Thanks to our wonderful presenters and the almost 400 attendees at our Fall 2014 WSPA Conference. Here are some key points:
Amanda VanDerHayden shared effective math interventions that schools can implement in 20 minutes, 4 times each week for Tiers 1, 2, or 3. Check out both of Amanda's web sites for two great webinars and specific skill interventions.
Former Assistant Secretary of Education Bob Pasternack gave an entertaining keynote on RtI and SLD rules. He suggested that Wisconsin is a leading state in the use of effective SLD evaluation models that can also raise achievement for all and close gaps. He also told the story of PL 94-142, progenitor of IDEA, which was almost vetoed by President Ford in 1975. The President was concerned that the federal government wouldn't uphold their promise to fund 40% of the costs of special education. Bob was part of the team that talked the President out of signing the veto message he had already drafted.
On Halloween, we had a treat listening to Ted Christ, one of just a few people in the nation who studies progress monitoring and assessment issues related to RtI. Ted suggested that 12-14 weeks of progress monitoring was necessary before making high-stakes decisions. Ted's workshop was filled with skill-building for psychologists who are now making decisions about the adequacy of student progress during intervention. He suggested that we use visual analysis along with statistical analysis when making these determinations, and reminded everyone that the caveats that we have with other types of testing (student engagement, environmental factors, etc.) also hold true with progress monitoring and screening.