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Leading Edge Blog

Integrating All Students

Using RTI to meet students where they are

At the Ohio Leadership Advisory Council (OLAC), one of our main goals is to help educators meet the unique learning needs of all students. As you enjoy summer break, now is a great time to think about ways in which your district, building, or classroom can incorporate new strategies in the 2016-2017 school year to make sure you are challenging ALL learners - regardless of if they are special education, gifted, or somewhere in between.

A number of our learning modules and webinars feature specific information about meeting these unique learning needs, including the Learning Supports and Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners modules.

We asked our friends at Lancaster City Schools, principals Jake Campbell and Jennifer Woods, to share how their district has changed their mindset and used Response to Intervention (RTI) and the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) to ensure they are helping all students learn, grow, and be challenged. Here's what Jake and Jennifer had to share:

In looking at individual student growth, our district began to notice gaps in our instructional practices. Students who were identified as special education and gifted were not making growth. Our special education students were missing Tier 1 instruction. We were failing to close the gap. Our gifted students were failing to be challenged and enriched. We had to do something differently. So we started looking into RTI. We needed a way to provide direct instruction to every student at his/her instructional level. RTI allows for teachers to provide Tier 1 Instruction, provides learning targets based on standards, embeds skills within the content, and allows for developmental scaffolding of skills.

Asking four major questions helped us design our delivery of instruction system.

  1. What are our resources?
  2. What spaces do we have available?
  3. What assessments do we have?
  4. What questions do we need to have answered?

We changed our mindset as to who could work with whom. Intervention specialists and school wide title teachers were able to work with all students. Wait, did we say all students? Yes, because let's face it all kids struggle with learning at some point in their education and our unidentified students could benefit from learning a different strategy or having additional practice too. Our gifted students could benefit from having an enrichment activity and working with others who think as they do.

We designed a schedule that required all students to remain in the regular education class for Tier 1 instruction. Then each grade level receives 30 minutes intervention/enrichment time for reading and another 30 minutes intervention/enrichment time for math. Students are put into groups based on common formative assessment data to target specific skills that need to be retaught, practiced or enriched. During the 30-minute block, regular education teachers, intervention specialists, and title personnel go to that grade to provide the intervention/enrichment. Students are then formally and informally progress monitored. We've also utilized the five-step process and framework from the OIP to help guide us in our implementation with our TBTs and BLTs.

Thanks to Lancaster City Schools for sharing their exciting work.

We'll be hard at work over the summer finalizing new modules and making updates to our existing resources to make it even easier for you to access the online learning available from OLAC.

Even though it's summertime, don't forget about the ways you can connect with OLAC:

  • Follow OLAC on Twitter at @OHEdLeadership
  • Take advantage of OLAC learning modules and resources, and the opportunity to earn credit and CEUs through our Credit Corner
  • Save the date for the 2016 OLAC Action Forum on December 13, 2016 at the Ohio Union at The Ohio State University. Stay tuned for more details!