Example State Programs


The IDEA law is vague concerning guidelines on the best process for establishing an RTI service delivery model in schools or school districts. Since education in the United States is a right governed under each individual state's jurisdiction, there conceivably could be 50 different ways to set up such a model. This chapter examines the RTI models developed by two states: Florida and Alaska. Both states have established specific guidelines, training materials, and other resources for implementation of RTI at the secondary level.
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In 2004, Florida followed the IDEA mandate and developed its Response to Instruction/Intervention Implementation Plan, which provided an initial framework on how the RTI service delivery model works and a method on how to incorporate it into its educational system. In 2011, Florida closed this phase of the RTI model and adopted a different name—MTSS, or Multi-Tiered System of Supports. According to Kincaid and George (2012), this change was intended to provide a more structured continuum of services toward achieving the cohesive and comprehensive goal of meeting the needs of all students. In this new model, Florida has incorporated technology and the use of Universal Design for Learning to support its problem solving and data-based decision making (Florida MTSS, 2011). It is important to mention that Florida uses the verbiage of “instruction” instead of “interventions” in its MTSS model, which implies that all students are included in the model, not just students who may need specialized assistance.

Description of Tiers

Florida incorporates three tiers. Tier 1 involves instruction for all students, even those who may need a little extra time to grasp a concept (Florida MTSS, 2011). Tier 2 instruction is for students who, despite Tier 1 assistance, are still struggling and need the additional Tier 2 instruction to be academically successful. The instruction at this level is more intensive in both time and interventions used. Within this tier, Florida permits anyone, albeit the general education classroom teacher, a specialist, or a remedial teacher, to provide instruction. The state also permits this learning to occur in school, at the student’s home, in the specialist’s classroom, or in a different setting, such as the local library. Florida requires that the students who receive Tier 2 support continue to receive Tier 1 instruction as well (Florida MTSS, 2011).

Tier 3 is reserved for the few students who are not successful in the previous two tiers. At this level, the instruction is provided in very small groups or on an individual basis depending on student need. Again, Tier 3 requires more intensive instruction and more time to implement it. Both general education classroom teachers and a specialty teacher must collaborate with one another to ensure that a student is getting the necessary instruction at this tier level. The previous two tiers’ instruction continue to occur as well. If a student is not successful at this tier, he/she is then referred for evaluation for special education services (Florida MTSS, 2011).

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