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Administrator Magazine
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Best In Tech 2010: RTI

Finding the right response for interventions.

The challenge in crafting RTI programs is finding solutions to help a wide variety of students while providing individualized attention. Some of the programs here are jack-of-all-trades used in elementary and middle schools, for students both ahead of grade level and behind. Other programs are more specific, focused on math or better assessment.

AutoSkill Academy of READING
Goal: We wanted all our students reading on grade level, and realized that we needed a variety of research-based approaches and technology to address the learning styles and needs of all students.
Response: AutoSkill gave teachers and students an alternative approach to paper-and-pencil instruction, and the technology allows all students, regardless of their grade level, to address their reading needs at an appropriate level.
Learning Curve: After an RTI presentation, we realized we were missing a piece to our students’ academic puzzle—to improve literacy in all of our content areas.
How We Use It: One in 10 of our students use AutoSkill three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes. It provides the additional support our students need to improve their literacy skills.
What's Next: We will continue to get hands-on training from the AutoSkill consultants to provide immediate feedback to teachers, students, and parents so our students are reading on grade level. —Rhonda Simmons

Discovery Education Assessment
Goal: In 2007, we began implementation of RTI in elementary schools for reading, and in 2009 we extended implementation to include middle school math as well as reading. Discovery Education Assessment provided the data for teachers to address each student's needs: enrichment, differentiation, supplemental instruction, and intense intervention.
Response: DEA has given us a way to introduce RTI in a non-threatening, easy-to-understand, and meaningful way. We are able to use the reporting formats to help educators access data to make good teaching decisions to address all students' instructional needs.
Learning Curve: I spent time preparing to lead by studying DEA, collaborating with my Hamilton County Department of Education colleagues, and participating in training with Discovery consultants.
How We Use It: We use it every day. Many of our educators visit the DEA website after school to analyze data, build their own mini-tests in Progress Zone, and explore Discovery Education resources.
What's Next: The Hamilton County Department of Education continues to build Tier 2 and Tier 3 support systems. We will continue to support educator training and use the DEA system to construct Tier 1. —Alvena Kauffman

dataMetrics TestWiz
Goal: Our state assessment results are not officially released until after the school year begins, so we needed a way to provide immediate results from local, district-wide standardized assessments to guide placement and instructional decisions.
Response: Teachers appreciate having access to critical assessment data to help guide and individualize instruction for all students.
Learning Curve: dataMetrics has made every aspect of the test scanning process user-friendly and intuitive. Teachers can now print answer sheets from their own computers when needed, administer the test, and then scan the sheets directly into TestWiz with a plain paper scanner.
How We Use It: The program is Web-based, so administrators and teachers have access to student assessments with just an Internet connection.
What's Next: We are trying to build a culture of data-driven instruction, and we will continue to build our assessment database with this tool. —Karen Backman

HELP Math for ELL and Special Needs
Goal: We needed to improve results for our ELLs and bilingual students in math; they often displayed a lack of academic vocabulary and found math incomprehensible.
Response: Our math test scores are increasing. HELP Math is being integrated into more classrooms, due to the program’s effectiveness with all students. It moves seamlessly from diagnosis to prescription.
Learning Curve: The program is easy to implement. HELP staff is always available by phone or conference to help us.
How We Use It: It’s used at all RTI tiers. At Tier 1, teachers incorporate parts of the HELP content into their lessons and whole-class discussions or small-group activities. At Tier 2, the program is used a few times a week as a targeted intervention for individual students.
What's Next: I encourage teachers to use these tools for students' maximum benefit, and to increase instructional effectiveness and efficiency. —Joseph Costa

Pearson AIMSweb
Goal: We wanted to store data for progress monitoring and guiding/prescribing instruction, as well as provide an assessment system in math and language arts.
Response: AIMSweb has increased the ability and ease for administrators to determine curricular and instructional needs from the district, school, grade level, classroom, and student perspective.
Learning Curve: In-house professional development for all elementaries.
How We Use It: We are able to identify students who have curricular deficits, as well as students for acceleration. We can also analyze our core instruction, and intervene with students very early.
What's Next: We use it as a universal screener for all students K–5. —Amy Jablonski

Peoples Education ePath Assess/Discovery
Goal: We needed to provide our students with extended support and review to pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).
Response: Administratively, this is a powerful supplemental tool for our teachers to use with their students. Our goal is to have 100 percent of our students pass the CAHSEE, and Assess and Discovery provide the diagnostic and simulated test experience.
Learning Curve: Peoples Ed representatives provided several all day, in-service training for alternative education staff, in addition to the prompt responses to satellite locations.
How We Use It: Teachers are using Assess and Discovery with their non-passing students, as well as before and after CAHSEE review. Students have 24/7 access.
What's Next: Alternative education plans to transition to Discovery, the product update, because of the enhanced features. —Ricardo del Rio

Scholastic READ 180
To meet the needs of at-risk students in reading/language arts. In addition, we wanted our high school students to pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).
Response: Many of our students raised their Lexile levels above what we expected. We had students who had not previously been able to pass the CAHSEE achieve that goal.
Learning Curve: We realized the importance of professional staff development. We hold READ 180 community meetings every quarter to focus on specific areas such as writing.
How We Use It: We started with 11 schools and have expanded to all 18 schools. We need to make sure students spend the required amount of time on the software.
What's Next:
We want to involve our counselors in student transitioning to help our middle schools set up even more extensive READ 180 labs. —Char Gollogly

Texthelp Read&Write Gold
Clark County Public Schools wanted to provide all students with technology to use as an accommodation for their high-stakes testing. We found that Read&Write Gold could provide literacy support to our students regardless of their individual learning styles.
Response: The initial implementation was a pilot program, which then grew into more widespread use throughout the district. We chose a successful test group, who then spread the word about their success to their fellow educators.
Learning Curve: Originally we taught all features of the product to the teachers at one time. Based on feedback from the initial training, we learned the better way to teach teachers and students the product was to start by introducing a few of the product’s features. Once those features were learned, we would expand to the other features. The video tutorials are key.
How We Use It: We use the software for students to access textbooks, take online tests, use the writing tools when writing, and help those students who have behavioral issues to stay engaged. Younger students can have text read back aloud.
What's Next: We will continue to use the software as we have and we are always looking for ways to increase its use among general education students. —Jennifer Bell

Nine additional solutions from our K–12 reviewers

CTB/McGraw-Hill Acuity
Districts can use predictive assessments as a universal screener for all students in reading and math. The data can help teachers make decisions about what students know and are able to do as related to grade-level state standards. —Eric Everding, Jefferson County Schools, Golden, Colorado

Brainchild Achiever!
After identifying weak areas with Achiever!’s assessment, students get immediate instruction on their areas of deficiency. It’s used district-wide for RTI and TAKS. —George Dale, Donna ISD, Donna, Texas

STI Achievement/Assessment
We benchmark our standards mastery with a pre-test/post-test application. Timing is critical when using assessments to guide instruction, and it allows us to make corrections quickly. —Mark Coale, Coffee County Schools, Elba, Alabama

Curriculum Advantage Classworks
We wanted targeted interventions that didn’t take too much time away from classroom instruction. Classworks is our primary Tier 2 intervention. —Michael Martin, Campbell County Schools, Jacksboro, Tennessee

Scientific Learning Fast Forword
This research-based software program is an integral part of our RTI, where teachers must provide several pieces of information before a child is tested for special education services. It gives us a clearer picture of the students who are not where they should be because of a delay versus the students who have a true disability. —Sandy Brimhall-Tarbet, Show Low USD, Show Low, Arizona

MindPlay RAPS 360
We were looking for a diagnostic tool that would help identify the reading level of each student and monitor their progress. —Alicia Kennedy, Charter High School for Architecture and Design, Philadelphia

Don Johnston SOLO Literacy Suite
We accomplished our two-year goal in just one year using the assistive-technology writing software. Special education students increased their eighth grade writing proficiency scores. —Michael A. Mastroserio, Memorial Middle School, Spotswood, New Jersey

Zaner-Bloser Reaching All Readers
This research-based intervention program provides two tiers of intervention. It is a flexible, cost-effective approach that can be used with any reading program. —Ken Royal

District leaders can evaluate the needs of all students and quickly provide intervention to below-level students. —KR

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