What other considerations should Mr. Brewster and the other school professionals be aware of when implementing RTI?
Page 10: Communicating with Students, School Personnel, and Parents
To implement RTI, teachers and school leaders must effectively communicate with students, with each other, and with parents. This is especially true when universal screening identifies potentially struggling readers in Tier 1 and when Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention is being considered.
Communicating with Students
Teachers need to communicate at a developmentally appropriate level with students about instruction, interventions, and assessments (i.e., universal screening, progress monitoring) that will be carried out throughout the RTI process. Following are some ideas for communicating with students:
- Use language that communicates the flexibility and the inclusiveness of the RTI process, rather than talking to the students about placing them in an intervention (e.g., Tier 2).
- Allow students to graph their own progress monitoring data, and meet with students individually on a regular basis to discuss their progress.
- Meet with students individually to discuss the instruction that they are receiving.
Melissa Brock describes her school’s process for communicating with students about their performance by using progress monitoring data (time: 0:35).
Kirkpatrick Elementary Enhanced Option School Nashville, TN
Communicating with School Personnel
Communication among school personnel is crucial to the successful implementation of the RTI approach. This communication can occur in a variety of ways, including regularly scheduled grade-level team meetings to discuss students’ educational needs and regularly scheduled meetings between the general education teacher and the school personnel providing supplemental intervention. For example, at Rosa Parks, Mr. Brewster meets briefly once a week with Ms. Washington and separately with Ms. Jacobs, the professionals providing Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention, to discuss his students’ instructional needs and progress. Regardless of the school’s preferred method of communication concerning students’ educational needs and progress, teachers must collaborate with the Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention providers to:
- Align the intervention with the core curriculum used in Tier 1
- Review a student’s progress by examining progress monitoring data
- Make decisions about a student’s instructional needs
- Make tier placement decisions based on the progress monitoring data
Keep in Mind
The general education teacher should share responsibility for the instructional planning and the decision-making process for all of his or her students. Although someone else may provide Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention, the general education teacher still maintains primary responsibility for his or her students’ instruction.
Communicating with Parents
The Rosa Parks staff understands the importance of communicating with parents and of gaining their support in the education of their children. As the teachers at Rosa Parks implement the RTI approach, parents also need to understand the process and its impact on the instructional decisions made about their children. More specifically, they need to be informed about:
- Core instruction
- Universal screening and progress monitoring
Ideally, the school should establish communication with the parents at the beginning of the school year to explain the RTI process and to inform them of the universal screening. Once the screenings have been completed, the teacher should inform all parents of their child’s performance on the universal screening. If a student is identified as potentially struggling in reading, the teacher should indicate to the parents that their child’s progress will be monitored.
This understanding and involvement is especially important when a student is identified as having some additional need that will be met through an intervention (e.g., Tier 2). When meeting with parents, a teacher should focus on specific student needs and interpret student’s universal screening and progress monitoring data for them. Because these data are integral to current and future instruction, they:
- Provide a point of reference for the discussion between the teacher and parents
- Present a more objective picture of the student’s performance
For example, Mr. Brewster has kept Laney’s parents informed about her progress since her universal screening. As soon as he determines that Laney may benefit from the additional support provided in Tier 2, he notifies her parents about the proposed instructional change and requests a conference.
Date: November 1
School: Rosa Parks Elementary School
RE: Laney Kasper
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Kasper:
At the beginning of the school year, each student in the second grade at Rosa Parks Elementary was given a short reading test to determine his or her reading ability. As you know, Laney’s scores indicated that she might be struggling in reading. As we discussed, her progress in reading has been monitored once a week for the past eight weeks. Although she is receiving 90 minutes of reading instruction each day, Laney still has not shown enough improvement. The second-grade team and the reading coach feel that Laney would benefit from an additional 30 minutes of daily reading instruction provided by the reading specialist. I would like to schedule a meeting to discuss the suggested instruction, intervention, and assessments. We would like to begin the extra instruction next week. Please check the times you are available to meet. If you are unavailable to meet at any of these times, please contact me at 555-3443 to schedule a more convenient time.
|_ Tuesday morning 7:00 am – 8:00 am
_ Tuesday afternoon 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
_ Wednesday morning 7:00 am – 8:00 am
_ Wednesday midday 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
_ Wednesday afternoon 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
_ Thursday morning 7:00 am – 8:00 am
_ Thursday afternoon 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
_ Friday morning 7:00 am – 8:00 am
_ Friday midday 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
During this meeting, he will describe Laney’s instructional needs and discuss the instruction, interventions, and assessments she will receive. Click on the movie below to see how Mr. Brewster conducts the parent meeting (time: 2:42).
Keep in Mind
Due process procedures, as defined by special education law, need to be considered when determining the appropriate time to notify parents of changes to their child’s instruction.
Listen as Doug and Lynn Fuchs discuss when to inform parents about the RTI process (time: 0:30).
Doug Fuchs, PhD and Lynn Fuchs, PhD
Nicholas Hobbs Co-Chairs of Special Education and Human Development
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN