Response to Intervention #1

“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their
― Nikos Kazantzakis

Through ourselves and the tiers of Response to Intervention (RTI), we can help ensure that bridges are built for all our students to succeed!  Some children may need multiple bridges before success occurs. These bridges are the tiers of RTI.

Over the next 4 postings, we will explore Response to Intervention in layers.

Layer 1: Where did RTI transpire from and what is it?

Layer 2: Tier 1 of RTI

Layer 3: Tier 2 and 3

Layer 4: Interventions and progress monitoring

A Little RTI History: 

The RTI practice stemmed from Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This law was passed in 1997 to ensure schools were held accountable and that academic progress was occurring. In 2004, IDEA was reauthorized to further the push for results in students progress and increase funding (5% to 15%). Also, individuals were now able to qualify for Special Education by their response to interventions. In the past, students would qualify for Special Education “based on the discrepancy between academic achievement and intellectual ability” (Buffum, Mattos, Weber, 18) Thus, educators use a framework to closely observe students’ struggling and provide interventions prior to referral (Buffman, Mattos, Webber, 2008).

What is RTI?

Response to Intervention is a practice used to ensure two aspects of teaching.

1. To ensure high-quality instruction and interventions that meet the needs of learners.

2. To ensure the use of learners’ rate of academic growth over time and their levels of performance to guide instructional decisions (Buffman, Mattos, Webber, 14).

The framework is based on a three tier model.

Figure 1.  from Maine Department of Education website.

* Please note that the Maine Department of Education has reformatted the triangle to include Special Education students throughout the triangle. The reason is to allow Special Education to access general education interventions when the data shows this intervention to be the most effective available.

A Brief Look at the 3 Tiers:

As seen in the above figure, Maine’s RTI triangle has 3 tiers.

Tier 1 includes core instruction for all students including differentiation which is delivered by the classroom teacher.

Tier 2 includes Tier 1 and the addition of ” evidence-based interventions of moderate intensity”(Response to Intervention Guidelines, 10) which is delivered by the classroom teacher.

Tier 3 includes tier 1 and the addition of “targeted interventions of increased intensity”(Response to Intervention Guidelines, 10) which may be delivered by trained intervention teachers.

Please watch for the next posting when Tier 1 will be explored in further depth.


A. Buffum, M. Mattos & C. Webber. Pyramid Response to Intervention. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2008, Print.

Maine Department of Education. Response to Intervention Guidelines. October 2012.  Web. October 20, 2013. (


One thought on “Response to Intervention #1

  1. Love the opening quote!

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