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How Professional Learning Communities Respond When Kids Don’t Learn. Title I School Improvement Workshop June 17 & 18, 2009. The most promising and research-supported way to implement Response to Intervention is to operate as a professional learning community.

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How professional learning communities respond when kids don t learn l.jpg

How Professional Learning Communities Respond When Kids Don’t Learn

Title I School Improvement Workshop

June 17 & 18, 2009


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The most promising

and research-supported

way to implement

Response to Intervention

is to operate as a professional

learning community.


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The Inescapable Question of a PLC

How will we respond when

some students don’t learn?


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PLCs and RTIs: Natural Partners

  • Focus on learning

  • Collaborative culture

  • Focus on results


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Which School is Like Yours?

  • Charles Darwin School

  • Pontius Pilate School

  • Chicago Cub Fan School

  • Henry Higgins School


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“We believe all kids can learn…”

…based on their ability.”

…if they take advantage of the opportunity we give them.”

…something, and we will help all students experience academic growth in a warm and nurturing environment.”

…and we will work to help all students achieve high standards of learning.”


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Model RTI Schools

  • Clarity of purpose

  • Collaborative culture

  • Collective Inquiry into best practices and current reality

  • Action orientation

  • Commitment to continuous improvement


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Model RTI Schools

  • Focus on results

  • Strong principals who empower teachers

  • Commitment to face adversity, conflict, and anxiety

  • The same guiding phrase


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RTI is Not…

A system of hoops to jump through before placing struggling students

into special education.

The sole responsibility of special education or Title I teachers.


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Staff Roles in RTI Process

  • Who will oversee the process?

  • Which interventions will take place in the regular classroom and which outside it?

  • Who will undertake these interventions – regular classroom teachers, specialists, or special education teachers?

  • At what stage or tier should special education staff begin intervening with students at risk?


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Shift in Assumptions

  • LEARNING as the Constant

  • Time and Support as the Variables


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Alan Sandler

(the “Cool Teacher”)

Meet the 8th grade algebra teachers at Puff Daddy Middle School

Charlotte Darwin

(lots of transfers out

by early October)

Peter Pilate (most problematic teacher on team, with student failure 3X higher than other team members)

Henrietta Higgins (monitors student progress & requires tutoring for those who are behind)

(Pyramid Response to Intervention; Buffum, Mattos, & Weber: 2009)


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Confronting the Question, “How will we respond when our students don’t learn?”requires…

a school-wide plan

that guarantees students

the time and support they need regardless

of who their teacher might be.


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Principal’s Role

  • Present the current reality to the staff and ask them to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity.

  • Lead staff through an analysis of best practices in responding to students who aren’t learning.

  • Assist staff in brainstorming ideas to create an intervention system that is timely, direct, targeted, systematic, and during the school day.


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There should be a…

Collective Response


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Systematic Program

  • Directive

  • Timely

  • Targeted


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Why?

When schools do not create systems of time and support for struggling students, teachers are forced to enter into an unstated, implicit contract with their students.


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Formula for Learning in a PLC

Targeted Instruction + Time = Learning

Variable Variable Constant


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STEPS in the RTI Process

  • Solid core program (Tier 1)

  • Universal screening

  • Differentiated support within Tier 1

  • Progress monitoring of students in the core

  • Supplemental (Tier 2) interventions to students slightly below level

  • Progress monitoring of students within a supplemental intervention

    continued…


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STEPS in the RTI Process

  • Intensive interventions (Tier 3) to students well below grade level

  • Progress monitoring of students within an intensive intervention

  • Referral for formal evaluation for special education eligibility


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Tier 1: Strengthening the Core

  • Differentiated instruction and small-group activities

  • Prioritized curriculum so students have ample opportunity to master power standards

  • Analysis of assessment data to help inform staff about quality of the core

  • Focused PD for quality teaching

  • Programs implemented with fidelity

  • Maximized instructional time


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“Educators who rely on interventions alone to meet the needs of students who score below proficiency will

never solve the basic problem these children face.”

Buffum, Mattos, & Weber,

Pyramid Response to Intervention, 2009


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Tier 2: The Supplemental Level needs of students who score below proficiency will

Intentional Nonlearners

Failed Learners

Targeted, differentiated instruction

Time

Prerequisite skill review to address the learning gap

Prevention (Extremely effective with ELL students)

  • Mandatory study hall

  • Mandatory homework help

  • Frequent progress reports

  • Study skills classes

  • Goal-setting & career planning support

  • Targeted rewards


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Targeted Interventions needs of students who score below proficiency will

  • More targeted = more effective

  • Group by cause of difficulties – not by symptoms

  • Broad interventions don’t meet any particular need

  • Crucial to have an effective identification and placement system


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Tier 3: The Intensive Level needs of students who score below proficiency will

  • Designed for students who show low content area skills and/or lack of progress over time when provided Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions

  • Generally last 12-18 weeks and usually serve no more than 5-10% of the student population

  • Small group (1-3 optimal) pull-out setting

  • Sustained, research-based instruction that may include alternate programs.

  • Students not “locked in” to intervention : ongoing progress monitoring is vital


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Is Your Answer “YES” to… needs of students who score below proficiency will

  • Is our response based upon intervention rather than remediation?

  • Is our response systematic?

  • Is our response timely?

  • Is our response directive?

  • Is our response targeted?

  • Is our response flexible?


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Tier 1 Behavioral Interventions needs of students who score below proficiency will

  • Provide positive environment for all students through the use of effective classroom management along with differentiated instruction.

  • Adopt a schoolwide behavioral curriculum.

  • Maximize instructional time to provide predictable structures.

  • Train students at beginning of the year on procedures.

  • Model and demonstrate appropriate academic behaviors in the classroom.

  • Set high expectations.


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Tier 2 Behavioral Interventions needs of students who score below proficiency will

  • More targeted, individualized, and intensive

  • Provided to small groups of student on a weekly basis, often in the form of a social skills club, group counseling, mentoring programs, or an actual behavior plan

  • Progress monitoring can be conducted by using teacher rating scales and providing specific feedback to the student.

  • Tier 2 interventions must be carried out with fidelity before accurate decisions can be made.

  • All staff collect and analyze behavioral data.


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Tier 3 Behavioral Interventions needs of students who score below proficiency will

  • Provided by a team rather than single expert

  • Focus on the specific characteristics of the student’s behavior

  • Focus on analysis of evidence from previous interventions and functional assessments

  • Goal is to decrease problematic behaviors AND help student build new replacement skills and behaviors

  • Leverage community agencies to assist students and families

  • Consider functional behavior assessments


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Is Your Answer “YES” to… needs of students who score below proficiency will

  • Is our response based upon intervention rather than remediation?

  • Is our response systematic?

  • Is our response timely?

  • Is our response directive?

  • Is our response targeted?

  • Is our response flexible?


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RTI Success Will be Relevant to How a School Answers… needs of students who score below proficiency will

  • How many tiers of intervention will be provided?

  • How will the school identify students who need intervention?

  • What is an adequate response to intervention?

  • What does formal special education evaluation look like?

  • What is the function of special education in the context of the entire system?


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Tips for Moving Forward needs of students who score below proficiency will

  • Be aware of appeals to mindless precedent.

  • Make sure the system of intervention is fluid.

  • Systems of intervention work better when they are supporting teams rather than individual teachers.

  • Realize that no support system will compensate for bad teaching.

  • Ensure a common understanding of “system of interventions.”


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SPEED Intervention Checklist needs of students who score below proficiency will

  • Systematic

  • Practical

  • Effective

  • Essential

  • Directive


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“It is disingenuous for any school to claim its purpose is to help all students to learn at high levels and then fail to create a system of interventions to give struggling learners additional time and support for learning.”

Learning by Doing.

DuFour, DuFour, Eaker , and Many


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Elements of RTI in a PLC purpose is to help all students to learn at high levels and then fail to create a system of interventions to give struggling learners additional time and support for learning.”

  • Collective responsibility by all staff for all students

  • Access to a high-quality core curriculum

  • True differentiation in the classroom

  • Universal screening

  • Analyses of student work to evaluate overall curriculum and diagnose individual student needs

  • Tiers of instruction

  • Systematic, explicit, and research-based programs


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School Culture: The Foundation purpose is to help all students to learn at high levels and then fail to create a system of interventions to give struggling learners additional time and support for learning.”

  • Assess current reality

  • Focus on learning – not teaching

  • Honestly try to answer the four critical PLC questions

  • Empowered teacher teams

  • Embedded collaboration

  • Effective assessment to guide learning

  • Focus on results – examine learning


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Video purpose is to help all students to learn at high levels and then fail to create a system of interventions to give struggling learners additional time and support for learning.”


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Resources purpose is to help all students to learn at high levels and then fail to create a system of interventions to give struggling learners additional time and support for learning.”

Whatever It Takes: How Professional Learning Communities Respond When Kids Don’t Learn; DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Karhanek, 2004

Pyramid Response to Intervention, RTI, Professional Learning Communities, and How to Respond When Kids Don’t Learn; Buffum, Mattos, & Webster, 2009

Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work; DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Many, 2006

“Myths About Response to Intervention” National Association of State Directors of Special Education, May 2008


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