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Establishing Response to Intervention (RTI) Structures

Establishing RTI Structures QuoteIn order to get RTI going in a building, there are a number of structures that need to be put in place that answer the questions about who will be teaching groups and when and where the groups will occur. Dedicating a block of time for intervention is an important first step.
One of the hallmarks of RTI is small-group instruction that is focused on a specific skill. During small intervention group time, the teacher is able to give increased corrective feedback and provide practice cycles while using explicit instruction, which is vital to student progress. 

Creating an Assessment Plan

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Several tasks are included in creating an assessment plan. These include selecting a curriculum-based measurement (CBM) instrument, training staff, gathering baseline data, and analyzing data to quantify the school’s need for RTI.

Unifying the schedule for assessments ensures that assessments are consistent across grade levels, resulting in reliable data for comparison. Most schools use beginning, middle and end of year for benchmark assessments and eight intervals for progress monitoring. Choosing a delivery model for intervention is an important decision. Push-in, pull-out and walk-to are all popular intervention models. Choosing time allotment for intervention and planning block times that allow for additional staff members to deliver instruction is the next step.

Establishing RTI Structures QuoteCBM results are not enough to plan for intervention. Further diagnostic testing to probe individual student needs for specific skill instruction is vital to pinpoint the skill deficit areas. 

Implementation of RTI should begin with a limited number of grade levels the first year. Start with the lowest grades and work your way up. Lower grade levels make progress with the least amount of intervention time and will set the stage for progress as students move through the grade levels. Scheduling for higher grade levels becomes more complicated, and teachers at higher grades are less familiar with explicit and systematic reading instruction. Planning effective professional development for teachers during the implementation process is important to getting the processes in place earlier.

Selecting a Delivery Model

Each grade-level team may choose the model they find most workable and beneficial to their students. They may choose a model where students stay in their classroom and additional instructors “push in.” Or they may choose the “walk-to” intervention model, when students move to homogeneous skill groups in different rooms with different teachers.
Figure 3.303_Determining Who Teaches Intervention Groups Quote Additional staffing to lead the interventions is an important consideration. Staff members, including media specialists, reading specialists, or instructional aides, may push in and lead groups in in the classroom or may instruct in different rooms in a walk-to intervention model. A strong benefit to the walk-to intervention model is that it forces collaboration between teachers and develops a team environment.

The smallest groups should be composed of students with the most skill deficit

s and should be taught by teachers most skilled in explicit reading instruction.

Adding Intervention Blocks to the School Master Schedule

Making intervention time a priority in the master schedule alleviates the pressure on the classroom teacher to find the time to build it in.

Determining Who Teaches Intervention Groups

Dedicating as many teachers as possible to assist with small groups keeps group sizes smaller. It’s recommended that at least 50% more staff than the number of classroom teachers are available to lead intervention groups. Paraprofessionals can play a critical role in teaching these groups. All teachers need to be skilled, prepared, and comfortable when leading the lower intervention groups so that they are able to maintain gains once students meet benchmark.

Collaboration among the staff during the intervention block is essential. As students move through different skill groups, planning and instruction is most effective when there is good communication and common student expectations among the intervention team.

When groups are carefully selected, all ability levels benefit. Above-benchmark students have time to discuss their reading in groups, and students with lower reading skills receive the explicit, focused instruction they require.

Deciding What to Teach During Intervention Time

It is not enough to assess, analyze, diagnose and arrange the groupings. It’s also very important to plan powerful, targeted instruction for each group.


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