Response to Intervention
The Westport Public Schools curriculum includes rigorous academic requirements: world language starting in kindergarten; outstanding music, art and drama programs; and a K-12 computer program. The entire curriculum has been reformatted to show desired results. The staff uses authentic, hands-on assessments, in addition to traditional tests, to measure achievement.
In order to meet the many needs of our children, teachers incorporate best practices and multi-sensory approaches while teaching. Technology is incorporated across the curriculum, and grade levels and departments meet regularly to collaborate and plan lessons and share ideas for teaching and learning. In all elementary schools, the grade level teachers meet regularly for RTI Strategy Meetings. At the Strategy Meetings classroom teachers, administrators, and specialists brainstorm ways they can work to meet the varying needs of their students based on recent progress monitoring, anecdotal classroom information, and individual student work. The building professionals share successful strategies, such as differentiated techniques, small group intensive instruction methods, etc. to meet the learning needs of our students.
RTI Overview (Family Guide to SRBI, PDF)
3 Tier Pyramid (PDF)
Many of you have already heard about state and federal mandates for Scientific Research Based Intervention (SRBI) also known as Response to Intervention (RTI), which are designed to improve the quality of instruction for all students in the core subject areas of reading, writing, and math. Some of our Westport students are already participating in targeted programs of supplemental instruction that meet the standards of RTI, and are reaping the benefits of those programs in the form of higher test scores, a stronger base of knowledge, and improved academic skills. We want to emphasize that we are fully committed to implementing RTI in our district. The staff has been actively involved in developing specific process and procedures to support struggling students over the past several years. RTI Teams are active in each of our district's elementary schools and this focused work has resulted in some very specific gains for students involved in the intervention process.
The State Department of Education has recently released the newly revised Guidelines for Determining a Learning Disability. These guidelines mandate the use of scientific research-based interventions (SRBI) for all students who demonstrate difficulty in academic and/or behavioral areas. This intervention data must then be considered, in conjunction with a comprehensive evaluation, when making an eligibility determination for a student suspected of having a learning disability. Although districts in the state have been granted the ability to request an extension in the use of RTI as an eligibility determination component, we feel confident that our focused work over the past several years in RTI allows us to move forward and accept the implementation of the new guidelines as intended. Therefore, the department will no longer utilize a discrepancy formula (the difference between a student's intellectual potential and actual academic achievement levels) in making an LD determination. As a district, we are committed to making sure that the district's program for RTI, which includes implementation of strong curriculum in reading, math, and writing, professional development for teachers, a system of assessment of progress in each tier of intervention, and a system for communication of results with parents, is of high quality and effectively supports students, teachers and parents.
If your child requires supplemental targeted instruction in the RTI model, you will receive notification of that from your child's school. His or her progress in this supplemental instruction will be tracked so that you can receive periodic updates concerning your child's progress. If you would like to obtain more information about the policies of the State of Connecticut for student performance, strategies for increasing student rate of learning, and parental rights to request an evaluation of a child suspected of having a learning disability, we invite you to visit the following websites, which provide additional information:
1. Information concerning a parent's right to request an evaluation of a child suspected of having a learning disability can be found in the Procedural Safeguards in Special Education, http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2678&Q=320730#publications.
2. The SRBI Framework that describes the state's perspective on SRBI can be found athttp://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2604&Q=321716, and the executive summary of this document can be found at http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2678&Q=320730#publications.
3. Connecticut's framework for the Response to Intervention (RTI) model for identification of children with specific learning disabilities can be found under the heading of Resources for Parents and Families on the SDE website (http://www.sde.ct.gov/) under the heading Publications/Resources-Best Practices, entitled A Family Guide: Connecticut's Framework to RTI.
4. The newly released Guidelines for Determining a Learning Disability can be viewed and downloaded athttp://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2678&Q=320730#publications.
5. Curriculum standards and CMT/CAPT grade-level goals for students can be found at
We know that this information can be confusing for parents, and we want to provide as much information as we can to help alleviate any concerns that may be raised by this process. Your child's individual progress is important to us; we value the parent-school partnerships that help every child to excel.
Frequent Asked Questions
What are the best practices my child's school is using if he/she is struggling in the classroom?
If a child is struggling in the classroom, then there are a number of resources available to the classroom teacher and student in an effort to help the student achieve. In all elementary schools, the grade level teachers meet regularly for RTI Strategy Meetings to discuss such strategies. Some strategies may include differentiation, small group instruction, multi-sensory learning opportunities, etc.
How can I help my child with learning at home?
The Connecticut Parent Information and Resource Center (PIRC) recommends the following ways you can help your child with learning at home:
- make reading an everyday habit;
- talk with your child's teachers;
- check homework assignments and assist when necessary;
- review your child's progress regularly;
- celebrate your child's strengths, talents, interests, and successes;
- learn more about what is being taught and how it is being taught at your child's school; and
- participate in parent-teacher-student conferences and other school functions for your child.
How will I be told about my child's progress?
You can keep updated on your child's progress by communicating with your child's teacher regarding progress monitoring data, examining standardized test score reports (CMT, CAPT), report card grades, participating in parent-teacher conferences, and communicating with your child regarding his/her own learning.
What happens if my child continues to struggle and the teaching strategies do not work?
Most interventions take time to take effect. If the student is below grade level benchmarks and does not respond to the regular education classroom teacher's intervention, then the RTI Intervention Team will meet to develop a targeted intervention plan with fidelity, often times with the assistance of our regular education specialists and support staff. The student's progress will be monitored, and the RTI Intervention Team will meet to revise the plan as needed. Parents will be notified when the child's intervention plan is developed or reviewed.
Questions parents may ask about Tiered Instruction and Tier 1
How many tiers does my child's school use?
Westport uses the three-tiered framewok of RTI. In this framework, all regular education students are considered to be part of Tier 1; however, those Tier 1 students who do not demonstrate grade-level expectations receive intervention in the regular education classroom.
How often is my child participating in Tier 1 instruction?
Students receiving Tier 1 supplemental intervention receive additional instruction in the form of individual or small group work with the classroom teacher and/or paraprofessional.
How is Tier 2 different from Tier 1?
Students who have not demonstrated sufficient progress toward grade-level benchmarks within Tier 1 may move into Tier 2. Tier 2 interventions include more intensive instructional support from a support teacher, in addition to their regular classroom teacher. The support teacher may also use a different instructional program.
How does the school decide to move my child between tiers?
The progress of students in Tier 1 support is regularly reviewed by the school's grade level RTI Team, which is comprised of classroom teachers, support teachers, and building administrators. If during a student's focused intervention period the student does not make sufficient progress towards the benchmark, the RTI Team may determine that the student should move up into another tier of intervention. Alternatively, student progress performance towards grade level expectations may indicate the need to step down a tier. Progress monitoring data and classroom performance are used to make tier movement determinations.
What interventions are being used for my child in Tier 2 or 3?
Westport Schools uses scientifically research based interventions at all tiers. The interventions used are based on assessment of an individual student through progress monitoring data. The support teacher, working in conjunction with the classroom teacher, will determine the instructional approaches to use with a student.
How many students are in my child's group in Tier 2?
In addition to instruction in the regular education classroom, students are pulled out to work with the support teacher in a small group of approximately 3 - 5 students.
Do the others in my child's group have the same areas of need that my child has?
Yes, students typically work on similar goals.
How many days per week of Tier 2 instruction is provided, and for how many minutes each day?
Tier 2 groups meet for a minimum of 3 times a week for a 10 - 20 week period.
How are students in Tier 2 progress monitored?
Students in Tier 2 are monitored through scientifically research based assessments, biweekly.
At what point do teachers consider a different intervention within Tier 2?
As with students in Tier 1, if the RTI team does not see the student making adequate progress towards the grade level expectations, the RTI team may recommend that the classroom teacher and support teacher consider other instructional interventions; or the RTI team may recommend that the student move from Tier 2 to Tier 3 support.
Questions parents may ask about Tier 3 Instruction
How is Tier 3 different from Tier 2?
As with the shift from Tier 1 to Tier 2, students who move into Tier 3 have not demonstrated sufficient progress toward grade level expectations despite tiered intervention. Therefore, they require even more intensive instructional support which includes greater frequency, smaller groups and/or a different instructional approach.
What factors determine that a student might benefit from Tier 3 instruction?
As with the shift from Tier 1 to Tier 2, if during a student's 10 - 20 weeks of focused Tier 2 instruction the student is not making adequate progress towards the grade level expectations, as determined by progress monitoring data, the RTI Team may determine the student needs further additional instruction from a support teacher, and, thus, needs to shift to Tier 3.
What interventions are being used for my child in Tier 3?
As in Tier 2, the interventions used in Tier 3 are scientifically research-based interventions.
How many days per week is Tier 3 instruction provided and for how many minutes each day?
Tier 3 intervention is provided in individual or small group sessions (no more than 3 students in a group) for a minimum of 4 times a week for approximately a 10 - 20 week period.
How are students in Tier 3 progress monitored?
Students in Tier 3 support are monitored through scientifically research based assessments, weekly.
At what point do teachers consider a different intervention?
If during a student's focused intervention period the student does not make sufficient progress towards grade level benchmarks, the RTI Team may consider other Tier 3 instructional interventions, or a student may be referred to a Planning and Placement Team Meeting (PPT) for consideration of a special education evaluation. Alternatively, student progress towards grade level expectations may indicate the need to step down a tier. Progress monitoring data and classroom performance are used to make tier movement determinations.
How will you let me know what changes are made?
As in Tier 2, if the RTI team determines that a new intervention should be implemented, a RTI team member will contact the parent to discuss the change in approach.
What if my child is not making adequate progress in Tier 3?
Parents are notified upon shift between tiers or if a referral to a PPT is made.
Note: Consideration for special education evaluation may occur at any point, but will occur most commonly after Tier 3 intervention.