Teaching and Learning Leadership: What Gets Monitored, Gets Done!
During this school year, we set out to embrace a new instructional resource (EngageNY) to address our state standards and refine our Response to Intervention (RtI) structure to move toward a district vision of ‘multi-tiered system of support’. We are striving to provide support and enrichment to ensure that our instruction is rich with student to student discourse, and continue to focus on the use of Mathematical Practices in purposeful planning for students. Students need supportive conditions to meet the demands of the new curriculum.
Strategies for Implementation
Our school has been a district leader in RtI for the past eight years, due to the previous principal beginning this journey. While the rest of our district is really in the beginning stages of RtI, we are continually improving our systems. We have refined our processes for identifying students who need intervention, how to talk about kids, when and what data to use, as well as continuing to tweak our system to track interventions and communicate with parents and one another.
During the past two years, we have moved from giant binders and multiple copies of Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) for all students receiving Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions, to an online shared folder. The campus shared folder has been organized by grade level, then by teacher. Within each teacher’s folder, all students receiving Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions for reading or math have their ILP housed there. This allows any interventionist, general education teacher, special education teacher, instructional coach, and administration to view students who are struggling, what interventions are taking place, and continue progress monitoring. Anyone who provides interventions has the ability to add goals, comments, and data to the plan. This is easily printed and then given to parents so that they can see baseline data, see the focus skills or concepts for student(s), and use it for discussions if needed with teachers.
Within the past month, we have once again improved our ILP system for our 4th-6th graders. Because this group of students rotates in and out of RtI groups so frequently, we have begun to use an online Excel doc, that is also housed in the shared folder, which provides basic information such as enter/exit dates, focus skills, and progress monitoring.
Our monthly data meetings have also morphed over the past few years. We invite everyone to the table who provide interventions to students (general education teachers, coaches, special education teachers, speech, etc.). We meet once a month during teachers’ prep periods to discuss students who are struggling. We discuss goals for students,concepts or skills that need to be reinforced, interventions being tried, other interventions to try, who to move in and out of Tiers of intervention, and deciding what the next steps will be.
We know that data must drive our instruction and interventions, so we continue to morph our data meetings to ensure that all of our kids are getting what they need. If the ILP or data meeting structure needs to be differentiated by grade level, we make the changes to ensure that students’ needs are being met.
At the end of each year, the ILPs then ‘roll up’ to the next grade level so that teachers can easily see who was in intervention, what was tried, how the student progressed, etc. It’s not a perfect system, but we keep improving it to so that everyone on campus focuses on our students to help them grow. RtI is simply ‘a way of life’ on our campus.
Jamie Wilber: NCSM member and Principal of Mirage Elementary School, a preK-6 grade school in the Deer Valley Unified School District, Glendale, AZ.