How to Utilize RTI Action Network Resources for Professional Development

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    In my district role, I assist with the design and implementation of professional development across the district. For RTI efforts to be implemented well and sustained, professional development efforts need to responsive to the needs of new district employees who need information at the knowledge level as well as to those more experienced implementers that need opportunities for extended dialogue around issues that will assist with district and building problem solving. I frequently refer colleagues to the RTI Action Network website because of the rich and varied resources they have created. In the past few years I have found myself feeling a bit guilty recommending the website because I know that those who go to “check it out” have come back telling me they spent so much time browsing that they failed to do other tasks! I thought a blog would be helpful to share, or spark, ideas about how others might use some of the great resources and embed them in existing professional development opportunities as a way to share the information collectively, rather than relying on it being shared individually.

    RTI Talks

    The RTI Talks are live, Q & A sessions that revolve around a variety of topics related to RtI. Notices of RTI Talks are posted on the website and sent out to subscribers in advance so questions can submitted in advance. After the live “Talk,” the Network makes the transcript available online.

    Ideas for Utilizing RTI Talks:

        1. The Talks have covered topics such as family engagement, RtI at the secondary level, scheduling, and identification of specific learning disabilities. Because the September 2011 Talk on “Managing a Classroom using PBIS Strategies” was a topic I know my colleagues continue to address through their Building-Level Teams for RtI, we sent out the notification so that they could use the opportunity to submit questions that their teams wanted to be addressed. The forum provided by the RTI Action Network, in and of itself, helped serve as an avenue to get colleagues to ask questions and piqued their curiosity as to whether their question would be answered. The PBIS coaches, in return, had information that assists with action planning and a printable transcript to lead building level discussion at faculty meetings.

        2. The RTI Talk transcripts have been great resources to have as a breakout activity when individuals or teams are convened. I’ve used breakout table talks as an activity that allows participants to have a conversation around different topics. At a recent training, we selected 8 of the RTI Talks to have participants select from for the activity (see below). Each participant self-selected a topic and went to the corresponding table where we had the printed transcript available. Each table had a facilitator who had the transcript, which had the questions highlighted in yellow. Participants were provided 45 minutes to discuss the topic in a loose structure that allowed them to ask questions of each other and exchange ideas. The transcripts came in handy because if there was a “lull” in conversation, the facilitator could direct the group to the questions asked during the talk and share their reaction to the response provided by the person who led the Talk nationally. The Talks we selected for a broad group of principals across grade levels who convened to further their skills and abilities to support RTI Implementation included:

    RTI Blogs

          The RTI Blogs are monthly postings that are intended to be short entries that you’ll find a bit more personal by nature. Blogs may be informative, reflective, or written to share a personal journey. At the end of each blog, the RTI Action Network has a place to post a reader response to the blog and create a running dialogue with the author or responder.

    Ideas for Utilizing RTI Blogs:

          The length of the blogs make them perfect table top discussion for:

          • Faculty meetings
          • RTI Leadership Teams at the district or building level
          • Sharing at PTA or family organizations
          • Having on tables at district in services or meetings for those who arrive early to read.

          Note: The blogs can be retrieved by topic, contributor (author), recent entries, or those that have received responses.

    RTI Videos and Podcasts

          The RTI Action Network has created and archived many videos that are perfect for sharing or incorporating into a professional development arrangement. Many of the videos are short in length (4 – 10 min.) so they lend themselves to being worked into a presentation or breakout activity to prompt a dialogue.

    Ideas for Utilizing RTI videos and podcasts:

          1. At a district team level, select videos to be shown and discussed at district standing meetings. For example:

          2. A series of videos were created and archived from the RTI Leadership Forum hosted by the RTI Action Network in December of 2010. A description of the 4 strands can be found on the RTI Leadership Forum page. Districts may choose to select a particular strand, jigsaw the videos and use the panel presentations to lift their local conversations. To do this:

            • Divide the group into 4 smaller groups.
            • Assign each group to watch one of the panel presentations (10 min. in length)
            • Upon return to the larger group, have a small group report out on the main messages and issues it raised for the group to discuss.


    A variation of using the RTI Leadership Forum videos is one I have found very powerful. Each of the 4 panels had a parent representative. Follow the directions above, but have each of the smaller groups watch the family video and bring the larger discussion around family engagement to the district team.

        I hope you are able to use an idea shared here in your district, building, or organization. I encourage you to respond to the blog by sharing a way you have used the RTI Action Network resources so we can help each other work smarter and not harder!
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