RtI E-News: March 2016


New! Videos on Culturally Responsive Practices

As you may have read in our January 2016 Newsletter, Wisconsin trails the nation when it comes to equity between white students and students of color. In response, DPI has launched their Promoting Excellence for All campaign website, which includes an e-course, as well as research-based tools, resources, and increased visibility of the problem.

In line with DPI’s directive, the Wisconsin RtI Center has developed ways for educators to begin the necessary work to understand and reach students of color – so ALL students become college or career ready.

Culturally responsive practices are at the core of Wisconsin RtI Center work. We have – over time – interwoven these philosophies and practices into our work, creating training offerings, tools, and technical assistance opportunities you can use to learn about this important work. Here are a few videos of our technical assistance sessions to get you started.

When you’re ready to begin - or continue - your journey to becoming a culturally responsive practitioner, please feel free to contact your Regional Technical Assistance Coordinator to get started.



Selected and Intensive Levels of Support:
Match Supports to Needs + Monitor Progress and Adjust Accordingly


Selected and intensive levels of support are intended to provide supports to students whose needs extend beyond the reach of the universal. Schools across Wisconsin are working to establish and sustain a fluid continuum of support, matched to the needs and the culture of the students they serve. To support schools in this work, the Wisconsin RtI Center has created a school-wide process for responding to student needs. We have also developed a series of modules to guide teams in learning about, implementing, and refining each step - or key feature - in this process. We will highlight different key features and learning modules in this newsletter throughout the school year.

In this newsletter, we highlight…

Match Supports to Needs

The key feature Match Supports to Needs moves us from hypothesis to action. Here, teams engage in system- and student-level discussions, identifying the types and intensity of support and creating strategic implementation plans.

The Match Supports to Needs module helps schools develop a systematic process for identifying math and reading interventions and additional challenges most suited to the needs of their students, at the appropriate level of intensity and support.

You can access this module here.

Monitor Progress and Adjust Accordingly

Monitor Progress and Adjust Accordingly moves teams from: What supports should we provide? To: How are students responding to the supports we are providing? And: What should we do next?

Once interventions or additional challenges have been determined for students, schools cannot assume that the supports they are providing will produce expected outcomes for students. Instead, schools need to establish a process to review data on a regular basis to gauge student progress and adjust accordingly.

The Monitor Progress and Adjust Accordingly module supports schools in considering whether provided interventions and additional challenges are making a difference, both for individual students and at the school level. The resources section includes tools and strategies to help schools fine-tune their continuum of supports to be more responsive to the students they serve. Resources also include examples of strategies schools use to analyze data, adjust instruction, and document data and decisions at student, grade, and school system levels.

You can access this module by following this link.



Already taking the Benchmarks of Quality (BoQ) for behavior? Get a pulse on academics using the

Schoolwide Implementation Review (SIR)

If you’ve already used the PBIS behavior-based Benchmarks of Quality assessment to implement behavioral systems and measure outcomes, you know how useful this information can be in cultivating a positive environment.

The Wisconsin RtI Center’s School-wide Implementation Review (SIR) is an excellent tool to use to annually monitor your school's progress when implementing a Culturally Responsive Multi-level System of Support for either mathematics or reading.

Besides helping you set a baseline or gauge progress, the SIR also helps you plan for further implementation. Once completed, the SIR provides immediate feedback showing your current level of implementation, and specific steps for continuing your progress.

For those of you completing the SIR two or more years in a row, additional reports give you growth information for your school.

Other benefits of taking the SIR include: 

  • Establishing a baseline for implementation
  • Demonstrating growth around cultural competence
  • Affirming the importance of effective evidence-based instructional practices
  • Documenting to stakeholders areas of growth and refinement
  • Clearly setting your school's path to high levels of learning for ALL children

Need Help?

We're excited to be able to offer schools support in completing the SIR.

You have several choices: 

As a reminder to schools applying for recognition in reading, mathematics, or both, completion of the SIR is a required piece. For more about the recognition guidelines, click here.

If you are ready, you can access the SIR itself using this link.



Success Story: Superior School District


Part I: Building a Foundation for Success

The School District of Superior sits in the farthest northwest corner of our state. Not only does the school district live up to its name by providing “superior education,” they have dedicated themselves to continuous improvement that will increase achievement and outcomes for ALL students. Six years ago the district began implementing an integrated multi-level system of support for both behavior and academics.

Using Data

Superior began by analyzing their overall student data to gauge the effectiveness of their existing system. Longitudinal data made it clear that achievement levels were unacceptable. To measure the impact of their decisions, data analysis was embedded through collaborative structures. Accountability for increased academic and behavior outcomes for ALL students became a priority.

As part of a balanced assessment system, the district also relied on data from multiple assessments including agreed-upon formative, benchmark, and summative assessments. That way, data-based decision making could occur throughout the school year, within grade levels and grade bands, allowing universal instruction to responsively meet the needs of all students. This formed the basis for a data-based continuous improvement model the district continues to this day.

Academic Results

Their hard work has resulted in tangible improvements, as shown by positive student outcomes in universal screening data for reading and mathematics. According to Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Crystal Hintzman: "Our reading and math data indicates that the hard work of teachers and instructional coaches is paying off for student achievement. Our percentages of students performing at or above on our universal screening assessment is increasing. Within our system, we have focused our professional development time on coaching and supporting teachers with data analysis, identifying matched instructional needs, and modeling universal instructional practices across the grade levels and content areas."

The visuals below represent increases for both reading and mathematics.





The academic data above reflects ALL second through eighth graders, and – in some cases – ninth graders.

Behavioral Results

Since their journey began with PBIS implementation, data has shown fidelity on the BoQ, which has been achieved and maintained. Student-level discipline data has also shown high percentages of student response to supports and student success. This demonstrates that Superior has begun the work of developing a sustainable system of student supports.


Universal Tier of Support

When they first began their journey, the decision was made to begin with the universal or tier 1 level of support. They knew that focusing on strong universal instruction – to bring all students to higher levels of learning – would be the first and best prevention. They also knew that instruction needed to be high quality and needed to meet the needs of ALL of their diverse learners.

While the ultimate goal was to have 100% of students achieving at high levels, they also knew that – at a minimum – at least 80% (or most students) needed to be successful at the universal level alone, in order to maintain a healthy multi-level system of support.

“Focusing on strong universal instruction and bringing all students to higher levels of learning is our first and best prevention. We know that the instruction ALL students receive needs to be high quality and meet the needs of ALL of our diverse learners.” – Crystal Hintzman

Through collaborative structures, Superior teachers and leaders asked themselves what high quality instruction at the universal level of support should look like, and they were able to come to agreement on high-impact, non-negotiable, research- and evidence-based practices.

Evidence-Based Practices

The School District of Superior had to decide on evidence-based practices that would improve academic and behavioral performance. Non-negotiable practices needed to be agreed on, attached to their vision, and all principals and teachers needed to be held accountable. The district chose to use Marzano’s research and work around effective practices, the Gradual Release of Responsibility Instructional Framework, and classroom management as a starting point, as well as tapping into their strong implementation of PBIS.

District leaders knew that professional development was one of the keys to the increased use of research- and evidence-based practices in the classroom. Training was deemed crucial in order to ensure all instructors in all classrooms would adopt and consistently use the same framework. The district was explicit about the guaranteed instructional strategies ALL teachers would use, enabling principals to ensure fidelity of implementation. Making these decisions around strong evidence-based practices built the foundation for continuous improvement.

Coming in the May Newsletter - Part 2: Maintenance and Growth

In part two of this series, we’ll show you how Superior organized their leadership structures. We’ll also explore the importance of the well-established strong coaching model they are using within their district. Finally, we’ll see how they have successfully maintained a culturally responsive multi-level system of support.