September 2016 E-News


Welcome Back, Readers!


We hope you had an excellent summer, and that your school year got off to a smooth start! We're excited to bring you the first in a series of several newsletters designed to help you ensure success for ALL students. We'll share with you tools and information that can help both you and your students have a great year!

In this issue: leading edge behavior support resources and information, crucial strategies for closing the achievement gap in Wisconsin, and solid, evidence-based practices for dropout prevention.

At the Wisconsin RtI Center, we're here to help you build or reinforce your systems so you can provide behavioral and academic supports that help each and every student become college and career ready. Let's get started!



PBIS Leadership Conference: Recap and Resources


PBIS Conference LogoOver 1100 professionals from 326 schools across Wisconsin attended this year’s annual PBIS Leadership Conference. The popular event, held in Wisconsin Dells on August 16-17, featured nearly 60 sessions designed to help schools with all tiers of PBIS implementation. The conference began with the keynote address on the sustainability of PBIS, presented by Dr. Kent McIntosh, professor of special education at the University of Oregon.

The sessions covered many different topics of interest, including equity and culturally responsive practices, continuous improvement, and family and community engagement. The conference is a valuable networking and learning experience for all schools; from those just starting their PBIS implementation to schools that are ready to build intensive supports onto their solid universal base.

If you were unable to attend, you can still benefit from the wealth of information that was shared. Visit the 2016 PBIS Leadership Conference materials link to explore session PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and other resources.



Culturally Responsive Practices: New Newsletter Series

Model to InformDespite good intentions and efforts by school systems and individual educators across Wisconsin, the achievement gaps between our white students and our students of color are among the worst in the nation - and have persisted for more than a decade (NAEP, 2015).

It is time for us as educators to take action and improve our cultural responsiveness.

To guide this urgent work, the Wisconsin RtI Center, in collaboration with Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction and the Disproportionality Technical Assistance Network, has developed Wisconsin’s Model to Inform Culturally Responsive Practices. This model is intended to guide individuals and schools on their journey toward cultural responsiveness, including information around:

  • WILL: The desire to lead and a commitment to achieving equitable outcomes for all students, 
  • FILL: Gaining cultural knowledge about ourselves and others, and 
  • SKILL: Applying knowledge and leading the change, skillfully putting beliefs and learning into action. 

Over the 2016-17 school year, the center’s newsletter will explore different dimensions of Wisconsin’s Model to Inform Culturally Responsive Practices and identify resources that support personal growth and systems change toward equitable outcomes for our students.

Wisconsin DPI and the RtI Center have a range of supports for schools seeking to engage with the model. These include:

We look forward to providing further information on the model, resources to support schools, and school examples, so that we can all engage in critical conversations about equity.

Source: National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). (2015). The nation’s report card. Available



October is National Dropout Prevention Month!


Did you know that by ninth grade, 85% of eventual high school dropouts can be accurately identified? Educators and schools can use available student data such as absenteeism, course failures, credits earned, and grade point average to uncover patterns (Allensworth, 2005). Similar predictive data can identify students as early as sixth grade (Balfanz, 2007). Wausau’s John Muir Middle School RtI Coordinator Lyn Weis explains, “The key moments for high school dropout happen in middle school.”

Early warning systems are powerful tools for universal screening at the middle and high school levels. They analyze readily available assessment, attendance, behavior, and course performance data to identify students at risk.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction offers schools a Dropout Early Warning System (DEWS) via WISEdash. A DEWS score, available for sixth- through ninth-grade students, identifies students potentially at risk for late or non-graduation. You can find more detailed information on the DPI DEWS Fact Sheet.

A student’s DEWS score provides you with an initial screening, but further detail can be found in a local early warning system. There are a variety of free and commercial early warning systems schools can adopt. These local early warning systems help schools screen students using up-to-date, local, and readily available data.

One free example is the National High School Center’s Early Warning System (NHSC EWS), which can easily be used in conjunction with the DEWS scores from WISEdash. This early warning system, support materials, and webinars are available from the American Institutes for Research. Click here for more information.

The Wisconsin RtI Center also has resources available to help you learn more or improve what you already have in place.

These include:

If you would like assistance using these resources, or have other questions, connect with your Regional Technical Assistance Coordinator (RTAC) by clicking here or here.



Allensworth E. (2005). Graduation and dropout trends in Chicago: A look at cohorts of students from 1991 through 2004. Chicago: Consortium on Chicago School Research.

Balfanz, R., Herzog, L., & Mac Iver, D. J., (2007). Preventing student disengagement and keeping students on the graduation path in urban middle-grades schools: Early identification and effective interventions. Educational Psychologist.

Weis, L. (2015).  John Muir Middle School Early Warning System Within a Multi-level System of Support. Presentation given at the 2015 Wisconsin PBIS Leadership Conference. Wisconsin Dells, WI.

Wisconsin DPI Dropout Early Warning System: Retrieved from