HSA Southwest Chicago implements a standards-based, college-preparatory curriculum giving the staff flexibility to adapt instructional strategies in order to meet the needs of the students. The curriculum is based on a model developed and successfully implemented by Concept in 30 charter schools in 6 states (Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Indiana). Concept currently manages/operates four other schools in Illinois. Chicago Math and Science Academy serves 600 students in grades 6-12. Horizon Science Academy-McKinley Park (kindergarten-grade 8) and Horizon Science Academy-Belmont (kindergarten-grade 5) serve a total of 730 students together in Chicago. Quest Charter Academy in Peoria serves 450 students in grade 5-10 this year.
The learning environment at Horizon Science Academy Southwest is classroom-based. The maximum class size is 25, and departmentalization will begin as early as 5th grade. 5th-grade students have a different teacher for each subject area. Rather than staying in a self-contained classroom all day, they switch classrooms for each subject.
In order to prepare every Horizon Science Academy student to succeed in college, the curriculum is “mapped backwards” from a clear set of college-readiness standards. However, the curriculum is modified based on assessment results and the identified needs of the students. Students lacking grade-level skills are provided with the necessary academic support services. Horizon Science Academy teachers have access to lesson plans, activities, and other innovative teaching methods that are currently being utilized in schools within the Concept network.
Scientific studies indicate that elementary school lays the foundation for a rigorous secondary curriculum. The elementary program at Horizon Science Academy emphasizes communication arts, math, science, and social studies and follow a cross-disciplinary approach that will allow for the integration of art and technology into these core areas. Elementary students will work on science fair projects, art portfolios, and presentation skills to increase their understanding of concepts and to develop self-reliance. The school will have computer labs and multimedia computer labs where students will able to use multimedia and the Internet as part of a lesson plan in core subject areas. We strongly believe that exposure to technology at a young age is essential for elementary school students.
Horizon Science Academy’s elementary program uses strategies predicated on diverse research-based approaches for this age group. Individual learning preferences determine the way skills are taught (e.g., use of Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences). Special needs students and students speaking other languages learn along with their peers and are not segregated to learn a second curriculum.
Horizon Science Academy’s core elementary curriculum integrate and require mastery and skill development in the areas of science, computers, technology applications, language arts, social studies, and mathematics. In addition, Horizon Science Academy incorporate an enrichment program, which includes a secondary language, fine arts, music, health and physical education, especially hands-on instruction to accompany the science and technology education. Oral and written language activities are embedded in the curriculum in conjunction with adventure projects, technology, art, music, movement, drama, dance, and games. The elementary curriculum of Horizon Science Academy combines traditional teaching methods with student-based curriculum in an interdisciplinary, collaborative classroom environment. These interdisciplinary projects will allow the students to prepare for real-world challenges, connecting the core subjects instead of segmenting them.
Concept Schools implements a balanced literacy approach toward language acquisition for our students. As a network, we focus on these aspects of language learning:
- Phonemic Awareness and Phonics: Understanding the sounds of a language and learning to manipulate those sounds by deleting, isolating, blending, chopping, and duplicating sounds. We use phonemic awareness programs such as Michael Heggerty and Jolly Phonics. Young children need to understand what are the sounds of a language and how they come together to make words. Our phonics programs also emphasize the use of physical motions to associate with each sound. Furthermore, we emphasize a sound-spelling system, which teaches young children that one sound can have many different spellings, such as the /f/sound, which can be spelled as “f”, “ff”, “ph” and “ough.” It also teaches that one spelling such as “sc” can have different sounds.
Assessment of phonemic awareness is a regular part of our data collecting system. In addition, we are using the Common Core Standards for Foundational Skills as our curriculum guideline.
- Word Study: In addition to learning the sounds of a language, all of our students must understand that language is composed of words, that words have parts that can be assembled in different ways, and that words need to be visually memorized in order to decode text and to spell correctly. We begin by teaching sight words from various lists, and we make sure that by the end of the 2nd grade all of our students have mastered the ability to read and spell the 500 high-frequency word list. In addition, we teach the students how words can be sorted into different categories: words with an -and rime pattern make up a family of words (sand, hand, land); words with Greek roots; words with an initial /sh/ digraph sound; words with silent /b/ sounds (numb, dumb, thumb); words with initial /br/ blend sounds (brown, browse), etc.
- Vocabulary Development: We all know that the vocabulary gap increases with a student’s socioeconomic status; therefore, we push to close that lexical gap early on. We begin in the early years with vocabulary tied to the content that students are learning; for example, words related to the harvest season (pumpkins, seeds, fall). However, when they start moving toward the upper grades, we use the Marzano curriculum and its emphasis on academic vocabulary starting in the 3rd grade. The words we want our students to know are words that will prepare them for college. In addition to vocabulary acquisition, we also teach vocabulary development—strategies to attack unknown words, how to use context clues, when you know that you have mastered a word, etc. We understand that a student needs to be exposed to a large number of words many times and in many contexts in order to master their meanings.
- Spelling: We make a distinction between spelling, learning words for their orthographic representation, and vocabulary, learning words for their meaning. We make sure that spelling lists are different from vocabulary lists. Spelling helps develop visual literacy as well as lead the way toward conventional writing. Spelling lists come from the common errors found in the students’ own writing pieces. We also value spelling by holding our annual Concept School Spelling Bee contest, which makes learning to spell that much more exciting.
- Reading Fluency: Measuring how many words a student reads correctly per minute as well as what kinds of errors and self-corrections a student is making when reading is essential for understanding a student’s reading fluency. However, we also know that fluency does not necessarily lead to reading comprehension. Nonetheless, a student’s decoding ability can deter her/his academic progress in school as a whole. The integration of Guided Reading Workshops helps us to monitor a student’s needs daily. We have intervention programs in place for students to increase their reading rates through the use of one-on-one tutoring as well as individualized instruction on the computer. Paying close attention to reading abilities is essential since we know that sometimes the lack of reading fluency can lead to the misdiagnosis for special education services. We aim to have each student reading at grade level by the 2nd grade.
The effect of individual reading on students’ overall success is invaluable. Like other Concept-managed schools, Horizon Science Academy Clay Evans will organize additional activities to promote reading throughout the school. A prime practice to emulate would be Laura Nelson, a kindergarten teacher at another Concept network school, IMSA-West, who set a goal for her class: 5,000 books in 100 days. The class worked steadily toward this goal every day. Ms. Nelson even invited prominent figures from the community to read to her students, such as First Lady Cheri Daniels, former State Superintendent Tony Bennett, and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. At Chicago Math and Science Academy, they recently rewarded a student who read close to 13,000 pages in 2 months as a part of the school’s reading contest.
- Reading Comprehension: Reading for meaning and understanding what one has just read is paramount to our reading program. Understanding the overall meaning of a text, the details in a text, the author’s voice, the big theme in a text and how the meaning of the text shifts from the beginning to the end are all essential skills for our students to attain. The strategies they use include summarizing text, visualizing text and annotating text, as well as using “meta-talk” or talking aloud to make sense of the reading. We do use specific strategies, such as QAR (Question-Answer-Response); however, we are flexible in terms of choosing reading strategies that work for specific grades, classrooms, and students. Interventions are also in place for reading comprehension so that students learn how to make sense of difficult text.
- Common Core Instructional Shifts: We have begun studying the CC ELA Standards. We have mapped how the standards change across the grade clusters. We have done a gap analysis with the ISAT Standards for Reading so we know what was missing and what was there already. For example, the CC ELA standards emphasize Speaking and Listening as well as Language conventions, which was not assessed under the ISAT. We have zoomed in on the Anchor Standards and how the close study of texts is the main pedagogical ballast. We have also begun to integrate these CC instructional shifts:
1. Comparing texts from different mediums, genres, and formats such as a poem, essay, a painting, and a piece of music and seeing how they connect with a “big idea.” For example, students read a poem by Langston Hughes on the Harlem Renaissance, a non-fiction essay on the Harlem Renaissance, murals depicting that era from Jacob Lawrence, and listen to music from that era. Then they write an essay comparing all these 4 different texts.
2. Analyzing the details in a text and focusing on what is being said in the text.
3. Guiding students through a close text reading with good questions.
4. Using the CC text exemplars and including them in our classroom libraries and curriculum.
5. Integration of non-fiction texts in science and social studies starting in kindergarten.
- Daily Five: The Daily Five allows us to schedule our literacy period around 5 distinct “blocks,” which include building the stamina to read by oneself for a long period of time, write at length, as well as read with others. The Daily Five is not a specific curriculum; rather, it creates a structure for and a culture of literacy-based centers. It helps develop positive reading behaviors in our students. The teacher still has the freedom and choice of texts and literacy lessons.
We take a developmental approach toward writing by valuing both writing as a product and writing as a process. For the primary grades, we know that there are distinct stages to writing. Young children may begin with abstract etchings, then images and symbols, next consonants show up, vowels are inserted somewhere between consonants, and then by the 2nd grade students acquire conventional spellings. The amount of writing also increases across the grades so that by the 3rd grade they are able to write texts with multiple paragraphs. The use of writing rubrics also help our students create a polished product, which is displayed on our walls. In the end, students realize that most writing has an audience and the use of conventions such as spelling, grammar, and vocabulary help you reach a wider audience of readers who can understand what you wrote. Writing products are organized into portfolios, which are used in parent conferences so they can see changes in the finished product.
We also emphasize the process aspect of writing in many ways: (1) using Lucy Calkins’ Writers Workshop to show students that writing begins with brainstorming sessions, and then through stages and the use of strategies, one’s writing becomes a final piece with feedback from one’s peers and classroom teacher; (2) allowing students to self-assess their writing and then share writing with peers through a peer-assessment model in order to see the process of revision as circular; (3) developing spelling lists based upon the common errors in a student’s writing in many different texts and across time; and (4) emphasizing the need to integrate writing with reading so students are constantly writing a response to a piece of literature. Yet, the Calkins writing curriculum focuses heavily on creative writing as opposed to the expository writing required in our middle school years, when we use Nancy Atwell’s textbook In the Middle. For the upper grades, we have used the 6+Traits Writing Program, which was adopted in Illinois and which focuses on developing an author’s voice as well as developing strong ideas in one’s writing. Using writing strategies such as RAFT has helped our students hone their authorial voice, whether in an essay or a piece of creative writing.
Yet, many feel that the writing required of students for the upcoming 2014 PARCC Assessment, which is aligned with the Common Core Standards, is a very different type of writing. It requires students to argue well in their writing. It requires students to cite specific details from the text to support their claims—very much like college writing. Since the writing will be graded by computerized algorithms, the emphasis on voice and ideas will be lost. Rather, the PARCC Writing rubrics focus heavily on conventions and structure. Shifting toward the writing needed to be successful on the PARCC assessment will require us to delve further into how and what we are teaching in our writing curriculum.
Concept Schools has adopted the Common Core Math Standards and therefore we have shifted our focus so teachers guide children to develop ideas and relationships about mathematics. The methods and activities are designed by the teachers to get children mentally involved in the construction of those ideas and relationships. Since the CC Math Standards are more about how to teach than what to exactly teach, we are steering teachers away from the trap of drilling kids on procedures and looking for “right answers.” It is all about thinking, reasoning, making sense, and communicating and not paper-pencil proficiency. It is not the teacher who is talking and explaining; it is the students who are talking. Focusing on the 8 mathematical practices listed by the Common Core Math Standards has shifted our mathematics curriculum so that the meaningful learning of mathematics is shown through the real-world problem-solving process and student inquiry, regardless of the particular content.
1.Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
2.Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
3.Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
4.Model with mathematics.
5.Use appropriate tools strategically.
6.Attend to precision.
7.Look for and make use of structure.
8.Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
We also focus on the use of Math Talks in the classroom now. For example, the teacher writes 99 + 17 = ____ horizontally on the board. Then the teacher has the students solve the problem and “talk” with a neighbor about their answers. Then the class says the answer out loud together: “116.” The teacher would then say, “We got the answer out of the way. What I’m really interested in is how you got it.” The students will show all the ways they thought about it, and the teacher’s job is to represent their ideas mathematically, connecting their thinking to mathematical representation. Then the teacher fills the board with all their work. Next the students have to critique the ideas of others and connect it to their thinking. The students are doing the talking, rather than the teacher doing all the talking. Math Talks provide teachers a way to dialogue with students. It gives teachers practice listening to understand how kids are reasoning.
For example, “Molly ran 1.5 miles a day for 20 days. How many miles has she run?” These are problems teachers expect their students to be able to solve correctly. We’re interested in how the student solves that, and how the teacher hears how the student solves that. In solving a straightforward problem, and talking out the merits of various approaches, students are making sense of the problem (“it looks like addition”) and reasoning quantitatively. They are using appropriate tools (paper and pencil, manipulative); making use of structures such as place value and the associative property; critiquing one another’s methods and learning that there are multiple ways to model a problem; and being called upon to explain their answers, which requires attention to precision; and developing the very procedures they are calling upon (such as “reaching 100” or “adding the tens, then the ones”).
Furthermore, the new Common Core Math Standards are developmentally appropriate so we have shifted what we teach in what grade across the schools. A gap analysis was conducted so we could analyze what we taught before and in which grades and what we need to teach now in each grade. The Progression Maps for the Common Core Math Standards have explained to us why standards are sequenced the way they are, point out cognitive difficulties and pedagogical solutions, and give more detail on particularly challenging areas of mathematics, such as dividing fractions. We also know that the Common Core is asking us to go deeper into the topics and is getting our teachers to plan more collaboratively as topics make progressions across the grades. We have incorporated the MARS Tasks and Activities (stressed as the most important professional development for the Common Core Math Standards) into our math curriculum.
Homework will be an essential part of a successful educational program at Horizon Science Academy Southwest Chicago. Doing homework will help students develop valuable skills, such as good study habits, time management, responsibility, and perseverance. Teachers will assign homework to foster individual learning and growth that is appropriate for the subject area. Through meaningful assignment of homework, Horizon Science Academy teachers will give students a chance to try new material, further practice skills they have recently learned, and review something they already know. Horizon Science Academy teachers will take students’ age into consideration when determining the amount of homework to assign and will provide each student with constructive feedback. Students are more apt to complete assignments and advance their learning when they get consistent and constructive feedback. Teachers will provide written comments on student work that lets students know what they did well and what they need to improve. The teachers will communicate such information and feedback to parents in a timely manner.
In addition to aligning the curriculum to the National Common Core Standards, the high school curriculum is also aligned with the ACT College Readiness Standards and the American Diploma Project.
R. Marzano, D. Pickering, and J. Pollock conducted a comprehensive examination of the research within the past 35 years to determine which teaching strategies have positive effects on student learning. According to this study, among others, identifying similarities and differences, summarizing and note taking, reinforcing and recognition, non-linguistic representations, and cooperative learning groups have been identified as the most effective teaching strategies. The members of Horizon Science Academy’ teaching staff will receive ongoing professional development on these strategies to assure their successful implementation in their lesson plans and delivery of content.
Teachers will use these methods and tools in to order enhance instruction in the content areas:
- Collaborative Environments, i.e., social networking platforms, community websites, classroom management systems, multiplayer gaming environments, or virtual worlds
- Online Communication Tools, i.e., instant messaging, online conferencing, micro-blogging platforms, and online broadcasting
- Mobiles, graphing calculators, and laptops
- Cloud Computing, i.e., Flicker, Google, and YouTube, which are virtual servers available over the Internet
- Smart Boards
- Smart Objects, i.e., devices that use quick-response codes and are connected to larger information sources or interactive books and maps
- Personalized Web pages, blogs, and blackboard-type online communication tools through which teachers can tag, categorize, publish, and review work online
- Virtual learning
Horizon Science Academy plan to ultimately have two multi-purpose computer labs. In addition to the stationary computer labs, Horizon Science Academy will have mobile labs that teachers will be able to wheel into their classroom and utilize in their rooms. The computer labs will also be used for career and college research by high school students, for classroom teachers working with a class project or assignment, Project Lead the Way, and for students doing research, to name a few.
Gateway to Technology and Project Lead the Way programs, which Horizon Science Academy students will go through, also utilize a great deal of technology as they are project/design based and technology focused. Classes such as game design, digital electronics, robotics, Web programming, and computer-based manufacturing will give our students the opportunity to further their knowledge and skills even more in an ever-changing in world of technology.
Horizon Science Academy teachers will differentiate their instruction by content, process, and product in order to meet the needs of accelerated students. Horizon Science Academy teachers will receive training in differentiated instruction at the Summer Institute, Concept Schools’ annual conference, and professional development days. The dean of academics will monitor lesson plans and observe in the classroom to ensure that teachers differentiate instruction. High school students requiring acceleration will be enrolled in academically challenging mathematics, science, and English language arts classes. Students will have the opportunity to take AP courses and dual-credit courses.
Horizon Science Academy is dedicated to providing a diverse population of students with an outstanding education focused on science, technology, engineering, and math. The standards, which are much higher than most of the traditional public schools in Illinois, are developed to ensure student proficiency on state standards as well as a 100% graduation rate and acceptance into colleges. Horizon Science Academy will communicate such high standards to parents and students at the informational meetings during the student recruitment period. Upon acceptance, Horizon Science Academy will organize small-group orientations and communicate such standards and expectations to parents and students in more details.
Middle and elementary school grades have 40 periods a week; each period will be 45 minutes long. This will allow us to include a greater number of periods allotted to science, math, and communication arts.
At Horizon Science Academy, students will receive report cards that will show their academic performance four times a year at Horizon Science Academy. The average of all four quarters will determine a passing grade for each subject.
High school students will also have 40 periods a week, which will include a greater number of periods allotted to science, math, and communication arts. High school has a promotion policy as well to ensure that students are equipped with the necessary academic skills to be successful in college when they graduate from Horizon Science Academy. If students cannot get a passing grade in any of their courses, they need to retake the course.
High school graduation requirements exceeds a traditional public school in Illinois and includes service learning, a digital portfolio, and a capstone project. Horizon Science Academy’ minimum graduation requirement is 27 credits, which is greater than most traditional public school districts in Illinois. Only students earning a diploma will be permitted to participate in graduation activities. Horizon Science Academy students may earn additional credits through university partnerships and dual credit post-secondary options, which will allow our students to earn both high school and college credits. Horizon Science Academy will offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses to prepare its students for college as well. Our goal is that 60% of our students will be taking AP courses in their junior and senior years.
Horizon Science Academy students in grades 3-8 are provided with 90 minutes of mathematics a day. The extra time students will spend on math will make it possible for all students to take Algebra I in 8th grade in our third year in operation and going forward. Qualifying students will earn high school credit and start with Geometry in their freshman year. Students will still be required to take 4 years of math in high school, in addition to any math credits earned in 8th grade. All Horizon Science Academy students in K-grade 8 will have 45 minutes a day of science instruction. Students will develop an understanding of the process of inquiry working in teams to investigate problems.
Project Lead the Way (PLTW) will be a critical component of the educational experience of all Horizon Science Academy students. PLTW is a series of middle and high school courses that are project-centered, problem-based, and technology-integrated, preparing students to excel in high-tech fields. According to an evaluation by High Schools That Work (2005), PLTW students scored significantly higher in both mathematics and science high school assessments. The National Center for Education Statistics 2006-07 True Outcomes Report found that students who participated in PLTW were five times more likely to graduate college as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors. All middle school students will participate in Gateway to Technology, the middle school component consisting of five 9-week units embedded into the science and computer curriculum in grades 6-8. All high school students will be required to take two “Project Lead the Way” classes. The two credits earned through PLTW will count toward the technology graduation requirement. Students interested in the program will have the option of taking an additional PLTW class.
Horizon Science Academy students through 8th grade will receive 90 minutes of English language arts curriculum to build the necessary foundation for success in a college preparatory curriculum. The curriculum will utilize a theme-based structure, including traditional literature and grammar as well as addressing twenty-first century illiteracies. The school year for each grade will be divided into four distinct theme-based units with literature designed to address the specific theme. Teachers will integrate a variety of media as well as connect their study to other subjects. The aim is to move beyond the academic ELA standards through a relevant and dynamic curriculum that meets the students’ academic, technological, and cultural background.
The Horizon Science Academy high school curriculum will include unique classes such as College Readiness and College Path. These classes will prepare juniors and seniors for college. College Path is designed to walk students through the college application process in a lab setting. Students will apply to colleges and for scholarships. They also will write essays and meet with college admission officers, career consultants, and college students. College guidance, starting during the freshmen year, ensures that Horizon Science Academy students are on the right track and that they stay on course until they finish high school. AP classes will be offered in calculus, statistics, biology, physics, chemistry, literature, world history, and American history. Writing is also incorporated into our high school curriculum. Horizon Science Academy students will take writing in addition to their college prep language arts curriculum. This will guarantee that Horizon Science Academy students graduate with the writing skills necessary to handle college writing, which is a key component of college success.
Electives in science and mathematics (including genetics, microbiology, environmental biology, earth science, engineering models, astronomy, organic chemistry, statistics, and trigonometry) will provide opportunities for students to excel in science and math. Horizon Science Academy will offer additional electives in order to address a wide spectrum of interests. Two factors will drive what electives are offered: student interest and staff credentials. Each year, students will be surveyed to gauge interest for the following year’s classes and thus determine the staffing needs. Below are Horizon Science Academy Elective Course Offerings:
|African-American History||Film||Personal Finance|
|African-American Literature||Game Design||Philosophy|
|Animation and Graphic Design||HTML||Robotics|
|Art History||International Studies||Sculpture|
|Database Programming||International Politics||Sociology|
|Digital Photography||Latin-American Culture||Web Programming|
Concept Schools’ curriculum was first implemented in 1999. Since that time, Concept Schools has continuously improved the curriculum by utilizing feedback from teachers, department heads, parents, and school administrators. Analysis of the schools’ performance in state standardized tests, Concept Schools’ interim assessments, and the nationally recognized norm-referenced assessments such as NWEA and MAP played a crucial role in improving the curriculum to its current state.
An increasing amount of research depicts alarming statistical data pertaining to learning loss during summer months. The results suggest that especially low-income children experience greater summer learning losses due to lack and/or absence of engagement in educational activities and parental supervision. Summer programs at Horizon Science Academy are designed not only to prevent summer learning loss but also to extend the school year for all students to enhance their learning and maximize their potentials. During the summer months, Horizon Science Academy will continue to provide a safe and engaging learning environment equipped with fun activities. The elementary programs offered during the summer break include:
- Reading Champions (on campus)
- Math Wizards (on campus)
- Reading Camp (off campus)
- Math and Science Camp (off campus)
- ELL Institute (on campus)
- Jump Start (on campus)
Accelerated students will have the opportunity to participate in special interest after-school programs. These programs will have a project-based, challenging curriculum and provide students the opportunity to participate in local, national, and international competitions. Examples of programs/activities include Ivy League Mentorship Program, Math Counts, Math League, robotics team, science fairs, Olympiads, bridge building, Destination Imagination, and Word Masters. Horizon Science Academy will also organize winter and summer programs for accelerated students in order to meet their needs and challenge them to perform to their full potential.
Ivy League Mentorship Program (IMP), for example, is designed to prepare selective students for top universities in the country. Implemented in all Concept-managed schools, IMP was designed based on careful study of what competitive colleges seek in applicants: strong academic skills, great personality, multiple skills, and a never-ending curiosity towards knowledge. IMP is a free, college-mentoring program for selected Horizon Science Academy students, beginning in 6th grade, which will focus on contributing to the academic achievement and personal development of participating students. The IMP program consists of multiple academic components and activities and in small groups of 5-10 students. Along with Horizon Science Academy academics, the IMP program integrates character education through book reports, essays, research on historical role models, and modeling values, such as honesty, integrity, respect, and service. Students in the IMP program will begin visiting colleges, professional environments, and industry sites early on at the middle school level.
Response to Intervention Approach
Horizon Science Academy will utilize “Response to Intervention” (RTI), a three-tiered academic and behavioral support program as part of the Horizon Science Academy/Concept model. Any student who is suspected of having learning difficulty and behavior issues will be placed in the RTI prior to referral to special education based on the aforementioned process. As a non-selective school, some students will be academically behind their grade level—in some cases, three to four years behind. Once enrolled at Horizon Science Academy, students will be required to take diagnostic tests focusing on mathematics and reading. To understand each student’s academic background, administration and staff will analyze the results of these tests. In addition to the diagnostic tests, we will also review the students’ past school records and standardized test results to determine whether the students are below, at, or above our performance standards.
Students with serious academic background issues based on the data analysis will participate in the RTI program, where they will receive one-on-one and small-group, targeted, and effective assistance. The Concept Student Information System (CSIS) will facilitate communication between teachers and RTI staff, as the system will help the school provide more targeted assistance to the students in the RTI program. Student progress in the RTI will be monitored on a regular basis. Effectiveness of strategies and support will determine the next step for students in RTI. Below is a diagram that shows transitions through and into the RTI program: