Response to Intervention Plan

Response to Intervention Plan

Committee Members:

  • Cheryl Brott, Co-Chair, Teacher
  • Richard Evans, Central Administration
  • Kate Gurley, Teacher/Staff Development
  • Lauren Hogue, AIS/ Response to Intervention Teacher
  • Lauren Kirkwood, Teacher
  • Lori Maloney, Administrator
  • William McQuay, Administrator
  • Sharon McTygue, Administrator
  • Mindi Modiano, School Psychologist
  • John Parisella, School Psychologist
  • Erin Seritella, School Psychologist
  • Tim Sinnenberg, Co-Chair, Administrator
  • Catherine Sowa, Response to Intervention Teacher

The District Response to Intervention District Committee is committed to guiding the staff and parents to effectively implement the BH-BL RtI Plan.  By providing high quality, research supported, scientifically based curriculum and instructional practices through a collaborative team process we will advance the learning of all students.

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Rationale for Implementation
Response to Intervention in NYS
Definition of RtI
RtI Belief Statement
BH-BL RtI Plan

Rationale for Implementation

Shifts in the Law (Federal and State Mandates)

  • The Elementary and Secondary Education Acts  (ESEA)
    • Passed in 1965 as part of the “War on Poverty”
    • An emphasis on high standards and accountability
  • No Child Left Behind  (NCLB)
    • Congress amends ESEA and reauthorizes it as NCLB (2002)
    • A  focus on Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
  • Reauthorization of 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Act
    • Included a new concept regarding the identification of students with specific learning disabilities.
    • The IDEA allows a school district to consider a student’s response to scientific, research-based interventions as part of the evaluation process in determining whether a student has a specific learning disability (LD).
    • This approach is referred to as the Response-to-Intervention (RtI) process.

Response to Intervention in New York State

  • IDEA 2004 required that states adopt criteria for school districts to use with students who have learning disabilities.
  • must not require the use of severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement; and
  • must permit the use of a process based on the student’s response to scientific, research-based intervention
  • New York State not only chose to fulfill the federal requirement, but expanded the RtI concept beyond special education. The RtI process is defined as a general education service.
  • New York State established regulations to conform to IDEA that not only addresses the use of RtI for learning disability determinations but also introduces the RtI process as a general education initiative.
  • The New York State Education Department established a policy framework for RtI in regulations relating to school-wide screenings, minimum components of RtI programs, parent notification and use of RtI in the identification of students with learning disabilities.
  • The Regents policy establishes a framework for RtI.
  • April 2008 Memorandum to School Districts in NYS to implement to take timely actions to implement a Response to Intervention Program.

Definition of RtI

Response to Intervention (RtI) is the practice of providing high-quality instruction/intervention matched to student needs and using learning rate over time and level of performance to make important educational decisions.

The Core Principles of RtI:

  • Intervene early;
  • Use a multi-tiered model of service delivery;
  • Use problem-solving logic to make data-driven decisions;
  • Use research-based, scientifically validated interventions/instruction to the extent available;
  • Monitor student progress to inform instruction;
  • Use data to make decisions;
  • Use assessment for three different purposes: 1) screening; 2) diagnosis; and 3) progress monitoring.

National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE), Inc. (2005). Response to Intervention: Policy Considerations and Implementation. Alexandria, VA.

We believe…

  • All students can learn and achieve at high levels through the proper blend of high quality classroom instruction, team work, and the belief that all students can succeed
  • Most academic difficulties can be prevented with early identification of student needs followed by immediate intervention
  • Data should be used constructively to guide and inform instruction and serve as a means to assess and celebrate progress
  • Continuous adult learning leads to the highest level of student learning
  • Ongoing and meaningful engagement of families promotes student success

Response to Intervention Plan | Kindergarten – Grade 5


Response to Intervention (RtI) is the practice of providing high-quality instruction/intervention matched to student needs and using learning rate over time and level of performance to make important educational decisions about an individual student. (NASDSE, 2006)

RtI represents an important educational strategy to close achievement gaps for all students, including students at risk, students with disabilities and English language learners, by preventing smaller learning problems from becoming insurmountable gaps.  It has also been shown to lead to more appropriate identification of, and interventions with, students with learning disabilities. Each day educators make important decisions about students’ educational programs. These include decisions as to whether a student who is struggling to meet the standards set for all students might need changes in instruction or might have a learning disability.  This decision as to whether a student has a learning disability must be based on extensive and accurate information that leads to the determination that the student’s learning difficulties are not the result of the instructional program or approach. RtI is an effective and instructionally relevant process to inform these decisions.

Based upon New York State Department regulations, RtI begins with high quality research-based instruction in the general education setting provided by the general education teacher.  Instruction is matched to student need through provision of differentiated instruction in the core curriculum and supplemental intervention delivered in a multi-tier format with increasing levels of intensity and targeted focus of instruction.  As a consequence of school-wide screenings of all students and progress monitoring, students who have not mastered critical skills or who are not making satisfactory progress can be identified for supplemental intervention. If the student continues not to make sufficient progress after receiving the most intensive level of instructional intervention, it may be determined that a referral for a comprehensive evaluation to determine eligibility for special education is needed.

Reading in the early grades is a primary focus of the RtI process, as this is the area in which most of the research is available and the curriculum area in which the most students are identified with learning difficulties.  However, the process of data-based decision making and the principles of RtI can apply to other content areas as well as to behavioral issues that impact learning.

The nine requirements of an RtI program, along with district expectations, are listed below.


Quality Indicators for Appropriate Instruction will be implemented

  • Research/evidence-based instruction that has shown to be effective is provided to all students.
  • Daily reading includes an uninterrupted block of 90 minutes of daily explicit and systematic instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development at all grade levels, reading fluency (including oral reading skills) and reading comprehension strategies.  See appendix.
  • Scientific research-based math instruction includes instruction in problem-solving, arithmetic skill/fluency, conceptual knowledge/number sense and reasoning ability.
  • Differentiated instruction is used to meet a wide range of student needs.
  • Instruction is culturally and linguistically responsive to the language and learning needs of students whose first language is not English.
  • Culturally responsive instruction uses the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, performance styles and strengths of students from diverse backgrounds to make learning more appropriate and effective for them.
  • Culturally responsive teaching incorporates multicultural information, resources, and materials in all the subjects and skills routinely taught in schools.

Linguistically Appropriate Instruction

Appropriate instruction for limited English proficient/English language learners (LEP/ELL) students must be both culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate. This includes research and evidence based instruction that has been validated with LEP/ELL students and bilingual and English as a second language (ESL) instruction, at levels pursuant to Part 154 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. It is also important to determine if adequate support in English language development has been provided and to what extent a student may be struggling due to their lack of proficiency in English.

The same basic requirements for implementing RtI with all general education students apply to situations in which cultural and linguistic diversity may be a factor: screening, progress monitoring, qualified instructors (for reading/literacy and content areas, including instructors providing English language arts (ELA), ESL and bilingual instruction), and application of instruction and interventions with fidelity.


Quality Indicators for Universal Screening

  • District-wide screenings for elementary schools occur at least three times during the course of an academic year (fall, winter, spring) and are administered school-wide or at least to 95% of all students.
  • Each screening instrument meets reliability and validity standards and items are aligned with the curriculum based on the NYS Common Core learning standards for each grade level.
  • Screening results will help teachers determine the impact of core curriculum and instruction on student learning.
  • Criteria are established that identify students who are performing at benchmark, at-risk and seriously at-risk levels, and those students who need further monitoring and assessment.
  • Professional development is provided to ensure fidelity of implementation, scoring and interpretation of results.


  • Screening is an assessment procedure characterized by brief, efficient, repeatable testing of age-appropriate academic skills (e.g., identifying letters of the alphabet or reading a list of high frequency words).
  • Screenings are conducted for the purposes of initially identifying students who are “at-risk” for academic failure and who may require closer monitoring and/or further assessment.
  • Section 117.3 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education requires that students with low district/state test scores be monitored periodically through screenings and ongoing assessments of the student’s reading and mathematical abilities and skills.
  • Universal screening instruments “take the temperature” and provide a broad look at very basic, elemental skills while more diagnostic instruments “dig deeper” to provide the why  behind the what that is indicated in the screening.

Procedures for Screenings

  • Provide periodic school-wide training that focuses on standardized administration of screening tool(s) and interpretation of results.
  • Follow yearly, school-wide schedule for screening procedures to ensure that the screenings are completed consistently and reliably.
  • Administer screening tools that are relevant to the skills being tested and the age/grade level of the student being assessed based on the curriculum aligned with the State learning standards.
  • Use grade level teams to review screening results to determine what changes or interventions are appropriate for the students identified.
  • The RtI service provider will notify parents in writing of students who are identified as at-risk and who will be provided supplemental intervention and more frequent progress monitoring.

BH-BL Universal Screening Procedures

  • Curriculum-based measures (CBM’s) developed by the district and/or DIBELS, will be administered to all students K-5 by an evaluation team during the first 2 weeks of school in order to:
    • establish a baseline for each student and to create district benchmarks
    • provide early identification of students at-risk for academic failure in reading
    • determine the appropriate level of instruction and/or intervention
  • These CBM’s will be provided to, and administered by, the Universal Screening Team comprised of five staff members  (i.e., Principal, School Psychologist, Related Service Providers, Resource Room teacher) established by each elementary building.
    • A 30-minute block of time will be scheduled by the Universal Screening Team for each classroom teacher in order to assess all students in one class during one block.
  • The Universal Screening Team will compile the CBM data for each grade level and share and review the results with each grade level team.
    • The CBM data will be one component used in determining eligibility for RtI Reading and the appropriate level of RtI frequency and/or intensity (see following table).
  • The Fountas & Pinnell (F&P) will be administered by classroom teachers to all students by October and in June.  A January administration will only be given to those students falling in the yellow and green columns based on the chart below:
    • Fall: All classroom teachers will administer a fiction text.
    • January: All classroom teachers will administer a fiction text to students meeting the tier 2 or tier 3 criteria.
    • June: All classroom teachers will administer F&P fiction or non-fiction texts.
  • The fall F&P results will be used in the decision-making process for initial RtI services in September for students in grades 2 -5.  Students who are perceived to be at risk by the classroom teacher based upon the F&P assessments should be tested in the first full two weeks of September.
  • Parents will be notified in writing regarding their child’s eligibility for RtI services by a district-developed form letter (see appendix).
  • Students who qualify for RtI will continue to receive regularly scheduled CBM’s or running records by the RtI service provider in order to monitor their progress (this is outlined in more detail in the following section).
  • If there is inconsistency among the criteria regarding a student’s eligibility for tiered support, the grade level team can request additional information be obtained by the RtI Teacher through another assessment such as the DRA or a running record.


Multi Tier Service Delivery Model

When students are identified through screening, progress monitoring or other ongoing assessment procedures as not making sufficient or satisfactory progress, the school’s multi-tier service delivery model provides a range of supplemental instructional interventions with increasing levels of intensity to address these needs. The various tiers include distinguishing features such as:

  • size of instructional group,
  • expected student performance as a result of the intervention,
  • frequency and focus of screening,
  • duration of the intervention,
  • frequency and focus of progress monitoring,
  • frequency of intervention provided, and
  • the instructor’s qualifications.

In BH-BL, we use a three tiered model of increasingly intense interventions that respond to student-specific needs (a continuum of instructional support provided to a student).


Tier 1 is commonly identified as the classroom instructional program provided to all students by the general education teacher in the general education classroom. Research and evidence based instruction and positive behavior intervention and supports are part of the classroom program. Tier 1 also includes supplemental small group intervention support provided by the classroom teacher.  A school/district’s core program (Tier 1) should minimally include:

  • classroom curriculum aligned to the NYS common core learning standards;
  • appropriate instruction and research-based instructional interventions that meets the needs of students;
  • universal screening administered to all students in the general education classroom up to three times per year; See appendix.
  • weekly progress monitoring of students initially identified as at-risk for six to eight weeks;
  • differentiated instruction based on the abilities and needs of all students in the core program.
  • A daily 90 minute block of instruction in English Language Arts.


Tier 2 intervention is typically small student to staff ratio supplemental instruction. This supplemental instructional intervention is provided in addition to, and not in place of, the core instruction provided in Tier 1. For example, a student who is receiving Tier 2 intervention would be provided core instruction plus 20-30 minutes of supplemental interventions three to five days per week.  Tier 2 interventions focus on the areas of student need or weakness that are identified in the screening, assessment, or progress monitoring reports from Tier 1. Therefore, students are often grouped according to instructional need.

In Tier 2, direct, systematic instruction provides more teacher-directed instruction, carefully structured and sequenced to an individual student, than was provided in Tier 1. The determination of a student’s achievement is well defined and mastery is achieved before moving on to the next step in the sequence.

Progress monitoring occurs more frequently in Tier 2 and may vary from once every two weeks to once a week using assessments that measure targeted skills. Periodic checks to ensure that the delivery of instruction was provided in the way it was intended (fidelity checks) are conducted for the purposes of determining how closely the intervention or instruction is implemented to the way it was designed.

The recommended length of time a student spends in the second tier of intervention will vary (it could be from 9 to 30 weeks), depending on such factors as the skill set to be learned, rate of student’s progress, whether the student is making adequate progress toward established intervention goal, the student’s age and/or developmental level. When progress monitoring of a Tier 2 intervention indicates lack of adequate response, alternatives will include: adjusting the intervention in terms of intensity, varying the instructional approach, etc.


Tier 3 intervention is designed for those students who demonstrate insufficient progress in Tier 2. Tier 3 is typically reserved for approximately one to five percent of students in a class who will receive more intensive instruction in addition to their classroom instruction. Tier 3 differs from Tier 2 instruction in terms of such factors as time, duration, group size, frequency of progress monitoring and focus. This tier provides greater individualized instruction in a small group setting (generally one to two students at a time, and anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes at a minimum of four days per week) with appropriate increase in duration and intensity. The progress of students at Tier 3 will be monitored more frequently to determine the student’s response to intervention. Instruction is provided by school personnel who are highly skilled or trained in the areas of academic need. The setting for Tier 3 intervention will be determined by the RtI Team. It is important to note that Tier 3 is considered supplemental instruction to Tier 1 and is not intended to replace Tier 1 instruction. Similar to Tier 2, school personnel will conduct regular fidelity checks to determine if the intervention was implemented the way it was intended.

When a student requires an intervention beyond that provided to all students and begins receiving Tier 2 intervention, parents will be notified in writing of the amount and nature of data that will be collected and the general education services that will be provided, strategies to increase the student’s rate of learning, and parent’s right to request an evaluation for special education programs and/or services.  See the appendix for the parental notification letter.


Quality Indicators for Progress Monitoring

  • Progress monitoring of student performance occurs across all tiers using designated procedures.
  • Measures are appropriate to the curriculum, grade level and tier level.
  • Data from progress monitoring are documented and analyzed.
  • A standardized benchmark is used to measure progress and determine progress sufficiency.
  • Teachers use progress monitoring from visual aids like graphs or charts to inform instructional effectiveness and the need for changes in instruction or intervention.
  • Staff will receive training in the administration and interpretation of progress monitoring measures and the implications for instruction.
  • The district has designated reasonable cut points, and decision rules of the level, slope or percentage of mastery to help determine responsiveness and distinguish adequate from inadequate responsiveness.
  • When monitoring the progress of LEP/ELL students, the student’s progress is compared with the levels of progress demonstrated by peers from similar cultural and linguistic backgrounds who have received the interventions.

Uses of Progress Monitoring Data

There are different uses of data from progress monitoring within the different tiers of intervention. Data from progress monitoring in Tier 1 inform decision making about classroom instruction in two main ways:

  • Once a student has been initially identified as at-risk by screening procedures, progress monitoring can be used to determine the student’s progress in the general curriculum and confirm or refute initial screening results.
  • Analysis of average performance of all students combined and their rate of growth can assist teachers/administrators in determining the need for curricular and instructional change within the core curriculum.

The primary purpose of progress monitoring in Tier 2 and beyond involves determining whether the intervention is successful in helping the student catch up to grade level expectations.  Data from progress monitoring in Tiers 2 and 3 inform decision-making regarding individual students’ responsiveness or lack of responsiveness in two ways:

  • Learning rate, or student’s growth in achievement or behavior competencies over time, compared to prior levels of performance and peer growth rates; and
  • “Levels of performance, or the student’s relative standing on some dimension of achievement/performance compared to expected performance either criterion-or norm-referenced).”  (NASDSE, May 2006)

Data from progress monitoring should be used to inform student movement through tiers. For example, progress monitoring data obtained during the course of Tier 2 intervention should be analyzed for level of performance and growth status.

  • If student data reflect performance at or above benchmark, the student may return to Tier 1.
  • If the student is performing below benchmark, but making sufficient growth progress, the decision to continue Tier 2 intervention can be made.
  • If the student is performing below benchmark and demonstrates poor growth (i.e. under-responding), a change in the Tier 2 intervention or movement to a Tier 3 intervention may be considered.

Tools for Progress Monitoring

The assessment tools selected for progress monitoring should be specific to the skills being measured. For example, in reading, an appropriate progress monitoring tool would target the specific essential element(s) of reading with which an individual student is having difficulty, such as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and/or comprehension.

The use of informal assessments during the course of instruction will help provide teachers with additional information on which to base instructional decisions. A combination of formal and informal, ongoing assessments (checklists, reading inventories, running records) completed by teachers to monitor progress are recommended so that any one assessment is not the sole index of progress.  CBMs are a frequently used tool for formal norm-referenced progress monitoring.

Additional and individual assessments may also be implemented to inform the nature of instruction that takes place in Tier 2 and beyond.

Steps for Formal Progress Monitoring in BH-BL

Formal progress monitoring involves the following steps:

  1. A benchmark for performance will be established by the RtI Team and/or RtI provider, based upon district approved norms. Please refer to the BH-BL RtI Intervention Level Criteria Chart for specific benchmark information.  Typically, a student at Tier 1 will have benchmarks set from Fountas and Pinnell. However, students brought before the RtI Team may set benchmarks using CBM probes based on a specific targeted area. In Tiers 2 and 3, students will be monitored by the RtI provider using CMB probes and other assessments.  The benchmark needs to be for the projected end of the instructional period, such as the end of the school year.
  2. Establish the student’s current level of performance.
  3. Draw an aim line from the student’s current level to the performance benchmark.  This picture represents the slope of the progress required to meet the benchmark.
  4. Monitor the student’s progress frequently.
  5. Analyze the data on a regular basis.
  6. Draw a trend line to validate that the student’s progress is adequate to meet the goal over time.
  7. Progress monitoring should occur not less than once every two weeks in Tier 2 and no less than once a week in Tier 3.


Quality Indicators for Data-Based Decision Making

  • Criteria are established to determine which students will be identified as “at risk” based upon screening.
  • Progress monitoring tools are identified indicating what skills will be measured and what types of data will be collected.
  • How long an intervention should be provided is determined before a decision is made about whether the student has or has not responded.
  • Number of data points needed to determine responsiveness to instruction is selected.
  • Frequency of data collection is determined for each tier.
  • The minimum level of progress needed that would signify the student’s responsiveness to intervention is determined.
  • Criteria or decision rules that determine a student’s movement between levels of intervention are determined.
  • The district team has established criteria to determine if a student is making sufficient progress over an appropriate period of time before a referral for a special education evaluation is made.
  • Determinations are made as to when and what specific data and information will be provided to student’s parents.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central Schools will use New York State Assessment results and end of year benchmark data to determine the appropriate intervention services for students.  Students can be provided intervention services either through a district wide Standard Protocol/Criteria OR through the recommendations of a Problem Solving Model- RtI Team.

A Standard Protocol Model involves the provision of a research-validated intervention for a specific amount of time, duration and frequency (minutes per day, days per week, and number of weeks) with small groups of students having similar needs. The Problem Solving Model involves an in depth analysis of skill deficits and instructional and environmental variables that compromise a student’s reading performance (Shapiro, 2009). The RtI Team (formerly known as the PAT) would make recommendations for specific intervention services based on the needs of the individual students.


Quality Indicators for Data-Based Decision Making

  • Personnel with bilingual and ESL certification (teachers, related service providers, school psychologists, and administrators) are members of a district’s RtI design team and instructional support teams.
  • ESL is an integral part of core instruction for all LEP/ELL students, not an “intensive intervention” or additional tier in the RtI process.
  • ESL methodology and instruction is employed in all three tiers.  Native language instruction or support is provided when needed to help rule out limited English proficiency or lack of appropriate instruction as causes of learning difficulties.
  • Evidence based practices/interventions shown to be effective and validated for LEP/ELL students are used.
  • Interventions are adapted, implemented and revised as needed to reflect cultural and linguistic considerations and are based on sufficient data reflecting student results and program efficacy.
  • The performance of “true peers” (i.e., students with the same native language and culture and similar educational histories) is considered when setting benchmarks, monitoring progress and deciding whether a LEP/ELL student is responding adequately to instruction or needs more intensive intervention.
  • Research on second language development and the student’s history of first and second language development are considered when setting benchmarks, monitoring progress, and deciding whether a LEP/ELL student is responding adequately to instruction or needs more intensive intervention.


Parents will be notified in writing and in a language or mode of communication they understand if their child needs an intervention beyond that which is provided to all students in the classroom in an RtI process. Parents will specifically be notified in writing:

  • how much and what kind of information (data) the school will collect to monitor the student’s progress;
  • the nature of the intervention/instructional support the student will receive; and
  • of the parent’s right to request an evaluation for special education services.

See Attached District RTI Overview Letter and Individual Student RtI Services Letter

In the event a student is referred for an evaluation to determine if the student has a learning disability, the parent will have received appropriate data-based documentation of repeated assessments of achievement at reasonable intervals, reflecting formal assessment of student progress during instruction. (8NYCRR §200.4(j)(1)(ii)(b))


Quality Indicators to Ensure Fidelity of Implementation

  • Professional development is provided by staff that are knowledgeable in the areas of early literacy, data-based decision making and progress monitoring.
  • Professional development is job embedded and ongoing and is part of the district’s overall professional development plan.
  • The district has identified strategies to evaluate the effectiveness of its RtI model and to make changes as necessary.
  • Administrative staff serves as instructional leaders to provide appropriate supervision and monitoring of the implementation of the RtI program.
  • Procedures are in place that assesses how accurately intervention and assessment procedures are followed.

Fidelity of Implementation

Existing research has documented that a major factor involved with unsuccessful interventions is a lack of or failure to implement the proposed intervention in the way it was intended. Fidelity addresses not only the steps involved in an intervention, but also the integrity of screening and progress monitoring procedures as well. One way schools can ensure fidelity of implementation is to make sure staff receives appropriate and sustained professional development relative to assessment procedures and interventions. Each school district must identify how it will provide staff with the appropriate professional development needed to ensure the fidelity of implementation of its RtI programs.

To ensure fidelity of the process at the district level, refer to the attached appendix which outlines the RtI Professional Development Plan for BH-BL Central School District.

Instructional and Supervisory Staff

All staff need basic instruction in the underlying concepts (e.g., early literacy, the five core elements of literacy instruction) in order to support the process.  In the case of literacy, instructional staff will need a greater depth of knowledge than non-instructional staff, but all staff will need to understand the basics to ensure that the system truly invests in literacy for all students.

Members of Instructional Decision-making Teams

Individuals who will be participating in instructional decision-making teams should have a broad understanding of interventions and become highly skilled in data analysis, problem solving, and decision making in support of improving instructional programs for students referred to them.

Strategies to Assess the Overall Effectiveness of the RtI Program

The staff members at BH-BL will continue to evaluate their staff development needs on a yearly basis using a Needs Assessment.  The Needs Assessment will be reviewed yearly to help and create staff development opportunities to ensure that individuals within the building and/or district have a whole-picture understanding of the model, know what data can be collected to evaluate systemic implementation, and have the skill to understand and analyze the data.


Quality Indicators for Use of RtI Data in a Learning Disability Determination

  • The determination of a student with a learning disability is based upon a comprehensive multidisciplinary evaluation.
  • Data based on the student’s response to scientific-based intervention is used as part of the individual evaluation information to determine if a student has a learning disability.
  • The CSE considers progress monitoring data that describes how a student responded to particular interventions of increasing intensity.
  • Student’s skill level and rate of learning relative to age/grade level standards and criterion-referenced benchmarks are considered.
  • Instructionally relevant evaluative data including curriculum-based measures regarding a student’s performance is considered.
  • Student information from the RtI process provides data-based documentation on whether the student has made sufficient progress to meet age or State-approved grade-level standards in the area of the suspected disability.
  • Teacher(s) providing RtI interventions participate in the CSE meeting to determine a student’s eligibility for special education.

Criteria for Determining Learning Disability

NYS has established criteria for the CSE to use when determining if a student has a learning disability. These criteria include consideration of data and instructional information obtained through an RtI process which provides important information to determine if a student needs to be referred for an individual evaluation to determine if the student has a learning disability.  Effective on and after July 1, 2012, a school district must have an RtI process in place as it may no longer use the severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability to determine that a student in kindergarten through grade four has a learning disability in the area of reading.

In making a determination of eligibility for special education, the CSE must determine that underachievement of the student is not due to lack of appropriate instruction in reading (including the five essential components), mathematics or limited English proficiency. The data from RtI can help to document that the reason for a student’s poor performance or underachievement is not due to lack of appropriate instruction or limited English proficiency.  The data from RtI can help to document that the reason for a student’s poor performance or underachievement is not due to lack of appropriate instruction or limited English proficiency. Along with other individual evaluation information, RtI data can yield important descriptive information about how children learn and why they may be having difficulties.

When determining if a student has a learning disability, the data from multiple sources indicates that the student, when provided appropriate instruction:

  1. does not adequately achieve grade level standards in the areas of reading and/or mathematics; and
  2. (a) is not making sufficient progress toward meeting those standards when provided with appropriate instruction consistent with an RtI model; or  (b) exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance and/or achievement relative to age or grade level standards as found relevant by the CSE; and
  3. has learning difficulties that are not primarily the result of a visual, hearing or motor disability; mental retardation; emotional disturbance; cultural factors; environmental or economic disadvantage; or limited English proficiency.

Process for Determining Learning Disability Using RtI Data

While the data collected through an RtI process may be used as part of a student’s individual evaluation to determine if a student has a learning disability, it may not be the sole source of information to make this determination. A student suspected of having a learning disability must receive a comprehensive multidisciplinary evaluation. Consistent with section 200.4(b) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, the individual evaluation must include a variety of assessment tools and strategies including a physical examination, a social history, other appropriate assessments as necessary, an individual psychological evaluation and an observation. The observation of the student can include information from an observation in routine classroom instruction done either prior to referral for an evaluation or after referral has been made.

The student-centered data collected and information on instructional strategies used throughout an RtI process provides important information to inform the CSE about the student’s progress to meet age or State-approved grade-level standards. This data should include, but not be limited to:

  • data that demonstrates that the student was provided appropriate instruction delivered by qualified personnel including research-based instruction in reading;
  • progress monitoring data that describes how a student responded to particular interventions of increasing intensity;
  • instructional information on a student’s skill level and rate of learning relative to age/grade level standards or criterion-referenced benchmarks; and
  • evaluative data including CBM regarding a student’s performance that is useful and instructionally relevant.

Written Report

The CSE must prepare a written report documenting the eligibility determination of a student suspected of having a learning disability which must include the basis for how the decision was made and, if the student has participated in an RtI process:

  • a thorough description of the instructional strategies used,
  • the student-centered data collected, and
  • documentation that parents were notified when the student required an intervention beyond that provided to all students in the general education classroom, informing them about the amount and nature of student performance data that would be collected; the general education services that would be provided in the RtI program; strategies that would be used for increasing their child’s rate of learning and the parents right to refer their child for special education services.

The BH-BL District Response to Intervention Committee recommends that the District adopt and support the implementation of:

  1. The Response to Intervention Plan, as outlined in the BH-BL Response to Intervention Document.
  2. A formal Response to Intervention Policy pursuant to Section 100.2 (ii) of the New York State Education Department Commissioner’s regulations.
  3. The current Response to Intervention Committee will meet three times during the 2012-13 school year to monitor and support the implementation of the District Response to Intervention Plan.

BH-BL Central School District Principles for Response to Intervention

  • All students can learn at high levels with the proper blend of high quality classroom instruction, teamwork and  systematic support
  • All of our students are part of one proactive educational system
  • Instruction and interventions will originate from scientific, research-based programs
  • Use data and a problem solving method in all instructional and intervention decisions
  • Use data to celebrate team and student progress, and to inform and target instruction
  • Commitment to a strong professional development program to ensure effective instruction
  • Working together as a professional team including parents and other staff members to best support student growth
  • Strong administrative support