Teacher Insight on RTI Implementation at the Middle and High School Levels: A Comparative Case Study

Teacher Insight on RTI Implementation at the Middle and High School Levels: A Comparative Case Study

Pam Epler (Youngstown State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8322-6.ch012

Abstract

The response to intervention (RTI) service delivery model has been incorporated at the elementary school level with success but is still lagging behind within the secondary school environment. This chapter demonstrates how two secondary schools, one a middle school and the other a high school, implemented the RTI model efficiently and effectively. The chapter shows that the RTI model can be successfully executed in different ways depending on a school's needs, funding, and personnel. The chapter provides details on the diagnostic practices, data collection methods, intervention strategies, administrative support, and professional development of each implemented model and includes insight from actual teachers and school counselors who participated in the implementations. A reflection on lessons learned from each school site is included.
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Middle School Case Study

The middle school started its RTI service delivery model during the 2009-2010 school term after a change in school superintendents. The school took a year to introduce the model to the teaching staff and then fully embraced it during the 2010-2011 school term. The school counselor was given the responsibility of implementing and maintaining RTI, and it was used throughout the entire school population, which amounted to approximately 300 students in Grades 6-8.

In order to obtain firsthand knowledge of how the RTI service delivery model functions in the middle school, interviews were conducted with two of the people involved in the model. The school counselor and a language arts teacher, both of whom were licensed, practicing teachers, were interviewed. The language arts teacher (Teacher A) was considered a participant in Tier 1 in the school’s RTI model, while the school counselor (Teacher B), a former science teacher, was considered a participant in Tier 2 in the middle school’s RTI model.

Teacher A was a female who was relatively new to the teaching profession since she had only been teaching for 3 years. She held a bachelor’s degree in teaching secondary English and was working toward her master’s degree in teaching. She was also the varsity girls’ track coach. She had four different language arts/English classes to prepare for on a daily basis and expressed a deep commitment to helping students achieve academic success (Teacher A, personal communication, April 6, 2011).

Teacher B was a female who taught high school science classes for 5 years prior to becoming a school counselor, a position she had held for 24 years at the time of the interviews. She had earned a bachelor’s degree in teaching secondary science and a master’s degree in school counseling. She knew the names of all the students in the school and knew half of the students very well because she was responsible for counseling them both academically and emotionally. She displayed a strong desire for doing whatever was best for the students’ welfare and success in life (Teacher B, personal communication, April 12, 2011).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Professional Development: Training provided on a specific topic with the intent of enhancing job knowledge and performance.

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP): Measurement of year-to-year student achievement on state assessments.

Teacher-Made Assessment: A tool developed by educators and used to determine whether or not students have understood the concept(s) taught.

Middle School: Grades 6-8.

Intervention Assistance Team (IAT): A team of stakeholders, typically teachers, school counselors, and administrators, who meet to discuss a struggling student. Typically, one teacher presents the student and explains the concerns. The team then discusses interventions and instructional strategies that they feel would assist the child. Next, the teacher tries the interventions for a specific period of time and reports back to the team on the progress or lack of progress made.

State Assessment: Specific assessment tool(s) adopted and mandated by a specific state to determine adequate student achievement.

Special Education: Instruction designed for students whose learning needs cannot be met using standard school curriculum.

High School: Grades 9-12.

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs): Educators meeting with their peers to discuss a variety of topics such as writing an assessment, discussing a struggling student, or brainstorming instructional strategies. On the middle and high school levels, PLCs typically are formed by content area but can also be formed by grade level.

Academic Performance Room (APR): A special study hall in which content area teachers are available to assist students who are failing classes.

Interventions: Various strategies used by the educator to assist a student in achieving academic success in the classroom.

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