Sisters Middle School was one of four middle schools in the state to receive a Response to Instruction and Intervention grant two years ago aimed at improving instruction for all students and providing special assistance to those falling behind.

“RTI has helped us evaluate what we do in the classroom and ask ourselves what we can be doing better,” said Sisters Middle School Principal Marshall Jackson. “We are looking at the core fundamentals of education – reading and writing — and asking ourselves ‘Is our core healthy?’ If you can’t read and write well, the rest of education is hard. So we are focusing on building strong, solid literacy skills.”

According to Marshall, strategies for helping individual students in need of extra support are developed by a grade level team of teachers. Solutions can range from moving a student’s seat, to having students work with the school’s reading intervention teacher.

The school has seen students below the 25th reading percentile improve their reading skills to the point where they could move from a reading group back into the regular classroom.

“RTI has enabled us to establish effective strategies that allow each individual student to excel at his or her own level,” said Jackson. “We are teaching in ways that engage students and gets them hooked.”