Forum and Networking Event: Response to Intervention (RtI): Operative Implementation for English Language Learners
On May 15, 2010 the NEEAC, in collaboration with the Boston College Lynch School of Education and Massachusetts Association for Bilingual Education (MABE), sponsored a forum and networking event on Response to Intervention (Rtl) along with considerations for the implementation for English Language Learners. The intention of the Forum was to bring to the forefront public understanding about bilingualism and the education of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) learners as schools and districts implement the framework of Response to Intervention. We were honored to introduce a highly respected keynote speaker, Dr. Janette Klingner, a professor in bilingual, multicultural special education at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her inspirational thoughts and ideas set the tone in identifying the challenges faced by educators implementing Response to Intervention in diverse schools, as well as the assumptions underlying RtI that can be problematic for English language learners. Dr. Klingner concluded her presentation with recommendations for practice. To view Dr. Klingner’s powerpoint presentation, visit the MABE website.
Following the keynote presentation, a panel of researchers and leaders shared the most current policies and practices in the implementation of Response to Intervention for English language learners. The panel featured Jenny Scala, from the National Center on Response to Intervention, Joseph Dow, from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Dr. Claudia Rinaldi, Assistant Professor of Boston College, Dr. Susan McGilvray-Rivet, Director of Bilingual, ESL and Sheltered English Programs, Framingham Public Schools, MA, and Erica Herman, Principal at the Gardner Pilot Academy, Boston, MA.
During a working lunch participants were offered two networking options. One option was to engage in networking groups to continue discussing issues related to their professional interest. Some groups also had an opportunity to review a draft version of a technical assistance tool on ELLs and RtI. For an electronic version of this draft and to send feedback on the draft, please email Phyllis Hardy at Phyllis_Hardybrown.edu.
TA Tool: ELLs and RtI As states and districts provide guidance to schools on issues surrounding RtI implementation, it is imperative that instruction and assessment at all levels are culturally and linguistically responsive, as well as evidence-based. This tool briefly describes the essential components of RtI and provides guiding questions for states, districts, and schools to consider regarding inclusion of English language learners (ELLs) in an RtI framework. The Northeast RtI Community of Practice, a collaboration between several regional and national technical assistance centers, developed these guiding questions. The questions are not meant to be an exhaustive list; rather, these considerations are intended as a starting point for more thorough and in-depth conversations between stakeholders and decision-makers as they address the needs of ELLs in a particular state, district, and/or school.
An alternative choice to the networking group was listening to a second panel of practitioners share their experiences in implementing RtI in schools with ESL and Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) programming. The Gardner Pilot Academy, Haley Elementary and Young Achievers K-8 School have been working with Dr. Claudia Rinaldi (Boston College) over the past three years as part of an RtI School University Partnership Grant funded by the Teachers for New Era Grant from the Carnegie Foundation. To learn more about Dr. Rinaldi’s research project, visit her website and read an abstract of a current article by Greenfield, R., Rinaldi, C., Proctor, P., & Cardarelli, A. (2010). Teachers’ perceptions of RTI reform in an urban elementary school: A consensual qualitative analysis. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 21(2), 47–63.
At the conclusion of the day, a list of possible action steps generated by the networking groups was shared with the participants. The possible actions to take…
- Researchers: Provide educators with a structured literature review from multiple disciplines focusing on issues of cultural proficiency, language of instruction, and the impact of socio-cultural political factors and include both theoretical research and its application to teaching and learning practices.
- State Leaders: Propose a secondary education RtI task force to investigate how to best build capacity for RtI implementation at middle school and high school level.
- Low Incidence Districts: Educate and engage administration in basic awareness of assumptions and challenges when working with ELLs.
- Student Support Services: Develop a survey to determine school and district perceptions and readiness in implementing RtI for ELLs.
- ESL/SEI Programming: Share with others what was learned at the Forum and Networking Event on RtI and ELLs.
- District Leaders: Identify assessment data to appropriately measure language growth for varying levels of language proficiencies at each grade age.
- Bilingual (Dual Language/Transition Bilingual Education) Programming:: Ensure that all decision-making teams in schools and districts are provided with training, dissemination and communication of the necessary knowledge base to plan for the inclusion of ELLs in the implementation of RtI.