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Lynn Shannahan working in a classroom with a student.

Published May 29, 2018

Improving literacy learning in middle school through response to intervention

Middle school response to intervention: Cross urban and suburban contexts

Lynn Shanahan, associate professor from the Department of Learning and Instruction is partnering with Enterprise Charter School and the Amherst Central School District Middle School to assist in the development of a middle school response to intervention system for literacy learning. This collaboration is part of the UB Graduate School of Education Faculty in Residence Program.

“Historically, response to intervention has been implemented at the elementary level,” said Shanahan. However, through Shanahan’s collaboration with Enterprise Charter School, they were identified by New York State as one of ten middle schools to receive RtI resources. Shanahan will help develop and implement this school-wide support system at Enterprise Charter School to improve student literacy learning.

Simultaneously, longtime (15-year) UB community partner Amherst Central Schools expressed an interest in creating a high-quality RtI framework for middle school literacy learning. Amherst Central Schools will begin this process by first evaluating their RtI system at one point in time:  as 5th grade students transition from the elementary to the middle school in 6th grade.

Each project will focus on being responsive to specific school-based needs. Together, the projects will assist in identifying factors that impact the implementation of a multi-tier system of supports at the middle school level. “I foresee both schools being able to network and learn from one another through this process,” said Shanahan.

The Faculty in Residence Program is an initiative designed to engage GSE faculty and local community-based educational institutions in site-based, mutually beneficial research-based projects. Projects must demonstrate clear benefits to the community and may include a wide-range of researchable topics.

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