Implementing Your Plan
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No single method exists for plan implementation. Typically, the following timetable is used:
Establish a district leadership team and a school-based leadership team.
Identify level of implementation (grade, subject, or entire building).
Identify professional development needs and technical assistance protocols.
Focus on Tier 1 (core instruction).
Evaluate outcomes of Year 1.
Identify common needs of students for Tier 2 instruction/intervention.
Create “Data Days” (four times per year) to establish timelines for data analysis and instructional evaluation.
Begin to focus on strategies for integrating Tier 2 interventions with core instruction and assessment.
Continue professional development in areas that support a Tier 2 focus.
Target technical assistance.
Identify needs and focus for Year 3.
- Evaluate outcomes of Year 2.
- Identify needs of students requiring intensive interventions.
- Establish a protocol (frequency/intensity) for “Data Days” that are necessary to support evaluation of Tier 3 interventions.
- Enhance strategies to integrate both Tier 3 and Tier 2 interventions with core instruction and assessment.
- Continue professional development, focusing on assessment and intervention strategies to support Tier 3 needs.
- Target technical assistance.
Focus on Tier 1 (Core Instruction)
If consensus has been achieved and the infrastructure is in place, then implementation can begin. Basically, implementation involves the active use of data to inform, develop, adapt, and evaluate instructional and intervention decisions. Attempting to implement Response to Intervention (RTI) without the infrastructure in place is futile. Regardless of how extensive the implementation plan is (one grade level, one subject area, an entire school), implementation must occur in specific phases. The first phase is the evaluation and modification (if necessary) of core instruction to ensure that it is effective. Most schools are staffed in such a way that effective supplemental and/or intensive interventions cannot be provided for more than 20% of the students. The staff and time simply does not exist. Although interventions might be provided to more than 20% of the students, the effectiveness of those interventions would be compromised significantly. Therefore, successful implementation of RTI begins with ensuring the effectiveness of core instruction for all students (disaggregated by the eight No Child Left Behind adequate yearly progress categories—e.g., race, English language learners).
Once the core instruction is determined to be effective, then implementation can focus on improving the impact (e.g., are students achieving proficiency on state-approved, grade-level/content standards?) of supplemental and intensive instruction.
Developing Effective Small Group Interventions (Tier 2)
The most efficient way to provide supplemental instruction is to identify evidence-based interventions that are effective in resolving the academic and behavior difficulties experienced by numbers of students in the building (i.e., grade or content area). Often “standard protocols”—evidence-based interventions for groups of students experiencing common difficulties—are used in Tier 2. This does not exclude more targeted, individual interventions. However, it is more efficient, given staffing patterns and time, to use this standard protocol method whenever possible.
Focus on Intensive Interventions
It is difficult to know the needs of students who require intensive interventions until you determine who these students are in an environment where both core and supplemental instruction is highly effective. This will take 2–3 years. Who are the “real” students in need of Tier 3 intervention? Once this information is known, then implementation of appropriate assessment and intervention strategies can begin.
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