Nimble Transitioning: Integrating RTI, PLCs, and Differentiation to Improve Student Outcomes

3 Credits , K-12 , Exceptional Students , Instructional Strategies
45 HOURS

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Course Description:

Are you a teacher who is looking to rekindle their passion, are you new to the profession, or are you struggling to document your own proficiency in the context of a newly mandated evaluation system? If you answered yes to any part of this question, this is the course for you!

One can argue the teaching profession is changing more rapidly than at any other time in United States educational history. Teacher evaluation, coupled with new standards and new high stakes testing systems have become the norm across the country and many teachers are experiencing the disequilibrium that comes with these significant shifts.

This course details how a teacher, required to teach differently to conform to this new and complex environment can thrive as a result of understanding the fundamental policy shifts that got us here. Moreover, the teacher taking this course will take away concrete methodologies and strategies she can immediately use in any teaching assignment. Through understanding policy shifts and exploring the best practices in Response to Intervention (RtI), Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and gaining ideas on how to best deploy the rich learning and teaching strategies through Differentiated Instruction (DI), the teacher consuming this class will gain tools to make herself a powerful, effective educator.

The online format allows for reflection, practice, observation and analysis and application of skills to current settings. Emphasis is upon intentional best practice, resulting in a classroom environment where all children have the ability to maximize their learning, and where the teacher deploys skills, methods and strategies to thrive in this challenging time in our profession. Teachers new to the profession, struggling with evaluation systems and teachers, simply wanting a shot in the arm are sure to benefit from this course.

Course Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  • Understand how the principles of Response to Intervention (RtI) and reforms to teacher evaluations mesh so each initiative can support the other.
  • Demonstrate that an understanding of multiple measures of teacher effectiveness is more than tracking standardized test scores.
  • Explore the Big Picture of how states around the country are approaching the new teacher evaluation system.
  • Explore how Professional Learning Communities (PLC) support both RtI and the new teacher evaluation which presupposes effective teachers differentiate instruction.
  • Develop an awareness of how to collect evidence and to determine whether evidence is quality.
  • Articulate the rationale behind the change trends and mandates creating our current educational atmosphere.
  • Connect the origins of the Common Core State Standards and the trend toward new teacher evaluation systems.
  • Develop an introductory level understanding of value-added modeling as a component of teacher evaluation.
  • Explore why each child needs access to a rigorous education through understanding the implications of our global economy.
  • Understand the origin and key components of proactive and preventative practice and how those practices look at the system, teacher team and individual classroom level.
  • Reflect on the importance of ensuring children access to readiness opportunities prior to formal schooling and identify their community's response to these learners.
  • Examine their current core instructional practice to ensure the critical evidence-based components are in place, and why these components lead to student success.
  • Identify which student academic and behavioral indicators predict success at the elementary, middle and high school levels. 
  • Understand the shift in the profession from independence to interdependence.
  • Access and implement best practices related to collaboration
  • Link the best practices of collaboration to a successful teacher evaluation.
  • Understand the construction of 21st century skills and why it is critically important that EACH child receive a rigorous education.
  • Gain valuable tools for differentiation, specifically gaining strategies to deeply engage with above, at and below standard students in heterogeneous classrooms.
  • Understand the basic action research cycle as it pertains to education and understand why it is essential to lead with assessment in front of instruction.
  • Gain familiarity with best practice instructional strategies to implement after gaining specific insights from baseline and formative assessment.
  • Develop an understanding of the action research cycle and know why assessment is the foundation for planning and adjusting instruction.
  • Understand the power and the research base centering around Formative Assessment (FA).
  • Understand and develop practical strategies to ensure the key principals of FA become the integral part of their teaching routine.
  • Understand the big picture of how RTI, PLCs, and DI fit together as a framework for improving student learning and meeting evaluative criteria within a framework-based evaluation system.
  • Have new-found confidence to try the skills discussed within this course in their instruction in the classroom.