RTI Action Network

Getting Buy-In for RtI Implementation

By: Bob HeimbaughPublished: April 6, 2010
Topics: Implementation Planning and Evaluation, Professional Development

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One of the hardest things we can do is get everyone in a school on the same page whenever we implement a new program in our schools. When it comes to staff buy-in, RtI is no different. Over the past few months I have had many conversations with educators across the country related to RtI implementation in their schools. When talking with these educators, a common concern seems to be popping up. Many have told me, "We meet, come to an agreement, and everyone says they are on board, but when we go into the classrooms the issue we agreed to is not occurring."

Whatever the issue with these professionals — fidelity of instruction, scheduling of progress monitoring, teaching the required elements of the core — it is not happening in all the classrooms in their schools. For anyone who spends time with RtI data generated from assessments, this lack of support or commitment takes a huge toll on student achievement. Even more frustrating is that an agreement had been made, but some in the school have privately decided to not support the agreement.

In a culture of change, we sometimes have to address the unhealthy environments in our schools. As we make decisions about students, instruction, schedules, and protocol around RtI, we need a process for ensuring implementation fidelity. Many teachers in schools may agree publicly to support RtI, but when their classroom door closes they do what they have always done. When this happens, schools have to deal with poor implementation, frustration, anger, and wasted time and effort. Most importantly, kids may not be getting the educational benefit that they so deserve.

Changing the behavior of adults in a school is no easy task. To do so takes effort, support, and diligence. Below I have listed some strategies to ensure buy-in for RtI, while also supporting the implementers in your schools:

Monitoring the implementation of RtI is a key. When everyone knows that the process will be monitored through a system of support, the more likely staff will buy-in. Implementing RtI is a risk for everyone. By providing a culture of support, the chances of RtI implementation can become a reality.
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