For this Assignment, you will select a gap identified in Module 2 with RtI, PBIS, or MTSS. Referencing the Learning Resources and research conducted on each state, support your rationale as to why add

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For this Assignment, you will select a gap identified in Module 2 with RtI, PBIS, or MTSS. Referencing the Learning Resources and research conducted on each state, support your rationale as to why addressing this gap will improve services for diverse learners and enhance professional practice.

To prepare

· Review the module Learning Resources. Pay attention to any gaps identified within the field of special education as it relates to improving services for students with diverse needs.

· Select a gap identified in the research from Module 2 relating to RtI, PBIS, or MTSS.

· Listen to Dr. Research discuss gaps between research and practice in relation to school-wide interventions. Reflect on all you have learned through this course and compare the research to your current cite. What types of school-wide interventions are being implemented with fidelity? What did you find in research that you don’t see being implemented in the field?

A 3- to 5-page draft addressing a gap that you identified in the research that interests you. Include the following sections:

Section 1: Problem Statement

Provide a 1- to 2-paragraph statement that is the result of a review of current literature and practice that contains the following information:

· A logical argument for the need to address an identified gap between research and special education practice. Make sure to clarify why you believe that this is a problem of practice in special education.

Preliminary evidence that provides justification that this problem is meaningful. Evidence should include a minimum of three to five key citations that support the relevance and currency of the problem.


These references need not all be from peer-reviewed journals but should be from reputable sources, such as national agency databases or scholarly books, and they should ideally be current, i.e., from the past 5 years.

Section 2: Significance

Provide one or two paragraphs informed by the topic outlined in the problem statement that explains the following:

· How this study will contribute to filling the gap in special education practice identified in the problem statement.

· What original contribution will this study make to the field of Special Education?

How this research will support professional practice or allow practical application, i.e., answer the “So what?” question.

Section 3: Questions

List the questions or a series of related questions that are informed by the purpose, which will lead to the development of what needs to be done to research the identified gap in practice. A research question informs the research design by providing a foundation for:

· Generation of hypotheses in quantitative studies,

· Questions necessary to build the design structure for qualitative studies, and

· A process by which different methods will work together in mixed-method studies.

Section 4: Nature of the Study

Using one of the following terms as a subheading, provide a concise paragraph that discusses the approach that will be used to address the research questions(s) and how this approach aligns with the problem statement. The subheadings and examples of study designs are as follows:


Quantitative –

for experimental, quasi-experimental, or non-experimental designs, treatment-control, repeated measures, causal-comparative, single-subject, predictive studies, or other quantitative approaches;



– for ethnography, case study, grounded theory, narrative inquiry, phenomenological research, policy analysis, or other qualitative traditions;


Mixed methods

, primarily qualitative – for sequential, concurrent or transformative studies, with the main focus on qualitative methods, and single subject.

Section 5: Social Change

Consider the relationship between the identified problem of practice and social change. In 2 or 3 paragraphs describe:


How the claim aligns with the problem statement to reflect the potential relevance in this study to society: How might the potential findings lead to positive social change for students with exceptionalities?

Then, give your perspective. Craft a Research Promise to Students with Exceptionalities. Take the researcher’s perspective as you craft this “promise.”

Example: As I move through my program, I promise to seek the highest and deepest levels of scholarship in order to bring about meaningful social change for students with exceptionalities. As a part of this promise, I will:

list two to three ways in which you will pursue and fulfill this promise


Section 6: References

On a separate page, cite the text, articles, and other current peer-reviewed research in support of your position. Be specific and provide examples.

Remember to use APA format in completing this Assignment.

For this Assignment and all others in this course and throughout the program, you will be expected to use APA style (7th ed.). Use the Walden Writing Center as a resource for completing Assignments.

Learning Resources

Brown-Chidsey, R. & Bickford, R. (2016). Practical handbook of multi-tiered systems of support: Building academic and behavioral success in schools. New York, NY: Guildford Press.

  • Chapter 6, “The Essential Role of Teams in Supporting All Students” (pp. 51–60)
  • Chapter 7, “The Logistics of Setting Up and Running Effective School Teams” (61–70)
  • Chapter 17, “Treatment Integrity” (pp. 169–175)

McIntosh, K. & Goodman, S. (2016a). Conclusion. In Integrated multi-tiered systems of support: Blending RTI and PBIS (pp. 325-332). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Nelson, J. R., Oliver, R. M., Hebert, M. A., & Bohaty, J. (2015). Use of Self-Monitoring to Maintain Program Fidelity of Multi-Tiered Interventions. Remedial and Special Education, 36(1), 14-19.

Moolenaar, N.M., Daly, A. J., & Sleegers, P. J. (2010). Occupying the principal position: Examining relationships between transformational leadership, social network position, and schools’ innovation climate. Educational Administration Quarterly, 46(5), 623-670.

O’Connor, P., & Witter Freeman, E. (2012). District-level considerations in supporting and sustaining RtI implementation. Psychology in the Schools, 49(3), 297-310.

Whitelock, S. (2010). It’s not your grandmother’s school: Leadership decisions in RtI. Communique, 38(5), 26-27.

The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement. (2008). Response to intervention: Possibilities for service delivery at the secondary school level. The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement Newsletter. Retrieved from

Colorado Department of Education Implementation Rubrics

Colorado Department of Education. (n.d.-b). RtI implementation rubric: District level. Retrieved July 5, 2016, from

RtI Implementation Rubric: District level. Reprinted by permission of Colorado Department of Education.

Colorado Department of Education. (n.d.-c). RtI Implementation rubric: School level. Retrieved July 10, 2016, from

Fidelity of Implementation Tools: School-Level Rubric. Reprinted by permission of Colorado Department of Education.

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2012b). RtI meeting: High school [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author


The approximate length of this media piece is 13 minutes.

Accessible player –Downloads– Download Video w/CC Download Audio Download Transcript

For this Assignment, you will select a gap identified in Module 2 with RtI, PBIS, or MTSS. Referencing the Learning Resources and research conducted on each state, support your rationale as to why add
RTI Meeting: High School RTI Meeting: High School Program Transcript MALE SPEAKER: Shared leadership is one effective model used in the implementation of a multi -tiered system of supports. It is often used in problem solving, and monitoring progress of individual students, for example. In this meeting of a high school problem solving team, you will see indi viduals taking on a wide range of educational roles. Each participating, contrib uting, and at times leading the discussion. Think about the individual contribution s of each participant. Who appears to be leading? What role does the administrator play? Are there competencies and actions that help participants be effective i n meeting the goals of the group? Or that hinder the group’s effectiveness? Lastly , what might be some of the priorities that individuals taking on leadership roles need to set to further the goals of this professional learning community? STEVE RICHTER: OK, the next thing is freshman appointments. And Dr. Mean s, Ms. Tate, Ms. Swanson, you’re going to start noticing on your calendar– even next week — as far as those freshman that had multiple F’s in the core classes, there’s going to be appointments with those parents. So Nicki’s been making those calls, so those appointments are going to s tart happening next week. So it’s going to be on your Outlook calendar. She’s just putting them in to fit around whatever else you going on. Some parents have called back, and said they can’t come until after 5 o’ clock. So we’ll hold those off until down the road. LAURA LASHEVER: Phone interviews maybe? STEVE RICHTER: We’ll just try to get them in the best we can. LAURA LASHEVER: Or possibly 7:30 in the morning? STEVE RICHTER: Well yeah. That was an issue with some parents, just gett ing here because of work schedules. LAURA LASHEVER: So which key people are going to be in those? STEVE RICHTER: It’s just going to myself and the counselor, and then we’ ll call the Dean in as necessary. Or Mr. Henry as far as attendance. So we’ll ju st go from there. Tracking sheet– This is one that was brought up last time, and I think what we want to do — it’s obviously a need. People have expressed that even. Even the other PST groups have talked about it. © 2016 Laureate Education, Inc. 1 RTI Meeting: High School I think what we want to do next time– we may set the agenda aside as far as students, and spend the primary time just in the conference room, gettin g on the whiteboard, and developing our tracking sheet. LAURA LASHEVER: You’re talking about a sheet that we use to mark the interventions that we’re using in the various tiers. STEVE RICHTER: What’s going on, just put it all together in one form. LAURA LASHEVER: So that it has a written component, so that it doesn’t g et lost in translation. STEVE RICHTER: Yes. So we’re going to work on that. So if you have ideas , I know we had a few things from other districts. I got one from Rolling Meadows. So we’ll just bring those. And we’ll spend some time just going through that. and basically creatin g it. WILLIAM MEANS: Could you share the document from Rolling Meadows? STEVE RICHTER: And actually I just found that off their website, under their Teacher Resources. OK. Next let’s talk about the first student. This is just a follow up on student number one, I know Sue, you wanted to bring it up a gain. SUZANNE SWANSON: Right. Last week at the meeting there were a couple suggestions from everybody. The first suggestion was that I call the par ent for a meeting, and I did do that, and mom came in right away. Mom was very supportive, and went ahead and filled out the parent survey that we have . And then the student came in and filled out the student interview that we have. So I have these here. As I said the parent was really very supportive, a nd she was all about whatever we could do for her son. I talked about possible co-taught classes, because that was another idea that came out of this meeting. And she was interested in that possibility as well. But first I wanted to talk to student number one face to face. And I jus t wanted to share some of the observations I had. When I had him come in, I had him fill out the student survey. He spent a lot of time filling out the interview. I mean he really put a lot of thought and effort. As you can just tell, he really took hi s time. It wasn’t anything he just– so I was impressed with that. When I was speaking with his mom and him, he really had no facial expressions whatsoever. He did say he was distracted just so very easily by other st udents, and I asked if there was any ADHD or anything in the family, and the ans wer was no per mom, and himself. © 2016 Laureate Education, Inc. 2 RTI Meeting: High School We went over every class, we talked about every class. He said he attend s Math Lab off and on, and then he stops. Homework is an issue with this young person, he seems to have no motivation whatsoever. And according to the student interview, he says he’s happy, but at the same time he can be angry. And the only other thing or two I’ll say is he says he doesn’t like it h ere. Period. He doesn’t like it here, he can’t really explain why, except that he’s v ery distracted by other kids who misbehave. He does a lot of his work, but he doesn’t turn it it. He can’t remember to turn it in. He thinks for himself– and his mom believe that the Project Recovery program that we have would be most beneficial for him. ADRIENNE ISQUITH: What year is he again? STEVE RICHTER: I’ll just go through just so everybody remembers. He’s a sophomore with only two credits, should have six. We went through the [INAUDIBLE] folder, didn’t see anything that really gave us any more inf ormation. Project Recover was recommended through his adviser, [INAUDIBLE], He is on attendance contract currently. He had all F’s at his last progr ess report. And he was in Interactive Language Skills, Math Academy last year as a freshman. And I know you’ve had some contact. In the spring last year it looked like he had a number of classrooms pro blems. But he only two or three contacts this year with you. BRIAN VALERUGO: Yeah. Very good, there really isn’t any behavior concern s. ROD HENRY: His attendance is better this year than last year. So that he lps his chances for Project Recovery correct? STEVE RICHTER: Absolutely. ADRIENNE ISQUITH: Does he not have any interest in sports or anything to kind of grab him? SUZANNE SWANSON: No, he really doesn’t. LAURA LASHEVER: He says he’s not interested in any outside clubs, he’s n ot participating at all. ROD HENRY: I know he tried out for basketball last year, and I think tha t was more of this is what my friends are doing, so I might as well try to do it. © 2016 Laureate Education, Inc. 3 RTI Meeting: High School STEVE RICHTER: I mean even going back, and looking at some academic history, his Explore scores from his initial Explore before entering nin th to his Practice Explore to Plan, it’s all flat. I mean there’s been really no g rowth that we’ve seen from the benchmark testing. ADRIENNE ISQUITH: What do people think about Project Recovery for him? STEVE RICHTER: I’ll ask you. I mean what do you think? FEMALE SPEAKER: He’s not– he’s not. STEVE RICHTER: And really, we don’t want it to be an alternative placeme nt. That’s not what we want, it’s truly to recover credit. Which he is– right now he’s four credits behind. It’s an academic concern of why you would want to g o there, not because of any other reason. LAURA LASHEVER: So there are two factors that I’m hearing. one is that t here’s family issues that could be chaotic. That the older brother’s not a role model particularly, and how to go through school and what to do. And Suzanne I thought I heard you say you touched the ADHD piece, but then you mention ed Flat Affect. When he speaks there’s no emotion, right? SUZANNE SWANSON: There was no emotion. If it was you and me, and I asked you a question– Ask me a question. ADRIENNE ISQUITH: How are you feeling today Suzanne? SUZANNE SWANSON: I’m fine. LAURA LASHEVER: So that’s called Flat Affect. That’s Flat Affect. SUZANNE SWANSON: I was trying, really trying. LAURA LASHEVER: Even though there’s not a history of ADHD is there a his tory of psychiatric anything in the family? SUZANNE SWANSON: No. LAURA LASHEVER: And when you talked with the mother about that what was the response? No? Or not interested in looking at it? Because I’m thinki ng, and I’m hearing you say no motivation, no follow through, there are a lot of components that sound like depression in there to me. It’s not ADHD, it sounds like depression. So wherever he’s going to go, if he doesn’t have the energy– he’s sort of articulate. It’s interesting, if you look at that interview © 2016 Laureate Education, Inc. 4 RTI Meeting: High School STEVE RICHTER: But just again, sometimes it’s always the depression, the Flat Affect is. But if you know the mom, know the sibling. LAURA LASHEVER: I don’t. STEVE RICHTER: They’re very similar, yes. WILLIAM MEANS: Did he have any ideas of what needed to be different for him to be successful? Other than to check out, escape, go to the computer based program? Is there anything? SUZANNE SWANSON: He was willing to try lab again. And we talked about me following up with him. And his turning in of the assignments. Because he said to me well I do them in Math Lab. I’m like, well where are the assignments? Well I don’t turn them in. ADRIENNE ISQUITH: Well that’s the case. There are a lot of kids, I don’t quite get that. SUZANNE SWANSON: I don’t get that either. But so I said I would follow u p with him and see, because I certainly didn’t want him to be like oh yeah I’m going Project Recovery and hey I’m out of here. Because I wanted him to try to work on where he’s at before we get to that point. LAURA LASHEVER: So starting with that point. So he does the assignments? Right? He says he does the assignments. SUZANNE SWANSON: He says he does, right. LAURA LASHEVER: So what would happen if we created an intervention aroun d that to get him to actually turn the assignment in? Like a folder that h e gets in that room. The teacher holds a folder for him, and checks it maybe in th e beginning. I know this is high school, and not elementary school, but if you want to try and teach a kid to do it better, then you have to train him to do it better. So if you left a folder in that room with his name on it, that would be the homework folder, and he would have a deal that he would slip that stuff in there that day. If it’s not there then the teacher the next day would say to h im I know you did this, where is your homework? Go get your bag, I expect for you to have two pieces in here tomorrow, or whatever. Something like that. SUZANNE SWANSON: So I will contact the parent about exploring counseling options, and talk with the teacher, and probably the math lab teacher ab out this folder for the assignments. © 2016 Laureate Education, Inc. 5 RTI Meeting: High School STEVE RICHTER: I already have him on the list for Project Recovery for s econd semester as a potential to go when we make those final decisions. The bi gger- – we can work around this the last couple of weeks– issue too is that he is four credits behind. BRIAN VALERUGO: And likely to fail all his classes this semester. STEVE RICHTER: And I think he’s looking for a light at the end of the tu nnel. LAURA LASHEVER: And how hold is he again? STEVE RICHTER: 16. ADRIENNE ISQUITH: I like when he said I like to think outside of the box most of the time. That’s very clever. So maybe we need to start thinking outside of the box to meet him. LAURA LASHEVER: For him there. But that could also be a safeguarding thi ng Adrienne, and that could be him saying I’m different, and that’s why I’m not making it. STEVE RICHTER: And the one thing is if we did send him to Project Recove ry now, and if he continues to be motivated, in the program, he makes the p rogram work for him, because of his age, he’ll be back. Within a year back on track. We catch him early enough, the more likely he’ll be back. SUZANNE SWANSON: So he can make up enough credits to be a junior when he comes back. LAURA LASHEVER: And come back and graduate from here. SUZANNE SWANSON: That’s cool. I didn’t realize that. © 2016 Laureate Education, Inc. 6
For this Assignment, you will select a gap identified in Module 2 with RtI, PBIS, or MTSS. Referencing the Learning Resources and research conducted on each state, support your rationale as to why add
Psychology in the Schools, Vol. 49(3), 2012 C 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. View this article online at DOI: 10.1002/pits.21598 DISTRICT-LEVEL CONSIDERATIONS IN SUPPORTING AND SUSTAINING RTI IMPLEMENTATION EDWARD P. O’CONNOR AND ELIZABETH WITTER FREEMAN Midwest Instructional Leadership Council (miLc) Although Response to Intervention (RtI) implementation efforts have been occurring in schools across the country for more than a decade, questions and concerns are emerging, as some schools are not observing signi cantly improved student achievement or behavior outcomes as expected. In the literature on RtI implementation, most authors indicate there are multiple levels of support that are required for effective RtI implementation. These include individual professional develop- ment regarding the rationale for RtI and for developing necessary skills; building-level support encompassing necessary resources, leadership, and structures that promote RtI; and district-level support to drive the broader system. In this article, we identify district-level supports that are important for school psychologists to consider as they work to initiate or extend RtI routines. The district-level factors discussed here are organized into the categories of leadership, assessment and data management, culture and beliefs, professional development, staff recruitment, and resource allocation. C 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Response to Intervention (RtI) implementation efforts have been occurring at some level in most school districts across the country, with some schools having started these efforts a decade ago or more. As the efforts at restructuring and reforming service delivery around the RtI framework have evolved, many questions and concerns are beginning to emerge regarding these efforts. Although some schools have achieved exceptional results through RtI implementation (e.g., Vail School District, AZ, VanDerHeyden & Burns, 2005; Minneapolis Public Schools, Heartland, 2005; Marston, Muyskes, Lau, & Canter, 2002), many are having dif culty in determining what, if anything, has changed. In our work with schools across the Midwest, we have encountered many school districts that have made a commitment to implementing RtI systems but are still having dif culty gaining momentum for these efforts. Many schools have established RtI structures and are collecting a great deal of data related to student learning outcomes, but are not realizing signi cantly improved student achievement or behavior outcomes. The following quote supports our observation: “The effect sizes reported for research studies of RtI are less consistent than many of its supporters profess and those studies reporting strong results are highly likely to have levels of treatment delity that are atypical” (Reynolds & Shaywitz, 2009, p. 131). In other words, many schools/districts seem to have gotten on the RtI highway in the past decade, but not all are making progress toward the destination of improving student outcomes. A few schools seem to have found the “fast lane” and are on cruise control, but some schools are feeling lost. Further, some schools are looking for the next exit, as they are tiring of the journey, and some are on the side of the road with a at tire. In many situations where schools are struggling to initiate or sustain momentum for their RtI efforts, we observe there is not a coherent support structure built at the more macro level of the school system—the district level. The school psychology literature contains an immense amount of information regarding the RtI framework and speci c technical aspects, but has discussed system-level structures much less frequently. Certainly, it is critical for school psychologists to understand the RtI framework and the technical components to support RtI implementation, but acting on this knowledge alone does not seem to be suf cient to produce substantial and sustainable change in many settings.We believe that Correspondence to: Elizabeth Witter Freeman, Midwest Instructional Leadership Council (miLc), P.O. Box 1106, Sun Prairie, WI 53590. E-mail: [email protected] 297 298O’Connor and Freeman school psychologists also need to consider several system-level factors that affect RtI scale up and sustainability to maximize the effect on students and increase the probability of sustainability. This article outlines critical system-level structures that are often overlooked or ignored by school psychologists and others working to develop RtI initiatives or to extend and sustain existing initiatives. Although school psychologists may not have direct control of these system factors, the knowledge and skills of school psychologists can in uence these factors nevertheless. In fact, it is our observation that many of the schools and districts that have made substantial progress in establishing RtI initiatives have done so because of substantial support and direct system-level actions taken by school psychologists in those settings. Thus, one of the objectives of this article is to provide information to psychologists about critical district-level factors to consider in planning support for RtI initiatives. D EFINITIONAL ISSUES Because this article de nes critical district support structures for implementing RtI, it is impor- tant that we establish, at the outset, the de nition of RtI that guides this work. For this discussion, we adopt the de nition of RtI presented by Burns and VanDerHeyden (2006): “RtI is the systematic use of assessment data to most ef ciently allocate resources in order to enhance learning for all children” (p. 3). We choose this de nition over others because it can be applied equally well to an analysis of district systems as well as building systems and even to individual student decisions. Further, this de nition focuses speci cally on the key roles of data, allocation of resources, and student learning outcomes. Clearly, these issues are among those impacted by district-level decisions and actions. Finally, we adopt this de nition because it recognizes RtI as a framework for the enhance- ment of learning for all children, not just those who are struggling or have certain demographic characteristics. It is also important to note that we view RtI at the system level to be related closely with the concept of “continuous school improvement.” The term continuous school improvement has recently emerged in the education literature to describe a process of strategic planning and frequent review of effectiveness at the broadest levels of the system (Conyers & Ewy, 2004; Schmoker, 1999). In many ways, this concept of continuous improvement re ects the application of RtI principles to district-level decision-making procedures. Bernhardt and Hebert (2011) de ne continuous school improvement as the process of improving the school organization on an ongoing basis that includes using data to de ne the current status of the system and establish system goals, analyzing causes for current status, planning system actions to achieve goals, and evaluating results routinely to guide system decisions. These authors state: Until you get continuous school improvement right, you cannot get RtI right. If you do continuous school improvement right, you will have a good start toward an effective RtI system. If you do RtI right, you will be engaged in a continuous school improvement process. (Bernhardt & Herbert, 2011, p. 1) As others have observed, continuous school improvement is the process of “using RtI to do RtI” (D. Tilly, personal communication, October 8, 2010). We agree with the premise that systematic decision making and continuous progress evaluation are important for improving schools broadly, and we see the concepts of continuous school im- provement or RtI thinking applied at the district level as critically important to promoting effective RtI efforts throughout the school system. Moreover, we observe that RtI implementation requires a signi cant educational reform, including changes in the way we think and act at all levels of the system. Inherent in this view is the recognition that RtI is not a program or an initiative, but rather a process that is incorporated throughout a district to drive all educational decisions. Therefore, it is Psychology in the SchoolsDOI: 10.1002/pits District Considerations for RtI Implementation299 our assertion that effective implementation of RtI has to consider the school district entity, as well as school buildings, as units of change. Consideration and evaluation of district-level structures and supports for RtI implementation are important, regardless of where a school district is in its developmental path toward implementation of RtI systems. Whether individual schools are just beginning to learn about RtI frameworks or are working to sustain successful implementation efforts, the quality of coordination and support provided by district-level staff and the procedural structures in place will have a large in uence on the eventual or ongoing success achieved by the individual schools. Without this understanding and conceptual support from the district level, many school improvement efforts lose momentum and eventually fade. Without effective district coordination and decision making, RtI efforts tend to become fragmented and unfocused, and thereby unsustainable. Much has been written already about some of the important district-level structures and supports, including the factors relating to professional development, communication mechanisms, and goal setting (Harlacher & Siler, 2011; Miller & Kraft, 2008; O’Neill & Conzemius, 2006; Schmoker, 1999). In our work with more than 20 school districts across the Midwest, we have observed key district-level factors that are associated with successful and sustainable RtI efforts. The structures we observe and discuss here are consistent with those identi ed in the literature on “highly effective schools” (Bell, 2001; Levine & Lezotte, 1990; Reeves, 1999; Togneri, 2003). This article will focus on ve of these critical issues, including (a) assessment and data management, (b) culture and beliefs, (c) staff recruitment, (d) resource allocation, and (e) leadership. We include a discussion on leadership (despite the fact that it has already been discussed widely in the literature) because this is commonly identi ed by school personnel and researchers (e.g., Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005) as the most important factor for effective school improvement. The sections that follow will provide details of each of these characteristics and will outline the impact of these on effective RtI implementation. L EADERSHIP Leadership is among the most important factors to the success of any change effort (Fullan, 2010). Discussions with staff from any school system engaged in RtI implementation will nd a large majority of staff who report that leadership (or lack thereof) has been a substantial in uence leading to success or failure of their implementation efforts. In our work, we have surveyed more than 700 school staff members from multiple schools and have found that only 11% “strongly agree” with the statement: “In our district/school, district level leadership provides active commitment and support for school improvement actions (e.g., meets to review data and issues at least twice each year).” Further, we found that nearly 50% of school staff we have surveyed “disagree” or “strongly disagree” with this statement. This is cause for concern if one agrees that RtI processes require substantial system change. Clearly, it will be dif cult to make progress or sustain the change effort without support and involvement of those who are driving the bus. Successful, ef cient, and effective RtI systems require district-level leadership and support. Although bottom-up efforts at the individual building level can go quite far, explicit support from the district-level administration is clearly a necessary factor. We observe that many well-developed building efforts falter without effective district leadership. The concept of leadership as it is discussed here includes leadership actions from district administrators and established leadership teams, but also leadership functions served by other staff and stakeholder groups, as well as school board members. Based on our experience, we have concluded that there are three main factors associated with district-level leadership that serve to promote effective and sustainable RtI systems: leaders’ knowledge of RtI principles and practices, leadership structures, and organizational frameworks. Each of these components will be discussed separately in the following sections. Psychology in the SchoolsDOI: 10.1002/pits 300O’Connor and Freeman Leadership Knowledge Obviously, it is necessary for all individuals in a district to have knowledge of RtI principles and a common language, as well as a shared understanding of the rationale for the effort for these initiatives to become established in a meaningful way (Batsche et. al., 2005). This is especially important for those whose decisions and actions affect the entire school system. Although there is some variability in who makes decisions between different educational systems, district leaders always have substantial control to make, or in uence heavily, decisions that will impact student learning in all district buildings. Thus, it is surprising how frequently we observe settings where district leaders have only limited knowledge of RtI concepts and limited awareness of implementation actions or results. As discussed earlier, school staff surveyed regarding district leaders’ engagement in RtI initiatives frequently indicated little or no involvement of district leaders. In our opinion, this is not because district leaders are resistant to or inherently unsupportive of these actions, but rather, usually because district infrastructure does not include the routine analysis of instructional practices or instructional outcomes by district leaders. It appears that it is common that planning of instructional initiatives does not include district- level leaders. Many district leaders have schedules that are extremely full; thus, it is challenging to coordinate efforts that involve these individuals in the process. Therefore, it is often just easier to initiate actions without bringing the district leadership along from the beginning. Despite this challenge, we advise RtI implementers to educate and engage district leaders deliberately in the entire scale-up process to maximize the probability of gaining momentum and sustaining these efforts for the long term. This will likely result in a slower scale-up process or will cause the slowing of existing efforts, but without attention to developing leadership at the broadest levels, the RtI initiatives will be dif cult, if not impossible, to sustain. Speci cally, district leaders will need to have knowledge of the conceptual framework of RtI, the basic principles, and the rationale for a systematic and data-based process for decision making that allows for clear and speci c support for RtI to be communicated. We have observed many districts that have expended considerable time and resources in establishing RtI processes and infrastructure at the building level, only to have these efforts falter because of the decisions and actions of district leaders unfamiliar with or unaware of basic RtI concepts and principles. Typically, when district leaders are not speci cally involved in RtI efforts, they are involved in planning and promoting other actions intended to improve district outcomes. In these districts, we often see multiple initiatives and plans that compete for attention and resources, none of which can establish momentum for long enough to achieve results. Without district leadership that is knowledgeable, aware, and, to some degree, involved in RtI scale-up activities, sustainable RtI efforts are not likely to occur. As an example, one of the important tenets of RtI practices is the use of evidence-based instructional techniques and intervention practices. If there are not individuals with leadership roles at the district level who understand this concept and support it, decisions about instructional programming generally are deferred to local “experts” who are perceived as credible on the basis of their role, title, or years of service. Frequently, these decisions made by the local “experts” are biased by personal experience and professional judgments, as opposed to using high-quality evidence from research. Unless district leaders are able to establish an expectation that recommendations for instructional programming be accompanied by the supporting research, education will continue to demonstrate a strong tendency to “chase every shiny thing” that comes their way. Therefore, it is important that district leaders have knowledge of the importance of using evidence-based practices and what constitutes an evidence base. In our work with districts, we ask district leaders to discuss the research on which they have based their decisions regardinginstructional programming and Psychology in the SchoolsDOI: 10.1002/pits District Considerations for RtI Implementation301 materials. As one might guess, very few are able to answer this question. Perhaps the best answer we frequently receive is, “That is averygood question!” It is worth noting that in addition to cultivating RtI knowledge among district leadership, it is also necessary to embrace a process of continually updating knowledge. Evidence-based practices and interventions are continually evolving as new scienti c knowledge becomes available. Therefore, district leadership needs to not only understand the need to consider evidence from research, but also to be aware of the dynamic nature of evidence-based practice. This requires that districts instill appropriate structures to continually consume information from the professional and research community. Leadership Structures Leadership structures include the routines and processes that exist at the district level that guide district decisions. In some districts, these routines are rather informal and are based on casual input and the authority of a few individuals. For data-based processes such as RtI to be effective at the individual building level, the district must establish and sustain routines for decision making that incorporate data from building-level efforts and follow a systematic process that includes routine evaluation of progress on district objectives (Bernhardt, 2006, Bernhardt & Hebert, 2011). In our work, we ask building- and district-level staff to describe how decisions are made in their district. The answers to this question are often very different from site to site and at the district level. Moreover, it is common for staff, including teachers and administrators to report that they really do not know about the process that guides decisions in their district. Without clear leadership structures and routines to guide analysis of effectiveness, provide speci c routines for decision making, and explicit communication about these routines, actions become haphazard and random. In these settings, actions are perceived to begin and end without explanation. Under these conditions, staff adopt a “this-too-shall-pass” attitude toward improvement initiatives. In these environments, staff members become disengaged from the process and feel free to choose whatever actions make the most sense to them. Regardless of the speci c structure of district leadership in each district, it is important to recognize that a main role of district-level administrators is to facilitate the development of clear outcome targets and to establish routines that support the efforts of each building. As previously discussed, RtI efforts are best conceptualized and evaluated at the individual building level. Therefore, there is a ne balance between district level coordination and support of these heterogeneous efforts and the stymieing effect of micromanagement. The most successful schools we have observed have district leaders that are knowledgeable and supportive of RtI implementation, but do not try to control the process. Rather, in these settings, there are systematic and deliberate routines for decision making that incorporate research evidence, local data, and professional expertise. Through the support and maintenance of these procedures, leaders in districts successfully implementing RtI systems con dently allow the process to guide the decisions rather than imposing individual authority. Additionally, personnel at the district level are able to contribute to RtI by coordinating efforts across buildings as needed, sharing resources, and assisting with data and assessment needs. Organizational Framework Whether you call it culture, values, ethos, or mission, district leadership has to not only embrace the ideas and principles underlying RtI (e.g., that all students can learn) but also an organizational framework to coordinate and communicate the emphasis on systemic excellence (Fullan, 2006). Or- ganizational frameworks, whether developed internally or adopted from an external source, provide clear descriptions of the important processes and decision-making structures that exist. In addition, Psychology in the SchoolsDOI: 10.1002/pits 302O’Connor and Freeman these tools describe the relationships among these factors, which must be considered in assessing outcomes and progress toward identi ed goals. Such an organizational framework allows for continuous system improvement by de ning the processes for goal setting, analysis of needs, evaluation of progress, and revision as needed, regardless of the speci c movement being embedded. In its essence, an organizational framework depicts how the problem-solving process applies to the school system. This type of a process is crucial, as a responsive data-based decision-making system cannot be reduced to a manualized set of actions. In this “thinking is required” model of RtI we believe it is necessary to have a leadership culture that embraces a framework for organizing its efforts. Although there is a plethora of organization frameworks that may be useful to consider as examples, we have encountered two speci c models that districts have used successfully as a starting point for guiding their thinking and planning related to RtI implementation. First, the systems change model for RtI (Curtis, Cohen, & Castillo, 2006) de nes three broad stages of the change process that in uence efforts to scale up RtI systems. These three stages are labeled:consensus building, infrastructure development, andimplementation. To these we have addedsustainabilityto re ect the need for deliberate strategies for generalizing and maintaining RtI systems. Districts seeking to scale up or improve their RtI processes nd it helpful to de ne their actions within these stages and to consider their results with respect to this model in determining which actions are needed to move forward toward higher levels of implementation. A second framework that is emerging as a model to guide district improvement efforts related to RtI has been described by Wallace, Blase, Fixsen, and Naoom (2008). This framework identi ed the roles and structures necessary for implementing research ndings in educational practice. This model includes de nitions of the processes and stages of implementation as well as the roles of support necessary for effective implementation. Readers interested in additional information on this model are directed to visit the very informative National Implementation Research Network Web site at∼nirn/. District leaders may be inclined to avoid the process of de ning their system with the aid of these organizing frameworks because of strong pressure to take action. However, without clearly articulated guiding frameworks for implementation, many districts become lost and confused when it is discovered they are not making progress toward their desired outcomes. Without a “roadmap” for the system, it is easy for district leadership to become overwhelmed or disjointed in their efforts. We recommend that districts at all stages of RtI implementation identify relevant organizing frameworks to guide their RtI implementation because we have observed that it is extremely challenging to effectively assess, organize, guide, evaluate, and update different and complex efforts occurring across multiple school sites without a model to organize these actions. C OORDINATION OF ASSESSMENT AND DATA MANAGEMENT Effective use of student outcome data is the foundation on which RtI systems are built. One of the biggest challenges for schools trying to implement RtI frameworks is the establishment of effective assessment procedures and developing staff skills for using data to drive instructional decisions (VanDerHeyden & Tilly, 2011). Through no fault of their own, teachers and other staff typically do not have suf cient training and experience in assessment techniques, concepts of measurement, or interpreting data to be effective in using data for instruction. Therefore, a critical component of district-level support is to identify or select individuals with expertise in these areas to provide coaching and support for all staff. Although general professional development activities, such as staff inservices or conference attendance, can increase knowledge in this area, these “one and done” efforts are not suf cient to support the depth of knowledge and procedural skills needed for effective use of data to guide instruction. In addition to these general support activities, effective RtI implementers Psychology in the SchoolsDOI: 10.1002/pits District Considerations for RtI Implementation303 provide ongoing training and support through the use of coaches that are embedded within the system. Often, individual coaches are psychologists at the building level who are supported by a coordinator at the district level. The staff responsible for coordinating these coaching efforts are charged with ensuring that assessment routines can be integrated across grade levels and buildings within the district so that a coherent picture can be developed regarding program effects and individual student performance. Without effective data management and analysis, even the best assessment data will not be useful to those trying to make educational decisions. Districts demonstrating successful RtI processes have recognized the need for the coordination of assessment procedures, data management, and staff development in basic measurement concepts, interpretation of data, and data-based decision making (Togneri & Anderson, 2003). To address these needs requires that one or more individuals be given the responsibility for coordinating and carrying out these activities. Many larger districts have established a position at the district-level that serves this role; other districts have incorporated these responsibilities within existing district level staff roles. Regardless, the assignment of these roles and the provision of adequate time for those assigned to accomplish these tasks should be prioritized by district leaders wishing to establish RtI systems for their schools. One of the important tasks for district-level staff who are assigned to the coordination of assessment and data management is to develop a clear and coherent assessment framework that identi es the purposes of the assessments used and connect these assessments to decision-making processes in the district. It is crucial that these assessment frameworks be based on credible research supporting the tools and procedures selected. Therefore, persons assigned this responsibility must be well versed in the assessment research literature. An assessment framework is needed to establish a clear articulation of the assessment procedures deployed in terms of their purpose and placement within the decision-making routine. Without a well-articulated assessment framework, assessment systems become random and haphazard. When this occurs, there is great variability in the form and function of assessments that generates confusion or con ict. In districts without a clearly articulated assessment framework, we often observe that a great (often too great) amount of data is being collected, but staff are unable to make sense of the data or use it for instructional decision making. Examples of tools for outlining a district assessment framework can be seen in Figures 1 and 2. Beyond de ning and managing the assessment process and coordinating the production of summary data reports for teachers, a district-level coordinator can also serve a critical role in com- munication across the district. Although a certain amount of building-level autonomy is necessary for establishing RtI structures to t each building context, it is also important that there is coherence across the district. The district-level coordinator needs to structure the role to allow participation on a regular basis with building-level leadership teams. In this way, the coordinator becomes a conduit for information from the district level and also across buildings. A third important role for the individual responsible for district-level data management and coordination is that of producing summary reports from the data collected. These summary reports must be accessible to teachers and building teams in a timely manner so that decisions can be made using relevant data about student performance. The task of integrating data into summary formats, including visual representations, can be aided by database tools associated with the various assess- ments selected, but it is typically necessary for someone to integrate information from these various data sources into simple summary reports for considering aggregate outcomes and disaggregated results across different subgroups. Finally, district coordination of data review activities at the building and district levels is needed to promote effective data interpretation. Annual routines for reviewing district outcomes across buildings and discussions regarding the implications for planning are important activities that Psychology in the SchoolsDOI: 10.1002/pits 304O’Connor and Freeman FIGURE 1. Assessment framework matrix. Long-Term (L-T)=XX. promote communication and coordination across the buildings in a district. These annual reviews with selected building-level leaders promote awareness and learning across settings within the district. Without district-level coordination of these activities, including involvement in building- level planning and data reviews as well as district-wide review activities, RtI efforts are sporadic and can develop in ways that become counterproductive in the scope of the larger system. C ULTURE AND BELIEFS Perhaps one of the most overlooked factors affecting RtI implementation is the role of culture and beliefs that exist in a school or district (Kruse & Seashore Louis, 2009). The prevailing attitudes and beliefs of staff in a district, as well as the historical traditions and values that have evolved in each district, have a strong in uence on the behaviors of staff and students alike. Others have framed these issues within the concept of consensus building (Kurns & Tilly, 2008). However, one labels it, the in uence of the prevailing culture and beliefs that exist should not be overlooked as RtI systems are developing or when RtI efforts become stalled. In our work, we have developed a staff survey adapted from the Self-Assessment of Problem Solving Implementation used in Florida schools (Castillo et al., 2010). This survey includes questions related to both beliefs and practices. One of the most consistent ndings we have observed in reviewing responses from over 600 educators is that a surprisingly large number of individuals disagree with statements about the capacity of all students to achieve grade level benchmark skills (see Figure 3). One of the foundational beliefs necessary to support RtI implementation is that “we can effectively teach all children” (National Association of Directors of Special Education, 2005, p. 19). Furthermore, most districts incorporate a similar statement about the capacity of all children to learn in their mission and vision statements. However, our data indicate that a large number of educators may not believe that it is possible for all children to achieve speci c learning targets. For those who do not believe this, the premise of RtI becomes nothing more than another platitude. In Psychology in the SchoolsDOI: 10.1002/pits District Considerations for RtI Implementation305 Summative Assessment Data Goals – District – Building – Grade – Student FIGURE 2. District assessment framework. Opportunities for Improvement (OFI)=XX. districts where RtI has been well established and effective, staff believe that a systematic analysis of student responses to high-quality interventions will eventually yield information that can be used to close observed skill de cits. For those without this belief, participation in progressive intervention, data analysis, and problem solving will have a considerable likelihood of being marked by limited integrity and persistence of effort. As the implementation of RtI practices becomes more dif cult, it may not seem worth the effort if there is a belief that “this student” or “these students” simply do not have the capacity for achieving the same learning targets as their peers. To address this issue, we recommend structured opportunities to discuss these beliefs and the implications of these for engagement in the RtI process. An activity that can be helpful in this regard is to have staff anonymously record the percent of students who they believe can achieve grade-level learning targets and then to represent these graphically. This visual then can serve as a starting point for exploration of the sources of these beliefs and provide a rich discussion among those who endorse the capacity of all or nearly all to achieve established learning targets and those who believe that substantially fewer than 100% can make it. These discussions will often reveal several biases that can be addressed with evidence that challenges these biases. For example, some staff might identify that students from impoverished environments often have dif culties in achieving Psychology in the SchoolsDOI: 10.1002/pits 306O’Connor and Freeman FIGURE 3. Staff beliefs about students’ achievement potential. DK=don’t know. benchmark goals. Information from schools such as the “90-90-90” schools, where 90% of students are receiving free and reduced lunch, 90% of students are minority, and 90% or more are achieving grade-level benchmarks (Reeves, 2003) is useful for challenging these biases. More powerful yet are local examples of successful skill development among students or groups that typically do not meet learning targets. In more than one school where RtI systems have been successfully established, we have heard teachers exclaim that “we believe all students can achieve grade-level skill targets because we have seen it happen in our own school.” Without attention to the fundamental culture and beliefs that exist among district and building staff, along with the actions to address mismatches between RtI principles and prevailing beliefs, RtI efforts will falter. Districts where this occurs may have established the structures and tools associated with RtI and thus report that they are “doing RtI.” but in reality these settings have achieved compliance in using RtI tools and routines, but the culture and beliefs have not changed. These are systems that nd many staff continuing to focus on the process of identi cation and classi cation of students into different silos for “services” and not on the quality or impact of the services that are being delivered. Psychology in the SchoolsDOI: 10.1002/pits District Considerations for RtI Implementation307 S TA F F RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION The topic of staff recruitment is another often overlooked function that can play a substantial role in the establishment of effective and sustainable RtI systems. Clearly, no school or district can effectively implement RtI systems unless staff have the background knowledge and skills needed for these efforts. Successful organizations in any industry place heavy emphasis on selecting staff that possess the necessary skills and attitudes to perform at a high level (Collins, 2001). However, in many education settings, it is startling to observe that staff recruitment and selection procedures very often continue to follow routines that do not emphasize the selection of staff with the skills necessary for working in an RtI system. In addition, many of the pre-service programs where educators receive training have not incorporated instruction of RtI concepts and skills into their curricula. As a result, schools attempting to scale up RtI initiatives nd themselves having to invest a great deal of time and money in providing staff with the essential knowledge and skills to be effective in these systems. Although individual building administrators may have some autonomy in developing the pro- cedures for staff recruitment and selection, district-driven guidelines about these procedures can have a substantial impact on improving these routines. Districts demonstrating the most effective application of RtI systems have established clear and deliberate priorities for the recruitment and selection of new staff (Ikeda et. al., 2007). In these systems, there is an awareness of the training programs and experiences that promote the knowledge and skills necessary for participating in RtI systems. Often, there is also a deliberate attempt made to develop relationships with these programs to facilitate recruitment of students with these skills. In addition to recruitment practices, districts with effective RtI systems tend to have embedded in their selection process clear and speci c pro les of the skills they are looking for in potential candidates for hire. Further, the interview processes in these districts contain very speci c questions and performance tasks that target speci c knowledge and skills that have been identi ed as priorities for the particular RtI system. Although there are some schools that have unintentionally assembled highly skilled and well-trained staff, these happenstance occurrences are rare. For districts with a true desire to build effective and sustainable models, deliberate and speci c routines for staff recruitment and selection will need to be developed and deployed. R ESOURCE ALLOCATION Many districts overlook policies and procedures related to resource allocation when evaluating district supports for RtI implementation. Issues of resource allocation for this discussion are not only about the distribution of nancial resources, but RtI systems additionally require careful consideration of how time and staff resources are arranged. For RtI initiatives to be sustained over time, mechanisms to ensure adequate resource support from the district are needed. This is especially true in circumstances where resources are limited and new practices may be seen as unnecessary. With the recent economic slowdown in the United States, the allocation of nancial resources has received a great deal of attention. As budgets have become increasingly tight for most districts, the need for deliberate consideration of the impact of resource allocation decisions has become even more important to consider. In response to nancial challenges, we have observed many districts struggle to determine how to make decisions regarding the distribution of reduced nancial resources and ultimately what programs or services to cut to balance budgets. As discussed earlier, many districts have evolved RtI practices from the building-level without much coordination or even awareness at the district level. As a result, there is a tendency to perceive staf ng allocations or training resources associated with RtI implementation as good candidates for reduction. These recommendations surface because there is little broad awareness of the purpose and impact of RtI initiatives. To avoid this circumstance, RtI implementers need to establish clear Psychology in the SchoolsDOI: 10.1002/pits 308O’Connor and Freeman and explicit links between RtI actions and district strategic plans or goals. In addition, frequent and speci c communication with decision makers regarding outcomes associated with RtI practices needs to occur. Truly, a fully realized RtI framework of service delivery has personnel that are integrated into the system and are therefore indispensable. To promote sustainability, district procedures for making decisions regarding resource allocation must include careful evaluation of impacts of resource decisions on student outcomes. All too often, when reductions in programs or services are necessary, the process for determining what to cut and what to sustain becomes disconnected from information available regarding how initiatives like RtI impact student outcomes. In these situations, it is common for the determination to be made that budgets will be cut equally across programs or departments. In contrast, districts that have recognized the impact of RtI structures and practices prioritize continued support for RtI actions that have explicitly demonstrated positive impacts on student outcomes (Holliday & Clarke, 2010). Thus, the impact of budget reductions on RtI implementation is often minimized. Additionally, data that are collected as part of the RtI system allows for more informed decisions about which instruction and intervention programs to continue versus which to discontinue. This is especially helpful during budget cuts, as more informed decisions can be made to maintain programs that have actual or greater impact on students. Another resource allocation issue that often arises has to do with the allocation of time or staff to RtI activities. The implementation of RtI frameworks often requires substantial adjustments in schedules and sometimes requires that students participating in intervention activities will not be able to participate in other instructional activities. Staff may also have to spend time in intervention delivery that would traditionally been spent doing other things. This reallocation of schedule time and staff time can be dif cult for some staff and some stakeholders. Therefore, questions will arise regarding the rationale for these decisions. It will often be necessary for district-level support to be provided for these resource allocations in the face of resistance and concerns about doing things differently. In districts that have established a focus on student outcomes with a well-communicated and coordinated process for resource allocation, these issues do not become obstacles. In districts without these decision-making mechanisms, resource allocation challenges can limit or completely inhibit the effective implementation of these RtI structures. S UMMARY AND IMPLICATIONS FOR SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS This article provides information to those leading RtI efforts in schools, districts, state depart- ments, and universities. It is essential that the aforementioned district-level factors be considered to promote more effective RtI implementation and sustainability into the future. It is hoped that the content provided here will provide a basis for further discussion and analysis of these district-level support factors for those wanting to enhance or re-energize their RtI efforts. Regardless of their role in a particular district, school psychologists are critical in furthering RtI effectiveness by engaging at the district level. They possess critical knowledge regarding measure- ment, data interpretation, and data management. This knowledge places school psychologists in a position to in uence the development of these district-level structures through education, modeling, and advocacy with those in leadership positions at the district level. Frequently, school psychologists will be tapped to ll district-level roles responsible for devel- oping assessment frameworks, coordinating the delivery of assessments, and managing data to be used for RtI. Often, these activities must be demonstrated as useful before administrators will be willing to make the investments that are required to support these positions. Therefore, school psy- chologists should be prepared to structure their activities to include time for assisting district-level staff in developing the structures that are needed to support effective RtI implementation. Psychology in the SchoolsDOI: 10.1002/pits District Considerations for RtI Implementation309 Through careful consideration at the district level, one can ensure that RtI efforts can be maintained in years to come. By weaving the tenets of RtI into the philosophy, mission, and goals of a district, consensus is created, and the operating culture of the district will sustain practices aligned with RtI. Through systematic critique and revision of district policy, procedures, and practices, the probability that the system will continue to make data-based decisions that improve outcomes for all students, regardless of the individuals in leadership roles, is substantially improved. R EFERENCES Batsche, G., Elliott, J., Graden, J., Grimes, J., Kovaleski., J., Prasse., D., et al. (2005). Response to intervention: Policy considerations and implementation. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Directors of Special Education Inc. Bell, J. (2001). High-performing, high-poverty schools. Leadership, 31(1), 8 – 11. Retrieved June 27, 2011, from Education Full Text database. Bernhardt, V. L. (2006). Using student data to improve student learning in school districts. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education. Bernhardt, V. L., & Hebert, C. L. (2011). Response to intervention (RTI) and continuous school improvement (CSI): Using data, vision, and leadership to design, implement, and evaluate a schoolwide prevention system. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education. Burns, M. K., & VanDerHeyden, A. M. (2006). Special series: Using response to intervention as a diagnostic tool for learning disabilities. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 32, 3 – 5. Castillo, J. M., Batsche, G. M., Curtis, M. J., Stockslager, K., March, A., & Minch, D. (2010). Problem solving/response to intervention evaluation tool technical assistance manual. Tampa, FL: Florida Department of Education and the University of South Florida. Collins, J. (2001). 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Ikeda, M. J., Rahn-Blakeslee, A., Niebling, B. C., Gustafson, J. K., Allison, R., & Stumme, J. (2007). The Heartland Area Education Agency 11 problem-solving approach: An overview and lessons learned. In S. R. Jimerson, M. K. Burns, & A. M. VanDerHeyden (Eds.), Handbook of response to intervention (pp. 255 – 268). New York: Springer. Kruse, S. D., & Seashore Louis, K. (2009). Building strong school cultures: A guide to leading change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Kurns, S., & Tilly, W.D. (2008). Response to intervention blueprints for implementation: School-level edition. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Directors of Education. Levine, D. U., & Lezotte, L. W. (1990). Unusually effective schools: A review and analysis of research and practice. Madison, WI: The National Center for Effective Schools Research and Development. Marston, D., Muyskes, P., Lau, M., & Canter, A. (2003). 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Accountability in action: A blueprint for learning organizations. Denver, CO: Center for Performance Assessment. Psychology in the SchoolsDOI: 10.1002/pits 310O’Connor and Freeman Reeves, D. B. (2003). High performance in high poverty schools: 90/90/90 and beyond. Englewood, CO: Center for Perfor- mance Assessment. Retrieved October 1, 2011, from 2090%20and%20beyond.pdf Reynolds, C. R., & Shaywitz, S. E. (2009). Response to intervention: Ready or not? Or, from wait-to-fail to watch-them-fail. School Psychology Quarterly, 24(2), 130 – 145. Schmoker, M. (1999). Results: The key to continuous school improvement (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Togneri, W., & Anderson, S. E. (2003). Beyond islands of excellence: What districts can do to improve instruction and achievement in all schools. Washington, DC: Learning First Alliance. VanDerHeyden, A. M., & Burns, M. K. (2005). Using curriculum-based assessment and curriculum-based measurement to guide elementary mathematics instruction: Effect on individual and group accountability scores. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 30, 15 – 31. VanDerHeyden, A. M., & Tilly, D. W. (2011). Keeping RTI on track: How to identify, repair and prevent mistakes that derail implementation. Palm Beach Gardens, FL. LRP. Wallace, F., Blase, K., Fixsen, D., & Naoom, S. (2008). Implementing the ndings of research: Bridging the gap between knowledge and practice. Washington, DC: Education Research Service. Psychology in the SchoolsDOI: 10.1002/pits Copyright of Psychology in the Schools is the property of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
For this Assignment, you will select a gap identified in Module 2 with RtI, PBIS, or MTSS. Referencing the Learning Resources and research conducted on each state, support your rationale as to why add
“T his is not your grandmother’s school,” commented George Batsche, who was visiting our school with a team of RTI researchers and staff from the Renaissance Com- pany. It was validating to hear that experts in RTI who consulted across the country considered the data team process, intervention system, curriculum, and assessment practices that we had put into place to be of high quality. As a practicing school psycholo- gist and administrator at Brown International Acad- emy, an inner city elementary school in Denver Pub- lic Schools, I believe strongly that if the RTI model is put into practice, it will greatly impact educational outcomes for all students. Putting RTI into practice is not easy—it is not your grandmother’s school. It requires us to think differently and to ask different questions. RTI is not simply about special education; it is about ensuring that students receive quality instruction using re – search-based interventions The Newspaper of the National Association of School Psychologists © 2010, National Association of School Psychologists Communiqué 8 | Capitol Hill Recognizes National School Psychology Week 16 | Communicating Effectively to Resolve Ethical Concerns 20 | Grant Funding to Implement PREP aRE Training 3 2 | 2010 convention news New keynote, sessions, and shopping 3 January/February 2010 Volume 38, Number 5 It’s Not Your Grand- mother’s School: Leadership Decisions in RTI By Sally Whitelock Implementing RTI inSide Evidence-Based Practice and Autism Spectrum Disorders: The National Standards Project By SuS an M. WilczynSki I n September 2009, the National Autism Center announced the completion of its multiyear National Standards Project. The National Standards Project serves to support parents and professionals and answers one the most pressing ques- tions asked by school psychologists: “How do we effectively treat the growing number of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)?” The National Standards Project resulted in two reports that identify the strength of evidence supporting a broad range of interventions that target the core and associated character – istics of ASD. The Findings and Conclusions Report of the Na- tional Standards Project (abbreviated report) and the Na- tional Standards Report (extended technical report) are both free and available at The re- mainder of this article briefly describes the methods applied, the major outcomes, and the implications of this report for school psychologists. Method The Project began with input from 45 autism experts who spe- cialized in treatment and/or applied research. This team of ex-perts developed the conceptual model for evaluating the lit – erature. Over 7,000 abstracts spanning a 50-year period were compared against the inclusionary Research-Based Practice NASP members can join an online discussion about this article in the Communities area of our website: Courtesy of AnAst AsiA kAlAmAros skAlski NASP Testifies at U.S. Senate Hearing on Children and Disaster Recovery By anaS taSia kalaMaro S SkalSki O n December 10, 2009, Dr. Melissa Reeves, chair of the PREP aRE workgroup, presented oral and writ – ten testimony on behalf of NASP at a hearing of the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. This subcommittee is chaired by Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and it was by her invitation that NASP was included in the event. Senator Landrieu is currently drafting legislation to address the specific needs of children fol- lowing a major crisis or natural disaster. NASP staff and leaders are working with her office to ensure that the important role that schools play in disaster recovery is explicitly recognized in this legislation. Melissa’s testimony highlighted this priority. She reviewed the role that schools have played follow- ing every major disaster or crisis including events like 9/11, the Gulf Coast hurricanes, and high profile school shootings. She described the short- and long-term psychological effects that children experience and the unique characteristics of their responses over time. In particular, Me – Advocacy in Action [ continued on page 26 ] [ continued on page 6 ] [ continued on page 24 ] Melissa Reeves and Senator Mary Landrieu on Capitol hill december 10 suprijono suhArjoto/istoCkphoto © 2010, National Association of School Psychologists 26 | Communiqué | January/February 2010, Volume 38, Number 5 RTI Leadership Decisions [ continued from page 1 ] prior to being identified as learning disabled. RTI is school reform. It is about ensur – ing that schools create structures and use teaching resources that effectively meet the needs of all students. It is about the way that schools use screening, formative, progress monitoring, diagnostic, and summative assessments to ensure that instruction is dif – ferentiated and that interventions are implemented for all students not demonstrating proficient levels of achievement. It is about schools ensuring that they are using a guar – anteed and viable core curriculum for all students and that students below proficient are instructed with research-based interventions. RTI is about data driven dialogues that provide teachers opportunities to collaborate about data driven instruction on the group and individual level. And, lastly, RTI is about identifying students with specific learning disabilities who fail to respond to research-based interventions, implemented with fidelity, based on progress monitoring data. School leadership teams need to consider four major components when moving to a fully functioning RTI model that meets the needs of all students in the school. School teams must consider school structures and use of teaching resources, imple- mentation of core and intervention curriculums, use of a variety of assessment tools, and facilitation of data driven dialogues. S ChooL StRuC tuReS and uSe oF teaChing ReS ouRCeS Historically, teachers have had the autonomy to teach their grade level or content area based on their knowledge of content and standards. Teachers have been responsible only to their classroom of students. In an RTI model, however, school reform efforts challenge the school and each teacher to “open their doors” and to be collectively responsible for the learning of all students in the school. In order for RTI to be im- plemented effectively, school leadership teams must, therefore, examine their school structures. School leaders must ask themselves: How will we schedule classroom teachers, intervention teachers, special educa- n tion teachers, and other teaching resources to ensure that all students receive core, grade-level instruction? How can we schedule teachers to ensure that all students who are below aca- n demic proficiency receive interventions? How can we schedule teachers to ensure that we are challenging students above n proficiency in grade-level standards? Who will teach Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions to students? n How will the budget support the necessary instructional resources? n CoRe CuRRiCuL uM and ReSeaRCh-BaSed inteRventionS The standards-based educational reform movement of the 1990s helped to establish national and state standards or benchmark proficiency levels that students are ex-pected to achieve at each grade level. This movement helped educators across the nation increase educational rigor and informed curriculum developers. In addition, the standards-based movement, along with technological advancements in education, pushed teachers to engage students more in learning, communicate learning goals to students, provide specific feedback to students regarding their learning, and assess students in relation to a benchmark. The RTI model requires education systems to go one step further: ensure that the core curriculum is not only “guaranteed and viable,” which has a strong correlation with academic achievement (Marzano, 2000), but also that core curriculum and intervention curriculums are research-based. Research indicates that approximately 38% of fourth-grade students and up to 70% of poor students, often minority students who live in urban or isolated settings, dem- onstrate inadequate reading skills (National Center for Education Statistics, 2005). However, studies have indicated that an emphasis on both classroom instruction and targeted interventions can result in all but 2–5% of children learning basic reading skills in first grade (Mathes et al., 2005). In addition, older students who struggle with reading can also become proficient readers if the remediation is intensive, expert, and long-term (Torgesen et al., 2001). According to Batsche and colleagues (2005), “re- search-based, scientifically validated interventions/instruction provide our best shot at implementing strategies that will be effective for a large majority of students.” School leaders, therefore, must evaluate their current instructional program and ask themselves: Do all students in our school have access to grade-level, core curriculum that n is “guaranteed and viable,” as well as research-based? If not, what changes are necessary in core curriculum to ensure that a research-based, guaranteed, and viable curriculum is offered at grade level to all children in reading, writing, and mathematics? Are there research-based intervention resources available for students in need n of Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions in reading and mathematics? If not, what in- Sally Whitelock, NCSP, is a school psychologist serving as an assistant principal at Brown International Academy in Denver, CO. tervention resources is the school going to implement? Are teachers trained effectively in the core curriculum and the intervention cur – n riculums in order to instruct the curriculum with fidelity while also differentiat – ing appropriately? S CReening, SuMMative, FoRMative, PR ogReSS MonitoRing, and diagno StiC aSSeSSMent S Assessments have been used for a long time in educational settings to evaluate stu- dent learning, identify students for special education, and evaluate school effective- ness. However, in an RTI model that meets the needs of all students, educators are required to use assessment tools to: Identify students at risk of reading or mathematics failure (screening). n Inform instructional decisions (progress monitoring and formative n assessments). Determine if students below proficient are closing the achievement gap n with their peers who are demonstrating proficient achievement (progress monitoring). Determine if interventions are successful and if students are responding to in- n terventions (progress monitoring). Determine if the student has significant areas of weakness that are interfering n with the student’s ability to learn (diagnostic). Determine if students have learned the required educational standards n (summative). Determine if the students in the school are achieving proficient levels of learn- n ing (summative/high stakes testing). Therefore, it is not enough for a school to develop a systematic, three-tiered struc- ture and to provide instruction using research-based core and intervention curriculums. Schools must also have effective assessment tools to support instructional decision- making. In addition, schools have external assessment requirements, placed on them by the state or district, which they must adhere to, but which may or may not support them in impacting learning. School instructional staffs, therefore, need to become adept in administering, in- terpreting, and analyzing a multitude of assessments. School leadership teams may also need to identify additional assessment tools to support decision making in an RTI model. School teams must ask themselves: Do we have a quick, valid, reliable, predictive screening assessment that can n identify students at risk of academic failure? When and how are we administer – ing this tool? Are we using this data to place students in intervention groups? Do we use data to inform instructional decisions? What data do we use? How do n we use this data to differentiate instruction in the classroom to ensure that all students are learning? Do we have progress monitoring assessments that are quick, sensitive to prog- n ress in the short term, predictive, valid, and reliable? Do we use this data to determine if students are responding to interventions? If students are not re- sponding to interventions, do we adjust the intervention? Do we use this data to support special education identification? Do we have diagnostic assessments that support us in making instructional de- n cisions for students who are receiving interventions but not making adequate progress? Do we use this information to support changes in instruction? Do we use this data to support special education identification? Do we have summative assessment data that supports grade level and school- n wide decision making? Do we analyze this data for grade-level and school-wide strengths and weaknesses? Do we use this data to make professional develop- ment decisions for our school? Do we use this data to support the development of school improvement plans? d ata dRiven diaLogueS In RTI practice, decisions are based on the judgment of professionals informed di- rectly by student achievement data (Batsche et al., 2005). There have been several models for data driven decision making, including a problem-solving model (Batsche, 2006), setting challenging goals and effective feedback (Marzano, 2003), data-driven dialogue (Wellman & Lipton, 2004), and others. The school reform effort means that school professionals collaboratively look at data to identify students in need of inter – ventions, inform instruction, differentiate in the classroom, and identify students for special education. Schools who implement core and intervention curriculums with fidelity while also differentiating based on student performance data ensure that all students learn. Since data driven dialogues are relatively new to education reform efforts, most teachers are not trained in how to interpret data and differentiate instruction informed by data. Therefore, school leadership teams need to consider the following: How are summative and high-stakes testing data discussed within the school? n © 2010, National Association of School Psychologists January/February 2010, Volume 38, Number 5 | Communiqué | 27 Does the school collaboratively interpret data and use it to design school im-provement plans? How is summative testing data discussed and analyzed at the grade or content n level? Is data used to determine power standards, overall strengths, and overall weaknesses? Is this data used to make class-wide instructional decisions? Is it used to identify target groups of students? How is screening data used? Is it used to identify intervention groups? n How is progress monitoring and formative assessment data used? Is there a n process to problem solve for individual students who are not making adequate progress? How are decisions about changing interventions made? What is the protocol for data driven dialogues? Have teachers been trained in n interpreting and analyzing data? Have teachers been trained to make SMART goals and action plans that inform instruction? Is there a culture of collabora-tion that supports teachers in learning from each other? CaSe Study: the Rti ModeL at BR own inteRnationaL At Brown International Academy, we systematically put an RTI model into place in the school. As we implemented the model, we consistently improved upon the four components listed above. We considered the school schedule/structure and teaching resources, the core and intervention curriculums, the assessment tools used, and the data driven decision making process. School teams, especially in schools with high num- bers of at-risk students, need to simultaneously consider each of these components. We strategically developed a “flooding model,” in which we flooded grade levels with teacher resources during small group reading instruction and math instruction. In order to achieve this, we used the school special education teachers and hired in- tervention teachers to support reading and math intervention, thus ensuring three tiers of instruction/interventions. A master schedule was developed in order to use the special education (Tier 3) and intervention (Tier 2) teachers effectively. The master schedule provided the following: Classroom teachers who provided small group instruction and independent n practice for all partially proficient, proficient, and advanced students, thus en- suring that all students were challenged at their instructional level. Special education teachers who provided 1 hour daily of direct instruction with a n research-based intervention curriculum to students in need of Tier 3 interventions. Intervention teachers who provided 1 hour daily of direct instruction with a n research-based intervention curriculum to students in need of Tier 2 interven- tions in reading and math. Grade level core curriculum in reading, writing, and science/social studies daily n to all students in the grade level (no students were removed from core instruc- tion to receive intervention support). In a school setting, it is often impractical to make several significant changes in curriculum in one year. Therefore, the first step was to implement a core curriculum in reading and math and then in writing. Next, the school trained special education teachers and intervention teachers in research-based interventions. Since research- based interventions should be implemented with fidelity, we chose a small number of interventions and trained teachers sufficiently. The following curriculums are used: Core curriculum for all students: Reading—Open Court and Accelerated Reader; n Writing—Writing Alive; Math—Everyday Math Tier 2 interventions: Reading—Six Minute Solutions, Corrective Read- n ing, KPALS; Math—Larson math/iSucceed computer math program, Number Worlds Tier 2 Tier 3 interventions: Reading—Wilson, Fundations; Math—Larson math/iSuc- n ceed computer math program, Number Worlds Tier 3. As successes occurred or weaknesses were determined, we continued to exam- n ine resources for our school. Currently, the school is working with Renaissance Company to pilot Math Facts in a Flash and Accelerated Math. In Denver Public Schools, we are required to administer several assessments every year. The state assessment, the Colorado Student Assessment Program, is required for all 3rd–5th grade students in reading, writing, and mathematics. In addition, all 2nd–5th graders are required to complete the district benchmark assessment in reading, writ – ing, and mathematics. Lastly, the district requires the DRA2 to be administered to all K–5th grade students as a yearly reading assessment. Brown uses all three assessments as summative assessments and determines school-wide and grade-level goals based on this data. In addition, the leadership team at Brown determined that additional assessments were needed to identify students at risk of academic failure. Thus, the DIBELS, STAR Early Literacy, STAR, and STAR math are given three times per year to all students. The greatest value of these assessment measures is that they are predic- tive of academic success and sensitive to change. Therefore, these assessment tools are also used for progress monitoring of students in intervention groups. Lastly, the school uses Accelerated Reader quizzes and classroom based assessments as formative assessments to ensure that all students are learning the learning objectives. At the center of our RTI model, however, is our data team process and our student intervention team process. At Brown International, the administrators meet weekly with each grade level team to review assessment data, interpret and analyze data, iden- tify possible explanations of the data, develop SMART goals, and develop action plans for target groups of students. A 6-week rotation was created in which the teams spend 2 weeks discussing reading, 2 weeks discussing writing, and 2 weeks discussing math. A 6-week action plan for each content area is created each rotation. This collaborative discussion challenges teachers to instruct the core curriculum while also differentiating based on the current achievement data. If individual students continue to struggle to learn necessary skills even after the action plan is implemented for the target groups of students, then the student is referred to the student intervention team. At student intervention team meetings, a problem solving approach occurs in which the problem is identified, an intervention plan is developed, and a progress monitoring plan is es- tablished. It is through the data team process and student intervention team process that the instructional team at Brown International ensures that all students receive the instruction necessary to learn. However, without the schedule, curriculum, and assessment tools in place, the data team process would not be able to occur. SuMMaR y Implementation of RTI is a school reform effort. Change is challenging. However, imple- mentation of RTI as reform in the inner cities, with high numbers of students at risk of academic failure and school drop out, provides even more challenges. Through strategic, systematic, school-wide efforts, however, it can be done. School leadership teams can ensure that all children learn and that all children have a multitude of opportunities as they grow up in our education system. School leadership teams must ask the difficult questions and make the difficult changes to ensure that all students learn. n References Batsche, G. (2006). Problem solving and response to intervention: Implications for state and dis- trict policies and practices. Warner Robins, GA: Council of Administrators of Special Educa- tion, Inc. Batsche, G., Elliott, J., Graden, J. L., Grimes, J., Kovaleski, J. F., Prasse, D., et al. (2005). Re- sponse to intervention: Policy considerations and implementation. Alexandria, VA: National As- sociation of State Directors of Special Educa- tion, Inc. Mathes, P. G., Denton, C. A., Fletcher, J. M., An- thony, J. L., Francis, D. J., & Schatschneider, C. (2005). The effects of theoretically different instruction and student characteristics on the skills of struggling readers. Reading Research Quarterly, 40, 148–182. National Center for Education Statistics. (2005). National assessment of educational progress: The nation’s report card. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Marzano, R. J. (2000). A new era of school re- form: Going where the research takes us. Aurora, CO: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning. Marzano, R. J. (2003). What works in schools: Translating research into action. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Torgensen, J. K., Alexander, A. W., Wagner, R. K., Rashotte, C. A., Voeller, K. K. S., & Conway, T. (2001). Intensive remedial instruction for children with severe reading disabilities: Im-mediate and long-term outcomes from two instructional approaches. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 34, 33–58. Wellman, B., & Lipton, L. (2004). Data-driven dialogue: A facilitator’s guide to collaborative inquiry. Sherman, CT: Mira Via, LLC. c ongressman t owns is a Friend of children Congressman Edolphus Towns (NY-10) accepted a NASP 2009 Special Friend of Children Award during School Psychology Week last November. Congressman Towns was a lead sponsor in the House of Representatives of the “Increased Student Achievement Through Increased Student Support Act.” Shown here with Congressman Towns is (L-R) Deitra Re- iser (NASP Public Policy Fellow), Stacy Skalski (NASP Director, Public Policy), and Susan Gorin (NASP Executive Director). NASP News Courtesy of AnAst AsiA kAlAmAros skAlski Copyright of Communique (0164775X) is the property of National Association of School Psychologists and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. 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