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Clark County School District: Las Vegas, Nevada

“Response-ability” to Instruction: Clark County School District

By: D. Reitz, J. Huff, R. Weires, S. Jost, T. ClarkPublished: January 27, 2011
Topics: District-wide Implementation, Implementation Planning and Evaluation


Topics


The Clark County School District (CCSD) is the 5th largest school district in the country, operating 352 schools with 309,476 students. CCSD encompasses all of Clark County, which covers 7,910 square miles and includes the metropolitan Las Vegas area, all outlying communities, and rural areas.

In CCSD, RTI is a K-12 multi-tiered system of support that includes both the behavioral and academic needs for all students. The term “Response to Intervention” is commonly used throughout the literature to refer to a multi-tiered preventative model designed to provide layers of support for all students. CCSD believes, the “response-ability” for instruction includes all educators. Thus CCSD has adopted the term Response to Instruction, emphasizing RTI as an education initiative for all students. This grassroots initiative serves as an impetus for increased collaboration among the entire instructional staff at the school-level as well as the District-level. Below is a visual representation of the CCSD Response to Instruction Framework.

rtiframework2

Getting Started


The CCSD RTI Collaborative was formed in 2007. Moving the fifth largest school district with over 350 schools to incorporate essential factors for system-wide improvement is a daunting task. Realizing that RTI is a systems approach and that the various supports in the District should not operate in silos but work in concert to achieve student success, the Curriculum and Professional Development Division formed a collaboration with key divisions and departments in the District to actualize the District’s goals of providing high-quality instruction, closing the achievement gap, and increasing the number of high school graduates. Since 2007, the RTI Collaborative has met monthly to increase communication among the divisions and departments, to set RTI goals, and to map out a long-range plan.

Initial Steps


Knowing that clear communication and consistent expectations are essential in defining outcomes, the RTI collaborative first agreed to develop a common language for the District to use when practicing the tenets of RTI. For example, the RTI Collaborative worked together to achieve a District-wide vocabulary for the following RTI framework: defining each of the three tiers, high-quality instruction, types of assessment (summative, formative, universal screening, diagnostic measures, and progress monitoring), and fidelity of implementation. Challenges included reaching consensus on each of the tenets across the District and moving to a K-12 RTI framework as well as to District-wide implementation.

Outcomes


During the second year, the District developed a K-5 RTI Elementary Guide. Many elementary schools were well-versed in the three-tier reading model and embraced the principles of RTI. Clark County’s K-5 RTI Elementary Guide included a reading model, a mathematics model, and a behavior model. An online professional development session was developed and approximately 3,000 teachers participated. The following year, the RTI Collaborative expanded the Guide to a K-12 RTI Operations Manual providing guidance with policy and procedures, a consistent language, and a glossary of terms. Focus groups of teachers and administrators from across the District provided feedback as this document was developed. Additionally, a series of online sessions (Overview, High-Quality Instruction, Assessment, and Instructional Models) was developed to provide consistent professional development for the teachers and administrators. This online professional development will be available to schools beginning spring 2011.·

Over the past few years, the work of the RTI Collaborative has been focused on building the infrastructure for the District by developing policy and procedure. We anticipate that RTI will have an impact on student achievement, but we are too early in implementation to identify RTI as the direct correlation to positive outcomes. Multiple factors may have contributed to our increased student achievement. These factors include No Child Left Behind, IDEA, increased access to services, school and area leadership, as well as an emphasis on Response to Instruction. The table below shows 2007 and 2010 summative data in reading and mathematics:

Reading CRT Mathematics CRT
2007 2010 2007 2010
5th Grade 49.6% 53% 57.6% 66%
8th Grade 53.7% 65% 49.9% 56%

www.nevadareportcard.com


Clark County takes responsibility to work toward the essential factors for system-wide improvement that include: “A vision that focuses on student learning and instructional improvement and the courage to acknowledge poor performance, and the will to seek solutions.”

(Learning First Alliance in Beyond Islands of Excellence 2004).

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