5 minutes with Dr. O. - Texas Educational Systems

Uploaded by TESAustin on 07.10.2010

It works. It’s fantastic. It’s what teachers need, what children need. I practiced RtI
up in Pennsylvania, as I said, and what we found was that when teachers felt supported
to work with kids that were struggling learners, amazing things were happening for kids, so
I do it out of a love in my heart for it. My husband says I found my passion. My passion
is helping struggling learners and honestly, RtI works.
I had been practicing RtI in Pennsylvania prior to coming to Texas, and we called it
instructional support teaming and when we were monitoring the laws, the no child left
behind act, the individuals with disabilities in education act. There’s an attorney in
this state, his name is Jim Walsh, he also owns a publishing company and through that
publishing company, he was looking for someone who could put the theory of RtI into simple
terms and to practice and I had known Jim through my work with the Texas association
of school psychologists… so he had asking me to start writing the books.
That’s a very interesting question because implementation of RtI is very very difficult
to achieve and it takes years, it takes 3-5 years to have an implementation plan in place.
I believe that all educators in the state of Texas are implementing some form of RtI.
It may not be the Rubrick that the U.S. dept. of ed wants us to use, but I do believe implementation
has started but it’s on various levels. We have some that are very foundational levels,
and so they’re just gaining knowledge of RtI, and we have others that have been fully
implementing it for about 3 to 4 years now.
I’m very hopeful about where we are in regards to RtI, in the state of Texas. We’re light
years away from where we need to be. So, I think my impression is that I’m excited
that people know what RtI stands for. I’m excited that they even know that there’s
a definition for RtI. And I’m very excited that teachers are starting to understand the
value of it. There’s still teachers out there that feel that RtI makes their jobs
harder and that’s not what it’s intended to do. And, so we still have some work there
and what I tell teachers all the time is… if your campus is doing something that they
call RtI, and it’s making it harder for you to teach, then you’re not doing RtI.
And so we do have people who have a misunderstanding of what it is.
The federal government is working really hard right now, the US department of ed is doing
a lot of research on how to change funding criteria, split funding, and develop Q and
A’s for school districts on how they can use the money they’re getting effectively
into the RtI process. And it depends on how the districts in the states interpret the
funding issues, and since each state also has different ways of funding education, it
becomes very complicated. I do know that the TEA has put out a booklet for campus administrators
on how they can use their funding sources to support an RtI process.
What I enjoy most is seeing their excitement. What I enjoy most is when I hear from them
and they will write me back or they’ll call me and tell me the successes. Like, we had
the principal this morning talk about the successes that they’ve had, so, what I enjoy
the most is the feedback and the good things that are happening with RtI.
I think because of the diversity of the state and how large it is, it’s going to take
longer than other states. I believe that we should be up and running implementation-wise
within 3 to 5 years, at least K-5. 6-12,, I think you’ll at least add another 3-5
years on top of that. So, overall, I’m hoping, within 8-10 years, we’ve arrived.
I’m real excited about the Behavior book. I think, when I look at that behavior book,
I feel it’s going to be an avenue for teachers to work with children academically and behaviorally.
The book has had a tremendous response even though it’s only been out about 4 weeks,
and what we’re hoping with the book is that it helps align the 3 tiers of the academic
process so that teachers are able to focus on instruction and not inappropriate behavior.
The number one variable we see or correlation factor with learning and behavior is reading.
And, so if we focus on the reading, and RtI is all about good reading instruction, we
should then decrease behavior. I’m real excited about it. The response is tremendous.
Teachers really want a book that helps them work with some of the more difficult kids
the see walking into the classroom today.