Analyzing RtI: Professional Development

Sep 18, 2016

After realizing our RtI model wasn't really working for us or our students, the teachers in my building decided to analyze the different components of our RtI model.  This blog series will go in depth with how we scrutinized each of the following parts of the model:
An overview
High Quality Instruction
Universal Screening
Research Based Interventions
Continuous Progress Monitoring
RtI meetings
Professional Development

 As I wrap up this blog series on RtI, I want to take a moment to recognize the power of professional development.  It comes in many, many forms.  And it can be all around us...if we are listening.

When analyzing the RtI in my own building, one of the most important things that I can do is listen to my peers.  The discussions that we can have around RtI meetings, interventions, classroom instruction, and progress monitoring are really important.  We are able to meet once a week as a K-2 vertical team in order to have these conversations.  As we discuss concerns, questions, and changes, we refer to the RtI framework that we created to help us lay out exactly how we want everything to run (ideally).  This is a working document and can be changed as we experience challenges.
These conversations have led to more trust and awareness in our building.  We have been able to determine where our instruction could be stronger for the next grade level and common vocabulary that we want to use.  Without these conversations, trust, and support from each other, I don't think change can occur as easily.

I think we are great professional development for each other, as well.  I know that each of our schools are different; however, we can learn something from each other.  From reading blogs about RtI, I was able to try out some of the organizational techniques that were explained.  This helped me to determine how I could tweak them for our building. 
Another great source for professional development are the RtI websites available to us that have research based interventions, progress monitoring ideas, or definitions that may be needed.  My two "go to" websites are: Intervention Central and RtI Action Network.
I also wonder what resources may be around you that you may not be aware of.  This was the case for me.  We have representatives at a county level that hold expertise in particular areas.  The RtI consultant that worked with my building helped me tremendously.  She pointed me in the direction of articles to read, books to recommend, and resources that could help me understand RtI more.  Maybe there is a mentor like this around your district?

Funding-wise I know that conferences are not always the best option.  But it is a great way to learn about new intervention techniques and high quality instruction.  I try to go to any conference that I can because I know that I can always get something from it!  For example, I went to Nerd Camp this summer in Michigan.  I knew that I was going to get A LOT from it because I had heard great things.  But I was not expecting to learn about intervention techniques.  And sure enough...I was wrong!  I came away with some great ideas to support our RtI.

I hope that overall this blog series has given you a glimpse into our process and from that you are able to pull some ideas for your own school.  For me, the reflection process has given me much insight.  I look forward to the growth that will take place in not only my students this year, but also in me!


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