On Jun 7, 2022
A Fireside Chat with Rutherford County: Best Practices for Progress Monitoring Part 3
In wrapping up our conversation on response-to-intervention (RTI) in Rutherford County, Mark Gullion and Ashli Lamons shared the importance of keeping records, setting goals, and communicating with individual students as they progress.
RTI creates a data-rich environment which can support a really nuanced understanding of student learning but extracting key insights can be overwhelming. It can be tempting for interventionists to focus on interim metrics like weekly gains and perhaps lose sight of long-term goals. As Mark Gullion says, “At the elementary level, it's not uncommon for a teacher to have 7 or 8 small groups that they run through throughout a school day, which can be a lot of record keeping and progress monitoring data to sift through. It can be challenging, but we do ask for them to take a few minutes weekly to meet with their students and have these goal setting opportunities or data chats.”
He likens the procedure to that of doing the laundry: “I always joke that laundry is near and dear to my heart because I do the laundry every week in my home, and it’s kind of the same process as RTI. Every Saturday, I’m thinking, Man, I don’t want to do the laundry, and every Saturday, it’s waiting on me.”
However, there can also be too much progress monitoring.
Ashli Lamons says, “Remember that instruction must take place in-between progress monitoring sessions. Snow days, holidays, and all those kinds of things impact your instructional time. So, we remind our interventionists to constantly be thinking about the purpose of progress monitoring, which is, ‘Are they responding to the instruction?’ And if you haven't had the instruction, really, you shouldn't be progress monitoring.”
Every other week, Gullion teams up with Lamons and Janice Fox to make a short video for Rutherford County’s 113 interventionists. These videos serve as both a consistent distribution channel for best practices and a reminder to maintain a long-term view of student progress.
For instance, as the mid-year state testing window approaches, Gullion says, “We have to remind our interventionists, ‘This third grader is going to be taking an 80-minute sub-test in English Language Arts. They’ve probably never had that opportunity in the first 150 days of the school year, so creating some activities where you’re building stamina with that kid is going to be super important.’”
It’s equally important to maintain an open line of communication with individual students each week.
Gullion says, “Sometimes, when we're creating these goals or looking at this data, we're forgetting to talk to the most important person: the student. So, ‘Are you communicating these goals with that student as you're having these data chats with them?’”
Gullion credits Rutherford County’s interventionists with uncovering and sharing best practices: “We're so fortunate to have a good network of interventionists, and they are just fantastic in the work that they do. Between Ashli and Janice, we're able to share our interventionists’ work with other buildings, and that's honestly how we build up our best practices bank: from the work that our interventionists do with students every day.”
In closing, Gullion said, “If there's no other takeaways from today, you've learned that we're constantly refining our process, we have not figured everything out by any means, and we're constantly looking for new ways.”
Many thanks to Rutherford County’s Mark Gullion, Ashli Lamons, and Janice Fox for sharing their RTI experience with us. Subscribe to our blog to get updates on our latest professional development opportunities and get updates as we highlight educators around the world unlocking limitless learning.
Explore the other blogs in this three-part series to continue exploring the real impacts of easyCBM!
Your Expertise + Our Insights = Limitless Learning
Let’s Elevate Potential Together