The RTI Startup Guide: Tools and Temple for School Implementation


Cindy Lawrence

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Copyright

    List of Figures


    This written work is a very simplified guide to setting up a team and gathering the basic tools for what you really need to know in reviewing students in the RTI, or Response-to-Intervention, process. It will help you actually get started and flow through the process without all the confusion and redundancy of other programs. Once you have reached this level on your campus, you will have the ability to use other more detailed programs or ideas in tweaking your RTI system. In other words, start simply. I only wish I had had something like this to get my campus started instead of spending two years just figuring it out.

    My philosophy is that all students can learn something. It is our job as educators to notice our students as individuals who will ultimately become part of society in some capacity and who will need our guidance, encouragement, and trust to give them the tools to be successful in that capacity. Monitoring and developing goals for individual students gives us a realistic look at what our students need to eventually be successful in the real world.


    Corwin gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following reviewers:

    Esther M. Eacho Professional Educator Johns Hopkins University and Marymount University Baltimore, MD/Arlington, VA

    Lisa Graham, NBCT Program Supervisor, Special Education Berkeley Unified School District Berkeley, CA

    A. L. Hough-Everage Associate Professor of Education Brandman University, Chapman University System Victorville, CA

    Michelle Strom Language Arts Teacher Fort Riley Middle School Fort Riley, KS

    Marian White-Hood Director of Academics Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools & See Forever Foundation Washington, DC

    About the Author

    Cindy Lawrence has been an educator for over 20 years. She has a BS in elementary education and early childhood from Lamar University and an MEd in education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction from American InterContinental University.

    Cindy helped coordinate the RTI system in her district and on her school campus and served on her district RTI team. In doing this job, Cindy was faced with the task of implementing and “selling” RTI to the staff. Over the first three years, she asked every RTI question, along with researching who, when, where, what, and how to put together a team. There were many books and websites that discussed RTI on a district level, but there was not a lot of information on how to start RTI with a team in a school. The most difficult part of implementation was determining where to start. Believing that educators need simple solutions and suggestions, Cindy put together for others all that she learned. Her hope is that the information in this book will guide a school step-by-step in forming an effective RTI team and system.

    Cindy has been married for over 20 years to an incredible man. They have two children who are the reason for Cindy's passion in education. Her goal is to contribute to education for her own children as well as for her students.

    What is RTI?

    Response-to-Intervention (RTI) is a process that includes the provision of systematic, research-based instruction and interventions to struggling learners. It assumes that the instruction and interventions are matched to student needs and that the monitoring of progress is continuous. Designed as an early intervention to prevent long-term academic failure, RTI is considered a general education service, but can also be implemented in special education settings. The discussion in each of these sections is based on a three-tier model. Each tier level determines the type, amount, and intensity of the intervention. Appropriate instruction should be delivered by highly qualified personnel, and data-based documentation of repeated assessments at designated intervals should be collected.

    How should RTI be Addressed with Staff?

    First of all, the attitude of the administrators has an incredible impact on the attitude of the staff toward RTI. Administrators should be involved for support. The next step is to have an established RTI team whose members are familiar with their roles, criteria, goals, and guidelines. It is crucial to have a support team ready to answer questions, help other teachers, and build trust. This will encourage your staff and build the idea that “no one is alone.” I have found, through experience, that when teachers realize that RTI is a support to help them educate students at risk by giving them resources, strategies, parental help, and not just more paperwork, they become more encouraged. However, your administrator and team must portray that attitude throughout your campus. If the teachers realize they can come to the committee for help and they are not alone in trying to educate students, they will feel less stressed and become involved in making decisions to help those struggling in class. If the members of your staff know there are established guidelines, goals, and team support, they will feel comfortable following you. Remember, RTI helps students, supports teachers, and informs parents. This should be the focus of the team.

    What does the RTI Team Look like when meeting?

    Each team member should know his or her designated role and use it during the meeting. The guidelines should be followed, and students should be reviewed, with data-driven decisions being made. Each member should complete his or her responsibilities, as well as use his or her expertise in making decisions.

    Steps to Setting up a Campus RTI System

    The Checklist

    Please note that all of the visuals and demonstrations are for your information only. You may use them directly or edit them for your own use. All of the information is simply to give you examples and visuals to spark your own creativity and guide you in setting up your own campus RTI system. Remember! You may get to only part of these the first year and address the others in subsequent years. It may take three to five years to actually have a complete system set up. In my own experience, it took three years, and we were still working out details. Each chapter of this book, respectively, will explain the following checklist items.

    • 1. Establish team members and their roles.
    • 2. Establish a leader for the team—someone who can pull it together, not do all the work.
    • 3. Set meeting dates (have an agenda for each meeting—the first meetings will include discussing how you will do things and set guidelines. Other meetings will be about students).
    • 4. Determine the method of assessing (universal assessments) all students and set goals for the campus and each grade level based on past scores/data or norms.
    • 5. Set criteria for each tier level.
    • 6. Set guidelines for your team when reviewing students (have steps to review).
    • 7. Have strategies, programs, staff, and so on listed and available to set up plans for students.
    • 8. Have designated forms for documentation plans and a consistent system of putting together information in a student folder. Also, help your teachers with a system of how they will document on a Tier 1 level. (Make it simple!)
    • 9. Establish a process of how you want students to be referred, reviewed, and monitored—relay this to your staff.
    • 10. Have a tracking system of how you keep up with students (when they entered, their weakness or reason for intervention, comments about important information). This is just a system for the team to be able to look back quickly at a glance.
    • 11. Have a progress monitoring system in place and designate who will take responsibility for this. Someone will have to monitor an intervention if it is being done, or your reviews will not be valid.
    • 12. Have brochures or literature for parents/teachers.
    • 13. Discuss confidentiality.
    • 14. Initiate parent communication.
    • 15. Begin gathering programs and strategies and build a resource library.
  • References

    Juneau D. (2009). RTI documentation. Helena, MT: Montana Office of Public Instruction. Retrieved from
    Kaplan A., & Maehr M. L. (1999). Achievement goals and student well-being. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 24, 330358.
    Kovaleski J. F., Roble M., & Agne M. (n.d.). The RTI data analysis teaming process. Indiana, PA: National Center for Learning Disabilities. Retrieved from
    Lujan M., Love S., & Collins B. (2008). Response to intervention implementation guide. Tyler, TX: Mentoring Minds.
    Marzano R. J., Pickering D. J., & Pollock J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
    McCook J. (2006). The RTI guide: Developing and implementing a model in your schools. Horsham, PA: LRP.
    Mellard D.F. (2009). RTI in secondary schools: A review of the literature. Lawrence, KS: Center for Research on Learning, University of Kansas.
    Ogonosky A. (2008). The response to intervention handbook: Moving from theory to practice. Austin, TX: Park Place.
    Wedl R.J. (2005). Response to intervention: An alternative to traditional eligibility criteria for students with disabilities. Education Evolving. Retrieved from
    Wright J. (2007). RTI toolkit: A practical guide for school. New York: Dude.

    • Loading...
Back to Top

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website