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7 Keys to Serving Students Learning English within RTI-MTSS

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7 Keys to Serving Students Learning English within RTI-MTSS


  1. Students learning English are students first; support students based on their needs, not their label. 
  2. All students have rich experiences and background knowledge (it just may not match the traditional classroom’s curricula); honor, respect, and include students and their families, languages, and cultures.
  3. Learning a second language is not a deficit; it’s a potentially terrific asset. Bi-literacy and bi-lingualism should be our goal for all students. 
  4. We must explicitly teach English through the functions, forms, and structures of the language AND scaffold the teaching and learning within all content areas so that students learning English successfully access concepts and skills.
  5. All forms of language must be present in our classrooms, both receptive and expressive. Student practice and proficiency of written and verbal expression must be prioritized along with reading and listening.
  6. Collaboration and communication are particularly critical for successfully serving students learning English. 
  7. Proactively differentiated lesson and unit designs are even more critical when planning teaching and learning experiences for students learning English.



Instruction & Intervention Systems ensure high levels of learning for all students at all readiness levels through the integration of elements from the most important & impactful initiatives within public education: response to intervention (RTI), multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), professional learning communities (PLCs), positive behavior interventions & supports (PBIS), universal design for learning (UDL), special education, gifted education, & differentiated instruction. 


Most directly & significantly, Instruction & Intervention Systems build upon RTI, a proactive, coordinated, & systemic approach to providing academic & behavioral supports for all students. Instruction & Intervention Systems are among the most-research-based initiatives with which educators can engage (Bloom, 1968; 1984; Burns & Symington, 2002; Burns, Appleton, & Stehouwer, 2005; Elbaum, Vaughn, Hughes, & Moody, 2000; Gersten, Compton, Connor, Dimino, Santoro, Linan-Thompson, et al., 2009a; Gersten, Beckmann, Clarke, Foegen, Marsh, Star, et al., 2009b; Hattie, 2012; Swanson & Sachse-Lee, 2000; VanDerHeyden, Witt, & Gilbertson, 2007).


RTI is a verb, as in, “To what extent are students responding to instruction & intervention? To what extent are students RTI’ing.” To extend the metaphor, RTI is not a noun. There are multiple methods & approaches to designing systems of supports based on the principles & practices of RTI for each & every student. Each school has local, contextual needs that require local, contextual solutions. 

© 2016. Chris Weber Education. Design by Cleverbirds.