Leading our Response to Intervention Team

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Coming together to seek out ways to help students be more successful and be stronger learners is a very important part of our work.

Response to Intervention (RTI), Student Support Team (SST), Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT), Behavior Intervention Team (BIT); it can be called by a myriad of names. It is this team that comes together to discuss challenges and successes that students are having within the school setting. The team will discuss interventions, environmental factors, assessments, growth, and action plans. At other times the discussion is around how the student responds to the interventions tried.  I am fortunate to be able to lead this team at my school.  I love being able to be an advocate for our students who are struggling in our world of education. It is rewarding to know that we are making learning more accessible and successful to students.

RTI is a school-based, multi-leveled system to maximize student achievement and to reduce behavior problems. With RTI, schools identify at risk students, monitor the students’ progress, provide evidence based interventions, monitor the progress of the students within the intervention, and adjust the interventions needed in regards to length, intensity, or activity depending on the outcome or response of the students to that intervention.   There are 4 necessary components of RTI, as determined by the National Center on Response to Intervention. http://www.rti4success.org/ They are:

  • Multi-level, three tiered, prevention system
  • Universal Screening
  • Progress Monitoring
  • Data Based Decision Making

I’ve created a set of forms and documents to meet the needs of the various steps in the process of: determining the needs of a student, creating an action plan, engaging in interventions, recording or documenting the interventions and their outcomes, and revisiting these outcomes. After walking through these steps, it may or may not lead the team to consider evaluating the student for special education services or seeking out a 504 plan.  These forms may be helpful to you and your teams as well. Click here for a preview of this resource that can be found in my store on TpT.

One of the first things that I have teachers do when they have a student that they are concerned about is to have them complete our RTI Referral Form. This provides us information regarding the students general information, a cumulative file review, any known information about their health and life outside of school, their strengths and challenges, assessment scores, and the types of interventions already tried. I can also ask those that have provided some sort of intervention to provide their observations and data. This is followed by setting up an appointment with our team, which includes inviting the parent/guardian. If a teacher would like to first talk with the team privately, we may make that accommodation.  I also provide each team member with our agenda.

In my building we are fortunate to have a well rounded team of educators and specialists. We have: the principal or vice principal, instructional coach (me), teacher, interventionist, school psychologist, school counselor, a special education teacher, our family liaison, a speech therapist, and occupational/physical therapist, and our school nurse. I recommend having many representatives from the various departments within your school or district. Since each of these members view the student through a slightly different lens, we are able to come up with ideas that may have not been considered otherwise. The expertise of each member is a benefit to the success of the child.

After setting up the meeting, I then copy the documents that the teacher has filled out, as well as the completing and copying a full set of assessment scores that we have access to, and provide them to each member of the team before the meeting. This allows the team members to get a sense of the child before hand, allowing them to think about the child and generate possible ideas ahead of time. It also reduces our time spent in the meeting going over the teacher’s concern. Not to say that we don’t ask the teacher to share, but it aids in managing the short amount of time that we have in our meetings.

At the time of the meeting, we will start by going over our norms, and reminding ourselves to focus on the facts. We begin with having the teacher answer the questions, “Why have you brought this student to the team? What is it that you think he/she needs that he/she is not getting now?” Other questions to consider are:

  • What do you know about the student outside of the school setting?
  • How might race/culture/ethnicity impact this child?
  • Have you communicated with the family your concerns?
  • Tell us more about the interventions that have been tried already. (This would bring us to the point of using the Tiered Intervention Documentation form.)

We continue the conversations around the needs, challenges, and successes of the child. It’s important that notes are taking about the conversation.   As we talk, we are able to come up with an Plan of Action, which is also documented. Each element of the plan, the time line for the intervention or action, and who is responsible is included. A review date, usually about 6 weeks out, is set.  We also begin to fill out a Progress Monitoring Tool, which is then given to the responsible parties.

After 6 weeks of trying and documenting the accommodation/intervention listed in our action plan and progress monitoring forms, we meet again to see what the results are. Hopefully, the student will have made growth and gains. If so, we may opt for an additional 6 weeks of interventions to see if they will continue to impact the student for the positive. If the result of the interventions did not bring about success, we might move to bring the student to the evaluation team, which is a following step to consider evaluating the student for special education services.

Sometimes students move or withdraw in the process or at the end of the school year. So I have created a page that has several strips with our school logo and a statement declaring that the student was being discussed and possibly monitored by the team. I copy these onto florescent paper, cut them into sections, fill them out with information stating the school year, student’s name, area of concern, and whom they may contact for further information, and then place them into the student’s cumulative file that will move with them to their next school.   To respect privacy, I do not provide the RTI notes and documents to the file, but instead will share them with the school upon request and with the parents’/guardians’ permission.

I’ve also included a “Red-Flag List” for teachers to complete at the end of the school year. This is where they name students that they are concerned about and would like the team to consider discussing next year.   Many times the students on this list are those that are brand new to the school in the spring, that are making strides with interventions but should be further monitored, that the team may have ran out of time to meet about, or that teachers were “on-the-fence” about. It will be from this list that teams might start the following year.

I truly enjoy my work with our RTI team.  Not only are the members great to work with, but I love that we come together to advocate for a student who is struggling.  These students need someone to campaign for them and it often takes a team of educators with the family to find what is just right for that student.  We all know that no child learns exactly like the next, so coming together to seek out ways to help students be more successful and be stronger learners is a very important part of our work.  It is rewarding not only for us, but, ultimately, for the students.

Please note that these are the forms that my team and I use, but that are not endorsed by the Center on Response to Intervention.