What are some factors that should be addressed when implementing the RTI approach?
Page 16: Parent-School Partnerships
Parent-school partnerships are essential to improving educational outcomes for all students. In order to establish good parent-school partnerships, school personnel need to remember rules of basic courtesy when communicating with all parents, taking into consideration different cultural, linguistic, educational, economic, and racial backgrounds. The box below provides some suggestions regarding communicating with parents.
Parent Involvement in the RTI Approach
When implementing the RTI approach, it is critical for schools to promote parental participation in the process. Opportunities for such participation include:
- Involving parents in the RTI planning stages and continuing to include them throughout the process
- Sharing data with parents and involving them in instructional decisions about their child
- Promoting trust by using data to support instructional decisions
- Making instructional guidelines explicit and available for parents
- Encouraging parents to become classroom volunteers
Mr. Irwin and the planning team at Mayflower Elementary create a list of ways to involve parents in their children’s education. School personnel will use these methods to promote a strong parent-school partnership.
Methods to Promote Parent-School Partnerships
- Include a parent on the planning team.
- Mail an informational letter to parents about RTI at the beginning of the school year.
- Schedule question-and-answer sessions about RTI with parents.
- Present information at a PTA meeting.
- Post the RTI guidelines on the Mayflower Elementary Website, and develop handouts for parents.
- Invite parents to meet with teachers so that they can view their children’s data and discuss instructional decisions.
Some schools find it a challenge to encourage parents to participate in their children’s education.
Several years ago, the Pella Community School District and members of local organizations began collaborating to inform parents of the importance of early literacy activities. As a result of their work, parents now can attend educational seminars, and they can check out specially prepared literacy kits from the public library. In addition, the school district and community members created the Literacy Army, made up of 150 trained volunteers (including parents). As members of the Literacy Army, parents provide reading assistance to individuals and small groups of students, including students receiving Tier 2 targeted intervention. Parents also assist students in classrooms with literacy activities and help conduct universal screenings. This community partnership has resulted in greater parent participation and cooperation in the school.
For Your Information
As school staff begin to think about how to involve parents in the RTI process, they may want to consider the following questions posed by a report prepared by the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (2005):
- “What provisions are in place for including parents in state and local planning, if an RTI approach is being considered?”
- “What provisions ensure that parents will be involved in all phases of RTI?”
- “What written materials inform parents of their right to refer their child at any time for a special education evaluation as guaranteed under IDEA 2004?”
- “What written materials inform parents of the criteria for determining eligibility under IDEA 2004 and the role of RTI data in making that determination?”