Ugh! What a great way to start a post, right? It’s time for the dreaded RTI paperwork talk. I’ve seen the best and I’ve seen the worst! RTI paperwork is dreaded by most. Very few people would ever admit to really being passionate about RTI paperwork. Yet it is SO important for the future of many students and their academic careers. Let me help! Today, we will work through RTI Paperwork Help and tackle our insecurities and fears together!
Let’s start by talking about what you absolutely CANNOT put in RTI paperwork! When there are lines that you know not to cross, it will make the process a lot easier. Many teachers in particular struggle with behavior paperwork, so that is what we will look at today. Take a look at this example. Believe it or not, this is taken word for word from paperwork that I have seen.
“Meghan is hyperactive and cannot pay attention during class. I think she is ADHD and needs to see a doctor for medication.” OMG! Obviously, this isn’t a real RTI form since I wrote all over it in red ink. However, when I seriously saw these sentences on past paperwork, I wanted to break out the pen!
- Please don’t ever write down what you think. – Sure, teachers are educated and see and work with their students daily, but RTI paperwork shouldn’t be about what the teacher thinks. It should be about what the teachers KNOWS based on data collection.
- Don’t pretend to be a doctor. – A teacher should never diagnose a child with ADD, ADHD, learning disabled, processing issues, etc. Sure, teachers can probably make great,educated guesses for many children, but legally cannot diagnose a child. Remember that RTI paperwork is a legal document.
- Don’t use “umbrella terms” that can represent a variety of actions. Hyperactive and cannot pay attention are both broad terms. Tell me what it looks like for this child. What setting does it take place? What habits are visible? How many times a day does the child get up from their chair without permission?
What should you say or write? I have a guide for you and a few tips.
Write your RTI paperwork so that the reader can “see” what is going on in the classroom as much as possible. Here are a few tips:
- Take out the emotion from your observation. – Include just the facts without the feelings or emotions. “_______ appears scared to volunteer to read during groups or class.” Change this to “__________ lacks confidence to volunteer to read aloud in front of the peers.” This makes it sound less about your expectation for him/her to read and puts the focus on the lack of confidence of the child.
- Be sure to list the setting. “____________ can’t follow along with words while others are reading.” Change this to “__________ has difficulty tracking words visually or with a finger (whichever it may be) while others are reading in small group/whole group/etc.”
- Don’t be afraid to use educational jargon. Your RTI paperwork should be for school employees such as school psychologist, co-workers, administrators, and special service coordinators. Parents rarely read RTI paperwork other than notes. Feel free to be as specific as you need to with your vocabulary of the problems that you see. For example, don’t write “_________ doesn’t know his/her sight words.” Be more precise and say something like, “Word recognition/word fluency is an area of difficulty for _________.”
I know paperwork is difficult and no one always says the correct things! If you are looking for a paperwork guide to use while, head over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store to check out mine.