The phrase Response to Intervention (RTI) can often cause an educator to respond in a negative way. The RTI process is typically associated with large committees, marathon meetings, and no real product at the end. In my role as an administrator, I wanted to look at ways that we could avoid being a typical committee and make our team more efficient.
Who Needs to be There?
The first thing that we established our team and what purpose it would serve the school. We noticed that there was some room to trim down the amount of committees that we had at our school by incorporating them into one. We realized that our RTI committee and our discipline committees were handling many of the same issues so we decided to combine the two and rename it out Student Success Team (SST). The goal of SST was to not only focus on student needs but also indirectly address some of our school discipline issues by incorporating initiatives that would improve school wide culture by focusing on targeted behavioral goals each quarter and the use of school wide celebrations. This team became a central part of our staff in helping support students throughout our school. The next step was how to establish who would be involved. For our school we have 6 academic teams (3 for 7th grade and 3 for 8th grade) so each team appointed a representative. The idea is that this representative serves as the point person between SST and their own team for discussion about students and any other item that we might need to address.
Don’t Waste Anyone’s Time
One of the first rules that we established was to get rid of the giant committee. Often when there are too many individuals on one committee the focus tends to shift away from the task at hand. We decided that we would divide into 7th and 8th grade teams so that we could spend more time focusing on students and so that our team were more likely to know all the students involved. In previous RTI committees that I have been apart of, there was a lot of time spent discussing students that not everyone knew so therefore there was little investment on their part to the conversation that was taking place.
The Right Tools
Probably the biggest change that we made to utilize everyone’s time better was streamlining our clerical processes. We used Google Apps to turn our submission process, record keeping, and notification process all digital. We used Google Forms and Sheets to handle our submission and record keep for our students. We also used add-ons, such as Formmule and DocAppender to help us with getting the right information to the right individuals and automating our emails and notifications. We also used hyperlinked Docs to help with our agenda and pre-planning process for any of our upcoming meetings.
The key to having any successful team is how do you move the attention from from the clerical aspect of being a team back to the task at hand. For us technology played a huge role in this process and gave us the tools we needed to help streamline the necessary processes.