Guide for Parents

What is Response to Intervention?
The purpose of RTI is to create a sustained multi-tiered system of support to ensure access to high quality instruction to enhance student success. It is a framework to guide instruction for all students and all educators.

For even more information, visit:
http://opi.mt.gov/Programs/SchoolPrograms/RTI/

The Parent’s Role
Similar to other aspects of your child’s school experience, your role in RTI is important. This guide will give you the basic information about the various aspects of RTI and some questions to assist you in talking to your child’s teacher(s).

At any time, parents have the right to request a formal evaluation to determine if their child is eligible for Special Education Services. It is important to note that RTI is not a replacement for the Special Education evaluation process.


School-Wide Screening (Universal Screening)
All schools use some form of screening (testing) to monitor the progress of students, however the frequency and timing of this screening will vary by district. There are several ways to screen and identify which students are “at risk” and may be in need of intervention or extra support. It is a good idea to keep a record of your child’s scores, in order to compare their progress with future screenings.

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT SCHOOL-WIDE SCREENING:

o     How does my child’s school screen students?

o     How often does this screening occur?

o     What is measured by the screening?

o     How do my child’s scores compare with other children who are at the same grade/age level?

o     Did any of the screenings show that my child needs help?

o     If your child needs help, than ask: In what areas does my child need help? What kind of help is needed? What intervention or supports are planned for my child?


Tiered Instruction
RTI is generally described as a three-tier model with its first or foundational tier being preventative and proactive research-based education aimed at ALL students. The second tier targets a smaller group of students with supplemental work and targeted interventions to help them achieve academic success and the third tier provides students who need it with intensive interventions to support their more intensive learning needs.

*The percentages of students represented in this model is a general guideline but is not reflected in all schools.



QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT TIERED INSTRUCTION:

o  How many tiers does this school use?

o  What methods and materials are being used?

o  Who determines which tier my child will be on?



Tier 1 (Primary Intervention)
This level is the general education classroom with the primary teacher. 80% of students are able to be successful at this level, without further support. Students who are “at risk” may receive supplemental instruction or interventions. Students not showing adequate progress are moved to Tier 2.

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT TIER 1 INSTRUCTION:

o  What are my child’s specific strengths and weaknesses?

o  Is my child receiving any interventions or supports?

o  What methods and materials are being used?

o  Who is teaching my child?

o  How is my child’s progress monitored? How often is my child’s progress monitored?

o  How are decisions made about changes to supports or interventions in Tier 1 instruction?

o  How are parents notified of any changes in their child’s program?


Tier 2 (Secondary Intervention)
This level is for students who are not making adequate progress in Tier 1. They receive increased support and research based interventions. Instruction is often in small groups. Their progress is monitored frequently. Students not showing adequate progress are moved to Tier 3.

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT TIER 2:

o  How is Tier 2 different from Tier 1?

o  What factors determine that a student might benefit from Tier 2 instruction? Who is involved in that decision?

o  Who is teaching my child?

o  What interventions are being used for my child in Tier 2?

o  How many students are in my child’s Tier 2 group?

o  How frequently does my child receive Tier 2 instruction? How many minutes each day does my child receive Tier 2 instruction?

o  How is progress monitored?

o  How frequently is progress monitored?

o  How are decisions made about changes to supports or interventions in Tier 2 instruction?

o  How are parents notified of any changes in their child’s program?


TIER 3 (Tertiary Intervention)
This level is for students who are not making adequate progress in Tier 2. At this level, students receive more intensive and often individualized instruction. Their progress is monitored frequently.

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT TIER 3:

o  How is Tier 3 different from Tier 2?

o  What factors determine that a student might benefit from Tier 3 instruction? Who is involved in that decision?

o  Who is teaching my child?

o  What interventions are being used for my child in Tier 2?

o  How frequently does my child receive Tier 3 instruction? How many minutes each day does my child receive Tier 3 instruction?

o  How is progress monitored?

o  How frequently is progress monitored?

o  At what point do teachers consider a different intervention?

o  How are parents notified of any changes in their child’s program?


Progress Monitoring
This research based practice is used to frequently assess student’s progress. It also evaluates the effectiveness of the supports or interventions being used.

It is a good idea to ask for a copy of the progress monitoring charts or reports, to allow you to follow your child’s progress.

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT PROGRESS MONITORING:

o  How is my child’s progress monitored? (Charting, computer program, more testing, etc…)

o  What is being measured?

o  How often is my child’s progress monitored?

o  Is my child making progress because of the extra support or interventions?

o  If my child is not making progress, then how long will the school wait before making a change in the intervention or moving my child to a different tier?

o  How are parents notified of any changes in their child’s program?


High Quality, Research-Based Instruction and Interventions:
Schools that are using RTI need to use teaching methods and materials that are of high quality and are research based. Research based means that they have been shown, by research, to be effective. The goal is to ensure that the methods and materials being used to teach students have been shown to be successful.

Intervention refers to using specific methods and/or materials to address a specific problem. There are many research based programs, interventions and methods available to schools. An important part of RTI is the choice of appropriate materials and methods.

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT HIGH QUALITY, RESEARCH BASED INSTRUCTION AND INTERVENTIONS:

o  What materials and methods of instruction are used in my child’s classroom?

o  Is it research based? How does the school know?

o  Is my child receiving additional help?

o  If your child is receiving help, than ask: Who is teaching my child? Do the teachers and staff have adequate training?


Collaboration Among School Staff Members:
The fact that school staff members have an increase in their collaboration (or working together) is one of the positive outcomes from the implementation of RTI. In practical terms, this means the principal, the regular education teachers, the special education teachers, the school psychologist and other staff members share the responsibility for equipping and enabling each child to be successful.

As a parent, let the school staff know that you want to work with them. Ask how you can help your child at home. Let the school know about any of your concerns.

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT STAFF COLLABORATION:

o  Other than my child’s general education teacher, who might be helping my child?

o  Do the teachers and other staff members share information about how my child is doing? How often?

o  How best can I work with all of the staff members working with my child?


Fidelity of Implementation
This means that the instructional methods, materials and school protocols will be used in the way they were designed to be used. It is important that methods and materials be used in the correct way, to ensure that the outcomes will match what the research has shown. If research based methods or materials are not used in the correct way, it will affect the outcome for the students. Click here to read OPI's brief on RTI and LD Identification.

This is another reason it is important to have the methods and materials be an appropriate choice for the individual student.

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT FIDELITY OF IMPLEMENTATION:

o  What process does the school have in place to ensure that instructional materials and method are being used as they are designed to be used?

o  How is this monitored?

o  How often is this monitored?


Special Education Eligibility
IDEIA 2004 eliminated the requirement that students must demonstrate a “severe discrepancy” between their intellectual ability and their achievement in order to qualify for Special Education and related services. According to the Montana Office of Public Instruction, this change allows districts to “use a process that determines if the child responds to scientific research based intervention as a part of the evaluation procedures.” In essence, this description is RTI.

Depending on how RTI is implemented in an individual district, Special Education Services may start when a child enters Tier 3, while they are in Tier 3, or after it is determined Tier 3 is not successful in meeting an individual student’s needs.

It is important for parents to remember that, at any time, they have the right to request the school complete a formal evaluation to determine if their child is eligible for Special Education Services. This request should be made in writing.

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT SPECIAL EDUCATION ELIGIBILITY:

o  How does this school use RTI to determine if a student needs Special Education and related services?

o  When does a child’s program change from being RTI to being considered Special Education?

o  At what point do teachers consider a different intervention?

o  How are parents notified of any changes in their child’s program?




References


Cortiella, C. (2006). Parent Advocacy Brief - A Parent's Guide to Response-to-Intervention. Retrieved May 10, 2009, from National Center for Learning Disabilities: http://www.ncld.org/images/stories/downloads/parent_center/rti_final.pdf

(2005, July). FAQs about IDEA 2004: Response to Intervention (RtI). Retrieved May 4, 2009, from Montana Office of Public Instruction: http://www.opi.mt.gov/PDF/SpecEd/faq/RTI.pdf

Klotz, M. B. & Canter, A. (2007). Response to Intervention (RTI): A Primer for Parents. Retrieved May 10, 2009, from National Association of School Psychologists: http://www.nasponline.org/resources/handouts/revisedPDFs/rtiprimer.pdf

Mellard, D. F., McKnight, M. A., & Deshler, D. D. (2007). The ABCs of RTI. Lawrence, KA: National Research Center on Learning Disabilities.

(n.d.). Tool Kit on Teaching and Assessing Students with Disabilitites: Technical Assistance Products. Retrieved May 4, 2009, from US Office of Special Education Programs: http://www.osepideasthatwork.org/toolkit/ta_responsiveness_intervention.asp