Success Stories

Northwestern El
Maple

Grade Level: Elementary
Region: North

Our Success Story

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.

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10465 E US Highway 2
Poplar, WI 54864