Our mission at Nenana City School is to provide your child with the best education possible and prepare them for life after school. A large body of evidence suggests that one of the best ways to support your child in this process is called “Response to Intervention.” The goal of our Response to Intervention program is to detect areas where students are struggling early and provide targeted, meaningful interventions in those specific areas using specific instructional strategies. The effectiveness of these interventions is measured by assessing student progress before, during, and after intervention. Through this process our intent is to support Lynx students so that they can get the most out of their time with us, and be ready for whatever life they choose to lead after school.
Response to Intervention, or RtI for short, starts with effective classroom instruction. All students should be receiving excellent instruction in the classroom, with excellent curriculum and competent instructors. This is the foundation of our program, and something we continue to strive for on a daily basis. While students are in class, teachers are assessing student academic progress. This can be done in a variety of ways, and is often done through quizzes, tests, or even looking for trends in student grades and submissions. This assessment data can then serve as a way to refer students to a second or third level of intervention, called “tiers.”
The next level of intervention, or “Tier 2,” involves classroom teachers identifying a specific area of need and using supplementary curriculum or a different instructional strategy with the student, usually to address a grade level teaching standard. This can be done within the classroom during class time, however our program strives to provide students extra time with their classroom teacher to address these areas of concern, so that they are not missing critical classroom instruction. Tier 2 interventions are supplementary to class instruction, not a replacement for said instruction.
The third level of intervention, or “Tier 3,” is often triggered by universal screening assessments that students participate in three times a year or a lack of improvement in Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions. Tier 3 interventions focus on the basic universal academic skills of reading, writing, and mathematics. Tier 3 interventions are supplementary to both Tier 2 and Tier 1 interventions, and are meant to address serious concerns in one or more areas of the basics. In our program these interventions are provided by classroom teachers, however they may not be provided by your child’s classroom teacher. Because of the nature of the work done in Tier 3 interventions, high school students participating in them are offered additional credit on a pass/fail basis to recognize the extra effort they are putting into their education.
Our Response to Intervention process is not a replacement for Special Education services. According to the State of Alaska’s Special Education Handbook, “any process that involves a student’s response to intervention cannot impede, delay or deny timely evaluation for the purposes of special education.” Response to Intervention may lead to a Special Education referral, and observations and assessment data may provide evidence for and guide a Special Education referral process. However, the purpose of Response to Intervention primarily is to identify areas of academic need for students and effectively address those academic needs.
At Nenana City School we recognize that our best support crew for the students we serve is the caring adults they have at home. If we identify an area of academic concern in your student, our intention is to notify you as soon as possible. From there, we will work with you to place students in Tier 2 or Tier 3 supports and keep you informed of your student’s progress. This communication may come from your student’s classroom teacher, from interventionists working with your student, or from our Response to Intervention Coordinator.
If you have any questions or comments about the Response to Intervention program at Nenana City School, please feel free to reach out to David Huntington or Stephen Calkin, the building Principal and Response to Intervention Coordinator respectively. We would be happy to field any questions, comments, or concerns you may have.
RtI Coordinator / HS Social Studies Teacher