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Mission: Idaho Parents Unlimited supports, empowers, educates, and advocates to enhance the quality of life for Idahoans with disabilities and their families.

RTI - Response to Intervention

A process used by educators to help studnets who are struggling with a skill or lesson: every teacher will use interventions  (a set of teaching procedures) with any student to help them succeed in the classroom—it’s not just for children with special needs or a learning disability. If a student is struggling, his or her teacher will use test scores and other measures of progress to choose a researched and proven intervention suited to help the child learn. If a child does not respond to the initial interventions, more focused interventions are used to help the child master the skill.

How Can Parents be Involved in the RTI Process?

The hallmarks of effective home-school collaboration include open communication and involvement of parents in all stages of the learning process. Being informed about your school's RTI process is the first step to becoming an active partner. Both the National Center for Learning Disabilities and the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities advise parents to ask the following questions:

  • Does our school use an RTI process? If not, are there plans to adopt one? Be aware that your child's school may call their procedures a "problem solving process," or may have a unique title for their procedures, e.g., Instructional Support Team, and not use the specific RTI terminology
  • Are their written materials for parents explaining the RTI process? How can parents be involved in the various phases of the RTI process?
  • What interventions are being used, and are these scientifically based as supported by research?
  • What length of time is recommended for an intervention before determining if the student is making adequate progress?
  • How do school personnel check to be sure that the interventions were carried out as planned?
  • What techniques are being used to monitor student progress and the effectiveness of the interventions? Does the school provide parents with regular progress monitoring reports?
  • At what point in the RTI process are parents informed of their due process rights under IDEA 2004, including the right to request an evaluation for special education eligibility

Questions to Ask Your School or District About RTI

In addition to understanding RTI, when this process is being used to educate your child it is also important for parents to be included as partners with schools in the adoption and implementation of RTI programs. How do you do that? Here are some questions that we can ask as our school and/or district is adopting an RTI process:

  1. In considering whether and how to implement RTI, what is the school and/or district strategy for reviewing curriculum options? How will parents be included in this process?
  2. Does this process ensure that the curriculum adopted will address the needs of the student population?
  3. Does the curriculum include materials that parents can use at home?
  4. Are there sufficient resources (time, materials, and staff) to be able to offer the variety of proven instructional strategies needed to address diverse student needs?
  5. How will our teachers be trained in using tools and methods for measuring student performance that recognize small increments of growth?
  6. What interventions will be used? Are these scientifically based as supported by research? Will they address the cultural and language needs of our students?
  7. Does the district have clear, objective guidelines for determining an "adequate" response to an intervention—how much progress over what period of time will determine if an intervention is successful? How will school personnel check to be sure that the interventions were carried out as planned?
  8. At what point in the RTI process are parents informed of their due process rights under IDEA , including the right to request an evaluation for special education eligibility?
  9. Does the school and district have a plan for keeping parents informed as the new procedures are put into place? Are there written materials for parents that explain the RTI process?
  10. Does our school and district have specific ways to include parents as partners in the process, including regular school-wide or districtwide meetings to let parents know what is working and what additional efforts or resources may be needed?

Epstein's Six Types of Parent Involvement

Dr. Joyce Epstein of Johns Hopkins University has developed a framework for defining six different types of parent involvement. This framework assists educators in developing school and family partnership programs.
Epstein's Framework of Six Types of Involvement

1. Parenting: Help all families establish home environments to support children as students.

  • Parent education and other courses or training for parents (e.g., GED, college credit, family literacy).
  • Family support programs to assist families with health, nutrition, and other services.
  • Home visits at transition points to elementary, middle, and high school.

2. Communicating: Design effective forms of school-to-home and home-to-school communications about school programs and children's progress.

  • Conferences with every parent at least once a year.
  • Language translators to assist families as needed.
  • Regular schedule of useful notices, memos, phone calls, newsletters, and other communications.

3. Volunteering: Recruit and organize parent help and support.

  • School/classroom volunteer program to help teachers, administrators, students, and other parents. 
  • Parent room or family center for volunteer work, meetings, and resources for families.
  • Annual postcard survey to identify all available talents, times, and locations of volunteers.

4. Learning at home: Provide information and ideas to families about how to help students at home with homework and other curriculum-related activities, decisions, and planning.

  • Information for families on skills required for students in all subjects at each grade.
  • Information on homework policies and how to monitor and discuss schoolwork at home.

5. Decision-making: Include families as participants in school decisions and develop parent leaders and representatives.

  • Active PTA/PTO or other parent organizations, advisory councils, or committees (e.g., curriculum, safety) for parent leadership and participation.
  • District-level advisory councils and committees.

6. Collaborating with Community: Coordinate resources and services from the community for families, students, and the school, and provide services to the community.

  • Provide information for students and families on community health, cultural, recreational, social support, and other programs or services.
  • Provide information on community activities that link to learning skills and talents, including summer programs for students

Questions? Ask Here


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