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7 Keys to Serving Students who are Gifted within RTI-MTSS

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7 Keys to Serving Students who are Gifted within RTI-MTSS


  1. Ensure that all students – including students who are gifted – have access to supplemental supports if and when necessary; don’t make assumptions about strengths and lack of needs.
  2. Meet students where they are and commit to accelerating growth from current level of readiness. 
  3. Learn more about differentiated practices such as compacting, and prepare to pre-assess to inform differentiation – commit to letting go of “normal.”
  4. Re-connect with researched-based practitioners from the past – particularly Piaget and Bloom – and the tools that they created that can support the teaching and learning of students who are gifted.
  5. Good curriculum and instruction for students are gifted begins with good curricular and instructional design . Students are students first. Best practices for students who are gifted are highly effective for all; best practices for all can be highly effective for students who are gifted.
  6. The pace, path, time, and place of learning is even more critical for students who are gifted – collaboratively think differently about these elements of the learning experience.
  7. As for all students, ensure that students who are gifted have frequent opportunities to engage with tasks that produce “productive struggle.”


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.