Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

Unique & Expanding Roles & Functions Among Existing Personnel

  • May 13th, 2011
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New & Expanding Roles Within the RtII Implementation Process

Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtII) constitutes a significant change in education and its sustainability rests at the feet of countless numbers of school personnel and families who work tirelessly to educate students and contribute to the ongoing development and improvement of our educational system. Yet, the specific roles that various professionals will carry out have not been clearly articulated within legal, regulatory or empirical research. What is known is that successful RtII models require professional flexibility, adaptability, and self-advocacy. In fact, the viability of the RtII framework will necessitate fundamental changes in the way we may have traditionally approached instructional, assessment and curricular activities.

Recommendations for more active and changing roles within an RtII model exist as part of a greater effort to assist schools in bringing many perspectives together and building capacity by fully utilizing the unique skill sets and knowledge across interdisciplinary personnel.

What are the Essential Roles and Responsibilities in RtII?

There are a series of role functions that are necessary for every core RtII building team to fulfill and include those of data mentor, facilitator, staff liaison, instructional leader and content specialist. One person may serve more than one function. Because these roles require deep and broad knowledge and skills, it is helpful to have well defined requisite skill sets and begin mobilizing professional learning opportunities that are appropriated for individuals who currently or will eventually serve in these capacities. It is strongly recommended that every effort is made to match pre-existing skills and dispositions with those expected to be learned and developed in order to build internal capacity effectively and efficiently.

  • Data Mentor: Collects, organizes, displays, analyzes and interprets data; understands and uses all data; presents data in user-friendly ways; assists others with process of data-based decision-making and sets or rules on which it is based; helps apply rules to make systematic decisions; advocates for time and structures to support this process
  • Facilitator: Understands and assists staff through organizational change process; designs specific procedures for ongoing communication structures and efforts; ensures responsivity to the needs of staff and core team as they move through change process; knowledgeable in team processes and advancement of team functioning; well organized; establisher of team meetings, involvement and shared leadership
  • Staff Liaison: Ensures that all staff have a voice in decision-making; facilitates shared perspective; solicits input; key communicator with staff not represented on core building team; establishes communication structures to solicit ongoing feedback and input; communicates among and across grade levels and other staff
  • Instructional Leader: Principal and other building level administrators; attends to change process; supports staff through communication, culture building, gathering input, and establishing order through routines and procedures. Delegates responsibility with the core building team and encourages and supports the development of leadership skills within the team
  • Content Specialist: Provides training related to adoption of new curricular materials and adequately trains all implementers; Checks fidelity of use of curricular materials and strategies; applies knowledge and understanding of content to make decisions; excellent communicator of thoughts related to decision-making (e.g., “What does our assessment data tell us about students’ instructional needs?” “What elements need to be included in an effective core instructional program?” “Which instructional strategies are most effective to address this area of concern?”)

In order to implement an RtII framework with fidelity and sustainability, an interdisciplinary team is required to work synergistically with respect to changing and expanded roles and functions. Diverse yet complementary skill sets are needed and must then be subsequently embedded within a process of supportive accountability, shared leadership, collaborative consensus and continuous, context embedded professional learning. Regardless of discipline, all educators need to acquire a deep understanding of language acquisition and literacy development, sophisticated data analysis and synthesis skills and the perseverance to continuously hone instruction and intervention so that all students experience the most effective and efficient growth toward pre-established core competencies.

The RtII framework is the service delivery model for PA’s Standards Aligned System and serves as a systemic as well as systematic vehicle that provides all students with access to the degree of instruction and intervention they need in light of every child’s unique strengths and learning profile.

Making Response to Intervention Work: What School Personnel Need to Know and be Able to Do

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