home banner
Mission and Vision Statement
Webmail Login Forms Event Registration Don't Miss The Bus Staff Contact Info Newsletters



Response to Intervention (RtI)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Special Education Departments
What is RtI?

Even though the term RtI has only been around for five years, the process has been developed for approximately 20 years.  RtI is a problem solving process primarily geared towards keeping students in the least restrictive environment (i.e., regular education) through the implementation of early intervention.  The process requires the use of screenings and data collection in order to make data-based decisions.  It is recommended in federal law through IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and NCLB (No Child Left Behind) and has recently become a state initiative.  This is not a special education initiative, but is directed towards all students.

BACK TO TOP


Do we have to do RtI?

At this time RtI is not mandated, however, it is highly recommended to begin incoporating essential components (i.e., strengthening your SAT, establishing a data collection system, critiquing your core instruction, adopt research based interventions etc.).  This process is beneficial and best practice for ALL students.  The highest priority is to strengthen the practice within the regular classroom (i.e., core instruction)

BACK TO TOP

 

How can this benefit my child/student?

No matter where your child performs in the classroom, the goal of this process is for students to receive appropriate instruction in a least restrictive environment.  Continued monitoring of the at-risk student shall occur for determination of effectiveness and support of instructional change.  Because smaller groups are likely, a child will receive more intensive intervention as soon as difficulties are identified. 

BACK TO TOP

 

If we have a SAT, are we already doing RtI?

You’re on your way!  A Student Assistance Team is a problem-solving practice, much like Response to Intervention.  You, however, cannot be using the RtI process without data collection, progress monitoring and intervention specifically designed for that child.  Interventions must have research supporting its effectiveness.  Another essential component of RtI does not involve the SAT process.  More specifically, RtI requires the examination of core instruction (e.g., Tier 1) for all general education students. 

BACK TO TOP

 

What would RtI generally look like in a school?

There is some flexibility with implementation of the RtI process within school districts; however, the majority of schools designate a leadership team that devotes time to training and learning the essential components of the RtI process.  All staff members should be well versed in the concepts of RtI.  Additionally, screening and data collection systems should be in place (i.e., Universal Screening, AimsWeb, DIBELS), with data utilized for instructional decision-making.  The school RtI team will also have discussions about the school’s list of resources, including available personnel who can be trained to implement interventions with fidelity.  Finally, the School Improvement Team and the RtI Leadership team should work collaboratively to meet the needs of the students. 

BACK TO TOP

 

How do we get started?

First and foremost, administrative support should be obtained.  Next, the school is encouraged to evaluate their core instruction programs to ensure the curriculum is research based and implemented as intended across grade levels.  Secondly, the school should begin benchmarking three times a year through the use of screening measures (i.e., Universal Screening, AimsWeb, DIBELS).  Additionally, the Student Assistance Team should begin utilizing research based interventions for the children who are referred after falling in the at-risk range.  Finally, the school is encouraged to gear their professional development to RtI.  Professional learning communities may also assist school staff members in gaining knowledge about the process.  Contact your local ESU for assistance or training needs. 

BACK TO TOP

 

What if our school district has no money?

Use every resource your school has available, including speech language pathologists, school psychologists, paraprofessionals, volunteers from the community, and peer tutors.  Something to keep in mind, it is less expensive to have a curriculum that is research based than to provide interventions at risk (because it’s more individualized).  Therefore, closely monitoring the core instruction (i.e., that it is research based and implemented with fidelity) could reduce the overall expense to your school district.  Finally, schools can use up to 15% of your IDEA funds to support this initiative and early intervention. 

BACK TO TOP

 

Why am I now required to use researched based interventions?  I feel my professional judgment speaks volumes in the success of my students.

Of course, as a teacher you will utilize interventions you’ve found successful over time.  However, the RtI initiative encourages the use of research-based interventions while progress monitoring to determine whether it is effective.  Looking at the data will provide accurate information as whether it works (rather than relying on personal judgment).  You may also consider examining whether your practices are in fact research based by checking on www.googlescholar.com.

BACK TO TOP

 

How do we use the Universal Screening data?

If you are using ESU #1’s database system (PPM), you have the data right at your fingertips.  You simply print the class lists containing the benchmark information to indicate where each child falls in comparison to others in the classroom.  Next, look at the data to determine those students who fall within the at-risk range.  Verify this information with the teacher for accuracy and compare to other measures  (i.e., classroom performance, norm-referenced tests (ITBS), teacher ratings, state-wide assessments).  If the student consistently is performing below grade level expectations, decide a course of action (i.e., with intervention) and begin progress monitoring.

BACK TO TOP


           

Why should we use Universal Screenings?

The benefit to using this screening measure includes the following:  1)  It is free, 2) the screening is quick (i.e., approximately one to seven minutes long) and easy to administer, and 3) your school district will be able to obtain local ESU #1 norms and compare yourself against other schools in northeast Nebraska.  Your school is not required to use universal screening.  In fact, there are other commercially available screening measures (i.e., AimsWeb and EdCheck Up, Yearly Progress Pro, DIBELS). 

BACK TO TOP

 

What is the difference between benchmarking and progress monitoring?

Benchmarking occurs three times a year and is completed for ALL students.  It provides information about which children fall within the at-risk range (i.e., by comparing the student’s performance to everyone in his/her classroom).  Progress monitoring, on the other hand, is administered to those students who fall within the at-risk range and who receives an intervention or special education.  Progress monitoring occurs more frequently (one time a week to once a month), and helps determine whether interventions are working by comparing their individual progress. 

BACK TO TOP

 

What will happen to school psychologists?

School psychologists’ roles are more integral than ever, as school psychologists have specialized training in assessment and data collection.  Additionally, they can assist with interventions, be a resource with regard to researching appropriate interventions, help on problem solving teams, and evaluate the student prior to any placement in special education. 

BACK TO TOP

 

How does this affect my discipline?

Everybody can use the problem-solving model, including (but not limited to) classroom teachers, school guidance counselors, early childhood specialists, school psychologists, speech and language pathologists, and occupational therapists,  RtI is a process and professionals in all disciplines can begin assisting with early intervention prior to evaluating the student.

BACK TO TOP

 

How can ESU #1 help me?

ESU #1 has an RtI Team available to assist you.  If you have training needs or would like assistance throughout the process, feel free to contact your local psychologist and/or Bobbi Hightree, Billie Hightree Sitzmann, or Leah Clark.  Check out the RtI link on the ESU home page for contact information and additional resources. 

BACK TO TOP

 

Email Us

 

Questions? Comments? Please email Scott or Tracey.