A Comprehensive RTI Model: Integrating Behavioral and Academic Interventions


Cara Shores

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  • Praise for A Comprehensive RTI Model: Integrating Behavioral and Academic Interventions

    A Comprehensive RTI Model is a ‘must read’ for every educator. Not only does Shores provide the background information of RTI for academic achievement and behavioral functioning, she also takes the reader step by step to effectively integrate the two processes. Students will benefit from school teams who implement the information.”

    Ronda Shelvan
    Autism Consultant/Special Education Teacher,
    Washougal School District,
    Washougal, WA

    “This book is a practical guide on how to mesh behavior and academics. It will provide schools that are implementing RTI with clear and practical ideas on how to integrate both behavior and academics into one comprehensive model. The book provides examples, case studies, and resources for both academics and behavior that are very useful for teachers and administrators.”

    Judy Rockley
    State Trainer, Kansas State Department of Education,
    Olpe, KS

    “The information presented in this book flows succinctly and is well written for both RTI novices and experts to understand the important role behavior plays in the RTI process and in overall student achievement. It's an excellent roadmap for building sustainable reform.”

    Cassandra Allen Holifield
    Author, National Presenter, Behavior Specialist, and Special Educator, Director, Northwest Georgia Learning Resources System,
    Acworth, GA

    “I recommend Cara Shores' book to all educators as they strive to raise student achievement in their schools! This is a great resource for school psychologists, teacher educators, teachers, and administrators for developing their RTI structure and supports. This book offers research-based methods and interventions in a user-friendly format. An important aspect of the book is the chapter on laying the foundation and promoting buy-in for comprehensive RTI implementation. Finally we have direction for sustainable reform! The process development tools provided with this book make it a valuable school resource.”

    Donna Lee
    Program Specialist, West Georgia Learning Resources System,
    Columbus, GA


    I believe that every teacher wants to be remembered by at least one student as “the favorite.” I dedicate this book to two of my favorites, M r. and Mrs. Opal Lovett of Jacksonville State University. M r. Lovett taught me to see the world in a different light while Mrs. Lovett taught me to express what I saw in a way so that others could see it as well. These two wonderful people devoted their lives to countless students from around the world. They are shining examples of what all educators should be.


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    About the Author

    Cara Shores received a BA in English from Jacksonville State University and MEd and EdS degrees in special education from the University of West Georgia. She taught special education in both pullout and inclusion classrooms at the elementary and middle school levels. Cara has served as a building-level administrator, system SST and 504 coordinator, and director of special education. In 2000 she served as the principal author of the Georgia DOE Student Support Team Resource Manual. She also served as a consultant on several federally funded projects for inclusion. As president of Wesley Educational Services, Cara presents to school personnel across the United States and Canada. She is a feature presenter for the Council for Exceptional Children. She is the author of Positive Outcomes: Utilizing Student Support Teams as a Tool for School Improvement. She is coauthor of Response to Intervention: A Practical Guide for Every Teacher and Using RTI for School Improvement: Raising Every Student's Achievement Scores.


    Writing a book is never the result of one person's efforts. Many talented people contributed to this work. I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to the following friends, colleagues, and mentors: Kim Chester, Victor Morgan, and Gail Wilkins for encouragement and expertise; and to Lamar Barnes, Wes Dickey, Kristy Arnold, and Linda Hatcher for invaluable assistance in school implementation issues; and special thanks to David Chao, Brynn Saito, Belinda Thresher, Cassandra Holifield, and Donna Lee for patience and expertise. And, as always, love and appreciation to my boys, Scott and Wesley, for sticking with me through another one.

    Publisher's Acknowledgments

    Corwin gratefully acknowledges the following reviewers for their contributions:

    • Cassandra Allen Holifield
    • Director, Northwest Georgia Learning Resources System (GLRS) Northwest Georgia Learning Resources System/RESA Rome, GA
    • Donna Lee
    • Program Specialist West Georgia Learning Resources System Columbus, GA
    • Margaret McLaughlin
    • University of Maryland, College Park, MD
    • Tonya Midling
    • Program Supervisor, Special Education Learning Improvement Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Olympia, WA
    • Ronda Schelvan
    • Autism Consultant/Special Education Teacher Washougal School District Washougal, WA
    • Karen Tichy
    • Associate Superintendent for Instruction Catholic Education Office, Archdiocese of Saint Louis St. Louis, MO
  • Resource A: Process Development Tools

    Comprehensive Response to Intervention Needs Assessment132
    Gap Analysis Form139
    District Implementation Checklist for Effective RTI140
    Sample Multiyear Plans for District Implementation143
    Comprehensive Response to Intervention Needs Assessment

    Gap Analysis Form

    Leadership teams may use this form to examine existing programs and determine gaps in instructional and behavioral supports. Results may be used in establishing the need for a comprehensive RTI model and in developing an action plan.

    District Implementation Checklist for Effective RTI
    • Form a district-level leadership team composed of key stakeholders.
      • Superintendent
      • District-level administrators in curriculum, instruction, assessment, special education, student support services, ELL, Title I, human resources, fiscal services, etc.
      • Building principals
      • Building-level curriculum experts including instructional coaches
      • Student support services personnel, such as school psychologists
      • Key teacher leaders
      • Community representatives
      • Parent representatives
    • Develop readiness for change with district leadership team.
      • Identify the need for change. Evaluate student performance to determine how many students could receive benefit from the process.
      • Complete a gap analysis to identify current program strengths and weaknesses.
      • Develop vision for the expected outcomes.
      • Analyze data to determine strengths, weaknesses, and potential impact.
      • Identify state requirements and timelines.
    • Develop district action plan for RTI implementation.
      • Provide thorough training in the RTI process and its essential components to members of the leadership team.
      • Complete needs assessment to determine current levels of implementation.
      • Identify RTI framework to be used (academic, behavioral, comprehensive).
      • Identify and address concerns.
      • Identify which schools will be involved in initial and secondary phases of implementation.
      • Identify necessary commitments in terms of staff development, materials, assessment tools, and additional resources.
      • Identify barriers to implementation and develop plans for resolution.
      • Develop timeline for implementation.
    • Develop building leadership team composed of key stakeholders.
      • Core membership from school that served on district team.
      • Additional members to represent all groups involved.
    • Develop building action plan for implementation.
      • Follow procedures similar to district team.
      • Adjust and refine plan for individual school needs.
    • Begin initial training for participating faculty and staff.
      • Provide in-service training in small segments, providing time to synthesize and apply information to curricular requirements.
      • Provide opportunities for practice, modeling, and coaching of new skills.
    • Communicate information to parents regarding the overall structure of the RTI model.
      • Include information in student handbook.
      • Share information at parent meetings, such as PTA.
      • Highlight interventions that could be utilized by parents in regular communication tools, such as newsletters.
    • Evaluate and strengthen Tier 1 instruction and supports, ensuring fidelity of curriculum implementation.
      • Ensure that instruction is differentiated and appropriate for at least 80 percent of general education students.
      • Ensure that school-wide behavioral plan is effective for 80–90 percent of students.
      • Identify staff development needs to strengthen Tier 1.
      • Provide identified staff development.
      • Choose universal screening and progress monitoring tools.
      • Implement universal screening to identify students at risk.
    • Develop structure for Tier 2 targeted interventions.
      • Identify research-based interventions appropriate for student needs.
      • Develop schedule that provides time and resources for Tier 2 interventions.
      • Provide intervention training to individuals who will carry out Tier 2 instruction and supports.
      • Identify and acquire progress monitoring tools and procedures.
      • Provide professional development on progress monitoring.
    • Implement Tier 2 interventions with at-risk students.
      • Implement intervention plans as designed.
      • Evaluate progress frequently and consistently.
      • Ensure fidelity of interventions.
      • Communicate plan and results with parents on a regular basis.
    • Develop structure for Tier 3 practices.
      • Identify research-based interventions appropriate for student needs.
      • Develop schedule that provides time and resources for Tier 3 interventions.
      • Use student data to develop data-driven IEPs when appropriate.
      • Implement Tier 3 interventions.
      • Evaluate progress frequently and consistently.
      • Adjust instruction and supports based on data.
      • Ensure fidelity of interventions.
      • Communicate plan and results with parents on a regular basis.
    • Provide support for continual evaluation and improvement of process.
      • Provide ongoing staff development.
      • Engage in continuous evaluation of quality of instruction and supports in Tiers 1, 2 and 3.
      • Evaluate effectiveness of interventions.
      • Evaluate student data to refine action plan.
      • Allocate additional resources as needed.
      • Adjust district policies as needed.
    SOURCE: Adapted from Gorton, R., Alston, J. A., & Snowden, P. (2007). School leadership and administration: Important concepts, case studies, and simulations (7th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. National Staff Development Council. (2001).
    Sample Multiyear Plan for District Implementation

    This multiyear plan is appropriate for implementing an academic framework, a behavioral framework, or both concurrently.

    Sample Multiyear Plan for Staff Development

    Resource B: Tools for Tier 1

    Quality of Tier 1 Instruction Rubric146
    Behavior Matrix148
    Reward Menu150
    Behavior Levels153
    Discipline Referral Form156
    Simple Data Collection Form157
    Demerit Plan158
    Quality of Tier 1 Instruction Rubric

    Behavior Matrix

    Reward Menu for “Cats Cash”

    Patio Pass—15 CC per student

    Used only on a day when it is not raining or wet outside. This day will be designated each month and will be announced. Student must give Cats Cash to teacher he or she has for lunch prior to going to the patio to eat. A staff member would need to be outside to supervise. Students are to remain seated at the tables while outside. All trash must be collected and disposed of when coming inside.

    Eat Lunch With a Friend in Lunchroom—10 CC

    Student must give Cats Cash to teacher and get teacher's approval before sitting with a friend at a table other than the one assigned. Students must follow all lunchroom expectations while at the friend's table. Student must leave with his or her regular class.

    Teacher's Aide—15 CC

    This must be arranged at least a day before it is to occur. The teacher of the class the student is missing and the teacher who the student wants to aid must approve beforehand in writing. Student must give Cats Cash to teacher of the class he or she is missing. Student is required to make up any missed work from the class.

    Hat Day Pass—10 CC

    This item is only available on designated hat days, not every school day. Student must give Cats Cash to the teacher who is collecting money for the hat day sticker.

    Athletic Event Pass—15 CC

    This item is only available at home events. Student must give Cats Cash to the teacher who is collecting money at the gate of the event.

    Activity in Gym During Homeroom—10 CC

    This will occur on a designated day each month and will be announced letting everyone know when it will occur. Student must give Cats Cash to homeroom teacher and get teacher's approval and pass before going to the gym. The pass must be presented when entering the back door of the gym.

    Demerit Pass—20 CC

    Students may eliminate a demerit by giving the Cats Cash to the teacher when the demerit is being issued. The demerit form will still be completed by the teacher noting the behavior infraction and will be filed with the redeemed Cats Cash attached by the student's team leader for data purposes.

    Outside Reward Time—15 CC

    This will occur on a designated day each month and will be announced letting everyone know when it will occur. This will occur during team time and each team will determine when they will go outside. Student must give Cats Cash to homeroom teacher to participate.

    Dance Pass—15 CC

    This item may be used to gain admittance into any of the scheduled school-wide dances. Student should give the Cats Cash to the person collecting the money at the entrance to the gym.

    Late Homework Pass—5 CC

    This item can be redeemed on a day that a homework assignment is due. The student must complete a Late Homework Pass form, staple the Cats Cash to the form, and turn in the form to the teacher that day in class. The student then has three school days to turn in the completed homework assignment with no late points being deducted.

    Pay Media Center Fine—1 CC

    A student may redeem Cats Cash to pay a media center fine. For this reward 1 Cats Cash is equivalent to $.25 worth of library fines. Student must present the Cats Cash to the media center staff.

    Pencil Purchase—2 CC

    Some teachers may allow a student to redeem Cats Cash for a pencil if they are unprepared. The student can present the Cats Cash to the teacher for a pencil. If the student does not have Cats Cash, the teacher may loan them a pencil but will make a checkmark in their records.

    Locker Pass—2 CC

    Some teachers may allow a student to redeem Cats Cash in order to go to their locker to get school-related items that they need for class purposes. Student must ask the teacher if they can go back to their locker to get said item(s) and must then pay the Cats Cash to the teacher.

    School Store Items—Varying CC

    Students may purchase school store items when the store is open. The amount of Cats Cash needed to purchase will vary depending on the item. Student should give the Cats Cash to the staff member running the store.

    Gift Card Drawing—1 CC

    Instead of redeeming their Cats Cash for the above reward items, students may have their Cats Cash entered into a weekly drawing for a $25 gift card of their choice. This drawing will occur every Friday during morning announcements. Students can enter as many Cats Cash as they wish, thus increasing their odds of winning. During the last week of each grading period there will be three $100 gift card winners drawn. In this drawing there will be one winner from each grade level.

    Behavior Levels
    Level I

    Level I behaviors are minor rule violations that will result in an immediate verbal correction by an adult school employee (administrator, teacher, paraprofessional, custodian, bus driver, secretary, or cafeteria worker) and possible consequences.

    These offenses will not result in an immediate office referral.

    • No materials
    • Tardy
    • Minor dress code violations
    • Minor hall infractions
    • Talking/off task
    • Dishonesty/cheating
    • Failure to follow directions or rules
    • Running, pushing, or shoving
    • Horseplay
    • Disrespectful/unkind to students
    • Without a pass signed by a teacher
    • Inappropriate language to students

    When problems do arise in your class:

    First, make sure the student understands what the problem is and allow him or her a chance to get out of the situation. How? Reward/praise those behaving appropriately (give them the attention) to see if they correct their behavior. Second, Reteach the appropriate behavior using the Behavior Matrix, Reinforce, Reward.

    Remaining options
    • Warnings
    • Student-teacher conference
    • Demerit (must have parent contact documented on each demerit sheet)
    • Team conference with student
    • Parent conference
    • Referral for SST
    • Probation period
    • Minor work detail
    • Afterschool detention
    • Change seating chart to move student
    • Notes to parent signed and returned; phone calls whenever possible. Consult your team members for help with problem students.
    Level II

    Level II behaviors are more serious in nature. Level II behaviors will result in an immediate verbal correction by an adult school employee (administrator, teacher, paraprofessional, custodian, bus driver, secretary, or cafeteria worker) and a logical consequence.

    • Chronic Level I behavior
    • Defiance of authority
    • Disrespect for authority
    • Chronic dress code infractions
    • Inappropriate computer use
    • Inappropriate display of affection
    • Profanity
    • Racial or ethnic slurs
    • Skipping class
    • Stealing
    • Being in an unauthorized area
    • Physical aggression toward students
    • Bus infraction
    • Office referral
    • Bus intervention
    • Bus suspension
    • ISS
    • OSS
    • Administrative contact with parent
    • Administrative conference with parent
    • Restitution
    • Referral for SST
    • Behavior correction plan
    • Parent escort at school
    Level III

    Level III behaviors are extremely serious and illegal behaviors. Most of these behaviors violate the dignity, well-being, and safety of others. These behaviors will not be tolerated at school. Level III will result in immediate enforcement of logical consequences including contacting law enforcement officials.

    • Chronic/extreme Level II behavior
    • Fighting/striking back
    • Bullying/harassment of other students
    • Verbal/written implied threats of violence
    • Physical aggression toward authority
    • Assault of teachers or other authority
    • Vandalism
    • Theft from authority or school
    • Possession of inappropriate items
    • Possession of tobacco or related items
    • Possession of over-the-counter drugs
    • Possession of prescription drugs
    • Possession of imitation drugs
    • Possession of illegal drugs
    • Possession of drug-related items
    • Possession of alcohol
    • Unauthorized exit from class or school property
    • Destruction of property
    • Computer trespass
    • Sexual misconduct/harassment
    • Immediate office referral
    • Any Level II consequence
    • Long-term OSS/ISS
    • Referral to tribunal
    • Contact law enforcement
    • Contact district attorney
    • Probable legal charges filed
    • Probable arrest
    • Probable court appearance
    • Probable probation assignment
    • Possible jail time
    Discipline Referral Form

    Demerit Plan

    Resource C: Tools for Tiers 2 and 3

    Brief Functional Behavior Assessment Survey/Checklist160
    Analysis of Data161
    Brief Functional Behavioral Assessment Survey/Checklist

    Analysis of Data


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