RTI Framework Encouraged By New Law

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Governor Chris Christie signed legislation, A-2566 / S-496 (Jasey, Wimberly, Ruiz, Turner), establishing a new Response to Intervention (RTI) initiative in New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) to support and encourage school districts to implement the Response to Intervention framework.

Specifically, the new law requires that the Commissioner of Education develop and establish an initiative to support and encourage school districts’ use of the Response to Intervention (RTI) framework to promote achievement among all students.  The initiative would include the dissemination of information and guidance regarding:

1) the development and effective implementation of an RTI framework as a methodology for identifying struggling learners, maximizing student achievement, and reducing behavioral problems, and

2) the use of an RTI framework for identifying students with specific learning disabilities.

The Commissioner would also be responsible for providing technical assistance and training to school districts that are implementing an RTI framework, and ensuring that an RTI framework implemented by a school district includes certain elements that are commonly recognized as core components of any RTI model.  These elements include:

  • high quality research-based instruction in the general education setting;
  • universal screening procedures to identify students at risk for poor learning outcomes or behavioral challenges;
  • multiple levels of evidence-based interventions that are progressively more intense, based on the student’s responsiveness; and
  • continuous monitoring of student progress.

NJPSA supports the legislation, as do the other major education stakeholders – particularly in light of the work the New Jersey Department of Education has already taken with regard to RTI which mimic the requirements under the bill (NJPSA testimony).  The new law is effective immediately.