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An Interview with Author and Presenter Jim Wright… Including Tips on the Best Websites for Free RTI/MTSS Resources!

Jim Wright, author of the books RTI Toolkit, RTI: Success in Secondary Schools, Strategies for Struggling Learners, and the laminated guides Managing Classroom Behaviors Using an RTI/MTSS Framework and Classroom Academic Support Using an RTI/MTSS Framework, sat down with us for a recent interview. Below, get to know a bit more about Jim. And if you’re not already using it, be sure to check out his website, Intervention Central, and others he identifies below, for extensive free tools for teachers!

What is your background and how did you come to be an expert in RTI/MTSS?

For the past decade or so, I have worked full-time as consultant and trainer for schools on RTI/MTSS topics. Prior to that, I held positions in school psychology and special-education administration in schools in central New York state. During the 17 years that I worked in schools, my passion was always to help educators to discover those effective instructional and behavior-management practices that would allow their students to attain maximum success in the least-restrictive settings possible.

When RTI emerged on the national stage nearly 15 years ago, I realized that this model brought together all of the proactive elements of student support that I had been promoting: identify the student problem; select research-support intervention strategies; set clear goals; collect formative data to judge intervention effectiveness.

So, during my tenure in two separate school districts, I had a frontline opportunity to participate in the roll-out of RTI. Based on RTI research and my own experiences, I then published a book—RTI Toolkit—for districts on how to design and implement an RTI model. Based on the success of that first book, I was able to begin my full-time work as an RTI consultant, which is a fabulous job—as I get to meet dedicated educators and learn new and creative ways that schools meet the needs of diverse learners.

By the way, it was National Professional Resources that published my initial RTI book. I have always been grateful that NPR took a chance on me as a then-unknown author and launched my RTI/MTSS career!


Many will know you from your hugely popular website, Intervention Central, which offers extensive free resources on implementing RTI. When and how did you get started with this website? Who is the website for?

The origins of my website ( go back about 25 years ago, when I was working as a psychologist at an elementary school in an urban district. In that position, I found that a number of teachers would regularly approach me to ask for ideas to help students in their classroom with academic delays or challenging behaviors. So, I would comb through educational journals to find research articles on effective intervention ideas; write up those ideas in a brief, teacher-friendly format; and share them with faculty throughout my school.

Over time, I gathered quite a collection of these classroom-strategy ‘how-to’ sheets and thought, “Hey, why not create a website where any teacher in any school can access them for free?” My current site, Intervention Central, has been online for about 18 years. The site is still free and still intended for teachers…and I am still adding more resources!


Do you still present workshops and provide professional development training?

I currently provide trainings and consultation services for schools and districts in New York State and across the country on a range of RTI/MTSS topics. For example, I offer workshops that allow educators to understand the full RTI/MTSS model for academics and behavior and to develop their own plans for implementing RTI/MTSS. However, I am finding that my most popular trainings right now are teacher seminars where I present pragmatic strategies for classroom academic and behavioral interventions.

Schools interested in RTI/MTSS training can contact me through Comprehensive School Solutions, the training division of NPR, Inc. I typically confer with interested schools to develop professional development customized to their unique needs.

Recently we’ve starting hearing the term MTSS (Multi-Tier System of Supports) being used in place of RTI. Can you explain this shift?

It is true that the term ‘MTSS’ has begun to replace ‘RTI’ in a number of states and in journal articles. The rationale driving this change is a perception that ‘Response to Intervention’ is closely tied to a 3-tier academic intervention model and that it does not typically include a behavioral component. So, the term ‘MTSS’ was coined to describe a 3-tier model that encompasses both academic and behavioral/social-emotional support for students. In truth, I regard RTI and MTSS as synonyms and am comfortable using either to describe a school’s intervention model.

What in your opinion is one of/some of the most exciting trends in education at the moment?

One trend that I find quite exciting is the growing set of free tools and resources that schools can access online to help them implement RTI/MTSS. This accessibility of high-quality free tools for teachers has been a game-changer for many schools on a tight budget. Along with my own website, for example, these sites provide ideas to include in any teacher’s ‘intervention toolkit’:

What are your hobbies?

In my spare time, I like to eat at ethnic restaurants, hike, and ride my bike. I am also teaching myself guitar, with the eventual goal of playing well enough to conduct campfire sing-alongs. (When managing expectations, it helps to set a low bar.)


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