Our Special Education program is an innovative non-categorical program unique in our area. We use a problem-solving plan referred to as a Response To Intervention. RTI is proactive and preventative. It attempts to catch student concerns early and places primary emphasis upon what we do for all children.
Dalton Elementary School was named an Outstanding Inclusive Education Site for the 2000 school year and nominated again for this award in 2001 by the Idaho Council on DisABILITIES.
A Brief History of RTI at Dalton Elementary
In the fall of 1999 a group of teachers and staff at Dalton applied for and received a grant to participate in a pilot project for the Results Based Model (RBM). As part of the grant the group received training and came back to school and put that training into practice in a real school with real students.
It wasn’t as easy as everyone thought it would be. When the new principal asked if the staff wanted to abandon the project, the reply was a hearty "NO." With that answer, began what is now the RTI (formally RBM) model at Dalton.
The model has undergone many changes since the beginning in 1999. The Dalton staff had to be creative and flexible to get students’ needs met, but it was all worth the work. The students are excelling higher than ever, there are fewer referrals to special education, and the special and general education teachers are working in tandem. All students are getting the help they need, when they need it.
Three years ago we were approached by a team of people from the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities (NRCLD) who were researching Response to Intervention (RTI) models. They wanted to identify schools that were doing an exceptional job with a RTI model. The researchers wanted to know what exceptional sites were doing to make the model work in their schools.
There were two application processes. The applications were used to sort out the schools that were doing well, from those who were exceptional. Dalton passed the first application process and was in the running with many other schools across the nation. After the second application Dalton was selected as part of a group of nineteen schools across the country that was considered exceptional in using a RTI model.
In April of 2006, I will be presenting at the National NRCLD conference in Kansas City, Missouri. Our team looks forward to sharing our insights about our own RTI model, as well as learning from the other participants. We are grateful, and honored to be a part of this conference. We look forward to sharing some new insights with our staff as well as with other RTI teams from around the district upon our return.
Dalton RBM Coordinator