- A number of developments have occurred in the use of response-to-intervention (RTI) and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) over the past decade due to advancements in neuroscience around learning, District Administration reports.
- Among the new ways districts are approaching these strategies are a rethinking of what's at the root of behavioral and disciplinary issues, as well as placing more focus on "pre-intervention" strategies that aim to catch students before they fall too far behind.
- Additionally, schools and districts have increased their focus on incorporating interventions for struggling students into regular classes rather than pulling them out for additional work, and better technology has made it easier for administrators to gather and track data on students that can be used to identify whether they're at risk of falling behind.
A number of adjustments have made providing effective intervention and support for struggling students much easier for educators, and there's more to it than just technology. A rethinking of discipline has factored heavily into these efforts, as well. Greater awareness of the negative impacts of "zero-tolerance" policies that favor suspension, expulsion and referrals to the juvenile justice system for minor infractions has brought a rise in the use of restorative justice programs and other tactics focused on addressing what's causing students' behavioral issues, including socioeconomic factors and their home environment.
In a February interview, Sylacauga City Schools (AL) Director of Instruction and Intervention Carol Martin shared her district's best practices on RTI, noting the importance of data in intervention efforts and how to get parental buy-in. The latter has been a particularly sensitive topic for some, with parents naturally concerned about what data is being gathered on their children and how it is ultimately used — by both the school/district and any third party.
"We have data workshops for parents, and assessment workshops, where we put all the data on the table for their child," Martin said. "I think you have to make it personal. I believe we get uncomfortable when we don’t have our own data in our hands. If parents can see a report telling exactly where their child grew, on what skills and what the percentages are — what parent doesn’t wanna know that?"