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Special Education & RTI

We are committed to providing children with special needs an education that meets their spiritual, academic (cognitive), emotional, and psychological needs.

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. These services may be provided by a variety of personnel, including general education teachers, special educators, and specialists. Progress is closely monitored to assess both the learning rate and level of performance of individual students. Educational decisions about the intensity and duration of interventions are based on individual student response to instruction. RTI is designed for use when making decisions in both general education and special education, creating a well-integrated system of instruction and intervention guided by child outcome data.

For RTI implementation to work well, the following essential components must be implemented with fidelity and in a rigorous manner:

  • High-quality, scientifically based classroom instruction. All students receive high-quality, research-based instruction in the general education classroom.
  • Ongoing student assessment. Universal screening and progress monitoring provide information about a student’s learning rate and level of achievement, both individually and in comparison with the peer group. These data are then used when determining which students need closer monitoring or intervention. Throughout the RTI process, student progress is monitored frequently to examine student achievement and gauge the effectiveness of the curriculum. Decisions made regarding students’ instructional needs are based on multiple data points taken in context over time.
  • Tiered instruction. A multi-tier approach is used to efficiently differentiate instruction for all students. The model incorporates increasing intensities of instruction offering specific, research-based interventions matched to student needs.
  • Parent involvement. Schools implementing RTI provide parents information about their child’s progress, the instruction and interventions used, the staff who are delivering the instruction, and the academic or behavioral goals for their child.

Though there is no single, thoroughly researched, and widely practiced “model” of the RTI process, it is generally defined as a three-tier (or three-step) model of school supports that uses research-based academic and/or behavioral interventions. The Three-Tier Model is described below.

Tier 1: High-Quality Classroom Instruction, Screening, and Group InterventionsWithin Tier 1, all students receive high-quality, scientifically based instruction provided by qualified personnel to ensure that their difficulties are not due to inadequate instruction. All students are screened on a periodic basis to establish an academic and behavioral baseline and to identify struggling learners who need additional support. Students identified as being “at-risk” through universal screenings and/or results on state- or districtwide tests receive supplemental instruction during the school day in the regular classroom. The length of time for this step can vary, but it generally should not exceed 8 weeks. During that time, student progress is closely monitored using a validated screening system such as curriculum-based measurement. At the end of this period, students showing significant progress are generally returned to the regular classroom program. Students not showing adequate progress are moved to Tier 2.

Tier 2: Targeted InterventionsStudents not making adequate progress in the regular classroom in Tier 1 are provided with increasingly intensive instruction matched to their needs on the basis of levels of performance and rates of progress. Intensity varies across group size, frequency and duration of intervention, and level of training of the professionals providing instruction or intervention. These services and interventions are provided in small-group settings in addition to instruction in the general curriculum. In the early grades (kindergarten through 3rd grade), interventions are usually in the areas of reading and math. A longer period of time may be required for this tier, but it should generally not exceed a grading period. Students who continue to show too little progress at this level of intervention are then considered for more intensive interventions as part of Tier 3.

Tier 3: Intensive Interventions and Comprehensive EvaluationAt this level, students receive individualized, intensive interventions that target the students’ skill deficits. Students who do not achieve the desired level of progress in response to these targeted interventions are then referred for a comprehensive evaluation and considered for eligibility for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). The data collected during Tiers 1, 2, and 3 are included and used to make the eligibility decision.

It should be noted that at any point in an RTI process, IDEA 2004 allows parents to request a formal evaluation to determine eligibility for special education. An RTI process cannot be used to deny or delay a formal evaluation for special education.

In addition to variations in the tiers used to deliver RTI services, schools use different approaches in implementation, such as problem-solving, functional assessment, standard protocol, and hybrid approaches. Although there are many formats for how a school might implement RTI to best serve the needs of its students, in every case RTI can be a school-wide framework for efficiently allocating resources to improve student outcomes.

Tier 4: Screening & Placement for Special Education Resource Services
St. Michael St Gabriel School offers additional support beyond the general education classroom as part of student support based inclusion education.  Tier 4 is the end of the RTI Classroom process and the beginning of the Special Education legally required process.  If a student is showing signs from the RTI process or the parent and teachers suspect other concerns or learning needs, Tier 4 is the place professionals work together with the parent to resolve the learning concern.  Tier 4 process brings the student into a special stage of development to further assist their learning needs using specialized Teachers and Professionals.  If a child is positively identified for exceptionality and needs Special Education supports, tools, equipment, learning modification, and at times extended resources outside of the school system.  Once the parent of students suspect their student is in need of these services, he/she may make a request to the building principal and special education resource center. There are specific procedures, as required by the State of Indiana that the school must follow.  A special meeting is held with parents to review their student’s information.  Once the parent agrees,  there are a series of steps taken to ensure the student is evaluated for their learning needs. Identified needs from these evaluations, information obtained from testing professionals, and teacher specific student information from their classroom work, assist the multidisciplinary team design professional interventions written in an Individual Education Plan and to make recommendations to parents as to the specific types of accommodation, resources, and equipment the student may need to support their learning.  Following the professional evaluation, the team prepares a report with parent involvement and includes specific recommendations of the type of intervention necessary to address the needs of the student. There are periodic progress meetings held to check on the growth of the student and to ensure they meet their goals.  Annually,  if the student’s concerns are not met,  the team meets with parents to revise the plan and plan new goals.  Students identified through this process receive in school specialized support services from the resource department and related professionals.  The student continues to receive services from General Education and Special Education until their needs are resolved.


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