RTI… What’s that?

What is RTI?

Have you heard students talking about RTI? What in the world are they talking about? Well, wonder no more.

Vinton-Shellsburg Middle School began looking into the national initiative last year as a way to personalize learning for all students. RTI stands for “Response to Intervention” and one benefit of the initiative is to help students who are struggling. “I think it has become more than that at our school. I think what RTI means at VSMS is “Really Teaching Individuals,” said Kris Howes-Vonstein.

VSMS has thirty minutes each day where students receive focused skill work, assistance with class work, or select personalize learnings. Each day teachers help students to schedule their RTI for the following day. For example, if a group of students missed most of the questions on a standardized test about finding the main idea, those students will be assigned to work with a language teacher on that particular skill for a couple of weeks. Sometimes students are assigned to work with a teacher if they need to make up lab activities or complete assigned work. If students don’t have an assigned commitment, they get to choose what they want to learn about during RTI.

Choosing what you want to do during RTI provides students with a way to personalize their learning. If a student enjoys science, he or she might choose Science Articles, Animals without Backbones, Mars Pathfinder, Science Topics, or Nature Walk. If a student wants to learn more about social studies, he or she might sign up for Mummies, Iowa and the Civil War, Map Skill games, Interesting Facts about the Statue of Liberty, etc. Some choices require a commitment for several days so that topics can be thoroughly discussed.

A general study hall, a smaller (quieter) study hall and “homework center” are also options during RTI. Many students who are in both band and choir never have an assigned study hall. These students appreciate the chance to choose study hall when they know they might need extra time to complete work or study for a test. Students also sometimes choose study hall if they know they will be participating in an after school activity that will interfere with homework completion. Homework Center provides extremely guided help in homework completion with a nearly one to one ratio of teachers to student. Students may choose Homework Center or be assigned by a teacher for special help.

Remediation, acceleration and high interest learning are a few of the goals of RTI time at VSMS. Ask any middle school student what they learned in RTI this week, and find out more!