Allocating time and resources to building out your intervention team can yield big rewards. Moving teachers past the “it’s just one more thing on my plate” attitude is critical to success. It is important to customize your professional development to the needs of your schools and district. Developing data leader coaches ensures that teachers have a deep understanding of the benefits of data-driven instruction. They will also learn how to support each other in reaching the school’s learning goals.
Using a common framework for intervention allows teachers to focus on assessing the needs of students and incorporating student performance data in an equitable way. Many schools use Response to Intervention (RTI), a multi-tiered approach to identify and support students with learning needs. All students first receive research-based instruction in their core curriculum in their regular classrooms.
Then universal screening and progress monitoring provide data about students’ levels of achievement. This data is used to determine which students need closer monitoring or intervention. Student progress is monitored over time to measure the effectiveness of both the curriculum and the interventions.
The Power of Data and Differentiated Instruction
Teachers need to see the power of data-informed instruction to adopt this method of teaching. Benchmarking through assessments helps determine the level of instruction needed by individual students.
Regular review of individual student data along with assessments helps teachers determine the exact amount of support or enrichment each student needs. Adaptive curriculum adjusts to the level of each student so that progress remains steady toward end-of-year learning goals.
Creating a Strong Intervention Culture
Most schools have either a formal or an informal intervention team based on their unique circumstances and resources. The following seven recommendations can be individualized to suit any configuration of intervention teams.
1. Engage your stakeholders. A blended learning curriculum approach using data to benchmark and monitor student progress requires more than one champion. Leadership and teachers need to be on board. Explain the “why” of using student data to reach student, school, and district learning goals. Comprehensive initial training will help teachers understand how to support student growth with data. Ongoing professional development and teacher collaboration builds a shared culture.
2. Put systems in place. In addition to the appropriate technology support and professional development, make sure the primary data leader is a good communicator and coaches teachers to make data a priority. Establish regular communication to parents and feedback to teachers.
3. Level set expectations. The data leader reinforces for teachers the power of using data to impact instruction. Schedule regular data review sessions so that teachers can learn to support each other as well as their students by diving deep into the data.
4. Hold data meetings monthly. The more professional development you provide teachers, the better they will be able to drill down into the data to ensure that learning goals continue to be met. Focus on the importance of the data so that teachers don’t feel this process is a waste of their time. Ensure teachers have sufficient support as they learn how to address each student’s needs especially when they are critical.
5. Empower teachers. Help teachers know what they’re looking for in the data reports. The goal is for teachers to become data experts on their students, review the reports themselves, and to learn how to adjust instruction to accommodate. Coaching is the key to successful implementations.
6. Generate enthusiasm. As an ongoing practice, encourage teacher behaviors you want to embed into your school culture. Seeing the growth of students is a huge motivator. Students themselves get motivated by being able to track their own growth through their teachers. Encourage parents to stay in touch with their student’s progress.
7. Celebrate Success: As teachers and students meet benchmarks and growth goals, find ways to celebrate – jeans Fridays for teachers, or a weekly session for lesson planning, or a class pizza party, for example. Celebrating success is a morale booster for teachers and students; reinforces the role of data-driven instruction in your school; and contributes to a positive school culture.
Technology plays an important role in an effective data-infused learning environment. Differentiated instruction and intervention are supported by technology. Not only does technology personalize learning for students but it informs a teacher’s instruction plan. Data captures a student’s academic performance, quantifies a student’s rate of improvement or responsiveness to instruction, and evaluates the effectiveness of the instruction. Ongoing professional development ensures that the intervention team uses their resources for maximum impact.
Case Study: Intervention in Action in Alabama
Hoover City Schools in Alabama wanted to streamline their intervention process for their RTI and Title I students. They chose Istation because it identifies learning gaps and provides engaging interactive lessons and face-to-face teaching strategies to get students back on track. “After we started using Istation, students were going back into the general education classroom and were being successful, so we were able to serve additional students—more than we ever had in the past,” says Debra Walker Smith, director of federal programs and testing for the district. “Istation definitely helps drill down to the standards that students haven’t mastered. And when students do, they are so excited to share what they’ve accomplished.”
Students used Istation from August to April and saw a marked increase in Lexile scores: First graders gained 370 points; second grade, 280; third-grade, 155; fourth grade, 165, and fifth grade, 132 points.
“I believe this program is one of the best investments we have made using our federal funds,” Smith says. “I like the ease of implementation, but more importantly, I like that students feel successful using it.”
The Importance of Assessments
Powered by the science of reading, Istation’s assessments and instruction support the “Big Five” foundations determined by the National Reading Panel. Istation provides activities and lessons that generate insightful and actionable data that measures phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary—the Big Five.
· Readers are assessed in 30 minutes – ISIP™ Reading (Istation’s assessment for pre-K through 8th grade)
· Based on results, students placed in skill level-appropriate online instruction – Istation Reading (Istation’s instruction for pre-K through 8th grade)
· Teachers receive instant reports to monitor student progress—Priority Reports direct teachers to specific, skills-based, small group lessons for targeted reading intervention.
Monthly review of progress monitoring allows teachers to get a pulse check on how their students are moving toward skill mastery and provides an opportunity for teachers to pivot their instruction to remain on track to achieve grade level goals. It is important to realize that Istation focuses on differentiation for all students, not just intervention for struggling students.
“Using a common framework for intervention allows teachers to focus on assessing the needs of students and incorporating student performance data in an equitable way.”
Powerful Intervention and Instruction
Istation is unique in how it provides digital tools and curriculum for powerful pre-K-8 blended learning that accelerates growth in reading. Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP™) is a powerful web-based component that provides frequent assessment data through progress monitoring.
Appropriate to use from intervention to enrichment, Istation includes:
· Nationally normed formative assessments
· Personalized data profiles
· Adaptive curriculum
· Teacher Resources
· School to home connection
· Customized professional development
For more information visit Istation.com
 Retrieved from http://www.rtinetwork.org/learn/what/whatisrti