Missouri State University Education Workshop
Response to Intervention, what is that all about? How does that apply to me as a teacher? Is that something that is done by the Special Education teacher in the building? These are some of the questions that float around my head when I hear the phrase Response to Intervention. Luckily I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop, sponsored by Missouri State University Education Department in Springfield, Mo, that covered this topic inside and out. Response to Intervention is about reaching those kids who may be falling through the cracks unnoticed. It provides interventions to help the struggling students succeed in their educational journey.
In several of my classes, the topic of Response to Intervention or RTI has been briefly discussed. Before this workshop, I learned most of my information during my emphasis work in special education. RTI has become one of those buzz words in the professional educational realm and is important to understand. I have learned the basics through my coursework, but the workshop helped me see the connection with the reality of an actual classroom. RTI is one of those techniques that should be implemented in the classroom anyway. It constantly monitors the progress of the students so it is easier to catch them when the understanding ceases.
To have ALL students LEARN, we must make changes. This was the key point that really stuck out to me throughout the workshop. RTI sustains improvements in the academic performance of the students, it decreases the expulsion, behavioral referral and suspension rates, and it decreases inappropriate special education referral and placement rates. RTI is a three tiered structure that is set up to provide techniques and strategies that will help boost the performance of students who fall below the norm. Tier 1 (80-90%) is the foundation of good solid core curriculum, which is where most of the students can be found. Tier 2 (5-10%) the question becomes, what happens when students don’t learn and what are we going to do about it? Tier 3 (1-5%) is when we begin to question when a little bit more isn’t enough. How are you going to reach the student that just does not get it no matter how many times and different ways you present the same information? This is RTI in a nutshell.
The RTI workshop was packed full of information that did not leave me with any questions. The presenters did a great job presenting the information in a creative and engaging way that RTI just made sense. It made me wonder why so many teachers are not using it for their own classrooms. RTI is such an effective way to close the educational knowledge gap among our students. The only part of the presentation that surprised me a little was that anyone of our students can go into any one of the tiers at any time. Now there will be the few students who constantly struggle academically, but there is nothing preventing an average student from slipping into tier 2 or 3.
RTI should be a part of every classroom because it constantly monitors the successes and failures of each student. It allows the teacher to identify the weak areas in the curriculum and identify where enhanced instruction may be needed. With the right resources RTI can make a classroom successful. I hope that when I become a teacher I implement the processes of RTI so that I can better help the students in my classroom. Time, technique and patience will be key to implementing RTI successfully.