Ensuring educators are prepared to implement intensive intervention: An example from the University of Wyoming

Ensuring educators are prepared to implement intensive intervention: An example from the University of Wyoming

By Richard Allen Carter, Jr.

In this Voices from the Field, the National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII) talks with Richard Carter, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Leadership, Advocacy, and Design at the University of Wyoming. Dr. Carter teaches Mild and Moderate Disabilities, Assessment in Special Education, and Collaboration and is working to develop a micro-credentialing system for educators in the state. Dr. Carter discusses how he has integrated NCII’s data-based individualization (DBI) resources within his education preparation efforts.

NCII: Can you tell us a little about the programs and students at the University of Wyoming impacted by this work and why this work is important?

Dr. Carter: Yes. The University of Wyoming is the only educator preparation program in the state and prepares about 50% of the state’s teachers. Currently, we have a Master’s program and a principal’s certificate in special education. Therefore, we have students in our master’s program who are just leaving an undergraduate program alongside principals that may have 25 years of experience. This provides an interesting group all in the same class with varied levels of experience. Regardless of their level of experience, understanding the role of intensive intervention is critical for all educators in our state. Intensive intervention through DBI is essential to effective implementation of state priorities and initiatives, including implementation of the Wyoming State Systemic Improvement Plan, Wyoming Dyslexia Law (HB0297 - K-3 reading assessment and intervention program), and Wyoming’s Consolidated State Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act. Current and future educators need to be prepared to support these in the roles as educators.

I also want to stress that the DBI work here at the university and within the state has been a collaborative effort among NCII, leadership at the state level, our regional education partners, and other faculty at the university. Without their participation, we wouldn’t have the momentum and success that we currently do around DBI.

NCII: How are you embedding instruction preparation in DBI and intensive intervention in your current programs?

Dr. Carter: We have leaned on the work of NCII when we cover the topic of Tiers 2 and 3 in a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS). The vast amount of information that is available from the NCII website provides a really expansive picture of the work that is going on across the nation and it also allows my students to find resources that are meaningful regardless of their experience level. We use resources like the PowerPoint presentations and learning activities available through the DBI Professional Learning Series to deliver content remotely and in person.

NCII: What are some examples of how you have used NCII resources to support your students?

Dr. Carter: The NCII tools charts are great resources for course activities. In my Assessment in Special Education course, my students become familiar with the features of the screening and progress monitoring tools charts. We talked through what we know about a screening or progress monitoring tool and how you might choose a tool depending on your school and student demographics.

Also, I used the implementation modules to supplement my students’ learning by going right to NCII and pointing my students to the section where they may be able to find answers to questions themselves. I try to encourage my students to become lifelong learners, and a site like NCII empowers them to move forward and seek the answers on their own.

What are your plans are for next year as you continue to educate your students on intensive intervention in the state of Wyoming?

Dr. Carter: At the university level, I think that the focus will be on alignment. The University of Wyoming is going to onboard an undergraduate special education/elementary education dual licensure program, which will force us to align special education and general education. We, at the university, also strive for our students to really hone in on this idea of product versus process thinking. I think that’s one of the amazing things that can really be gleaned from interacting with the work coming out of NCII, in that it stresses the process over product.

In addition, next year I want to more strategically plan my course around the University of Connecticut and NCII modules on explicit instruction. The content is so timely and necessary for students with intensive intervention needs.

Another opportunity is emerging to re-envision how we support in-service and pre-service teachers, which is micro-credentialing. Micro-credentialing will allowing the state to address some of the professional development challenges that they have historically experienced. We’re really excited at the University of Wyoming to continue to take good teaching principles that are really large and break them down to make them even more accessible to our learners.

About the author

Richard Allen Carter
Richard Allen Carter, Jr.
/ University of Wyoming

Richard Allen Carter, Jr. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling, Leadership, Advocacy, and Design (CLAD) at the University of Wyoming. Richard earned his doctoral degree at the University of Kansas, specializing in Instructional Design, Technology, and Innovation (IDTI). His current research focuses on the implementation of self-regulation practices for students with disabilities in both fully online and blended learning environments. In addition, Richard has led and assisted studies that examine a broad range of effects of online instruction for students with disabilities for the Center on Online Learning for Students with Disabilities (COLSD). Currently, Richard is part of a research team that is implementing technology-enabled personalization for students with disabilities in a public elementary school.