Saturday, November 20, 2010

Let's Talk about RtI...

So, let's talk about RtI.

Response to Intervention.

I'm just not sure what the mystery is all about.

I'm not sure where this "new" RtI started, but, let's just say, it's NOT NEW!

This is not new.

I've been a teacher for 8 years, and I know that this is not new.

We've always asked for data when you've brought a student to "team" to "ask for help."

But let's be honest, teachers that bring students to the "team" never want to ask for help. They want to get the student qualified for special education to get the student OUT of their classroom.

And before, we called it IBA or IAT (Intervention-Based Assistance) or (Intervention Assistance Team).

So, there is really only one main difference:

1. RtI says "We don't care anymore WHY your student is struggling.  We want to know HOW to help." 

10 more things you need to know about RtI (Response to Intervention):

1. RtI is a REGULAR ED. INITIATIVE.  Regular ed. teachers should be the ones doing the Tier One interventions.  This is called DIFFERENTIATION and is only different with a student needing to go through the RtI process because you have taken BASELINE data and should be PROGRESS MONITORING.

2. RtI wants to actually see your DATA and know what RESEARCH BASED INTERVENTION you did.

3. The RtI Team should never be the "gateway" to special education testing.  There is NO TEST that is going to say your child IS special ed. or IS NOT special ed.  There is NO TEST for SLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4. The school psych., the special ed. teacher, the principal, the reading intervention teacher, and the speech therapist are NOT the enemy that hold the key to getting a student qualified as SLD and thus getting them out of the regular classroom.

5.  RtI actually encourages teachers to ask other teachers for help. "Hmmm, I'm out of ideas and this kid is still struggling. What can I do next?"  AND ASKING THIS QUESTION DOES NOT MAKE YOU A BAD TEACHER!!!  It makes you a smart one.

6.  In my opinion, the goal of RtI is not to qualify LESS students.  It's to qualify the students who really have learning disabilities or other real needs.

7.  Teachers, all teachers, need help/training/assistance to teach ALL learners.  We need to help each other learn how to DIFFERENTIATE because it doesn't come inherently in everyone's teaching "toolbox."

8.  The RtI paperwork and process should always revolve around the student.

9.  There are endless resources explaining all this and more.  Plus resources that provide the research based interventions that you need.  My favorites are Intervention Central and the Florida Center for Reading Research.

10.  There has to be a paper trail or e-data trail about the process.  If there is not paperwork or e-data, the next teacher will have to start over.  No one wants that.  Define your paperwork for Tier One, Tier Two, Tier Three, Team Meeting Notes, etc. and keep it all in a central and defined place.

(The hard part of all of this- Getting people to understand the shift... buy in... and DO IT!)


Ruth Holland said...

Amen! You said what I have been thinking from the introduction of RTI. In the 1980's as a beginning teacher, in a "Resource Room" this was the biggest frustration, teachers wanting me to "take" the "problems" and not be involved. My hope is that RTI will help shift the paradigm of Special Education as a "place for those kids" and we can start working together for the needs of all. Hopefully I will see that happen through you, the next generation of educators! Reading your blog encourages me that as I near retirement there is hope for what we have worked so hard to overcome, from PL 94-142 to now.

Morgan said...

Thanks Ruth! I just want to be able to show teachers (ALL teachers) that they can teach ALL learners.

Thanks for your encouragement and for all you've done to pave the way in the last 30 years! :)