Implementor Spotlight — Bedford County Schools
Bedford County School District has jumped in feet first by implementing RTI2-A and RTI2-B in five schools. These schools are Cascade High School, Shelbyville Central High School, Bedford County Learning Academy, Cascade Middle School, and Harris Middle School. The first year of implementation was challenging, but there were some great outcomes.
When assigned to assist with RTI2-A and RTI2-B implementation, Tammy Pirtle (Supervisor of Academic Supports) and Lindsay Wiley (Social and Emotional Learning and Mental Health Coordinator) found that schools had received training, but some were not consistently implementing key features of the frameworks. Tammy and Lindsay realized that high schools needed to focus on prevention and early intervention, and they saw a need to increase collaboration between academic and behavioral support staff to identify student needs and match them to interventions. The district team committed to providing ongoing professional development and support to help their school implement A and B.
Tammy and Lindsay found that high schools were concerned about the time commitment required to implement A and B and that leaders lacked buy-in due to a perceived lack of local, high-school exemplars. To overcome these barriers, the district team focused on providing ongoing support, emphasizing the long-term benefits of tiered systems, and helping schools understand that they could become an example for others.
In their work with schools, Tammy and Lindsay stressed the importance of strong team structures that bring together academic and behavior experts. They found that collaboration and different perspectives helped staff members better understand and address student needs. Additionally, their partnership with Tennessee TSC allowed them to work with an Educational Consultant who had high school experience and provided tailored solutions to high school-specific barriers. Finally, they provided individualized, on-site support to high schools. These tailored visits helped them identify the schools’ strengths and areas that required further support. The visits also led them to reallocate resources to provide their high schools with the support of education assistants to help with data collection.
The changes led by Tammy and Lindsay have resulted in these successes and some fun along the way, including:
- improved conversations about prevention and data use;
- implementation of Check-in/Check-Out;
- positive language during professional learning communities;
- the addition of a ‘positive relationship wall’ that is used by teachers to identify the relationship needs of students;
- resource mapping with schools to make informed decisions about interventions that may be needed;
- improved buy-in and requests from other school administrators to participate in the work; and
- strengthened relationships amongst district team members.
“Be willing to try – it won’t be perfect but that’s okay. You won’t get anywhere until you take those first steps.”
“At Cascade High School we have been able to utilize RTI2-A + RTI2-B to quickly identify students that are at risk for academics and behavior. Using the Early Warning System continues to aid us in the achievement of the individual learner academically and behaviorally. We have been able to use the Early Warning System data to provide the needed interventions quickly for our students and encourage a positive environment.”
Thank you, Bedford County School District, for setting a great example for high school RTI2-A + RTI2-B implementation. Tennessee TSC is excited to partner with you!
To learn more about support and partnership with Tennessee TSC, click here.
Koselak, J. (2011). Transforming High Schools Through Response to Intervention: Lessons Learned and a Pathway Forward. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education, Inc.