24 October, 2012

RTI Implementation - Sustainability

The Sustainability Stage of RTI is one of the most difficult stages of the implementation process to achieve.  A primary reason for this difficulty involves a lack of understanding in what the achievement of sustainability includes.  A quick google search of the terms sustainability and RTI returns information that includes phrases such as:
  • Monitor the RTI implementation to sustain momentum...
  • Link the RTI framework to School Improvement...
  • Continue to provide on-going professional development...
All of which are aspects important in moving toward sustainability of the implementation but miss the big idea that is involved in the achievement of sustainability.  Sustainability of an RTI implementation occurs when use of the framework transitions from mere behaviors into a system of approach that is embedded within a school's culture.  

Therefore to achieve sustainability of an RTI Framework the initiative must become inclusive of all stakeholders involved with the school and incorporate distributed leadership.  As the educational institution implementing the RTI Framework continues to educate stakeholders involved in the use of the framework, transformation of the locus of control of the implementation must begin to be disseminated across those stakeholders.  This use of transformational leadership will increase the opportunity of the RTI Framework to exist beyond administrative or staff changes.

Additional Information:

Examples of Toxic School Culture  to Avoid ~ from e-Lead (n.d.), a partnership of the Laboratory for Student Success at Temple University and the Institute for Educational Leadership (para. 5).

  • A lack of hope - "These students just aren't willing to learn"
  • A lot of pessimism - "They never listen to our feedback or include us in decisions"
  • Turf battles and Dogmatism - "I've been teaching this for 30 years and I'll keep doing it my way"

e-Lead (n.d.) Creating a learning-centered school culture & climate.  Retrieved from http://www.e-lead.org/resources/resources.asp?ResourceID=25

17 October, 2012

RTI: Implementation - Innovation

The Innovation Stage highlights the use of problem solving teams and the continuation of the development of interventions as they apply to improving efficiency.  A school enters the Innovation Stage as administration and staff increase understanding and ownership of the RTI framework in a manner that is reflected in decision making.  The use of empirical data to drive decisions in curriculum use, instructional delivery, remediation, enrichment, professional development, and classroom management stems from both student academic achievement and teacher proficiency.

  • Teachers move beyond data collection and organization to interpretation and application [response]
    • Data interpretation reflects an understanding of curriculum that reaches beyond the mere identification of a skill deficit and includes analysis of assessment and a summary of occurrence that identifies executable skills, strategies, and heuristics to be used to develop appropriate remediation practices
    • Data application leads to remediation practices that take into consideration
      • Identification of BIG IDEAS with which the student(s) is struggling
      • Description of the specific strategy or skill within [or across] the BIG IDEA
      • Consideration of best practices that facilitate student learning
      • Alignment of best practices with content and approach initially provided within the curriculum/program of use
  • Effective Problem Solving Teams have a clear understanding and procedure for executing their objectives
    • Framework Analysis Collaborative Team [FACT]
      • Evaluate the effectiveness of core programs
      • Analyze student data to identify appropriate placement within tiers
      • Identify professional development needs of teachers
      • Plan-Implement-Modify interventions and action plans
      • Evaluate and report on the overall effectiveness of the implementation
    • Content Area Team
      • Review universal screening benchmarks and outcome based assessments
      • Identify skill/performance gaps between curriculum and assessment
      • Plan-Present-Assist with action plans
    • Network Team
      • Measure progress within curriculum
        • Pacing
        • Student Mastery
        • Instructional delivery
      • Discuss instructional strategies
      • Identify professional development needs
    • Intervention Support Team
      • Review remediation requests
      • Schedule-Service-Support remediation
      • Review and assist with intervention and action plans

11 October, 2012

RTI: Implementation - Full Implementation

The Full Implementation stage provides opportunities for a school to identify levels of proficiency, opportunities for professional development, and to begin to report on measures of fidelity.  During the Full Implementation stage reporting on the health of the implementation is completed monthly by a Framework Analysis Collaborative Team [FACT]
  • Use of the Universal Screener data to assist in student placement is reviewed and fine tuned to ensure that students are assigned to and receive the appropriate levels of intervention
    • Cut scores from the universal screeners used to place students into respective Tiers should be clearly defined
    • Procedures to accomodate exceptions to cut score placement should be discussed and carefully outlined
  • Tiered Levels of instruction are reviewed to ensure that program and assessment practices are being implemented with fidelity, an increase in academic time is being appropriately allocated for Tier 2 and Tier 3 students, and that staff understands the process of identification and use of empirical data to assign and move students through the Tiers.
  • Progress monitoring practices are reviewed to ensure that they are practical, informational, and used by teachers to assist in driving instruction.
During the Full Implementation stage it is important for the Effective Problem Solving Teams to carefully collect data representative of the health of the implementation.  This includes qualitative feedback provided by teachers, parents, and students as well as quantitative data collected by an implementation coordinator/specialist.  The data that is collected should be used to drive future professional development sessions.  Examples of professional development that may arise from such data may include:
  • Understanding the purpose for using an RTI framework
  • How to interpret assessment scores collected from Universal Screeners
  • Understanding Tier placement
  • Core curriculum/program use
  • Supplemental program use
  • Tier 3 and the supplanted core curriculum/program use
  • Procedures for responding to student academic progress [Mastery Measures, Curriculum Based Measures, General Outcome Measures]
    • Understanding and using formative assessment data to drive instruction
    • How to differentiate instruction before differentiating the curriculum

Looking for support for your Response to Intervention Initiative ~ contact Ronnis Systems Inc. and let us provide you and your team the educational services and solutions needed to increase the succes of your educational institution.  Visit our webpage for more information.

09 October, 2012

RTI: Implementation - Initial Implementation

The Initial Implementation stage is focused on day one of applying the newly created RTI framework through practice.  

  • The identified and well defined Universal Screener(s) is used and student data is collected and organized by a select team
  • Students are placed into Tiers of Instruction as defined during the Installation Stage
  • Core Curriculum is distributed to staff and mandatory Progress Monitoring is scheduled for students at each Tier
  • Remediation practices are defined within each Tier and data flags are established to support teachers in identifying when students may be identified as not responding to an intervention
  • A Problem Solving Team is selected and scheduled to meet weekly to assist in responding to students identified as not responding to an intervention
  • Concerns, potential barriers, and frustrations are documented and translated into professional development
The goals of the Initial Implementation stage are to generate excitement, monitor and support staff, and fine tune professional development opportunities identified through observations and teacher feedback. Often, professional development needs that are identified during the Initial Implementation stage of RTI include:
  • Curriculum/Program use [at each Tier]
  • Differentiation of Instruction [not to be confused with differentiation of curriculum]
  • Identifying and coordinating supplemental support in Tier 2 that aligns with the core program and addresses the needs of the student
  • Data collection and interpretation
  • Responding to formative assessment
    • Remediation practices that coordinate with increasing student success in the curriculum/program identified for use
  • Assigning staff support in an efficient manner
  • Scheduling progress monitoring for Tier 2 and Tier 3 students to measure the successfulness of interventions
For more information on Effective Problem Solving Teams and Progress Monitoring visit Ronnis Systems Inc. Ed. Leadership page.

05 October, 2012

RTI: Implementation - Installation

The Installation Stage is when implementation planning begins.  A team of educators that includes representatives from central office, administration, special education, curriculum specialists, general education, and the psychology department begin to organize procedures, curriculum, assessment, and remediation practices already in place.  The goals being to identify overlap, reduce redundancies, and identify/fill gaps.  Consider:

  • Student placement procedures
  • Assessments
    • Identify what we currently use
    • Define why we use them
    • Align them with the definitions provided within the RTI model
      • Universal Screening
      • Progress Monitoring
        • Curriculum Based Measure
        • Mastery Measure
        • General Outcome Measure
  • Identify the Core Curriculum
    • Coordinate success rates within the Core Curriculum with the State High Stakes Assessments
  • Define current remediation practices that are used when students struggle in the Core Curriculum
    • Consider how we measure whether or not current remediation practices increase student achievement in the Core Curriculum [thereby increasing success on the High Stakes Assessment]
  • Discuss current curriculum and instructional strategies for students identified as working 3/4 of a year [or more] below grade level
    • Consider how we measure whether or not those strategies are assisting in closing the achievement gap

The Installation process includes defining and training personnel, the creation of problem solving teams, and the development of a monitoring schedule to be used for progress monitoring.  This is when tiers of instruction are developed and fluid movement through the tiers is defined.

Below are some sample notes taken during a 3-day Virtual RTI Framework Building training provided by Ronnis Systems Inc.:


03 October, 2012

RTI: Essential Stages of Implementation

Having identified RTI as a framework from which educational institutions can monitor the effectiveness of curriculum, the proficiency of teachers, and the achievement of students, one may inquire as to how to get started.

Six stages of implementation that can facilitate planning and the eventual execution of an effective RTI model should be considered (Fixsen et al. 2007):
  • Exploration
  • Installation
  • Initial Implementation
  • Full Implementation
  • Innovation
  • Sustainability
Using these six stages of implementation institutions are able to facilitate the seemingly overwhelming aspect of implementing the changes needed to secure a successful implementation of the RTI Framework.

The Exploration Stage is time for institutions to learn about the RTI framework.  During this stage educational institutions should attend seminars and trainings, define critical components of change, and identify how change and the use of the RTI framework aligns with the institution's current vision.  Goals and objectives should be discussed and a leadership consensus to move forward toward the Installation Stage should be established.

Time should be scheduled to visit schools that have been identified as implementing the RTI framework with fidelity.

Interested in visiting an elementary school implementing the RTI framework ~ looking for more information regarding RTI seminars and training ~ start here: Ronnis Systems Inc.


Fixsen, D., Naoom, S., Blase, K., & Wallace, F. (2007). Implementation: The missing link between research and practice.  The APSAC Advisor, p. 4-10.

01 October, 2012

Response to Intervention (RTI): A Definition

RTI was identified in the 2004 reauthorization of IDEA as an alternative way to identify if students were entitled to additional educational services as a result of poor performance on academic and behavioral measures (James, 2004).  Since then, RTI has evolved as an organizational framework for instructional and curricular decisions based on student academic and behavioral performance.  Essential components of an RTI framework include:

  • Universal screening
  • Tiered levels of instruction
  • Progress monitoring

The Virginia Department of Education (2007) defined RTI as:

The practice of using data to guide high-quality instruction and behavioral interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instructional goals, and applying child response data to make critical educational decisions.  This process should be used for making decisions regarding general, supplemental, and special education, and for formulating a closely coupled system of instruction and intervention by child outcome data (p.viii).
The overwhelming goal of the Response to Intervention initiative is to provide a framework that enables educational institutions to implement a well established system that monitors the effectiveness of curriculum, the proficiency of teachers, and the achievement of students.  All of which is centered on providing students with an academic experience that revolves around the use of research-based curriculum and evidence-based instructional practices that close achievement gaps in student performance.


Virginia Department of Education (2007). Responsive instruction: Refining our work of teaching all children. Response to Intervention Institute, Fredericksburg, VA

James, F. (2004). Response to intervention in the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004. International Reading Association retrieved from www.reading.org/downloads/resources/idea_rti_report.pdf