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Implementing Response to Intervention in Early Childhood Settings

Featuring Virginia Buysse, Lydia Carlis, Charles R. Greenwood, and Jim Lesko in a discussion about the role RTI can play in child development through high quality instruction and targeted interventions matched to children's learning needs.

Program description

As educators across the country move toward implementing Response to Intervention (RTI) in early childhood settings, they face many questions about the steps they should take to ensure effective implementation. In this webinar, four nationally recognized experts in RTI provide sound guidance on establishing multi-tiered systems of support for young children, with an overview of the essential components of RTI, new instructional strategies, policy considerations, emerging approaches to measurement and the supports needed for success.

Virginia Buysse

Virginia Buysse, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist at the FPG Child Development Institute. She directs a program of research on Recognition & Response (R&R), a model of Response to Intervention (RTI) for pre-kindergarten programs with funding from the US Department of Education (Institute of Education Sciences) and the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation. Dr. Buysse serves as Co-Chair of a committee that is leading an effort to develop and validate a joint position statement on RTI in early childhood, sponsored by three leading professional organizations in early childhood: the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the National Head Start Association (NHSA). Dr. Buysse has authored or co-authored over 65 articles in peer-refereed journals as well as several books on evidence-based practice, program quality, consultation and coaching, and a forthcoming edited handbook on RTI in early childhood and another on educational practices for diverse young learners.

Lydia Carlis

Lydia Carlis, Ph.D., is Director of Education at AppleTree Institute and AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School in Washington DC, having previously served as Manager of Professional Development and Project Director of AppleTree's DC Partnership for Early Literacy. She played a leadership role in the development of the core components of Every Child Ready, AppleTree's early childhood education model. AppleTree implements a three-tiered Response to Intervention model, and is currently validating its model through a randomized control trial funded by a US Department of Education Investing in Innovation Development grant. She holds a doctorate in special education — learning disabilities, with a concentration in preschool language and literacy interventions. Dr. Carlis earned a master's degree in curriculum and instruction/bilingual special education from The George Washington University, and taught general education, special education, and English as a Second Language to pre-k through 6th graders for seven years.

Charles R. Greenwood

Charles R. Greenwood, Ph.D., is Professor of Applied Behavioral Science, Senior Scientist in the Schiefelbusch Institute of Life Span Studies and Director of the Juniper Gardens Children's Project at the University of Kansas. He is also co-director of the bio-behavioral measurement core in the Kansas Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center. He serves as Co-PI (with Dr. Judith J. Carta) of the Center for RTI in Early Childhood funded by the IES, NCSER focused on the development and validation of language and early literacy progress monitoring measures, and evidence-based interventions for use at tiers 2 and 3 within RTI and tier-based prevention approaches to preschool instruction.

Jim Lesko

Jim Lesko, Ed.D., is Director of Early Development and Learning Resources for the Delaware Department of Education in Dover, Delaware. Previously he was an education associate for early childhood education and IDEA/Section 619 coordinator for the Delaware Department of Education. He led the development of the state's early learning guidelines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers and began the state's initial pilot efforts providing RTI in local early childhood settings. He is currently on the board of NAEYC and has served on the executive boards of the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education, and CEC/Division for Early Childhood. He received his M.Ed. from the University of Washington and his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Delaware. He is currently focusing state-level activities on effective early childhood instructional practices and building appropriate system frameworks for early childhood accountability.

Recommended resources

Articles and books by the presenters

Buysse, V., & Peisner-Feinberg, E. (2010). Recognition & response: Response to intervention for preK. Young Exceptional Children, 13(4), 2-13.

Carta J., Greenwood C., Walker D., Buzhardt J. (2010) Using IGDIs: Monitoring Progress and Improving Intervention for Infants and Young Children. Baltimore: Brookes.

Greenwood, C. R., Bradfield, T., Kaminski, R., Linas, M., Carta, J. J., and Nylander, D. (2011). The response to intervention (RTI) approach in ealry childhood. Focus on Exceptional Children, 43(9), 1-22.

Peisner-Feinberg, E., Buysse, V., Benshoff, L., & Soukakou, E. (2011). Recognition & response: Response to intervention for pre-kindergarten. In C. Groark, S. M. Eidelman, L. Kaczmarek & S. Maude (Eds.), Early childhood intervention: Shaping the future for children with special needs and their families, Vol. 3, Emerging trends in research and practice (pp. 37-53). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Related reading from RTINetwork.org

Additional resources on Response to Intervention

Discussion questions

  1. This Forum offered a basic overview of RTI in early childhood settings. What professional development opportunities are available within your area that could be used for similar training for all staff?
  2. What is your philosophy or vision for Pre-K RTI and how does this fit with existing philosophies for early childhood, school-aged RTI approaches, and special education services?
  3. Do you have a school-based leadership team in place already? If so, could it carry out the responsibilities discussed here for RTI implementation? Discuss changes that may be needed to put that in place.
  4. What are your goals for Pre-K RTI and how will these goals fit with other program goals already in place? Are there points of synergy across programs (e.g., parental involvement; enhancing student success; existing school performance standards/benchmarks) that can connect the work?
  5. What data are currently collected in your program? What would it take to collect data on individual student development for review to determine needed interventions?
  6. Discuss your current core curriculum and behavior program. Have student outcomes been used to determine if those programs are effective?
  7. How is eligibility for early intervention services determined in your area? Is RTI part of that determination? If not, discuss how that may be integrated into your current system.
  8. Share ideas for the supports from your district or state that would help you put RTI into effect in your program. Discuss ways you may request that support.
  9. Reflect on ways that you could involve parents and families in RTI in your early childhood program.
  10. What funding sources will be used to support Pre-K RTI initiatives? How can existing funds be leveraged (e.g., professional development funds, parent support funds) and what new funds can be secured?

Funding for the RTI National Online Forum is provided by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation. Published on Reading Rockets with permission of the NationalCenter for Learning Disabilities. For more information about RTI (including forums and webinars), visit the RTI Action Network.

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