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RtI in Secondary Schools. Effective Practices and Pitfalls Donald D. Deshler & Leslie C. Novosel. Session Objectives. To explain the work of the Center for Research on Learning To identify and describe the needs of secondary struggling learners

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rti in secondary schools
RtI in Secondary Schools
  • Effective Practices and Pitfalls
  • Donald D. Deshler & Leslie C. Novosel
session objectives
Session Objectives
  • To explain the work of the Center for Research on Learning
  • To identify and describe the needs of secondary struggling learners
  • To provide an overview of the essential components of RtI at the secondary level
  • To identify and discuss events that enhance and impede progress of a school-wide secondary literacy reform initiative

KU Center for Research on Learning - CRL

Advanced Learning Technologies

Division of Adult Studies

Institute for Research on Adolescent Learning

Professional Learning Institue

Kansas Coaching Project

E-Learning Lab

Professional Learning Institute

Seeks new ways to deliver quality learning opportunities, conceptualize models of PD, and provide support to teachers and other school personnel.

The ultimate goal is improved student achievement through effective teaching practices.

Institute for Research on Adolescent Learning

Develop and research instructional practices, strategies, and programs that significantly enhance the achievement of adolescents who struggle with learning.

what we know
What We Know
  • Models & Interventions for Secondary Learners
  • ARE Supported by Valid Research
  • Increasing Access to Content Area Instruction (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004)
  • Strategic Instruction Model (Lenz, Deshler, & Kissam, 2003)
  • Secondary Behavior Support (Sprick, 2006)
Framework for Guiding the Development of
  • Schoolwide Literacy Services in Secondary Schools
        • Ensure mastery of critical core curriculum content to develop the background knowledge required for comprehension, independent learning, and cumulative literacy development.
        • Integrate key learning strategies into and across core curriculum courses
        • Develop support structures to more explicitly and intensively teach those strategies that are required/ integrated across core curriculum courses for those students who need more direct instruction than can be provided by teachers in core curriculum courses.
    • Identify and support the development of intensive literacy course options and services (i.e., for students with literacy skills below a fourthgrade level) that are integrated into overall schoolwide literacy development efforts.
    • Prepare professionals that support literacy goals, such as those provided through speech and language specialists, to provide clinical support services consistent with schoolwide literacy efforts.
profile of adolescent reader
Profile of Adolescent Reader

Results of descriptive study conducted with 346 adolescent readers in which 83% of the students attended urban schools (Hock, Brasseur, Deshler, Catts, Marquis, 2005)

  • Struggling adolescent readers
    • Overall reading skill at or below 40th percentile
    • Need word level, vocab, fluency, & comprehension interventions
  • Highly proficient readers
    • Acquired word-level skills
    • Comprehension skills (just above average)
    • Need high-level comprehension skill instruction
idea principles rti
IDEA Principles & RtI
  • IDEA mandates that students with disabilities be
  • educated with children without disabilities to
  • the maximum extent appropriate... and that
  • students with disabilities be removed to
  • separate classes or schools only when the
  • nature or severity of their disabilities is such that
  • they cannot receive an appropriate education in
  • a general education classroom with
  • supplementary aids and services
If a Student Has a Severe Basic Skill Discrepancy (e.g., Reading),Special Education Programs Will Be Focussed on Intensive, Teacher-Directed Reading Instruction as Early and Powerfully as Possible.
  • If a student has basic skill levels, Special Education will Support Teachers and Students in Content Classes Through SIM and Effective Behavior Support
  • Change
mission statement
Mission Statement
  • The mission or vision statement clarifies the intent of the program, its philosophy, and the core responsibilities of the special education teacher, the paraprofessional, and the students.
  • Without a central philosophy or purpose, special education programs, especially Resource Rooms, lack definition and may become tutoring programs, or anything else others deem it to be.
  • Be proactive in defining and protecting the purpose and integrity of your
  • program.
Representative Membership of Limited size
  • Action Plan
  • Process for Raising Concerns
  • Commitment to Perservere
  • Acknowledgement of Time to Allow for Change

Universal Screening

      • Conducted as the first stage within a screening process
  • Identify or predict students who may be at-risk for poor learning outcomes.
  • Typically brief; conducted with all students at a grade level
  • Followed by additional testing or short-term progress monitoring to corroborate
  • students’ risk status
  • Progress Monitoring
  • Used to:
  • Assess students’ academic performance
  • Quantify a student rate of improvement or responsiveness to instruction
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of instruction
  • Can be implemented with individual students or an entire class

Must address all the important aspects of literacy, including writing

  • Develop a broad approach to progress monitoring
  • Pay close attention to:
    • the scope and function of decision-making teams
    • fluid movement across levels
  • Resources:
  • http://www.rtinetwork.org
  • http://www.studentprogress.org
Response to Scheduling
  • At the secondary level is the complexity of the organization and the “nightmare of scheduling”, especially in high schools.
  • The definition of tiers is an issue:
    • Who, what, how, and for how long?
    • How intensive should the third tier be before it can be considered "specialized" and, therefore, more appropriately a special education service?
  • Difficult (although not impossible) for secondary schools to promote flexible movement across tiers within a semester course schedule.
  • Issue of credits; students must be sure to take the courses they need to earn a diploma.
voices from ms principals
Voices From MS Principals
  • Most vital behaviors key to your success as a leader with your RTI initiative?
  • Flexible, Keep an Open Mind
  • Believe/Value/Confidence [in System], Passionate, Fully Invested
  • Hold All Responsible for Collecting/Monitoring Data
  • Observe, Model, Provide Feedback, and Support
  • Clear Communication
voices from ms principals29
Voices From MS Principals
  • 2 core competencies essential to creating successful RTI implementation in MS?
  • Passionate that all kids can learn, even low-performing 10%, real children behind the numbers
  • Moral obligation, tenacity and not giving up
  • Humor, keep perspective, be a learner by putting in the time and effort
  • Set high expectations, be involved & supportive at every step
  • Calm and confident, consistent
  • Not punitive, listen to staff
  • Collaborator, flexibility by monitoring and adjusting as needed
  • Good relationship with staff, caring team player
voices from ms principals30
Voices From MS Principals
  • 2 most important things you have done to get buy-in (or deal with resistance) from staff?
    • Active involvement, let teachers be managers
        • Didn't sugar coat ugly data, came to conclusion together after recognizing the
        • need, ecourage questions, sharing info all of the time
    • Ability to deliver "hard messages" such as "get on the train or get off"
    • Fireside chats with staff, modeling
    • Explicit District expectations, improvement plans
    • Not punitive, proactive
    • Address concerns privately, coaching, dialogue, problem-solving
  • Honesty, open door policy, no tolerance for complaining
voices from ms principals31
Voices From MS Principals
  • What is the probability that RTI can succeed in MS w/o extraordinarily strong leadership?
    • Slim
    • 100% no, would be a scheduling nightmare
    • 50/50, good teachers could do it but wold be operating in a vacuum without leadership
    • You have to have leadership, but credit should go to staff
    • It won't happen
    • It can't, leadership is crucial
    • It cannot
    • It can't, leadership is crucial
    • it can't
what will it take
What Will it Take?
  • “It would be foolhardy to assume, however, that because there is a focus on RTI

at the elementary level, there is no need to attend to it in middle, junior,

and high schools (Ehren, www.rtinetwork.org).”

  • Explain how the rationale of RTI relates to secondary education
  • Be prepared to dispel myths that would thwart RTI implementation
  • Be encouraged by the opportunities RTI presents in secondary settings
  • Be cognizant of, but undaunted by, the challenges of implementing RTI in secondary schools
  • Ask key questions with an ear tuned to positive responses
  • RtI Action Network
to move the needle
To Move the Needle...
    • Integrated, school-wide approach
  • Entire school community takes ownership of the problem (“all my students” vs “my students”)
  • Belief that change can happen (“It is what it is.”)
  • Empowered to raise achievement (Job embedded PD, instructional coaching)