Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Success Skills and Priority Time: RTI at WJHS

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a huge focus for the Bentonville Public School District (BPS).

Our former Superintendent, Michael Poore, renewed this focus upon his arrival to our district and our current Superintendent, Dr. Debbie Jones, has taken over the charge to improve our district's RTI structures.

In addition to leadership and administrative focus, BPS has allocated a significant level of funding for RTI training for both administrators and teachers.

Couple that with the fact that we are committed to dedicating "Priority" time during the school day and you can see that our district's efforts to improve RTI are significant.

As great as those efforts are, they pale in comparison to the efforts of our faculty/staff.

An effective RTI system, requires outstanding staff members. that are dedicated to the success of all students.

Our teachers have a sense of collective responsibility.  That is to say that we see all students as "our" students rather than focusing only on those that we directly instruct.

Our teachers constantly work to improve their pedagogy and instructional practices to ensure that we are creating the best possible learning environment and concentrated instruction.

Our teachers work in Professional Learning Community (PLC) teams to constantly determine exactly what students should know and be able to do, administer and review common assessment data, and ensure certain access to both remediation and enrichment activities as needed.

This year, our teachers have committed to ramping up the advisory component of our RTI system to help ensure that "success skills" instruction is a routine part of our school day.

Over the past two years, we've also worked to completely revamp our seminar period (now known as "Priority" time).   During this time, we have created a system that allows us to offer targeted ("closed") sessions for Tier II interventions and "open" sessions for enrichment opportunities.  These open sessions also serve to help with our goal of building a school that students run toward by providing students with opportunities to do the things they love, be creative, and otherwise get involved in our school.

Our entire staff is to be commended for our outstanding accomplishments related to RTI.  We are also fortunate to have Jessie Hester and Ashley Jones who work closely with the administrative team to direct our RTI improvement efforts.

The value of having teacher leaders in this capacity can not be overstated.  Mrs. Hester and Mrs. Jones provide unique insight into the demands on a teacher's time and serve to help create structures that are not only good for students, but manageable for teachers.

As you can see, in addition to significant district resources, an effective RTI system takes an entire faculty committed to excellence and ensuring success for all students- by student, by skill/standard.

We're extremely proud of the progress that we've made and acknowledge that our work will never be completely done.  Thankfully, we know that our students are more than worth the effort.

Tim Sparacino, Principal

P.S. We held our first priority day today and captured some of the moments in this Storify story.