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RtI in a Small School? It CAN Be Done!. Kris Elmshaeuser, ESU 16 Sandra Peterson, ESU 3 Ellen Stokebrand, ESU 4. Inside the Triangle from Outside the Box…. Moving from the Box to the Triangle: Starting An RtI Evolution. Random thoughts from random people The RtI Pyramid… Focus on Tier 1

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RtI in a Small School? It CAN Be Done!

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RtI in a Small School? It CAN Be Done!

Kris Elmshaeuser, ESU 16

Sandra Peterson, ESU 3

Ellen Stokebrand, ESU 4

Inside the Triangle from Outside the Box…

Moving from the Box to the Triangle: Starting An RtI Evolution

  • Random thoughts from random people

  • The RtI Pyramid… Focus on Tier 1

  • Phases of Implementation?

  • One Initiative - Many Approaches

  • Big Ideas

  • Your Questions*

  • Resources

Implementing RtI is like eating an elephant…

It’s HUGE and can only be done one bite at a time!

But be warned…

“your eyes may be bigger than your stomach!”

Some thoughts as we get started…

  • About 60% of our students will learn, no matter what we do.

  • About 40% will learn with solid core instruction.

  • Of the small percentage who do not learn with solid core instruction, many will respond to specific interventions ALONG WITH the core instruction.

  • Those who don’t respond to those interventions are students are are truly disabled.

The way to get real traction for ALL students is to beef up core instruction in your classrooms!If we teach, kids will respond.

Sharon Vaughn, University of Texas

The Pyramid of RtI

As we begin RtI, our tendency is to start with working on Tier 2 and 3 interventions…

In reality we should start our focus with Tier 1 and identify what it is that we are already doing and how we can better focus that instruction for ALL students.

Tier 3

Intensive, individualized Interventions


Tier 2

Targeted Interventions

Tier 1

Comprehensive School-Wide Interventions

Three Phases of Implementation

  • Consensus Building… (Fist or Five?)

    • Shared understanding of the relationship and commitment of all implementing staff

    • Shared understanding of the rules, requirements, best practices, beliefs, and personal experiences

    • Process of building understanding and support

  • Infrastructure Development (skills, practices, tools, structures)…

    • Assess what you already have in place

    • Determine what you need to put into place

    • Set up the structure

  • Implementation…

    • Adjustments and ongoing support of the structure to sustain RtI

What we know today does not make yesterday wrong…It makes tomorrow better.-- Carol Commodore

A random thought from K-S-E…

It’s not about doing things wrong up to now, but it is about taking the new research and using it to impact what we are already doing well and making what we do better.

Admiring the view before jumping off the cliff…

One cliff… three vistas!


RtI Taskforce

Futures Planning for Professional Development and Initiation of Process

RtI Task Force

RtI Task Force

  • Professional Development Lead

  • Information Sharing

    - RtI Overview

    - Consistent Update – National/State/Local

    - Materials Overview/Delivery

    - SharePoint Site – Materials and Communication

  • Planning for ESU #3 Support

Year One

A series of workshops throughout the year that will provide information about what RtI is, how to get started with implementation, the problem solving model, progress monitoring, classroom interventions and more.

First Session

An overview of what RtI is all about and a look at how several schools and districts have implemented the philosophy. One of the day’s presenters will be Frances Bessellieu, a national RtI consultant. She will share her district’s RtI journey as they progressed through implementation, and will be available to consult with school or district teams during work time.

  • RtI Toolkit: A Practical Guide for Schools willbe given to each team attending.

  • September 24, 2007

  • 8:30-3:30

ESU 16

  • Benchmarking and Progress Monitoring

Where we have come from

  • 10 years ago had 1 large and 1 small district doing R-CBM benchmarking

  • Staff Developers began about 5 years ago holding DIBELS workshops for classroom teachers

  • 3 years ago began the push to get all districts benchmarking 3 times a year had 8 schools plus resource teachers

  • 2 years - switch from the DIBELS site to AIMSweb with

    • 1,000 students on the system free to the districts,

    • 8 schools on AIMSweb,

    • starting to Progress Monitor

  • Current year - have all districts benchmarking on the AIMSweb except the largest and smallest district. Schools began paying for AIMSweb.

Benefits of Data Collection System (AIMSWEB)

  • Put all school districts under ESU #16 umbrella so we can aggregate and disaggregate data

  • User friendly for teachers to enter data and print charts

  • Variety of probes for progress monitoring and benchmarking in reading, math, spelling and writing

  • Data import of existing DIBELS data


  • Web based so psychologists could bring up any student’s data from their offices

  • Administrators can look at ESU-wide data for comparisons to use for program planning

  • Administrators can track each individual student in their districts

  • Parents can understand progress of their child by viewing visual graphs

  • Capability of sending progress monitoring graphs to parents via email


  • Potential to transfer student’s data to new schools if child moves

  • Keep RTI consistent across districts

  • Data available to use in the SAT process

Making it work

  • General Education vs. Special Education**

  • Trust by Superintendents and principals in Staff at ESU #16 (Key for us)

  • School Psychologists ability to get into each school district to train, give probes, and enter data the first time (they were driving the bus)

  • Pilot Districts supported the process and encouraged others


  • Data Retreat for ALL ESU 4 districts

    • From NRT to CRT to Intervention

  • School Improvement

  • Problem Solving/SAT process

    • April 2006: SAT Upgrade at ESUs 4 & 6

    • August/November 2006: On-Site training in 3 districts in ESU 4

    • Follow-Up: Still a work in progress

    • Action Research is just beginning…

Insanity: Doing the same thing yet expecting different results.

Data Retreat

  • Every June

  • For the past two years, we’ve been able to ‘drill down’ to individual student data

  • Many districts have the data… but don’t know what to do with the information

  • This year… we were able to have districts ask that question and discuss the interventions within their districts

  • We included “RtI 101 for Data Teams”

  • RtI is included in the School Improvement discussion

SAT Upgrade…‘Houston, we have a problem!’

  • SATs - Past, Present and Future!

  • Used information from Lisa Kelly-Vance, UNO including works from George Batsch, USF

  • “Classroom Instruction that Works” by Robert Marzano

  • “Whatever It Takes” by Rick & Becky DuFour

  • Ken Howell - Progress Monitoring

  • Planning…

Thoughts to remember as you proceed…

No matter how far you’ve gone on the wrong road, turn back.

-- Turkish Proverb

If we don’t change the direction we’re going, we’re likely to end up where we are headed.

-- Chinese Proverb

So, where do we begin?

  • A Blueprint to design the future?

  • NASDSE document is coming…

  • The Big Ideas…

6 Big Ideas for RtI(Adapted from “The Special Educator,” 6/22/07)

  • Go slow to go fast… experts recommend a 4 to 6 year window for complete implementation

  • Cultivate a shared vision and create ownership for student success (a.k.a. School Improvement)

  • Create a culture of collaboration (PLCs, WFSGs, etc.)

    • Study options… instructional strategies, curriculum and/or curricular alignment, differentiation, …

6 Big Ideas, continued

  • Celebrate your success

  • Get out of the box as you look at your resources…

  • Administrative support is crucial for creating the vision and developing the collaborative environment

What’s on your mind?

What questions do you have as start to think about next steps in implementing RtI?

Inside the triangle from outside the box


Get Creative...

Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you stay in place!

Judy Elliott, Portland Public Schools


  • RTI and the Classroom Teacher, LRP Publications (2006)

  • “Response to Intervention: Policy Considerations and Implementation,” NASDSE (2005)

  • “Whatever It Takes,” DuFour, DuFour, Eaker and Karhanek (2004)

*This list will never be complete.

Web-based Resources*

  • Nebraska Department of Education

  • Florida Center for Reading Research


  • Intervention Central (www.interventioncentral.org)

  • progressmonitoring.net

  • www.Texasreading.org

  • California Department of Education videos @ http://www4.scoe.net/rti

  • www.ncld.org

  • Reading.uoregon.edu (Big Ideas in Beginning Reading

*This list will never be complete.

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