Problem Solving/Response to Intervention (PS/RtI) is a process that provides intervention and educational support to all students based on their individual needs. RtI is the practice of (1) providing
high-quality instruction/intervention matched to student needs and (2) using
learning rate over time and level of performance to (3) make important educational decisions to guide instruction (National Association of State Directors of Special Education, 2005). The goal is to prevent problems and intervene early so that students will be successful.
In many ways, PS/RtI is simply another term for “data-based deci¬sion making.” A school-based team of professionals, led by the school’s principal, analyzes student performance data and targets specific academic and/or behavioral problems for early intervention activities. The essential components of PS/RtI include:
- An integrated data collection/assessment system to inform decisions at each tier of service delivery;
- A problem-solving method; and
- Multiple tiers of intervention service delivery.
The Florida Department of Education supports the national RtI initiative and has directed all school districts to implement this three-tiered approach to providing quality instruction for all students. Florida statutes have been revised so that our state laws are congruent with federal laws. Volume I-B, Florida Statutes and State Board of Education Rules, contains significant changes in eligibility criteria for special education and related services. The emphasis is on a student’s response to educational/behavioral interventions rather than on the results of a series of formal tests. No longer is a student determined to be learning disabled based on intelligence, processing, and academic testing.
In 2007, the Walton County School District (WCSD) was fortunate to be one of only eight districts in the State of Florida selected through an extensive application process to pilot PS/RtI. As a part of this state-wide project, our school district received 3 years of training provided by the Department of Education and the University of South Florida that have proven invaluable with district-wide implementation. Three of our elementary schools are participating in the third and final year of the project. Principals Tammy Smith and Darlene Paul were a part of a presentation at the annual Administrators’ Management Meeting in September 2009. Walton’s presentation was featured in the Winter 2010 Florida RtI Update. You can access it at
During the summer of 2009, PS/RtI training began for all remaining elementary and middle schools. Secondary teams will begin training this summer. In 2010-11, all schools in the district will begin full implementation.
As a district, we are working diligently to build consensus and infrastructure for the initiative and to provide technical assistance for our schools during this time of great change. With the support of our personnel, parents, and community, the Walton County School District will remain a vanguard in our state. Visit
http://www.florida-rti.org for more information.
New Resource from the National Center on Response to Intervention –
Instruction Tools Chart represents the results of the first annual review of instructional programs by the Center’s Technical Review Committee (TRC). The chart provides ratings on the quality of studies demonstrating efficacy for instructional programs used within an RTI context. Additional information on how to implement the programs can be found on the chart as well. The National Center on RTI publishes this tools chart to assist educators and families in becoming informed consumers who can select instructional programs that best meet their individual needs. Please note that the Center does not endorse or recommend the programs included in the chart. The Center’s TRC will review instructional programs annually, with the next call for programs being issued in late fall 2010. Access the
Instruction Tools Chart at