Opinion
School & District Management Opinion

School Improvement RFP of the Week (1)

By Marc Dean Millot — March 18, 2008 3 min read
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Will Response-to-Intervention (RtI) Go Mainstream?

From Monday’s issue of K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets Report

Announcement: Reading Interventions Professional Development to Support Response to Intervention, State Board of Education, Illinois Due April 3 (Feb)

Their Description:

School districts, charter schools, and public university laboratory schools... that serve kindergarten through sixth grade are eligible to apply if they have a reading improvement program(s) currently in place and employ staff who hold the endorsement for either reading specialist or reading teacher or are qualified under State Board of Education rules to serve as either a reading specialist or reading teacher.... Priority consideration for funding will be given to applicants with the highest percentage of below-level readers or those that did not make Adequate Yearly Progress in reading for school year 2006-07.... Approximately $900,000 will be available for grants in FY 2008. It is anticipated that nine grants will be awarded.....

As part of its efforts to encourage school districts to incorporate a Response to Intervention (RtI) approach to teaching reading, the ISBE would like to provide training to teachers in the implementation of the “Anna Plan.”.... a whole class, differentiated reading instruction model. Three reading specialists, or three individuals representing a combination of reading specialists, reading teachers or reading paraprofessionals, work within one classroom known as the “Reading Room”. Within the Reading Room, four learning areas are created by the use of cubicle dividers, bookshelves, carpets and the like. Each teacher’s area has a kidney-shaped table with three to seven children’s chairs. Each session is approximately 30 minutes long: A classroom teacher will walk into the Reading Room with her class and sit at a teacher’s station. She will teach a small group of students, while the three other reading personnel will instruct other small groups of students. At the end of the session, the group leaves and another classroom teacher enters the classroom with her class and repeats the process....

Applicants that are interested in receiving training in RtI for reading instruction but are unable to send their staff to Anna may propose... a site-based, existing reading intervention program that is similar to the “Anna Plan”. Applicants choosing this approach will be required to describe the qualities of the program in relation to the “Anna Model”.... present specific dates and durations for the professional development to be provided and an explanation of how the professional development will lead to implementation of an RtI model for reading instruction.... Some... programs that would meet the requirements listed above may include, but not be limited to, Pat Cunningham and Dorothy Hall’s Four Blocks®, Marie Clay’s Reading Recovery Program, Michael Heggerty’s Phonemic Awareness Program, and Fountas and Pinnell’s guided reading practices.

Criteria for Review:

[T]he proposal presents.... convincing rationale for the professional development based upon the students’ reading progress and the school’s continuing need for improvement.... (25 points)

[A] clear understanding of why current reading intervention(s) are not successful with all students and... articulates how... professional development... will lead to improvements..... (30 points)

[E]vidence... of the commitment of the school... to implement the... approach after the conclusion of the training.... (15 points)... Participating staff’s previous experience and training...(10 points)...

(How) the strategies proposed... will allow for successful implementation of new teaching strategies throughout the school to improve reading instruction. (10 points)

(How) The proposed budget is cost-effective.... (10 points)

My Thoughts: Expect the RtI approach, and its products, services and programs to serve many students not covered by IDEA. (See here.) Whether the funding will move from IDEA to Title I, vice versa, or at all, is another question.

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