Opening the Doors to All: Applying a response to intervention framework to Urban Catholic schools

Meeting the needs of children with learning or behavioral issues in Catholic school settings has always been a challenge. In the absence of IDEA services, Catholic school staffs have used various strategies to accommodate students with disabilities. Response to Intervention (RtI) can serve as a powerful framework to look at the needs of all students, not only those who are "deemed worthy" to receive special education services. RtI compels schools to re-examine their educational program using prevention as the lens.

The Opening the Door to All (ODTA) is a coordinated partnership between The Big Shoulders Fund, The Center for Catholic School Effectiveness, Loyola University Chicago and several schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago. ODTA was designed to provide targeted professional development and ongoing support to implement various aspects of Response to Intervention (RtI) within the reality of an urban Catholic school setting. When RtI is applied to decisions in general, remedial and special education, it creates a well-integrated system of instruction and intervention that is guided by student outcome data.  Funded by a generous grant from The Big Shoulders Fund in Chicago, the goal of ODTA is to increase the capacity of Chicago Catholic schools to serve a wider continuum of students by building each school's capacity to provide high-quality instruction and instruction to match the needs of all students.