9 Chapters
Medium 9781934009345

Chapter 3: Problem-Solving Teams

Robert Howell Solution Tree Press ePub

Problem-Solving Teams (PSTs) are not child study teams as in special education. PSTs use data to discern current issues that exacerbate failure, discover the root cause or primary problem(s), and create a continuous improvement process to close the gap between a child’s performance and grade level, national norm, or expected achievement.

Many terms have been used to refer to an RTI team, including instructional support team, intervention assistance team, building-level team, and student support team. In this book, the term Problem-Solving Team (PST) will be used to encompass all such teams that utilize the RTI process.

RTI Problem-Solving Teams usually go in one of two directions. Some struggle to create the forms and processes for implementing RTI. This concrete step feels safe and logical when establishing a new school system. The downside is that teams may spend an entire semester focused on processes rather than on helping students. Other PSTs jump right in and start problem-solving for students. This mode usually produces positive student results, which move other building staff to support RTI. However, without a honed problem-solving process, the PST will be unable to effectively make recommendations for every low-performing child. Thus, we propose that PSTs learn and practice root cause analysis as a way to create a problem-solving process while immediately serving students.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781934009345

Chapter 5: Using Data

Robert Howell Solution Tree Press ePub

Progress monitoring provides the formative assessment link between instruction and high-stakes testing.

The single most important error to avoid in setting up a Response to Intervention implementation plan is failing to provide school staff with in-depth, high-quality professional development and resources in progress monitoring—scientifically based tools and strategies to assess students’ academic performance and evaluate effectiveness of instruction. The goal should be to develop systemwide capacity in progress monitoring. Progress monitoring in an RTI initiative must include measures for districtwide progress, grade-level progress (K–12), schoolwide progress, classroom progress, and individual student progress. These measures must be aligned. The greatest problem is that many districts lack a truly aligned curriculum; aligned and linked curriculum ensures that what is taught is learned, and what is learned is measured. Districts with demonstrated success in reaching adequate yearly progress (AYP) are likely to have aligned curricula, while those failing to meet AYP do not. In addition, they most likely do not have valid and reliable formative and summative assessments.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781934009345

Chapter 2: Leadership

Robert Howell Solution Tree Press ePub

In order for RTI to be effective in raising student achievement, strong leadership must be provided by the board of education, the superintendent and his or her staff, and school principals and staff.

Educational leaders commonly attempt to downplay the far-reaching requirements of leading change for RTI. RTI is educational reform; it is not as often described as just good instruction, nor just reframing what we already do, in different terms. It takes brave, risk-taking leaders to develop environments where RTI will be successful. Of course, the only reason to implement RTI is to aggressively improve student achievement, particularly for those groups who fall at the lower end of the achievement gap. Therefore, dramatic change in the results of student achievement will most often require dramatically different functioning on the part of people involved in educational systems—teachers, administrators, support staff, boards of education, superintendents, and central office staff. These kinds of changes take powerful leaders who know how to support and lead educational reform successfully.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781934009345

Chapter 1: Common Questions About RTI

Robert Howell Solution Tree Press ePub

All adults involved in the education of students must believe and act on the belief that all students will perform at high levels, although not always in the same timeframe or with the same strategies.

The 1975 enactment and implementation of Public Law 94-142, the Education of All Handicapped Children Act, now codified as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), required states and local educational agencies (school districts) across America to guarantee a free and appropriate public education to children identified as having learning disabilities. Millions of dollars have been spent on the education of children with disabilities, yet problems remain. High dropout rates, low college attendance, and underemployment are endemic characteristics of the population of students identified as having learning disabilities.

Underperformance by American youth is not limited to students with learning disabilities. Poor student outcomes are rampant in the population of those American youth who may not have qualified as disabled through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504, or special education. Poor outcomes demand attention for a redesign of services not only for students with learning disabilities, but also for those students who do not obtain proficiency in basic skills prior to leaving high school. In most cases, those students without learning disabilities are predominately of low-income, minority, or English-language learner (ELL) populations.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781934009345

Chapter 9: Sustainability

Robert Howell Solution Tree Press ePub

RTI sustainability begins before implementation and culminates in the systemic integration of root cause analysis in the areas of team functioning, data management and application, intervention strategies, and parent involvement.

Mike Schmoker’s Results Now: How We Can Achieve Unprecedented Improvements in Teaching and Learning (2006) lays out the dilemma of educational improvement in the United States. Schmoker’s premise, which we accept, is 1) educational improvement suffers from poor leadership at most levels— federal, state, and local, and 2) most initiatives are complicated in design, void of buy-in, chaotic in implementation, and lacking in internal impetus. Leadership is the lynchpin for educational improvement resulting in consistent, high-quality student achievement. Without leadership, sustainability is only a 14-letter word.

RTI can be initiated using few monetary and physical resources. Most of what is required by school districts and schools already exists, but may not be organized effectively or implemented with fidelity. One medium-sized middle school placed on adequate yearly progress watch by the state department of education, due to nonimprovement of student achievement, had an art teacher on staff who happened to be trained in strategic reading. The school also had several special education teachers on staff, members who were serving students in groups based on the students’ identified disabilities. In addition, the school had a reading specialist teacher, a counselor with skills in data management, and a social worker committed to behavioral interventions. The staff worked in the traditional isolation model of most school staffs prior to RTI restructuring. Furthermore, several scientifically based intervention programs had been purchased for the school and were in use, but not according to the published requirements of the programs. After RTI restructuring, the staff assumed roles based on their greatest talents and the needs of the new RTI design. Staff members, along with the principal, designed an effective RTI plan for their school.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters