One of the many advantages of being a part of The University of Texas at Austin is having access to world-class research in Response to Intervention (RTI), a multi-tiered approach to keeping students on track and identifying learning gaps before they widen. This critical component is embedded in every classroom within the UT Charter School System.
We caught up with Dr. Thea Woodruff, a trainer, an analyst in the College of Education, to learn more about her good work at the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. Working alongside Dr. Sharon Vaughn—a leader of RTI research—she leads training sessions at schools across the state to help parents, teachers, counselors, and other stakeholders support student success.
What is the Meadow Center’s Building RTI Capacity for Implementation Project?
The project promotes evidence-based practices and resources to build RTI programs in schools across Texas. Our goal is to help schools use RTI to increase student success by reducing the number of students with learning and behavioral difficulties. Our team creates and disseminates information, resources, and tools to enhance instructional decision-making in the areas of reading, mathematics, and behavior. An additional focus is promoting the success of students in foster care.
How is reading the gatekeeper to success?
Research has shown that if students don’t read at grade level, they’re going to fall behind. This is what is called the “Mathew E ect,” the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. If they catch on to reading early on and learn to love it, they’re on their way to success. For non-readers, the gap just gets wider. Reading is also an essential component in other subjects.
Why is it critical to address a learning gap early on?
Our main purpose is to prevent learning difficulties before they stem into problems academically and behaviorally. It’s critical for every single child to read and do math at grade level. If they’re not learning, we need to look at our instruction and do something different. And when it comes to intervention, the earlier the better. The gaps get wider as they get older.
Visit the Meadows Center’s website to nd more than 600 resources for RTI implementation: http://bit.ly/2cGAoXT