Guide for Schools

Why this guide to Response to Intervention (RTI)?
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/


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.

BE PREPARED TO TELL PARENTS:

o     How your school screens students.

o     How often this screening occurs.

o     What the screening is designed to measure.

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

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

o     If their child needs help, than explain: In what areas help is needed, what kind of help is needed, and what interventions or supports are planned for their child.


What is Response to Intervention?
Federal laws mandate that schools meet the needs of all children and address individual student’s needs early. RTI is meant to allow for academic and behavior intervention and supports to be implemented before a student fails. The goal is to provide these students with the needed intervention and instruction to enable them to be successful. The RTI process enables schools to implement research based interventions and monitor each student’s progress.

BE PREPARED TO TELL PARENTS:

o  What your school calls RTI (especially if a different name is used).

o  What RTI is, and why schools use it.

o  The best person for the parent to contact about RTI in your school and/or district.


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.



BE PREPARED TO TELL PARENTS:

o  How many tiers your school uses.

o  What each tier represents and what is done at each level.

o  The academic and behavioral needs RTI is used to address in your school.

o  The methods and materials your school uses.

o  Who determines a child’s placement on the different tiers, and how this decision is made.

o  Who teaches their child.

o  How progress is monitored.

o  How frequently progress is monitored.

o  How decisions are made about changes to supports or interventions.

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

o  How Special Education Services fit with your school’s implementation of RTI.


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.

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.

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.

FOR ALL TIERS BE PREPARED TO TELL PARENTS:

o  Their child’s specific strengths and weaknesses.

o  Who teaches their child.

o  How progress is monitored.

o  How frequently progress is monitored.

o  The differences and similarities between the 3 Tiers.

o  The factors that determine a student might benefit from instruction on a specific Tier. Who is involved in that decision?

o  If their child needs any interventions or supports.

o  When their child is scheduled to receive this instruction. How frequently does it occur and the length of time per day their child receives this instruction.

o  The methods and materials being used.

o  The interventions being used for their child.

o  The number of students in small groups with their child.

o  How decisions are made about changes to supports or interventions.

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

o  How Special Education Services fit with the school’s implementation of RTI.


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.

BE PREPARED TO TELL PARENTS:

o  How there child’s progress is monitored (Charting, computer program, more testing, etc…) be prepared to share documentation with parents.

o  How frequently their child’s progress is monitored.

o  What is monitored.

o  If their child’s progress is related to extra support or interventions.

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

o  How parents are 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. 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.

BE PREPARED TO TELL PARENTS:

o  About the materials and methods of instruction that are used in the classroom. (Is it research based? How does the school know?)

o  How the methods and materials were selected.

o  If their child receives additional help, explain what kind, where, when and how support is given.

o  Who teaches their child.

o  How the teachers and other staff are trained to assist students in learning. Answer questions about the training of teachers and other school staff.


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.

BE PREPARED TO TELL PARENTS:

o  Which staff members are working with their child.

o  How various staff member collaborate to assist their child.

o  Whom the best staff member is for them to contact about their child.

o  How they can work with the school to assist their child.

o  How to share any concerns they have about their child.

o  What they can do at home to assist their 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.

BE PREPARED TO TELL PARENTS:

o  The process the school has in place to ensure that instructional materials and method are being used as they are designed to be used.

o  How this is monitored.

o  How often this is 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 to note that RTI is not a replacement for the Special Education evaluation process.

BE PREPARED TO TELL PARENTS:

o  How this school uses RTI to determine if a student needs Special Education and related services.

o  How Special Education Services fit with your school’s implementation of RTI.

o  At what point teachers consider a different intervention.

o  How decisions are made about changes to supports or interventions.

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

o  Parents may 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.



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