ROGERSVILLE — Once you've reached the top of the mountain, what's harder than getting there is staying there.
That's why the Rogersville City School will be going above and beyond the new state mandated RTI (Response to Intervention and Instruction) requirements which will give struggling K-8 students more personal instruction time in reading and/or math.
RCS students have scored straight A's on the state report card in academic achievement for most of the past decade, and this past year the school also scored straight A's in the value added category which measure student growth.
Maintaining that academic growth is what the new RTI program is focused on.
In a nutshell, the program calls for students who are struggling in math or reading to spend time with an "interventionist" in a setting where they receive more personal instruction.
RCS principal Rhonda Winstead and assistant principal Shane Bailey gave the Board of Education a report on how RCS will be implementing new state mandated RTI plan.
"Originally this came out as RTI — Response to Intervention — and it was not mandated by the state," Winstead said. "We've been doing RTI for eight years in reading for grades K through fourth. Now for the first time it is mandated by the state to do it in math and reading, so what we're doing now is adding math into the mix."
This year the state gave schools the option of implementing RTI in grades K-5 only, but Winstead said RCS wanted to use the program K-8.
It's three tier program
Tier one is the regular classroom plan for all students.
The teacher:student ratio for tier one is 1:20 for grades K-3; 1:25 for grades 4-6; and 1:30 for grades 7-8. In tier one the new RTI guidelines require 150 minutes of reading and 60 minutes of math every day for K-2 students; 90 minutes of math and reading every day for grades 3-5; and 55 minutes of reading and math daily for grades 6-8.
Tier two is for at-risk students who are achieving just below their grade level, and requires extra instructional time in addition to tier one with a 1:5 teacher student ratio.
Tier two students receive an additional 20 minutes daily to of reading and math for kindergartners; and extra 20 minutes of math and 30 minutes of reading for first graders; and 30 minutes extra of math and reading for grades 2-8.
Some aspects of tier two include additional support above and beyond that of peers; individual intervention plans; interventions are aligned with specific student needs; individualized and targeted short-term intensive intervention and remediation; and progress monitoring and documentation of progress toward targeted goals.
"In tier two we're hoping it's going to be a short-term intervention, and then we're hoping after eight to 10 weeks of progress monitoring we can move them back into tier one," Winstead said.
Tier three is the highest level of intervention available. Students in tier three have scored in the bottom 10 percent on the benchmark exam.
Tier three requires a 1:3 teacher to student ratio and requires 45-60 extra minutes of reading and math daily for K-8.
Aspects of tier three include longer term intensive instructional interventions designed to increase their rate of progress; individualized diagnostic assessments used to evaluate and distinguish deficit areas in order to design individualized instructional plan; and evaluation by a multi-disciplinary team if low achievement and insufficient response to criteria are met.
Winstead added, "This is a team effort. There's going to be multiple people working on this. The classroom teacher, we're going to be working with the guidance counselor, we're going to be working with assistants, the math coordinator, the reading coordinator — and we work as a team to try to figure out how to help this child. What is the best intervention. How can we improve those scores."
RCS had to find two teaching positions in order to come up with enough interventionists to implement the RTI program.
Instead of hiring two new teachers, they were able to take one teacher position from seventh-grade, and one teacher position form eighth-grade, and still maintain the minimum 1:30 student teacher ratio for those two grades.
"Basically we're making every attempt to keep a student on grade level," Bailey said. "When students fall behind their classmates, sometime they have a tendency to want to give up. We're not going to let that happen."
Bailey added, "Our main goal is to have 100 percent of students in tier one, and used tier two and tier three for enrichment. But, if our students don't get it in tier one, then we want to make sure they get it in tier two or tier three. We want students to stay on grade level or above."comments powered by Disqus