RTI Said to Pay Off in Gains for English-Learners

Response to Intervention, or RTI, “provides extra help to struggling students with an aim of reducing the number of referrals to special education.” The Chula Vista Elementary School District in California has become a national model in how this process applies to English-language learners, which make up 36% of the district’s 27,450 K-6 students.

The Chula Vista Elementary School District implemented RTI during the 2004-05 school year and since then, credits it for the dramatic rise in mathematics and reading test scores for English-language learners, or ELLs. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education article below, “In 2008, the California Association for Bilingual Education recognized the district with its “seal of excellence” award. For the past two years, the district has ranked high on California’s academic performance index. It scored 833 on the state’s growth accountability index in the 2008-09 school year, as 31 of its 44 schools exceeded the target of 800. In addition, this district has never missed its state’s goals for adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which is unusual for a district with so many students who aren’t fluent in English.”

John M. Nelson III, the district’s assistant superintendent for instructional services, told the Chronicle reporter that RTI changes teachers’ thinking “from ‘I taught it and it’s their fault if they got it or not’ to ‘I need to keep teaching it and supporting students.’ ”

Response to intervention provides “instructional triage” with three “tiers”:

1. Tier 1 instruction—teachers assess the needs of individual students during regular instruction periods. All students receive Tier 1 instruction.
2. Tier 2 is a subset of students needing additional help and subsequently receive instruction in small groups
3. Tier 3 identifies students needing intensive one-on-one instruction.

LifeBound’s stair-step programs for grades 5-12 offer a strategy for helping teachers apply the RTI model. Our programs are designed to strengthen critical and creative thinking skills and to assess student levels at the start of the course and again at the end so that schools can see the results. Each student book and matching curriculum is designed to address the developmental issues and key transition points at each grade level. To request review copies, please call the LifeBound office toll free at 1.877.737.8510 or email contact@lifebound.com.


Education Week
Published Online: January 22, 2010
RTI Said to Pay Off in Gains for English-Learners
By Mary Ann Zehr
Chula Vista, Calif.

Fernando Lugo and Hector Martinez are only in 1st grade, but already educators at Lilian J. Rice Elementary School have mapped out different instructional paths for them.

A few months ago, both of the English-language learners had limited awareness of how to sound out words, according to a screening test. Fernando was assigned to an hourlong intensive reading “clinic” four days a week and was soon reading on grade level, so he graduated from the extra lessons last month. Hector was put in the reading clinic as well, but made only limited progress, so the school’s reading expert now meets with him one-on-one for a half-hour four days a week.

Educators here in the Chula Vista Elementary School District determined what kind of instruction the boys needed through a “response to intervention” process, which provides extra help to struggling students with an aim of reducing the number of referrals to special education. As RTI catches on throughout the country, the district is on the cutting edge in its focus on how the approach applies to English-language learners, who make up 36 percent of the K-6 district’s 27,450 students.

To view this entire article visit www.chronicle.com

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