How can Mr. Brewster and the other school professionals at Rosa Parks Elementary School prepare to implement RTI?
Page 1: Preliminary and Ongoing Professional Development
For response to intervention (RTI) to be implemented successfully in schools, a great deal of professional development and ongoing support for teachers and other staff members must first take place. This professional development can be offered through summer institutes, after-school trainings, or in-service workshops. Ongoing professional support might take the form of regularly scheduled opportunities for teachers to meet—often as a grade-level team—and review RTI implementation issues and students’ instructional needs. Depending on the available school resources, teachers might also receive ongoing support from an RTI coach.
Such professional development and support is critical to the successful implementation of the RTI approach. At a minimum, general education teachers need to receive training on the following:
- Administering universal screening measures
- Employing frequent progress monitoring
- Implementing high-quality reading instruction in Tier 1 and, possibly, Tier 2
- Collaborating with intervention providers in Tiers 2 and 3
- Applying decision-making rules and procedures
Because the RTI approach is conceptually different from the traditional IQ-achievement discrepancy model for identifying students with learning disabilities, its successful implementation requires intensive training, ongoing support, and a restructuring of certain school roles. For this reason, it often takes several years to attain the desired student outcomes. Here is how the RTI process has unfolded at Rosa Parks so far:
|Year||RTI Implementation Process|
|Year 1||The S-Team gathers information on the various options for early intervening services and identification of learning disabilities. The faculty and staff choose to implement the standard protocol approach to RTI.|
|Year 2||The first-grade teachers receive extensive training over the summer on all components of RTI. Beginning in the fall, they pilot the RTI approach to identify and support struggling readers. The rest of the teachers at Rosa Parks receive training on only one component—progress monitoring—during the fall and begin monitoring students’ progress in their classrooms in the spring.|
|Year 3||The first-grade teachers continue RTI implementation. The second-grade teachers receive extensive training over the summer on all components of RTI and begin RTI implementation in reading. The rest of the teachers continue to use progress monitoring.|
As this chart explains, the second-grade teachers at Rosa Parks Elementary first received training on progress monitoring (with further trainings to follow) rather than on all features of the RTI approach simultaneously. They began this process last fall (Year 2) with a series of after-school professional development sessions on progress monitoring. Mr. Brewster and his colleagues then spent the spring semester implementing progress monitoring in the classroom to keep track of their students’ progress in reading. They met frequently as a team to discuss student performance. When data indicated that students were struggling, the team brainstormed possible instructional adaptations for teachers to try in the classroom. This process helped the teachers to recognize the importance of frequent progress monitoring as well as its value for guiding instruction.
The semester’s practice with progress monitoring allowed the second-grade teachers to become familiar with:
- Scheduling a time to conduct progress monitoring
- Administering probes
- Graphing and evaluating data
- Recognizing data trends
- Making data-driven decisions
When school had ended, Mr. Brewster and the other second-grade teachers attended two week-long summer institutes. These addressed key aspects of the RTI process, including high-quality reading instruction and assessment. The agenda below details the topics covered during each institute.
Summer Institutes Agenda
In addition to receiving summer training, the second-grade team will meet once a month, when the school year begins, to ensure effective RTI implementation. Some months, they will receive continuing professional development, which includes a booster session that reviews the skills and information from the summer institutes. Other months, they will meet to look over their students’ progress monitoring data and to discuss tier placement decisions for struggling students. For those students who are still experiencing difficulty but do not warrant Tier 2 intervention, they will discuss adaptations that could be implemented in the general education classroom. In addition, the RTI coach will meet regularly on an individual basis with team members to discuss and observe implementation procedures and instructional techniques, to offer constructive feedback, and to assist with tier placement decisions.