Ben Hill County Schools is proud to introduce The Instruction Zone, a new source of information for parents and community members. It is our hope that through this site, we can facilitate open communication on topics that affect students and sometimes depart from traditional practices. We invite you to join us as we clarify, define, and elaborate on current and future initiatives and practices. As we build our instructional space, we encourage you to submit questions or topics that you would like to see explained in an honest, straight-forward manner.
What Is RTI (Response to Intervention) and How Does It Affect My Student?
So, you've been told that your student is in the RTI process or has been referred to RTI...what does this mean? By understanding the basics of the RTI process, common misconceptions, and rationale and research behind this practice, you will be better able to support your student and the efforts of his or her school. Response to intervention (RTI) is a tiered system of supports that is designed to ensure that every student receives the instructional support needed for success. RTI is for all students and is monitored by teachers in professional learning communities (PLC's), RTI Coordinators, RTI/Intervention Teams, and other personnel specific to each school.
Things parents should know:
- RTI is not special education.
- RTI is for all types of students.
- RTI can be for students who have already mastered certain concepts or standards and need more challenging tasks.
- All students receive tier 1 instruction. This is what they get nearly every day in their regular classes. About 80% of students should be successful at this level.
- Tier 2 is for reteaching concepts or skills that were recently taught, yesterday or last week, or it could be for students who need more complex tasks for some or all standards. (Example: A 6th grade student who did not grasp a new concept taught by 6th grade teacher receives extra time, support, and/or reteaching. Another 6th grade student may have entered 6th grade already knowing the concept and would benefit from a more complex task to deepen his/her knowledge on that standard. Note: Students sometimes go to a different teacher during tier 2 instruction.)
- Tier 3 is for remediation or acceleration at a more intensive level. When students miss critical skills in prior grades, these deficits can prevent them from being successful in their current grade. Additionally, there are occasions where students have already mastered their current grade level content, and they need to be moved ahead. (Example: A 5th grade student who does not know basic math facts or sight words that were taught in 2nd or 3rd grade may be assigned an intervention class to close the gap in skills. On the other hand, accelerated students sometimes need to be moved to the next grade's standards.)
- A student does not have to remain in tier 2 or tier 3 beyond the point that it is needed for success/mastery.
- Students can be in tier 2 and tier 3 at the same time, depending on their needs. It is not always a progression from tier 1 to tier 2 to tier 3.
- Only students who continuously need Tier 2 support will receive a formal referral. When this support is only needed occasionally, the documentation will be kept by teachers in their PLC's.
- A referral to RTI goes to an RTI committee at the school level to determine what support/acceleration is needed.
- Parents will be notified when a student has a formal referral.
- The data from several assessments are used to determine placement in tier 3. It not a placement based on opinion.
- Research shows that an effective RTI program has the "potential to considerably accelerate student achievement' according to John Hattie's meta-analysis involving over 300 million students (Visible Learning, 2017).
RTI is a process that allows teachers to use data to see exactly what students need (remediation or acceleration) and to work with other teachers to make a plan for identified students.
Are we perfect at this process yet? No. We are continuously monitoring and improving the processes and practices we use to identify students, involve parents, and utilize resources to meet students' needs.
Are we working very hard to meet the needs of all students? Yes. Just last week the GA Department of Education recognized this three-tiered system of supports. This announcement comes nearly three years after BHCS began professional development and revision of its RTI process that is exactly what the GADOE is now endorsing. See part of this announcement and a link to the GADOE website on the top right of this page.
Until 2018, Georgia was the only state to have a four-tiered pyramid. Now, Georgia operates within a three-tiered, multi-level prevention system. Students receive services at all levels, depending on their needs. When all of the components of a multi-tiered framework are implemented, research shows results include strengthened Tier I instruction with 80% of students responding to core curriculum. To learn more about the prevention system, visit: Georgia’s Tiered System of Supports for Students. GADOE, 2019.
I am Dee Ann Cook, Director of Instructional Equity for the Ben Hill County School System. Prior to my current position, I was an ELA teacher at Ben Hill Middle School and an instructional coach at BHMS and Fitzgerald High School. All 22 years of my career in education have been in the Ben Hill County School System where I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of students, teachers, and parents. It is now my pleasure to share the many amazing things that are going on in our schools in the areas of instructional practices, Response to Intervention (RTI), and curriculum. I look forward to hearing from you as we work together to ensure that ALL students in our community graduate from FHS ready to pursue the futures of their dreams.