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Experts develop strategies for teacher training and professional development in Response to Intervention


WASHINGTON - November 24, 2008 -

Nothing is more frustrating for educators than seeing a child struggling to learn and not having the proper tools to help. Today, the National Education Association and the RTI Action Network brought together experts in Response to Intervention, a multi-tiered approach to helping students succeed.  They provided their best thinking and began developing a comprehensive plan for the future.

"Proper training could boost students' self esteem, improve achievement and reduce the number of students inappropriately labeled as needing special education," said Dennis Van Roekel, president of NEA.  "At the end of the day, educators just want to make sure students are receiving the proper support they need."

RTI is a tiered approach to early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs.  Educators collect and process data, develop specialized instruction methods and monitor students to ensure their skills are improving.

NEA and the RTI Action Network, a program of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, hosted the half-day symposium called Creating Capacity: Preparing Educators for RTI.  Education leaders, congressional staff and RTI experts used an interactive response system provided by Smart Technologies to give instant feedback on critical issues.  That data will be compiled into a summary report that will suggest recommendations and next steps for both practice and policy to address RTI, teacher preparation and professional development issues.  The report will be released in late December.
 
"Studies show that lack of teacher training is the biggest obstacle to implementing Response to Intervention," said National Center for Learning Disabilities Executive Director James Wendorf.  "We need to arm educators with information so that they can intervene when a student shows signs of struggle and not wait until that student fails."

The results of Creating Capacity: Preparing Educators for RTI also will be available online.  Additional partners include the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, IDEA Partnership, International Reading Association, and National Association of Elementary School Principals.

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Ramona Parks-Kirby  (202) 822-7823