Implementor Spotlight: Smyrna Elementary

School leaders from Smyrna Elementary School in Rutherford County School District report that investing time in RTI2-A + RTI2-B aligned framework training has saved them time overall throughout the school year, and they feel that they are now working smarter not harder. This is good news for other schools and districts that are considering the same type of training but are concerned with the added time constraints being placed on their educators. How does investing time save time?

Smyrna Elementary School has 700 students and 60 teachers. Staying in touch with the progress of each of these students is a sizable task, but the leaders of Smyrna Elementary have found some methods that have helped them to do this. They have used data to make decisions for quite some time but did not previously merge their academic and behavioral data together for an aligned analysis and problem-solving process. The time that they invested in the RTI2-A + RTI2-B training for academic and behavioral staff made them aware that they could be more intentional in their data-based decision making. The school leaders adapted the agenda templates that were provided by the Tennessee Tiered Supports Center and created their own agenda, making it a more productive way to work.

During their aligned academic and behavioral data meetings, the school leadership team starts by celebrating before reviewing the school-wide academic and behavioral data. When they discuss specific students, they review both current and new students with a personal information slide. In addition to the homeroom teacher and multiple sources of academic and behavioral data, the Smyrna Elementary leaders have smartly included a timer on each personal slide to keep their conversations focused and intentional.

Dana Talley, the RTI interventionist from Smyrna Elementary, shared that “by merging these two domains of data together, our A+B data team is making whole child data decisions to better meet whole child needs.” She went on to explain that the saving of time happens because, by “merging the two data teams into one, we have lessened our meetings by two meetings a month, which is an additional 18 meetings a year that are no longer on our calendar.” By having the aligned meetings, their staff are continually reminded as to where they stand both academically and behaviorally to assess their movement toward school improvement goals. Dana said that “the training days were instrumental for us to meet as a team and have procedural conversations that … are necessary to working smarter not harder.”

Congratulations to Smyrna Elementary leaders and teachers for applying their new knowledge in a way that has benefited their school and provided the desired improvement in student outcomes. The way that the alignment process has been contextualized to meet the needs of their school is exciting.