November 2011

New Resources Online
School-wide Implementation Review
Universal Reading Screening Survey
Demonstration Sites
Featured Success Stories 

New Resources Online

New resources are available on the Wisconsin RtI Center website. Some are still in development, and we welcome feedback on any of these as we work to improve our offerings for educators and families.

Wisconsin RtI Stories

These videos produced by the Educational Communications Board provide an excellent primer on how RtI works in schools.

Response to Intervention and Family Engagement Online Module

(in development)

This online module provides an overview for families about RtI in Wisconsin. For families and educators, it discusses ways that families and schools can work together in an RtI system to support student learning. 

Balanced Assessment Module

(in development) 

This online module will help educators and parents understand balanced assessment systems and RtI. The first of four parts, “Introduction to a Balanced Assessment System,” has been posted to the website. The other three parts will be added throughout the academic year.

School-Wide Implementation Review

The Wisconsin RtI School-wide Implementation Review (SIR) is a self-assessment built around the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) vision of RtI. It is available at no cost to Wisconsin schools. The SIR illustrates a school’s strengths, provides a path for what to work on next, and charts progress over time. The SIR’s primary purposes are: 

  • To operationalize the Wisconsin RtI Framework into actionable items, assisting schools in determining what RtI looks like in practice; 
  • To help teams localize Wisconsin’s vision of RtI in their schools; and 
  • To provide an instrument to monitor annual progress toward full implementation. 

Schools can gain access to the SIR two ways. First, teams can begin the SIR during a Wisconsin RtI Foundational Overview. Visit our calendar to see a listing of upcoming sessions. The SIR is also available on the Wisconsin RtI Center’s website

Since the SIR became accessible and open for use in late September, 82 Wisconsin schools have completed the SIR; 24 schools have started the SIR in math, and 58 in reading. Schools at all levels have started the SIR in one of these content areas.  

Universal Reading Screening Survey 

In September, the Wisconsin RtI Center asked school representatives to answer a survey with questions about universal reading screening tools and practices for each grade level, including how frequently students are screened each year, what screeners are used, and the year the school started screening for reading. Many schools that screen students for reading granted us permission to post online the name of the school and contact person to foster peer-to-peer sharing among Wisconsin schools.

Two hundred and fifty-two schools completed this survey: 7 schools were at the early childhood level, 125 were elementary schools, 43 were middle schools, 18 were high schools, and 59 schools identified themselves as multi-level (e.g., K-8, 6-12). A compilation of the results can be found on our website

Please note: the Wisconsin RtI Center is reporting this data for the benefit of Wisconsin schools and does not endorse any specific screening tool, nor is the list intended to be a comprehensive listing of available reading assessments.

Demonstration Sites

The Wisconsin RtI Center, in collaboration with DPI and the National Center on Response to Intervention, has launched a demonstration site project. In the first year, the project will focus on the selected schools’ current RtI efforts on reading at the elementary level. After an extensive application process, six schools were selected based on their already strong implementation of RtI, including having a good structural capacity to support RtI and the use of research-based curriculum. Those schools are:

  • Barton Elementary School, West Bend 
  • Community Elementary School, Edgerton
  • Denmark Elementary School and Early Childhood Center, Denmark
  • Marshall Public Elementary Schools, Marshall
  • Northern Hills Elementary, Onalaska
  • Stanley-Boyd Elementary, Stanley

Through this partnership, the schools will continue to improve and refine their current RtI implementation via assistance and resources of the center and via partnership with the other demonstration schools. In return, they will help the center develop a concise and consistent “Wisconsin RtI implementation story” including a description of each level of reading support regarding instructional resources and practices, collaborative structures, and balanced assessment tools and process; and outcomes of RtI implementation on student data, system structures, and staff climate.

More information on the demonstration sites can be found on our website in the coming weeks.

Featured Success Stories

Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District 

Submitted by Katherine Ramos, interventions coordinator for Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District. Katherine can be reached via email at k.ramos AT oakcreek.k12.wi.us.

Over the last four years, our district has been able to create successful tier 2 interventions in the areas of math and reading accessible for students in five-year old kindergarten through twelfth grade. This system is consistently implemented throughout the district’s nine schools and is staffed by certified teachers in each building. At each level, students are identified as candidates for a math and/or reading intervention based on a variety of formative and summative assessment data. Candidates are then ranked and invited to participate in the appropriate intervention. Each intervention is a true double-dose of instruction and does not replace tier 1 content area instruction. 

A student’s progress is monitored frequently by a building-level team to determine continuation in each intervention. Building-level team meetings with the intervention teachers occur on a quarterly basis. This amount of time is sufficient for a research-based intervention, as it is not too short but also not too long before allowing students who are ready to graduate from the intervention to do so. The goal is to give students the additional support and skill-building that they need to be successful in their regular reading and math classes. 

Once the data indicates the students are ready, they are shifted out of the tier 2 intervention and placed back in the tier 1 classroom setting. These students continue to be monitored, based on a consistently implemented monitoring process, to ensure that the skills they gained in their tier 2 intervention transfer into the tier 1 classroom.  

This process is now being implemented, K–12, in the areas of reading and math. The consistent student selection process, supported by data and revisited often, has improved students’ math and reading skills, boosted students’ confidence in these difficult content areas, and led to fewer academic failures. 

School District of Maple — Northwestern Elementary 

Submitted by Tanya Krieg, classroom teacher and certified reading specialist, Northwestern Elementary School. Tanya can be reached via email at tkrieg AT maple.k12.wi.us. 

As part of my appointment to the Wisconsin Best Practices Workshops and coursework through the University of Wisconsin-Superior, I had become increasingly involved in RtI development and awareness in our schools. I was given the opportunity to pilot the Wisconsin RtI Framework within my classroom.

In order to partake in the framework, it was noted that I must adhere to multi-levels of support, which include, but certainly are not limited to, initiating and maintaining collaboration, providing high quality instruction, participating in various balanced assessments, and being culturally responsive. I was most inspired by the Educational Communications Board video, “Getting Started,” in which Barbara Van Haren encourages schools and teachers that are just starting RtI to do just that -- “JUST START.” So, that is what I did. 

I began by taking my class roster for the upcoming year to the teachers who had taught my students the previous year. In an effort to collaborate, I asked them to look at my roster and give me any professional insights into the learning abilities of the children solely in regards to reading and math. We were able to identify six children who were not able to make benchmark the previous year. (It should be noted that the Wisconsin RtI framework was not in place at that time.) In an effort to be culturally aware in my instructional choices and approaches (e.g., reading interests), I noted that five of these six were male. 

With that information, I began on the first day of school to put the framework into action. I pledged complete fidelity to our Common Core Curriculum for our district for reading and language arts, which ensured that all students would be receiving high quality instruction within all levels of the framework. For tier 1, I taught my entire class the curriculum as prescribed for a 90-minute, uninterrupted block. 

For tier 2, for 20 minutes in the afternoon, I pulled the six who had been identified as students who were not making benchmark and redelivered the lesson in a differentiated format using a curriculum that aligned precisely with our core curriculum for enhanced learning. While I was working with those six, the students who had benchmarked were working on projects found in a curriculum designed for their specific reading abilities. Two of my students who were identified as needing additional instruction because of their high abilities were working on a week-long project geared toward their level. I followed this model for all five days a week, every week. 

A few weeks into teaching, our district reading specialists did a universal screen of the entire class to gain insight into all of our students’ abilities and levels, thus using a balanced assessment approach (I was also using formative assessments each day to see how my students were learning). After the results were analyzed and evaluated by both myself and our specialists, it was clear that ALL of my students benchmarked, including the six who were previously identified.

To rule out variables, the specialists returned a few weeks later to assess the six again to progress monitor and determine if they were still succeeding with instruction in tier 1 and support in tier 2 and whether they would need additional support through a pull-out model with reading specialists (tier 3). The results revealed that all six had not only benchmarked again but that they had increased an average of approximately 50 points, with one student actually making a gain of 137 points!

I have been teaching for almost 14 years, and I have never before seen the results that I witnessed by piloting and implementing the Wisconsin RtI Framework. I thank everyone who has supported this. Your support has truly done what effective teaching is intended to do, which is to make a true difference and impact the lives of our children.