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Parents as Partners in the Response To Intervention Process

February 7, 2018

What is RTI?

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tier approach to early identification and support of any student with learning and/or behavior needs. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) underscore the importance of providing high quality, scientifically-based instruction and interventions, and hold schools accountable for the progress of ALL students in the terms of meeting state grade level standards. Under RTI, each tier provides increasingly individualized instruction, continuous progress monitoring, and criteria for changing interventions and/or tiers through a team approach decision making process, which includes you, the parent. In general, the three tiers would include:

 

Tier 1: Highly qualified instruction and behavioral supports provided in the general education setting.

 

Tier 2: More specialized instruction in a smaller group setting is provided when a student’s progress and performance falls behind that of their peers, district, and national norm.

 

Tier 3: A referral and evaluation for special education will be requested to determine eligibility for services. After qualifying for services more individualized intervention is provided by special education staff.

 

 

Why Should Parents Get Involved?

Parents need to play an active role in the RTI process because you are the #1 authority on your child! You are also the first and foremost advocate for your child. That being said, you need to be informed about the process of RTI and what that means for your child and their academic/behavioral needs. Often times parents are unknowing about what their rights are under IDEA and how to preserve them. Unless parents become involved in the decisions by asking questions and demanding clear answers, those decisions will be made without parent input. Here are some questions you should ask:

  1. What components of RTI will be used?

  2. When and how will parents participate?

  3. What instruction will be provided and by whom?

  4. What criteria will determine changes for my child?

  5. Who will be on the decision-making teams?

  6. When and how will specific learning disabilities (SLD) identification and eligibility be determined?

 

Parents must be meaningfully involved in the RTI process, beginning with the planning. As an RTI plan is being formed, parents must be notified of and involved when difficulties first arise and continued as team decisions are made, such as: adjustments in instruction; changes in education, related services, or support personnel; and evaluation for identification. Schools are required to provide written information on a regular basis about a child’s progress or lack of it. Under the provisions of IDEA, parents are allowed to initiate a RTI team meeting.

 

Tier 1: Highly qualified instruction and behavioral supports provided in the

           general education setting.

  • After school wide universal screening is conducted, grade level teachers will collaborate to identify students performing between the 10th-25th% tile for the school. Then the grade level teachers compare those students with classroom achievement. At this time parents should be notified of the difficulties, if not before through observations.  

  • As a team, the grade level teachers will define the problem (where is the area of weakness?) and analyze the cause (where and why is the problem occurring?).

  • A plan for the classroom will be developed and implemented. Data will be taken throughout this process to analyze at a later date if necessary.

  • In 4-5 weeks the team of teachers and RTI staff will meet to decide whether the student is making progress in Tier 1 or needs more specialized instruction.

 

Tier 2: More specialized instruction in a smaller group setting is provided when a

           student’s progress and performance falls behind that of their peers,

           district, and national norm.

  • If no progress is being made during Tier 1, then the teacher(s) will fill out internal initial paperwork and request an RTI team meeting.

  • A meeting will be scheduled with the parents, grade level teachers, and the RTI team to collaborate ways to achieve success. The RTI team usually consists of the intervention specialist, grade level teacher(s), and possibly the school nurse, speech-language therapist, and/or school counselor depending on the need. This amount of staff can be overwhelming at first, but know that everyone is there because they care and want success for your child.  At this meeting the child’s strengths and weaknesses in and out of the classroom will be discussed, as well as the specific areas of academic and/or behavioral concerns. This is a time for parents to share any concerns they may have both at home and at school. The job of the team is to work together making a connection between home and school to achieve success for your child. Researched-based interventions will be discussed, along with things that can be done at home to assist in making progress for your child. Remember, there is no such thing as a “stupid” question. After you have gone home and processed the meeting if questions arise or ideas pop into your head, please share those with the RTI team. You are a valuable member of the team!  

  • Looking ahead, progress monitoring on the area of weakness will be taken on a biweekly basis for at least 10 weeks.

  • A follow-up meeting will be scheduled to determine progress in 5-6 weeks.

  • At this time a student could:

    • Continue in Tier 2 to collect more data

    • Exit Tier 2 and enter Tier 1

    • OR if no progress is being made or shown through the data, a referral to Tier 3 will be made

 

Tier 3: A referral and evaluation for special education will be requested to

          determine eligibility for services. After qualifying for services more

          individualized intervention is provided by special education staff.

  • If the student is referred to Tier 3, they will begin to receive intense interventions with a 1:1 ratio and progress monitoring will occur at least weekly, if not more.

  • Another follow-up RTI meeting will be scheduled 5-6 weeks from the previous meeting to analyze progress. At this time the student could:

    • Exit Tier 3 and enter Tier 2

    • Continue in Tier 3 to collect more data. If no progress is being made a referral to the school district’s school psychologist will be made to test for a possible disability. At this time ALL data, work samples, and teacher/staff checklists will be sent over to the district. If the psychologist sees a need for testing they will schedule a time for your child to go to district offices or they may come to the school.

 

Remember, you are the first and foremost authority on your child and your opinions and ideas are valuable. That being said, when going through the RTI process a parent must always educate themselves, ask questions, and document what they are being told. RTI can be a positive experience if you know what you and your child’s rights are and becoming an active member in the process.

 

Resources:

  • http://idea.ed.gov/ The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs website provides access to the IDEA 2004 statute, regulations, and helpful information.

  • http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/rti.parent.guide.htm A parent’s guide to Response To Intervention

Questions or concerns about your child's RTI process or other special education programming?  Lemon Tree of Dayton provides consultations to help parents navigate their child's programming.  Visit our website lemontreeofdayton.com or contact us with questions via lemontreeofdayton@gmail.com.

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