Recent changes to our national education laws - specifically the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) - have encouraged school districts to provide additional support to students who are struggling within the general education setting. These changes provide the basis for Response to Intervention (RtI), a scientific process used to identify and address the needs of struggling students.
The RtI process uses a multi-tiered approach which includes high-quality instruction and early identification and intervention. Universal Screening methods are used to establish benchmarks and identify students who are not making expected progress and may benefit from special instruction or intervention. Through a systematic Problem Solving process, specific academic and/or behavioral concerns are identified, and interventions designed to match the student's needs are administered on a regular basis. Frequent Progress Monitoring tools are used to provide ongoing information about student progress. RtI stresses early identification and early intervention.
While the structure of the RtI process is new to District 13, many of the key components have been in place in the District for several years. In addition to a strong core curriculum, data-driven decisions have been used to drive instruction. Academic and behavioral interventions have been used to help struggling learners. Through school site visits, conference attendance, and local inservices, the District 13 staff continues to learn how to incorporate these key elements into the RtI structure.
- All children can learn.
- Every child is everyone's responsibility.
- Parents are an integral part of the problem solving process.
- Children’s needs should be met in the general education setting whenever possible.
- Data is used to guide instructional decisions.
- Whenever possible, instruction should be supplemented rather than substituted.
Problem Solving Process
District 13 uses the four-step Problem Solving model to help at-risk students. This process is carried out through a collaborative effort between the student's teachers, parents and the school's problem solving team.
Four-Step Problem Solving Model
- What is the problem? - Identify the problem and the desired behavior for the student experiencing difficulty.
- Why is the problem occurring? - Use data to determine possible causes of the identified problem.
- How is the problem going to be addressed? - Design and implement an intervention plan to address the problem.
- Is the plan working? - Use data to determine the effectiveness of the intervention.
This problem solving process is cyclical and is repeated and/or altered as necessary until sufficient progress is achieved.
Tiered Levels of Intervention
Implementation of the RtI process involves a three-tiered approach through which the level of services and interventions offered increases based on student response to each intervention. At the first tier is the core curriculum and general education program. The core curriculum should be effective for 80-85% of the students. Interventions at this level are generally preventive and proactive and involve all students. Tier Two services the roughly 15% of students who are not making adequate progress in Tier One. Tier Two interventions are targeted for small groups and are given in addition to Tier One instruction. Tier Three interventions are designed for the 5% of students who have not responded to Tier One and Tier Two interventions. Interventions at this level are individualized and intensive. At all levels, interventions are adjusted to provide maximum support for students.
Response to Intervention and Special Education Eligibility
Beginning in the 2010-11 school year, Illinois school districts are required to use Response to Intervention as part of any consideration for Special Education services under a Learning Disability. The RtI process ensures that students will receive early identification and intervention prior to being considered for Special Education.
Parent Involvement Strategies and Activities for RtI
- Expect your child to be successful in school.
- Monitor and help your child with homework.
- Make sure your child has a place and time to do homework every night.
- Attend Parent-Teacher conferences, Curriculum Night, Portfolio Night and other school-sponsored functions.
- Make every effort to ensure your child attends school every day.
- When appropriate, implement and reinforce strategies at home.
- Maintain regular communication with your child's teachers.
- Be an active member of the problem solving team.
There are many educational resources available through the Internet, including sites with detailed information on RtI. These are just a few, and will provide links to additional resources: