A Bradley County school principal has been chosen as one of seven people to draft and refine state guidelines for the Response to Intervention approach to helping struggling students.
Taylor Elementary School Principal Sherry Shroyer said she was one of 94 applicants for the Response to Intervention Reading Council for the Tennessee Department of Education.
“This initiative is the whole state will use response to intervention,” Shroyer said. “The council was charged ... to write guidelines, a manual and protocols for how it should be implemented around the state ... what should it look like in every school and every school district?”
There are 40 school districts in Tennessee using this approach.
“I was actually surprised that not every school had an RTI plan,” Shroyer said.
Shroyer began her position on the council in mid-February. She said she was excited to be selected.
Response to Intervention began as a reply to national reports that showed children in third grade were not reading on their grade level. Students who do not meet grade-level proficiency are offered additional instruction in specific subjects. Students are initially given an extra half hour of instruction in the subject. If the child does not show improvement, an hour of additional instruction is given.
Bradley County has used this approach since it was introduced in 2002, according to Shroyer.
Shroyer said helping students read on grade level is something she is “passionate about.”
“I believe all children need to be taught at the level they need to grow,” Shroyer said. “I think you have to be passionate about this in order to articulate what we need to do throughout the state.”
Shroyer said she also enjoys serving on the council because it allows her to share information with others.
By the end of this year, the council will have an RTI plan that school districts can adopt and implement. Shroyer said the plan provides general guidelines.
Shroyer has served on state boards and as a consultant for the state in the past. She also served as RTI coordinator on the district level in Bradley County Schools.
While the council appointment does involve some travel, it is mostly on the weekends. Shroyer will remain the principal of Taylor.
This weekend the council is attending a conference for those who will serve as coaches as the Common Core standards are implemented.
RTI has received support in Bradley County from school psychologists. If a student has been receiving the additional hour of instruction and is not showing necessary improvement, the student may be recommended for special education services.
Shroyer said school psychologists have to sign off on this. Some of Bradley County’s school psychologists will be going to a Response to Intervention task force meeting to speak in favor of the approach.