does something interesting when scheduling time for intervention. Can you briefly describe what your school does?
  2. Can you discuss communication with students, teachers, and parents?
  3. Progress monitoring is such an important component of RTI. Can you describe how progress monitoring measures are administered and how the data are evaluated?
  4. What is the principal’s role in RTI?

Melissa Brock

Melissa Brock, Literacy coach
Kirkpatrick Elementary Enhanced Option School
Nashville, TN

Transcript: Melissa Brock

Melissa Brock, a literacy coach at Kirkpatrick Elementary Enhanced Option School in Nashville, Tennessee, discusses issues related to her school’s implementation of response-to-intervention (time: 7:19).

Narrator: This podcast is brought to you by the IRIS Center, a national center funded by the Office of Special Education Programs.

RTI: One school’s approach. Melissa Brock, a literacy coach at Kirkpatrick Elementary Enhanced Option School in Nashville, Tennessee, discusses issues related to her school’s implementation of response-to-intervention.

Narrator: Ms. Brock, your school does something interesting when scheduling time for intervention. Can you briefly describe what your school does?

One of the things that we’re doing at our school is we have all of our students at a given grade level go to “intervention” at the same time. So some of those kids may be at-risk or identified as some-risk, and they are going for intervention to get them up to where they need to be. We also have students who go into intervention who are considered at benchmark, but we put them in a group where they can continue learning and keep building their skills. Even though we don’t monitor them as often, these benchmark students, we still monitor them.

Narrator: Can you discuss communication with students, teachers, and parents?

One thing that we really communicate in every tier is that every minute counts. And that has helped not only our teachers but our students to stay on track, because we have so much that we are trying to cover. We provide a rationale and make the objectives explicit, so in each component that we cover in the 90 minutes we make sure that the students are aware of why they are learning that skill. We communicate what the purpose of the intervention is academically. Are they there to work on fluency, are they there to work on decoding, are they there to learn their letters? And that would depend on the age.

We have parent meetings once a month. One of our meetings was devoted to discussing the intervention: the program that we’re using and who goes to it and what they do in it. We also had a representative teacher from each grade level that was available to answer questions about students’ placement. It’s also documented on their report cards if they are in an intervention. We put it on there and then we provide reports during parent/ teacher conferences and then also S-Teams. In terms of follow up, we will have another meeting devoted to progress monitoring.

Narrator: Progress monitoring is such an important component of RTI. Can you describe how progress-monitoring measures are administered and how the data are evaluated?

We have an assessment team who does the benchmark assessment in Fall, Winter, and Spring, but our classroom teachers do the progress monitoring. And we have a rotation system where every Wednesday we do progress monitoring, and we have the kids divided up so that they do about six or seven kids per Wednesday.

Students who show up as at-risk or some-risk on the benchmark assessment, we progress monitor them every two weeks. The students who are at benchmark—and this is something new that we’ve implemented—we progress monitor them once a month, whereas before we were just doing them at the benchmark times. But we were finding that we were losing some of them. So we need to keep on top of how they are progressing as much as the other students, and that has been really helpful. We would see lots of kids who were at benchmark end up needing intervention, whereas now we can catch it early and make decisions of whether to put those kids in intervention or just monitor them more frequently and make adjustments in the Tier 1. The benchmark data is turned into me, and I enter it into the computer and that provides a good way for the teachers to reflect on how the kids are doing, and they will jot notes to me about a students’ progress in class. Some of them are serving their own children in intervention. Some of them, by doing the progress monitoring, will say is this child really placed correctly? Do we need to look at this? Because we have on most students at least four points of data. We feel like now we can see more of a pattern, so we’re going to sit down and look at what the data means and look at how the kids are responding to classroom instruction and to the intervention. And, for those kids who are not responding specifically to the intervention, we’re going to look at what they need to do during that intervention time and what we need to do to get them there and then look at alternative groupings within Tier 1. Can they pull students who are all struggling with the same thing into a group and focus on that during the ninety minutes during Tier 1 to give them that extra support so that the intervention is more effective? We have an intervention team as well, and they’ll be coming to that meeting, too. We’re going to sit down with them and have them reflect on what’s going on in intervention and what they need to do to move specific students to where they need to be.

Narrator: What is the principal’s role in RTI?

I think that principals need to have a really clear understanding of what is supposed to occur in each tier, and professional development is a priority. People have to be trained in not only providing these interventions but also looking at the data and making decisions based on the data because there’s so many different elements to it. There’s the scheduling aspect of it, which is very complicated, then once you get the scheduling down there’s what’s actually happening during the schedule. What are you accomplishing during that time? And then the data collection: What does the data say about what’s occurring and how can you use it to keep the cycle going? We found that it is a machine here, and if one part of it falls down you run the risk of it getting off track. So it’s a constant maneuvering of keeping things together, and the principal is key in that, making sure that people are maintaining focus on what it is. It’s difficult for classroom teachers; they perceive it as a lot more responsibility because now they’re responsible for this intervention piece as well. And the principal can really help to communicate the benefits of doing this.

Narrator: Thank you for listening to this episode of the IRIS Center podcast. For more information about the IRIS Center and its resources, visit us at www.iriscenter.com [https://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/].

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