With a cohesive, coordinated, RTI-based system of supports, targeted intervention supplements—it does not replace—the general education, or Tier 1 program of instruction. Student response to intervention is used to determine further course of action. If students respond to intervention, supports are continued until gaps are eliminated. If students do not respond in a timely manner, they are provided with a different, more intense set of supports. Their progress is again monitored and further actions determined. Here is a quick review of the three tiers of intervention:

Tier 1

• Engaging, differentiated instruction for all students

• Multiple opportunities to respond to instruction

• Immediate corrective feedback

• Scaffolded practice of new skills

• Cumulative review of previously taught skills

• Daily 10–15 minute small group supports to more homogenous groups of students based on need

Tier 2

• More time and differentiated supports for students who have not mastered the essentials, as measured by regular common formative assessments

• May be provided during daily 30-minute flex times or during “buffer” days

• Students grouped more homogeneously, based on specific skill needs, during these flex times

• Students who have not yet mastered essentials receive support in smaller groups, from the teacher who has had the most success, as measured by the common formative assessments

• Other staff may join the grade-level teachers to reduce teacher-student ratio during flex time

• To make optimal use of additional staff, schools may choose to stagger times during which each grade level has flex time

• Purpose of Tier 2 is for students to master prioritized grade-level or course content

Tier 3

• For students who have not responded to Tier 1 and Tier 2 supports

• For students who have been screened to be multiple grade levels behind their peers in foundational skills

• Intensive supports provided in addition to Tier 1 and 2 supports

• Supports are as targeted as possible, e.g., on phonemic awareness, single-syllable phonics, or multisyllabic phonics

• Given the constraints of the school’s schedule and the immediacy and severity of student needs, Tier 3 supports may need to be provided, temporarily, in place of other important content

• Schools can creatively schedule these supports:

• Providing them when students would otherwise be working independently, such as during workshop, center, or “daily five” time

• Alternating what content that the student misses from week to week

• Providing these supports when students are not receiving instruction in the essentials of the grade level

• The support should be adjusted to match student needs and revised until the student is adequately responding to intervention.

Fuchs and Fuchs (2006) outline two intervention approaches: the problem-solving method and the standard treatment (or protocol) method. Educators generally use the problem-solving method, while those doing research most often employ the standard treatment method. The problem-solving approach allows for interventions to occur within the classroom and is individualized to the student. This approach is based on the belief that success of an intervention cannot be predicted based on generalized student characteristics, and that there is not a “one size fits all” solution. The process involves problem identification, selection of an appropriate intervention, implementation of that intervention, and monitoring of response. Problem-solving teams include a range of personnel including general educators, special educators, administrators, and school psychologists. The standard treatment or protocol method, unlike the problem-solving approach, typically prescribes predetermined interventions based on established criteria. While we understand the rationale behind the standard treatment method and appreciate the norms that it provides, we favor and will employ a problem-solving approach.

RTI is appropriate for all students and all educators who support and inform effective practices. Success is based on the authentic and committed collaboration of all adults who are connected to students. Ultimately, RTI is something you do and not something you buy.

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