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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Response to Intervention (RTI) Evolution

Example of a math tech menu
I am noticing that our system is ready for an RTI evolution. RTI stepped us into a more collegial and targeted process for teaching all students. Rather than one teacher doing all he/she can do to teach all the students in that class, grade level educators including specialists and generalists have been working together to teach all students in more targeted ways for a number of minutes each week. Together we review and analyze students' needs using formal and informal data, and then we utilize the teaching supports that exist including specialist educators. EL teachers, teaching assistants, and Title One Teachers to teach and enrich students in ways that matter.

In some cases, the way we do this is fluid, flexible, and well-targeted, and in other cases, in my opinion, the way we do RTI is too rigid and limiting with regard to targeting student needs in ways that matter. In those places where RTI is too rigid, it's time to think differently.

For example, today as I looked carefully at data related to student learning expectations, I thought about how we might use that data point to better target our RTI efforts for those students who demonstrated real need in that foundation skill. I wondered if it might be better to focus on that skill during RTI rather than the skills we originally thought about targeting. Further, since so many of our students this year are similar with regard to performance, I am wondering if it is necessary to make lots of RTI groups, and if we should simply call our RTI times, "Math Tech" times and use that time to have students follow an online menu in their homerooms while targeting students with the most needs with one-to-one or very small group attention with skilled professional educators. That would reduce the scatter that sometimes results in lost time due to transitions, conflicts, and confusion and better target student learning with the guidance of an online menu. Our team uses online menus often as one way to differentiate as well as make more time for meaningful coaching and teaching.

All good teaching is always evolving. To stick to a program that may be too rigid for growth is not a good idea, but instead, we should continually evaluate what we are doing and if that process is advantageous or not. Onward.