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School Problem Solving Teams

School Problem Solving Teams. Beth Doll bdoll2@unl.edu. Also called…. Student Assistance Teams Pre-referral Intervention Teams Instructional Consultation Teams. Why have them?. To help teachers make and carry out plans for improving the success of challenging students

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School Problem Solving Teams

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  1. School Problem Solving Teams Beth Dollbdoll2@unl.edu

  2. Also called….. • Student Assistance Teams • Pre-referral Intervention Teams • Instructional Consultation Teams

  3. Why have them? • To help teachers make and carry out plans for improving the success of challenging students • To take advantage of the collective wisdom of teachers and other staff in schools • To prevent unnecessary referrals to special education programs • To redirect school resources from assessing students and into intervening with students • Nebraska requires that general education interventions be attempted before referring a child for special education services

  4. What do teams have to do with RTI? • Response-to-intervention procedures are carried out by school problem solving teams • Problem solving teams will • Identify students who are making insufficient academic progress • Oversee the collection of data to document student academic level • Plan and oversee the implementation of interventions to increase student learning • Oversee the collection of data to document improvements in the level or rate of learning • Make judgments about whether students’ response to the intervention is insufficient

  5. Who’s usually on a team… • General education teachers • Special education teachers • Or other teachers with special expertise (e.g., reading, language, behavior…) • A school psychologist or similar educator who knows about observing and evaluating behavior or learning • Or sometimes a building administrator • AND PARENTS • And anyone else with special skills to contribute

  6. What do effective school problem-solving teams do? • Define the student problem in specific, behavioral terms • Gather baseline data to assess current behavior or performance • State a specific goal for student improvement • Hypothesize one or more causes of the student problem • Create a systematic step-by-step intervention plan that addresses the causes • Demonstrate that the intervention was implemented as planned • Gather intervention data to assess student behavior or performance over time • Compare baseline to intervention data and determine whether the goal has been met Batsche & Knoff, 1995; Flugum & Reschly, 1994; Meyers et al., 1996 Telzrow et al., 2000

  7. Why carry out all eight steps? • Teams that follow these steps are more successful in improving student learning and behavior • The more steps carried out by a team, the more impact the team has on students Bahr et al., 1999; Flugum & Reschly, 1994; Rosenfield & Gravois, 1996

  8. A key dilemma • Multiple independent studies have shown that teams that are part of university research projects follow the eight-step procedure reliably, but school-managed teams do not • And university research teams appear to be more effective than school-managed teams Bahr et al., 1999; Eidl et al., 1998; Fuchs et al., 1990; Meyers et al., 1996

  9. What is it that school-managed teams don’t do? Most frequently omitted • School teams rarely checked to make sure that the intervention was carried out as planned • They rarely hypothesized why a problem was occurring Sometimes omitted • School teams sometimes failed to collect intervention data, and frequently failed to collect baseline data • And they did not always specify a goal for improvement Kosse, 2006; Telzrow et al., 2000; Truscott et al., 2000

  10. But… When a school district had established RTI procedures for collecting curriculum-based measures of student learning in reading, the RTI problem solving teams were much more likely to • Define the problem specifically • Collect baseline data • Set a goal for improvement • Collect intervention data • Use the data to evaluate how well the intervention had worked

  11. The challenge Increasing the fidelity with which school-managed teams follow systemic problem-solving procedures

  12. Some commonsense reasons why school teams omit steps… • The eight-step process is time-consuming • And often it was an added duty without release time for already-busy staff • It was difficult to find common times when the team could meet • And it became even more difficult when teams were larger • Staff did not believe they had the skills to collect and analyze data • And the systematic problem solving process delayed referrals to special education

  13. So can’t these steps be shortened? Maybe • There is some evidence that defining the problem, gathering data, setting a goal for improvement, and making sure the plan was carried out are most critical for team success

  14. What’s so hard about including parents? • It can restrict to team to before- or after-school meeting times • Parents are not usually familiar with the team problem solving procedures • Sometimes it requires re-establishing the relationship between parents and the school

  15. What’s so important about including parents? • They may have key information about a student that no one else on the team knows • And they may be able to contribute to the intervention in important ways • Including parents makes them part of the solution instead of part of the problem • And when parents are shown data about their student, and help understand what the data means, they become strong partners with the school

  16. What can schools do to support their teams? • Provide high quality training in systematic problem solving procedures • Make sure that one or more team members is experienced in gathering data and following problem-solving procedures • Secure release time for team activities • Provide assistants to help with some of the tasks like data collection, observation or scheduling • Don’t let the teams get too big • Find ways for team members to observe other high-quality teams in action • Create access to one or more consultants that the team can call upon as needed • Make sure everyone in the school knows that the problem solving team is important

  17. Need more information? • The National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Response to Intervention: Policy considerations and implementation • Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation

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