Some schools are introducing individualized enrichment periods called “personalized learning time” as a means of easing the transition for students to Common Core Standards. The periods are officially called Response to Instruction and Intervention or RTI2.
The program was created to identify weaknesses and areas where students need help beginning as early as kindergarten. In Tennessee, 36 districts have adopted some form of personalized learning time, including the Dickson County Schools District.
Traditionally, schools directed struggling students out of classrooms and into special education, an unwanted outcome.
Dickson County began planning for RTI2 in 2010. The district’s former literacy coordinator, Evonne Dunn, and Director of Elementary Education for Dickson County Schools, Ernestine Adams, added a daily intervention, Power Learning Block or PLB, into each of the school district’s elementary schools.
During PLB, students are grouped by skill and provided intervention, remediation, or enrichment.
In the county’s middle schools, the daily intervention period is called Focus Time. Creek Wood High School calls their time Power Lunch and Dickson County High School refers to their units as Cougar Paws Time.
Dr. Mary Collins, the school district’s new RTI2 Coordinator, said during those times students will be screened and from there educators will develop a plan of action.
“We use a skills-based universal screener three times a year in order to determine which students are most in need of intervention,” said Collins. “From the screening results, we target interventions and instruction in order to meet the specific students’ needs.”
Dickson County students who have mastered any given skill will be given added “enrichment”. Tier II students who performing “below average” will receive 30 minutes of remediation and students performing “well below average” will get 45 minutes of intervention.
Aligning with Common Core standards, assessments of math, literacy and writing, will be measured three times throughout the year.