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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation


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I was wondering if anyone's had a lot of success with the RTI model and tracking methods within their school, or school system? I am intersted to hear what everyone has to contribute, as I have heard great things, and terrible outcomes of the RTI process.

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Patricia Mullaney's picture

The first time I heard of RTI, I said "Here's a new way to keep kids from receiving services." And, that's exactly how it has worked in our district. Since it has been instituted, not one child has gone from 3rd tier to special ed. They are not receiving any support. We are required to "RTI" any child that we want to retain. No one understands it, it's a whole lot of extra work for gen ed teachers and sped teachers are not consulted for any suggestions on what interventions might work. I started work in this district 3 years ago and there was 20 people in the SpEd department. RTI was introduced that year. This fall, we will have about 8 people with SpEd responsibilities. This, despite the fact that we got about $500,000 in extra funds from the Feds in stimulus money just for special ed this past year.
In my outrage, I started to do some research on RTI and when I learned the facts, I found out that it is a good program, if implemented properly. I wish that I could get my district to use it as it was intended, instead of a way to rid of the special ed sub group on our state test.

Diane Cotton's picture
Diane Cotton
Literacy Specialist

We have had great success in our district. It allows those students who were forever lost in the "no man's land" of the discrepancy model to receive services. For so many years we would test a child in 1st or 2nd grade and have to say, "He isn't far enough behind, let's wait a couple of years and test again, maybe he will be by then." Now, every student who needs interventions, no matter how significant their problem, will get help. The key is to change the way teachers think about their jobs. No longer can regular education teachers say, "That is your student." to a special educator. Neither can a special education teacher say, "Oh, I can't work with that child, she doesn't have an IEP." Now, every child is every teacher's responsibility. (Actually every staff person's responsibility. We use counselors, principals, assistant principals, speech/language pathologists, teacher assistants, and school psychologists to provide interventions) We work together as a team to ensure the success of every child. The only way to do this is to provide lots of professional development and coaching. It has to be implemented with great care and planning, and in our district we found it looks different in every school. However, I am here to attest that it does work and our students are the winners! Yes, it is lots of work, but we are here to see that our students succeed, if it takes an extra effort, I'm ready to make sure it happens.

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