While the RTI process is definitely not new, finding an effective way to develop and maintain a team for assisting students who are receiving an intervention is difficult. In our school, fine tuning and perfecting our process is still a work in progress. Over the last several years, we’ve learned a lot. I thought I would share a post with some of the questions that you and your staff should consider as you develop your RTI team.
Who should you invite?
I think that this is a critical question and will vary from school to school. At my current school, we have a consistent team that includes our principal, special education teacher, Title 1 teacher, and our speech and language pathologist. We also invite the school psychologist to each meeting. She comes when her schedule allows, but I especially love the meetings where she is able to attend. She is incredibly insightful and provides feedback on our data and probability of them qualifying. At my former school, we had school counselors who were able to attend. They followed the students from the time they entered our school in kindergarten to the time they left in sixth grade. They were extremely helpful in ensuring that the students’ needs and best interest were considered in all interventions and decisions.
Besides this core team of professionals, we also invite each grade level down to the conference room throughout the afternoon. They each take their turn sharing students that are concerning them academically or behaviorally. Together, we all brainstrom ideas for intervention, RTI goals, and discuss progress monitoring.
How often should your team meet?
I recommend meeting on a regular basis to discuss data that is being collected over the course of the school year. At my school, we meet monthly. I find this helpful, because teachers are able to quickly share updates, data, and new strategies that they are trying. This also allows classroom teachers to receive feedback and reassurance. Meeting monthly can be difficult with budgets cuts and the time that teachers would be out of the classroom. Even meeting every six or nine weeks may be a helpful alternative.
Who should be progress monitored?
Anyone receiving intervention should be progress monitored on a regular basis. The reason for this is to prove (or disprove) that the intervention being provided to the student is effective and plan accordingly.
How often should you track data?
Many districts have predetermined requirements, such as progress monitoring on a weekly, bi-weekly, or tri-weekly basis. If your district does not have a requirement, I believe that it is essential for the building administration to set and enforce something that will ensure all teachers are progress monitoring their students on a regular basis. I have noticed over the years that some teachers have great routines for progress monitoring regularly. Other teachers, show up to the meeting with data that was collected during their special that day and hasn’t collected any other data points since the LAST meeting. Consistency is really the key to collecting and monitoring data that will be helpful to identifying students down the road.
The frequency that you progress monitor each student may vary depending on the end goal. For example, we had a group of students who had somehow made it to third grade without being identified. We all KNEW that special education was in their future, and we really wanted to quickly collect data to prove our suspicions. These students were progress monitored bi-weekly for the first semester and were ready to be identified during the second semester. Whereas someone who you suspect may be a struggling student, but not low enough to qualify, you might monitor less frequently, such as once every three or four weeks.
How will you organize your data?
Once again, many schools have a system in place for keeping and organizing student data, interventions, and RTI goals. At our school, we use a program called PIVOT. It definitely isn’t anything fancy, but it does allow you to upload files, write goals, and describe interventions. It is also nice for current teachers to access files from previous school years.
I am slightly old school and like to have notebooks and file folders that allow me to add progress monitoring assessments, benchmark assessments, and fancy graphs that allow me to chart student data.
Many schools also use Google Drive to create and share spreadsheets and files with one another. Whatever you choose or are required to use, ensure that ALL staff members know how to utilize it effectively and are aware of the expectations.
If you are looking for a set of graphs to monitor data, you should really check out this product! I have created printable graphs and Excel files that will automatically generate graphs.
I also have a blog post written to help you draft effective and measurable RTI & IEP goals! It contains a FREEBIE that my school uses to ensure teachers are writing goals that are targetting exactly what the student needs.