With state requirements and the requirements of ESEA/NCLB and IDEA 2004, Georgia increased its focus on providing high quality research based instruction, interventions, and data driven practices to help all students succeed in the general education curriculum. The process of teachers changing their instruction based on how well the students respond to it is known as “Response to Intervention”. RtI is the model for successfully reaching students when they are beginning to fall behind expected benchmarks and providing appropriate supports and interventions at increasing levels of intensity. RtI seeks to ultimately prevent academic failure through early intervention, frequent progress monitoring, and increasingly intensive research-based instruction for children who continue to have difficulty.
Exactly what do we want students to learn? How will we know when a student has acquired the essential knowledge and skills? What happens in our schools when a student does not learn? These questions are at the heart of Georgia’s Response to Intervention.
Tier 1 is typically referred to as classroom instruction. General education instruction and interventions are implemented at this level and communication between the parents and the teacher is opened as parents are informed of initial concerns. In addition, the teacher meets with peers to determine if other general education interventions are recommended. All students are maintained in Tier 1, unless it is determined by the Data Team that Tier 2 or Tier 3 support is also needed.
When the student’s learning and/or behavioral concerns are not resolved or the targeted area is determined to be too significant to address at RtI Tier 1, additional resources are sought. At this point the teacher meets with the RtI Data Team. This team engages in the problem-solving process by defining a student’s performance profile, seeking additional diagnostic information, analyzing areas of concern, generating strategies to address concerns and monitoring fidelity of implementation and alignment of instructional strategies to the identified need.
When an area of concern is complex in nature, additional resources are often required. Support personnel such as school psychologists, and other specialists may be asked to participate in the Tier 3/SST process. The intent continues to be the provision of interventions in order to help the student perform successfully in the general education environment. Parental involvement continues to be a critical component. The state of Georgia mandates that a Student Support Team will be established in every Georgia public school, K-12.