Debra Jennings speaks about Engaging Families in Response to Intervention.
For parents, having a child struggle in school can be a frustrating and emotional experience. But thanks to a process many of our school districts are using it doesn't have to be this way.
This process is called, Response to Intervention or “RTI”. RTI is a way for schools to identify students in the general education classroom who are struggling in an area (math, reading, etc.) and get them the help they need before they “fail”. This process is based on years of research and has been proven to decrease the number of students who are struggling with the classroom material. RTI has varying levels of support that meet the needs of individual children and gets them appropriate supports. RTI asks the very important question: What does this child need to succeed in school and how can we teach them in a more supportive way? In one local district there have been a dramatic decrease in the number of students who need extra help in the classroom due to the nature in which RTI supports them. This school district is doing so well it has made fewer referrals to special education and is getting statewide recognition due to RTI.
While as many as 20% of students are involved in this process in their schools, the real struggle seems to be that parents aren’t aware of the program and therefore don’t know to ask about it. This means that if a child is involved in the RTI process, there is no parental awareness at home, which leaves little room for follow through or supports when the child goes home at the end of the day.
Parents should feel empowered to ask their child’s school if they have an RTI process and if their child is involved in it. Schools who are using RTI will be documenting students progress in the program and in most cases will be able to show data of how each child is performing. In fact, in many cases children may be documenting their progress themselves by creating a graph with their instructors. Parents should know about their school’s RTI process not only because they should be involved in all decisions made about their child, but also because then they can support the RTI process at home by helping children with their areas of struggle and celebrating their successes. What parent wouldn’t want to know how their child is progressing in school!
If you are a parent who wants to know more about your school districts RTI process there is a program and resource that can support you. PAVE’s RTI: Information for Families is a program that works to raise parental awareness about RTI in our state. RTI: Information for Families also has various resources and can also be available for presentations.
If you have questions, concerns, or want to know more about how to get involved with RTI: Information for Families contact Sarah Hale @ 1(800)-5PARENT or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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