The purpose of RTI in Lexington ISD is to improve academic success for all students with early academic intervention when any student shows signs of struggling in a grade level or in a core subject. RTI is then matching high quality instruction to a student’s needs by collecting data points to guide decision making in that student’s progress.
Lexington ISD has incorporated the Three-Tiered Model. This model assumes that most students can be successful in the general education curriculum. When a student is not making adequate progress in the general education environment, as judged by academic performance and other screening measures, the student is given more assistance in the hope that he or she will reach the predetermined school benchmarks. This assistance is provided in the classroom in Tier 1 and moved to Tier II. At these levels, the intervention may be carried out in small groups for a specific amount of time. Progress is monitored routinely. If the intervention is working, and the student achieves targeted benchmarks, he or she may stop receiving the small group help. If on the other hand, the student is not making progress, he or she may receive more frequent intervention or intervention of longer duration. The student may be referred for Tier III services—more intensive sessions that may or may not occur within the classroom. Often, specially trained personnel work with the student at this level to help him or her succeed. Within this level is the option for referral for special education evaluation, if the student has not responded to the various interventions over a predetermined period of time. At any time within the intervention process, the students may move back and forth between tiers, depending on level of performance and mastery of skills.
Lexington Personnel Involved
Essentially everyone at the building level is involved in the various approaches to RTI. Classroom teachers, special education teachers, reading specialists, math specialists, administrators, counselors, parents, office personnel, and other outside professionals, may play a role in RTI. RTI is a collaborative process that invites input from everyone to formulate the best plan to address the learning needs of all students. The RTI personnel within a school may find themselves expanding their roles and responsibilities as well as their ways of thinking about education. LISD may have to consider realignment of personnel to accomplish associated tasks; for example, the data-driven nature of RTI will require personnel to manage data.
Each campus will select personnel to represent students on the RTI teams, which are called GIST on the Elementary campus and SAT on the MS and HS campuses. The following are recommended guidelines for the GIST and SAT committees on the ELEM, MS, and HS sites:
Campus principal (preferred) or a designee who has decision-making authority regarding curriculum, supports, and budget issues
The referring teacher
At least one general education teacher familiar with the curriculum
Staff member knowledgeable about the assessment and documentation
Parent of the child (as needed)
Other staff members may be invited as needed: School psychologist, reading specialist, math specialist, district level interventionists, speech therapist, occupational therapist, counselor for struggling learners, campus counselor, school nurse, and special education support/Inclusion teacher
Lexington ISD’s Role of Special Education
Special Education and referral for special education services remains an option within all RTI models. Special education referral is made after interventions have not resulted in student learning success. Student success in these cases is judged by ongoing data collection during the frequently monitored and modified intervention process. Students who do not respond to increasingly intensive interventions may proceed to a comprehensive evaluation. If the student is identified as having a disability at that point, an Individualized Education Program will be developed. After the IEP has been generated, the student will be provided with even more intensive intervention called “specially designed instruction.” Progress continues to be monitored regularly and often more frequently.