Assuring learning excellence and readiness for a changing world



RtI for Families

Response to Intervention logo

"The way schools care about children is reflected in the way schools care about the children's families.

If educators view children simply as students, they are likely to see the family as separate from the school.  That is, the family is expected to do its job and leave the education of children to the schools.

If educators view the students as children, they are likely to see both the family and community as partners with the school in children's education and development.  Partners recognize their shared interest in and responsibilities for children, and they work together to create better programs and opportunities for students."  Dr. Joyce Epstein, "Caring for the Children We Share"  

Families share a common dream - success for our children!  Success will be different for every child because of their individuality and unique gifts and needs.  We want every child to learn and grow.  We want our children to have healthy, positive, caring experiences in our schools and we want them to grow-up to become capable adults who contribute and participate in their communities.  When the adults in their lives (family, educators, and others) work together and form strong partnerships, our children get the most out of every learning experience.

Mankato Area Public Schools recognizes that families are critical partners in the effective implementation of RtI.  As our school district works to implement the RtI framework to support all students in their learning, parents/guardians need to understand the essential components of RtI and the roles they play in supporting their child's success.


What is Response to Intervention (RtI)?

RtI is a process not a place that schools use to support all students in their learning.  This process is an approach for redesigning and establishing teaching and learning environments that are effective, efficient, and relevant for all students, families, and educators.  RtI involves an education process that matches instructional and intervention strategies and supports to student needs.  It is also a process designed to help schools focus on and provide high-quality instruction and learning support to all students. RtI looks at how students are making progress with the current learning in the classroom to find more effective ways to help students make academic and behavioral progress during their school experiences.  

RtI requires that families and educators work together to discover not only what works for our children, but also what does not work.  RtI identifies: 1. struggling learners early to support them in meeting learning goals, 2. on-target learners to continue toward their learning goals, and 3. learners in need of enrichment beyond the established learning goals.  

What are the essential components of RtI?

  • School staff make consistent efforts to welcome families as partners and decision-makers in their child's education and all processes.
  • School staff provide high-quality, research-based instruction and behavioral support in all classrooms.
  • School staff conduct universal screening and benchmarking in the areas of academics and behavior.
  • Child performance is continuously monitored as a routine part of the core instructional program.
  • School staff implement specific, research-based interventions to address the identified needs of the child.
  • School staff form collaborative teams for the development, implementation, and monitoring of the intervention system at each tier.
  • School staff use progress-monitoring data to assess the effectiveness of each intervention.  They also use this data to make modifications as needed.
  • Systematic assessment is completed to ensure to ensure that instruction and interventions are implemented with fidelity and/or integrity.

When schools implement RtI, students in need of additional support, on-target support, and enrichment support are identified through classroom, school-wide, and district-wide screening processes as well as other means, such as teacher observation or parent concern.  By taking these steps, we are ensuring that the RtI process is being faithfully implemented to meet the educational needs of your child.

Family Involvement

A Parent Leader's Perspective on Response to Intervention
Schools, Families, and Response to Intervention

Progress Monitoring

Progress Monitoring: using data to track students’ progress toward a goal
     Progress Monitoring in a Response to Intervention Model


What do we use? 
     DIBELS Next-Progress Monitoring

Who progress monitors?
     The classroom teacher progress monitors their students receiving interventions.

​​How often do we progress monitor? 
     Tier 1 - Grade-level Decision
     Tier 2 - 1-2 times/month 
     Tier 3 - 3-4 times/month

Who needs the progress monitoring data?
     All teachers within the grade-level team for problem-solving purposes.

How do we progress monitor?
     Video on progress monitoring from DIBELS website

What do we use?
     Behavior Data

How often do we progress monitor? 
     Tier 1 - Grade-level Decision
     Tier 2 - 1-2 times/month
     Tier 3 - 3-4 times/month


What do we use?
     Reading CBM

How often we monitor progress?
     Tier 1 - Department-level Decision
     Tier 2 - 1-2 times/month
     Tier 3 - 3-4 times/month

What do we use?
     Behavior Data

How often do we progress monitor? 
     Tier 1 - Department-level Decision
     Tier 2 - 1-2 times/month
     Tier 3 - 3-4 times/month

Tiered Instruction


Aimline:  line on a graph that represents expected student growth over time

Baseline:  a measure of performance prior to intervention.  These initial data are used to monitor changes of the improvement in an individual performance

Benchmark:  important student outcomes or goals for a grade within a particular domain (e.g., reading), that students should be achieving during the course of a school year (e.g., fall, winter, spring) in order to be on target for end-of-grade performance by the end of that school year benchmark assessments:  assessments used to set benchmarks (e.g., according to local norms) and/or to determine whether students are achieving grade level standard 

Child Study Team:  A school-based problem-solving team.  The CST meets regularly to identify, intervene, and monitor the progress of students with academic, behavior, or attendance needs who are not responding to Tier III interventions.

Common Formative Assessments:  assessments conducted during the process of student learning that are used primarily to inform instruction 

Core Instruction:  the basic academic instruction that all students receive in the educational setting, including a high level of rigor, cultural inclusiveness, comprehensive content and effective instructional practices.  80-85% of students should show sufficient academic progress as a result of core instruction

Cut Point:  cutoff scores on common benchmark assessments; cut points specify the score at or below which students would be considered for intervention

Data-based/Data-driven Decision Making:  A process of collecting, analyzing, and summarizing information to answer a question and to guide development, implementation, and evaluation of an action.  Data-based decision making is continuous and regular, and most importantly linked to educational/socially important questions.

Diagnostic Assessments:  additional assessments used both by general educators and specialists to clarify and target the needs of individual students when the information provided by other types of assessments, such as universal common assessments, is not sufficient or too broad

Differentiated Instruction:  An approach to teaching that emphasizes ways to meet the differing needs of a group of students within the general education setting, for example, through the use of flexible small groups, varied instructional materials, or different way of presenting the same content; differentiation of instruction is an integral part of Tier I.  Process of designing lesson plans that meet the needs of the range of learners; such planning includes learning objectives, grouping practices, teaching methods, varied assignments, and varied materials chosen based on student skill levels, interest levels, and learning preferences; differentiated instruction focuses on instructional strategies, instructional groupings, and an array of materials.

Evidence-based Practice:  educational practices/instructional strategies supported by relevant scientific research studies

Explicit Instruction:  Systematic instructional approach that includes a set of delivery and design procedures derived from effective schools’ research merged with behavior analysis; essential components of well-designed explicit instruction include a) visible delivery features of group instruction with a high level of teacher and student interactions and b) the less observable, instructional design principles and assumptions that make up the content and strategies to be taught.

Fidelity of Implementation and Instruction:  implementation of an intervention, program, or curriculum according to research findings and/or on developers’ specifications

Flexible Grouping:  the ability for students to move among different groups based upon their performance and instructional needs

Gap Analysis:  gap analysis is a tool for measuring the difference between the students’ current level of performance and benchmark expectations

Inclusion:  (as a service delivery model)  students with identified disabilities are educated with general education age-/grade-level peers

Intervention:  The systematic and explicit instruction provided to accelerate growth in a area of identified need.  Interventions are provided by both special and general educators, and are based on training, not titles.  They are designed to improve performance relative to a specific, measurable goal.  Interventions are based on valid information about current performance, realistic implementation, and include ongoing student progress monitoring.

Intensive Interventions:  Academic and/or behavioral interventions characterized by increased length, frequency, and duration of implementation for students who struggle significantly; often associated with narrowest tier of an RTI tiered model.  Intervention chosen in relation to student data and from among those that have been documented through education research to be effective with like students under like circumstances.

Parental Engagement:  The meaningful and active involvement of parents and family members in the educational process.

PBIS:  A tiered intervention system based on school-wide practices that encourage and reward positive student and adult behavior.

Positive Behavior Supports:  Evidence-based practices embedded in the school curriculum/culture/expectations that have a prevention focus; teaching, practice, and demonstration of pro-social behaviors.

Problem-solving Approach to RtI:  Assumes that no given intervention will be effective for all students; generally has four stages (problem identification, problem analysis, plan implementation, and plan evaluation); is sensitive to individual student differences; depends on the integrity of implementing interventions.

Problem-solving Team:  group of education professionals coming together to consider student-specific data, brainstorm possible strategies/interventions, and develop a plan of action to address a student-specific need.  Teams of educators that are responsible for data analysis and decision making and that function at the level of the district, school, and grade (or content area) as well as across grade levels in the same content area (i.e., vertical teams); they include as members school administrators, school psychologists, grade/content area general educators, various specialists and other behavioral/mental health personnel.

Progress Monitoring:  using data to track students’ progress toward a goal

Reliable:  the consistency and accuracy of a test or other measure

Research-based Instruction/Intervention:  A research-based instructional practice or intervention is one found to be reliable, trustworthy, and valid based on evidence to suggest that when the program is used with a particular group of children, the children can be expected to make adequate gains in achievement.  Ongoing documentation and analysis of student outcomes helps to define effective practice.  In the absence of evidence, the instruction/intervention must be considered “best practice” based on available research and professional literature

Scaffolding:  An instructional technique in which the teacher breaks a complex task into smaller tasks, models the desired learning strategy or task, provides support as students learn to do the task, and then gradually shifts responsibility to the students.  In this manner, a teacher enables students to accomplish as much of a task as possible without adult assistance.

School climate:  the nature of the interrelationships among the people in the school physically, emotionally and intellectually; how the people within the school treat one another (adult to adult interactions, adult and student interactions and student to student interactions) through their actions of verbal and nonverbal exchanges, tone of voice and the use/abuse of inherent power advantages

Slope:  the slope of the trendline is compared to that of the aimline to measure a student’s rate of improvement; if the slope of the trendline is less than that of the aimline, the student is not progressing at a rate sufficient enough to meet the goal in the time allotted

SRBI:  (Scientifically Research-based Instruction) instructional practices and interventions in a school or district that have been researched and determined to be effective for improved student outcomes or proven to excel student learning as evidenced by data

Summative Assessment/Evaluation:  Comprehensive in nature, provides accountability, and is used to check the level of learning at the end of a unit or study.

Systemic Approach:  an approach that is school-wide or district-wide, with the same core curriculums, instructional strategies, universal common assessments and social/behavioral supports within a grade, and effective coordination across grades (as opposed to approaches in which different teachers within the same grade may differ widely in curricular emphases, instructional strategies, behavior management practices, etc.)

Tier I:  the general education core curriculums, instruction and social/behavioral supports for all students; with differentiation of instruction as a norm

Tier II:  short-term interventions for students who have not responded adequately to the general education core curriculums and differentiation of instruction; it is part of the general education system

Tier III:  more intensive or individualized short-term interventions for students who fail to respond adequately to Tier I and/or Tier II interventions; it is also part of the general education system

Trend:  the response of a student undergoing intervention; if the intervention is effective, the trend will show improvement toward the student’s long-range goal, whereas if the intervention is ineffective, the trend will show no improvement toward the goal or even worsening of performance (further away from the goal)

Trendline:  the single line of best fit when the student’s successive scores during intervention are plotted on a graph; the slope of the trendline shows the student’s rate of improvement

Universal Design for Learning (UDL):  Process of designing instruction that is accessible by all students; UDL includes multiple means of representation, multiple means of expression, and multiple means of engagement; the focus in creation of UDL curricula is on technology and materials.

Universal Screener:  A quick check of all students’ current levels of performance in a content or skill area.  This is administered three times per year.

Valid:  the extent to which a test actually measures what it is intended to measure

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Department of Teaching & Learning
Marti Sievek, Interim Director
10 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 1
Mankato, Minnesota 56001