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GreyhoundGirl 03-10-2020 01:18 PM

How long in RtI
One thing I struggle with is long kids linger in tiers 2 and 3 before we look at qualifying them for an IEP. Everything Iíve read and heard says 6 weeks in tier 2, 6 weeks in tier 3 and if they havenít made adequate progress, itís time to look at qualifying them.

In both my past and current districts, kids linger for 1-3 years. It makes me nuts.

So, how long do your students get RtI services before your team looks at qualifying them for SpEd services?

kahluablast 03-10-2020 02:41 PM

Here if kids are in RTI and making any progress at all, they stay there. In theory, they can stay in RTI their whole elementary career. I guess some kids just need more time and attention, not real differentiated instruction due to learning issues, is the theory.

Haley23 03-10-2020 04:11 PM

We've never had any guidelines with the weeks thing. I know one factor is often documentation. It was a huge issue in my previous district and used to be a big deal for us here as well. Kids would be getting pulled for title 1 for years, but no one ever actually referred them to RtI (now MTSS here). So there would be frustration that they were "getting RtI for years" but there were no meetings/documentation and no one was really problem solving around that particular child. Then a teacher in 4th/5th would finally refer them and be mad that they had to do the whole process. Many years ago in my first district where I was in charge of RtI, I solved that by making it a rule that kids were placed in those title 1 groups at RtI meetings.

Another issue for most of my career has been that intervention/title 1 services are often better set up to serve students than sped programs. They get WAY more funding and resources. For example, the child would be in a 45 minute, 5 day per week, 3 student title 1 group and the teacher would be fighting tooth and nail for them to get identified for sped and be the 9th student in my group that was meeting for like 20 minutes per day, 4 days per week, often with a 2-3 year skill gap with students in the same group. It was extremely frustrating to have to sell getting an IEP as a good thing to parents knowing that it actually meant significantly worse intervention.

A couple of years ago we largely solved that problem by following the ESSA rule that allows other staff members to meet sped minutes. We do intervention blocks, and I no longer end up with 10 kids in my group while title 1 has 3 because I have to take all of the IEPs. We split the kids evenly and it's based on skill need. I take gen ed students as well if they fit. Then we ran into the "red tape" problem. While we weren't purposefully providing worse interventions for sped students anymore, IEPs/legalities added more red tape that resulted in sped kids getting worse interventions. Namely, IEP minutes and LRE. We had gen ed kids that were getting pulled for various groups up to 2 hours per day if they were really struggling. I could never put that many out of class minutes on my students' IEPs due to LRE rules.

Gen ed students also got flexibility- an extra group could be added or taken away based on need, whereas in sped you have to follow the minutes on the IEP. One year, they increased one grade level's intervention block from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. My kids only had 30 reading minutes per day on their IEPs, and I had no legal justification for literally doubling their out of class time, so my sped kids got half the intervention that gen ed kids got :rolleyes:.

Last year I solved that my pestering my director until she agreed that in those cases, since it's an intervention block the entire grade level participates in, my kids can be pulled for longer than their IEP says because really other gen ed instruction isn't happening at that time. I have to do a lot of fudging of service log minutes to make sure I'm only logging the minutes on the IEP and not the time the kids actually spend with me or an interventionist.

So now, 10 years later, we are finally in a place where at least having an IEP doesn't lead to worse services. However, there really isn't any extra benefit either, other than documentation should the student happen to move schools. If I see a student hanging around in the low intervention groups for a period of time, I start asking why they haven't been referred to MTSS. We're already providing the intervention for all and all students are also progress monitored weekly, so the data is there. In cases where the kid will obviously qualify, they are typically referred after 2-3 MTSS meetings. Sometimes it's much longer if there are factors in the way- vision issues and parents refuse to get glasses, poor attendance, new to the country, etc.

kahluablast 03-10-2020 05:45 PM


that intervention/title 1 services are often better set up to serve students than sped programs. They get WAY more funding and resources.

Always interesting to me how different places do things differently. We don't qualify for any Title 1 funds, so we have no extra resources or person who helps with RTI. It is totally on the classroom teacher to work with small groups multiple times a week in multiple content areas and standards, all while providing instruction and supervision to the other 22-25 students. Which, if you think about it is totally insane. No way can it actually happen the way it is supposed to on paper. And then we have the issue of not having approved intervention programs. District picks them, but we don't have title funds to purchase them and they aren't provided to us. What are we supposed to do then?

Not only do we have the 6-8 weeks of Tier 1 and then Tier 2, it could take up to 6 months or more for testing to actually happen. Give another couple weeks or month to getting test results and a month to get an IEP meeting and it isn't unheard of for the process to take a school year and a half before getting qualified after being identified.

Teachers who have some success with their small group interventions are punished (and so are the students) as then they don't get tested. We really have to make sure they aren't successful in order to get them the assistance they need. <!--grumpy-->

Anyway- GG, it is very similar in my district. In 1st grade teachers want to give kids time to develop- you don't want to identify them too quickly if they are on the edge. Then it is the next year before they get through both Tiers. Testing might happen in 3rd as long as the 2nd grade teachers get the process started soon enough. Unfortunately they often don't qualify, but if we wait until 4th grade and the qualifying numbers are different, more kids actually qualify. Our SPEd teachers have pretty good resources and have additional people always in the room to help run groups, so normally it is a good placement, unless the kids with behaviors aren't that bad/high. Then the behaviors can make that a worse place for services than in a GE classroom.

WalkDontRun 03-10-2020 06:29 PM

My experience is similar to Haylee23ís. Students receive more intensive intervention prior to qualifying for special ed. I am the one and only resource teacher at my school and I have ZERO support as I serve students from K-5 in reading, writing, math, social/ behavior, adaptive skills. I have a group of 7 third gradersó3 with significant behaviors, one with autism, 2 with ADHD and reading skills that range from K to 2nd grade and I see them ALL at the same time! I would pull my hair out but itís already thinned due to all the stress! Iím retiring instead... Sorry this turned out to be more of a vent, but I do think what Iíve experienced is a common special education dilemma. Too many needs and not enough support.

seenthelight 03-10-2020 08:03 PM

Kids linger for YEARS.

Making ANY progress? Good job. Your interventions are working keep it up. Mind you that may mean a second grader can identify half the alphabet, hey, but before he didnít know any of it.

Not making progress? Oh, well you probably arenít doing the right intervention. Letís revise the RTI plan to target a different skill or letís try this intervention for the old skill.

There is a very strong reluctance to have students identified.

rwinters 03-11-2020 01:26 PM

As the special education rep on the RTI/MTSS team, I also look at the data trend in making those decisions. As the K-3 provider, I tend to lean more on the questions being asked and can they be answered with additional RTI interventions or are those questions questions that only testing can answer. This has helped us cut the time students linger in RTI-we identify the ones are need more support and determine those who need to stay in Tier 2 a lot fast. But it isn't a one size fits all type of conversation. It ready does depend on what is in place and the root cause for the struggle.

adia123 04-05-2020 10:28 PM

You are so right Seen the Light ! They just fall further and further behind.

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