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Are we still providing Tier 2 interventions in addition to the ELL class?
Response from Claudia Rinaldi, Ph. RTI, when implemented with high fidelity, has the potential to positively impact the outcomes for ELLs with and without disabilities. However, in a recent study conducted for the state of Massachusetts, ELL administrators and special education administrators reported that ESL teachers and administrators were rarely included in the RTI teams or in common planning time in their schools.
They additionally reported that there is much confusion about which services should be provided to an ELL with disabilities, where those services should be provided, and how to capture this in the individualized education program IEP.
ESL supports are part of the core Tier 1 curriculum, so one important consideration is to include the ESL teacher in core Tier 1 curriculum planning, screening, data-driven intervention planning and delivery, and progress monitoring.
The following recommendations can help teachers working with ELLs with disabilities in schools implementing an RTI model: Ensure that school- and grade-level and cross grade-level RTI teams meet weekly and that they have representation from regular education, special education, and ESL teachers and para professionals as feasible.
Ensure that RTI teams discuss Tier 1 core instruction and adaptations and strategies that differentiate instruction appropriately for ELLs with and without disabilities.
It is recommended at this stage that teams adopt a fidelity checklist for core Tier 1 instruction. Once Tier 1 core curriculum planning is happening within collaborative structures and with fidelity, options for tiered interventions should be outlined and discussed.
Have the discussions emphasize some key aspect, such as matching the intervention to a progress-monitoring tool; identifying screening and progress monitoring options for grade level and instructional level; planning the frequency, duration, and intensity options; determining how to ensure delivery by the most qualified professional; and evaluating feasibility.
Develop and implement an efficient meeting protocol so that the teams can discuss various students who are in need of tiered interventions. Think out of the box on how to capitalize on staff with training in at least two of the areas regular and special education, special education and ESL, or regular education and ESL.
Reorganization of these professionals is critical in an RTI model in order to capitalize on services and expertise for addressing the instruction and intervention for these students.
Create schedules that support staff i. For example, a school can adopt a staggered literacy block or ESL block where support personnel can move from hour to hour, or the school can adopt an enrichment and intervention block where you can provide the ESL teacher with the time for intervention.
Implement a data calendar schoolwide to support discussion on screenings and progress-monitoring cycles. Adopt a data-driven problem solving cycle. Organize a schoolwide data work meeting where the school can set unique goals for the entire community of students as well as specific goals for groups or subgroups of students who may be doing poorly i.
Work with agencies across the nation specializing in providing training and technical assistance to develop professional development sessions that address how to support ELLs specifically at each tier.
There are various challenges still ahead on the actual progress monitoring of English language development levels for these students, but many school districts are developing informal tools that follow their standards-based assessments.
The key is to closely monitor gains in each English language development level by using task analysis of the expected skills in each level of proficiency. Task analysis is a typical practice used in special education that identifies the outcomes skills and then breaks down the skills a student must complete in order to identify where the breakdown in learning is occurring.
Collaboration between special education and ESL teachers will be critical in developing a checklist that may serve as a tool in the process of developing a monthly or weekly progress-monitoring schedule.
In which language should students be receiving support?
Response from Amy Galicia, Ph. Tier 1 Universal Instruction is a key component in a Dual Language Program, not only because it is in the students' first language for part of the time, but also because instruction must meet the needs of all students regardless of their levels of language proficiency.
Tier 1 instruction should be the very first thing that is addressed in the RTI model, and often it is overlooked in many schools and programs. All too often we move to interventions without first examining what we can do at Tier 1. Nevertheless, the RTI model of support suggests that there will be students who will need targeted and intense levels of support even with solid Tier 1 instruction.
If that is the case, then this is where the advantage of Dual Language shines even more. In addition, content in math, science and social studies are taught in both languages — the delivery varies among models — meaning one week in English, the next in Spanish for example.
When extra support is needed, the tough question is "In which language should the intervention be provided? What about the curriculum, instruction, interaction between students, and the learning environment can we alter so that the child will learn better?
Many struggles that students have can be addressed by simply starting with this question. When it comes to interventions for emerging bilingual students in a Dual Language program, I try not to make general statements about emerging bilingual students because this is a very diverse group of students.
What one student needs usually is very different from what another student needs. However, generally speaking, if a student is struggling and needs a targeted or intense level of support in literacy or numeracy, often it is a benefit to the student to have the intervention in the students' first language.
That is - if that is what the student needs. How do we determine what the student needs?
It is critical to study deeply the linguistic history of the individual student and make decisions from there. How old is the student? What is the root cause of the issue? What does literacy instruction look like for the student?Which Legal Form Is Best for Your Business?
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