The Route to Intervention (RTI) initiative at Florence Middle School (FMS) addressed the need to boost reading and math proficiency for the school’s lowest achieving students. Formerly these students were assigned to a remedial course where they received extra help on class assignments and tests. However, this class did not diagnose students’ learning gaps nor did it provide any remediation for reading or math. The new initiative focused on separating students who scored in the bottom 25 percent based on their Mississippi Curriculum Test 2 scores (MCT2) into one of two remedial classes to receive small group or one-on-one support within to overcome learning gaps in either reading or math.
While the need to assist struggling learners was clear, it was unclear what teachers’ needs were for this initiative. Since I was new to both leadership and to Florence Middle School, I did not know how any of the teachers differentiated instruction for struggling learners. Further, the planning team completely failed to address the teachers’ needs when considering this change initiative, and we only planned for students’ needs.
The goals and means to accomplish the RTI process appeared to be straightforward for the remedial classes. The goals were to diagnose students’ gaps, use prescribed curriculum to address them, and to progress monitor their learning in these areas weekly. Monthly, the remedial teachers would examine data to see if students were meeting their individual learning goals, and we would share this data in grade level meetings with their teachers. The remedial teacher would also serve as each student’s parent liaison at these meetings.
Early on, we did not achieve clarity even in our reme...
... middle of paper ...
... liaison between parents and non-remedial teachers, and communicated data about student performance in interventions to parents, administration, and other teachers. The teachers who did not teach remediation classes had less clear roles. The expectation was for them to plan tiered instruction for all learners in their classrooms and to reteach content when students showed difficulty. They were also to be present at monthly student data meetings to discuss students’ progress and skill deficits.
Government and Other Agencies
The Mississippi Department of Education uses an accountability model to rate schools’ academic performance based on growth percentages and the RTI process is mandated by law in all schools. Beyond these polices, there were really no clearly defined roles or influence by the government and other agencies in this change initiative.
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