In 2007, the principals of the Diocese of Superior asked the Superintendent of Schools to help them facilitate, organize and/or provide services to the children with needs in our schools. A principal committee was formed during the 2008-2009 school year to look at what was occurring in our Catholic Schools in regards to in-house servicing, public school servicing and needs of the students. Many of the concerns of our schools stemmed from frustrations with the public school services, support and resources, and their changing dynamics based on federal and state guidelines.
Through study and discussions it was determined that our schools need to find a way to collaborate more effectively and also begin to implement a much more scientifically based system of providing for all children who attend our schools. In understanding the push for public schools in the state of Wisconsin to move to a Response to Intervention (RTI) model, an expanded committee of principals began to investigate the Learning Consultant Model of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and have discussions with Leah Duszynski, Director of Inclusive Education from the Archdiocese of Chicago. Through this, many collaborative efforts have been made between the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Diocese of Superior – including the sharing of resources, ideas and expanding connections in the area of RTI in Catholic Schools.
Religious Education Programs: While implementing the school’s program, it has always been the intent that programming would be offered for Religious Education as well. In 2011 a committee was formed to begin investigating ways to implement similar programming in to religious education at the parish levels. Similar resourcing and objectives to the schools are set for these programs as well.
In concluding that it is best to meet the needs of all learners rather than just a few, the concept of GOAL – Growth Opportunities for All Learners – was developed. Through the mission, vision and philosophy of the Diocese of Superior GOAL program, it is our intention to make as big of an attempt as possible to educate as many children as we can. Much of the programming for GOAL stems from the framework of RTI (Response to Intervention) with different traditional Catholic concepts and practices woven throughout. RTI is only a portion of the GOAL program but a solid framework to build from.
Survey based reasons for implementing GOAL in the Diocese of Superior…
Since the 1970’s schools used the discrepancy model, which focused on the discrepancy between intellectual ability and academic performance, to determine eligibility for specific learning disability services.
Response to Intervention Model (RTI)
Today the shift is toward scientific interventions where the focus is between the discrepancy between student performance and benchmarks as well as pre- and post-intervention levels of performance.
Federal, State and Church Timeline of Historical Significance to this shift of educational philosophy…Before Individuals were put in state institutions where inaccurate or lack of testing inappropriately 1975 labeled children, thus providing ineffective, if any, education. U.S. schools only educated 1 in 5 children with disabilities – many states had laws that excluded certain children
ESEA Reauthorization: A Blueprint for Reform. http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/index.html, October 2010.
Jorgensen, Margaret A, Ph.D., and Jenny Hoffmann, History of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Pearson Education, Inc., August 2003.
McDonald, Dale, PBVM, Ph.D., IDEA Benefits and Services for Catholic School Students Presentation, January 20, 2009.
MentoringMinds.com, Response to Intervention Implementation Guide: Team Member Notebook, 2008.
U.S. Office of Special Education Programs, History: Twenty-five Years of Progress in Educating Children with Disabilities through IDEA, www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/leg/idea/history.html. September 7, 2007.
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, http://dpi.wi.gov/sped/hmlaws.html, October , 2010.