January 2015

Annual Report

In 2013-14, the Center made great strides in assisting schools in implementing a responsive system. More than 900 schools attended training, over 3,800 self-assessments were completed, and more than 270 schools were recognized by the Center for their implementation efforts.  To learn more information and read featured stories about Crandon Elementary, Crandon Middle School (School District of Crandon), and Franklin Elementary (West Allis-West Milwaukee School District) please explore our annual report.

Wisconsin RtI Summit

The 2015 Wisconsin RTI Summit will be held March 4-5, 2015, at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay. This summit will be a continuation of the previous Wisconsin RTI Summits and the collaborative efforts that have been underway since that event. 

The conference will include a diverse audience of administrators, educators, and support staff. District and school teams will be encouraged to attend as a group.  Parents are also encouraged to attend.

The link to register can be found here.

Culturally Responsive Practices Resources

One of the overarching tenets of the Wisconsin RtI Center is the belief that culturally responsive practices (CRP) is one of the most effective ways to reach and understand all students. Culturally responsive practices are an approach to teaching; they are a part of the skill, craft, and art of teaching. They are the practice of taking the best of teaching methods and applying them to teaching students whose culture differs from the dominant culture in our society and school system.  To help practitioners strengthen their ability to teach students whose cultures differ from their own, the Center has developed seven experiences that outline ways to learn about other cultures.  To learn more, click here.

Universal Design for Learning Universal Design for Learning supplements the system supports of a culturally responsive multi-level system of support. It provides multiple means of engagement, multiple means of representation, and multiple means of action and expression to students. This removes barriers in instruction, so learners can be successful, no matter what their learning style. The Wisconsin RtI Center and DPI work in partnership to bring these principles to educators around the state. Here are a couple tools you can use to provide options for access to the content that is being delivered.

Too Long Didn’t Read (TLDR)

Too Long Didn’t Read (TLDR) is a free extension for the Google Chrome browser that will create a summary of any web article. It supports multiple languages including English, Spanish, German and French. You can choose from various versions of the article including 25%, 50% or 75% of the original length.

High Contrast

The High Contrast extension for Google Chrome allows you to change or invert the color scheme to make web pages easier to read. This is a free extension available to anyone and uses high contrast color filters that are designed specifically to make it easier to read text. Once the extension is downloaded, you will find the High Contrast icon in the top right corner of your screen. When you click on it, you need to select ‘Enable’


For additional information on UDL, please visit the DP website by following this link.

Success Story: Sun Prairie Area School District

“We used to think: ‘PBIS is Student Services and RtI is Instructional Services.’ Now we are united under one roof, doing the same work.”

Sun Prairie’s foundational beliefs state that the power is at the universal core level; this is the heart of the work. The leadership team wanted to work on building an integrated service delivery model where most kids’ needs are met at the universal core level.

As of the 2013-2014 school year, Sun Prairie had 7400 students, 7 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, one traditional and one alternative high school. The student body is comprised of 6% Asian, 10% Black, 8% Hispanic, and 70% white. The district had 3% LEP for Spanish, 3% LEP for Hmong, and 1% LEP for other languages. Many students are economically disadvantaged with 29% qualifying for subsidized lunches. Students with disabilities comprise 11% of students. 


The district had overwhelmed organizational structures and under-developed district-level processes to improve, sustain, and integrate student achievement efforts. This became clear during the 2011-2012 school year. The focus was district-level organizational structure and operation. Supporting data included the change from being a small, rural, homogeneous district to large, a suburban and heterogeneous one. They were required to expand building structures and more resources were needed. Intense demands of daily management during a time of rapid, sustained growth competed with strategic planning process. Student programs and services had become compartmentalized into “silos” within the organization.


Through integration, the district intended to: ensure success in learning for all students; prepare every student to be college and career ready; develop a collaborative culture by incorporating PLC  elements with decision-making based on academic and behavioral data; and enable continuous staff improvement, which is linked to educator effectiveness.

The district put the following practices in place to achieve its goals: articulated and deployed a continuous improvement planning process; established a collaborative culture focused on student achievement at all levels of the organization; evaluated and adjusted the comprehensive assessment plan to ensure college and career readiness; and customized a data system for staff to easily access data.

In order to address the continuous improvement plan, the district attended The National Leadership for Social Justice Institute. They implemented and are now formalizing a district-wide model of continuous improvement for both behavior and academics – and streamlined both into one uniform approach. They also reconfigured the district organization structure. They are in the process of creating one district-wide K-12 reading plan and one K- 12 mathematics plan with indicators of progress. In addition, they are implementing professional learning communities and functioning teams as the vehicle for cycles of inquiry at each building, which are led by the principal. They are formalizing the equity work plan as the place where the work all comes together i.e., teams, data, levels of support, decision rules and technology. The district is also streamlining to one technology data-management tool for all data input and coordination.

The district’s plan to sustain an integrated framework is a 3-5 year journey. Each level of implementation is carefully planned. They are setting up the structures and processes to assure sustainability: professional development, collaboration time, long-range critical data points/goals. Cycles of inquiry are performed every 9 weeks. If areas are not meeting benchmarks, they look at practices and implement reflection at teacher, grade, school, department, and district levels.

Adoption is “in progress.” Implementation milestones include: district level reorganization that married the work and eliminated silos; adoption of a streamlined continuous improvement cycle throughout the district; meeting action step benchmarks; equity focus; transfer of PBIS systems thinking and components into all areas of achievement; and data summits at each building.

Early successes include a committed and dedicated school board that is humanity and business balanced, data driven, and cause-oriented. The community and schools are intertwined, inter-invested, and mutually active. The Leadership for Social Justice experience and the use of social justice/equity as purpose is counted as a success as well. Staff is embracing the integrated comprehensive service approach and cycles of inquiry.

The district celebrates its successes and results by hosting small school celebrations with coaches throughout the year, sharing updates with the school board, and facilitating an annual district-wide celebration.