RTI (now also called MTSS...Multi-Tiered Systems of Support)
What is RTI (Response to Intervention)?
RtI is an effective and efficient system to structure our school day and how students receive interventions to better meet their needs. Across the nation, we are moving away from literacy specialists and special education staff being the only people available to support our struggling students. Instead, we take a fresh look at our most important resources: time, materials, and people. If we can use the people, materials, and time we have more creatively and efficiently, we should be able to meet the needs of more students without having to strain the limited resources of special education. The concept is to provide a progressive system of interventions, and depending on a student’s response to the intervention, determine further interventions appropriately.
RtI is a “tiered” system, designed to help all kids succeed in school. The first tier, Tier 1, is what we do for ALL kids. Tier 1 provides high quality instructional and behavioral supports for all students in general education. Teachers may do accommodations, modifications, or interventions within the classroom to meet your child’s needs. If a student is not making adequate progress academically or behaviorally, the teacher will go to his/her grade level teaching team, and get more ideas. If the student does not make adequate progress, it may be appropriate to go to Tier 2 instruction.
Tier 2 provides targeted, specific interventions for students whose academic performance or behavior lag behind the norm for their grade and educational setting. In order to manage this type of support, a teacher may get help from the grade level team or the school-wide RtI Team. The RtI Problem-Solving team includes the school counselor, principal, a teacher from every grade level, special education staff, and literacy staff. If the interventions are complex, the RtI team may assign a case manager to help the classroom teacher monitor interventions and progress.
If adequate progress is not achieved, the RtI Problem-Solving Team may access Tier 3 services. Tier 3 provides intensive, individualized interventions for students who have an insufficient response to evidence-based interventions in the first two tiers. Special Education support may be accessed through Tier 3.
At all levels, all students receive “benchmarking” assessments in core subject areas 2-4 times per year to help determine who is struggling. As students receive interventions, they may also receive “progress monitoring,” which means very short (a few minutes) tests every 2-3 weeks to monitor progress (to make sure the interventions are working). At all levels, parents are involved in the process. Currently, at Fall River, our students get to access interventions daily, through our Intervention/Enrichment time. If your child is receiving other interventions that necessitate leaving the classroom, you will be involved in the planning.
Fall River began the journey towards school-wide RtI several years ago; with district support, we are making wonderful progress towards having a full RtI system in place. Currently, our focus is ensuring the full RtI system is in place for reading and behavior. We will focus on other subject areas once we have met this goal. RtI is being put in place all over our district; we are all excited to provide this more efficient and effective model to the wonderful students of Fall River Elementary. We are looking into providing an information session to go into more detail for interested parents. In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to contact our RtI Coordinator, Sarah Taylor, or any of our staff.