John Humphries, President-Elect of the Wisconsin School Psychologists Association
A promising future in Wisconsin schools begins Monday! It won't be trumpeted by DPI or local schools, but it is a sea change. Monday is referred to in schools as "The Sunrise of Response to Intervention." After decades of declining rankings on national assessments, and recent news that our state now has the greatest achievement gaps in the nation, the need for improvement has never been clearer. Wisconsin educators are embarrassed by these results and we sincerely want to improve. Every public school and district in the state now has a system in place to raise achievement for all students and close achievement gaps. Response to Intervention or "RtI" prevents students from falling behind by catching them early and providing interventions to teach needed skills. Beginning Monday, RtI will also be used across the state to determine whether children have learning disabilities. The RtI system has been successful in other states for years, and is a major factor in the achievement gains and gap closure other states have enjoyed. Since 2010, Wisconsin school districts have been laying the groundwork for RtI, and they should be ready to go this Monday morning! With Wisconsin's emphasis on local control, specific elements of local RtI systems have been decided upon by local schools. Use this opportunity to talk with your local leaders. Learn about your district's RtI systems: what interventions are being used and how student progress is closely monitored. Ask how schools will be monitoring the success of this new system, and how they will be reporting outcomes to the public. Schools have worked diligently to be ready for this day and they should be proud to tell you about it. Let's move forward Wisconsin! Make Monday December 2nd the day education in Wisconsin began to improve.