A case study of one Texas school's journey: The Estrella Model of RtI for English language learners and implications for special education




Jaird, Cynthia Ann

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The purpose of this study was to examine how the Estrella model of Response to Intervention (RtI) impacted a campus whose student population is comprised of 88% English Language Learners (ELLs). The researcher investigated how the Estrella RtI model affected the academic performance of ELLs, students in special education, and the number of students referred for special education eligibility. The research design for this case study included a comprehensive analysis and review of archival data. The principal of the campus served as the primary researcher and named the specialized model, "Estrella", the Spanish word for "star." The following data sets were used to measure the impact of the Estrella model of RtI: attendance rates, discipline data, state-mandated assessment scores (i.e., general education and special education assessments, Academic Excellence Indicator System [AEIS] Reading, Math, Science and Writing Assessment scores, Evaluación del Desarollo de Lectura [EDL] scores, Developmental Reading Assessment scores [DRA], RtI data, Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System [TELPAS] scores, and comprehensive historical data for case study analysis), demographics, school profile, timeline/data for professional learning implementation, referral rate for special education testing, historical data from the school's special education program, and informal interviews.The findings of this study illustrate the impact that the Estrella model of RtI can have on the academic performance of ELLs. Research-based interventions and the implementation of the Estrella model of RtI may impact students in positive ways. The students on the test campus demonstrated gains and stability in academic areas after implementation of the specialized model. The gains occurred over a 7 year time period when the state mandated test was TAKS. The percentage of students enrolled in special education remained the lowest of the study years and relatively stable, between 8.1% - 10.2%, from 2008 through 2014. This time period coincides with the years of implementation of the specialized model of RtI on the school campus. Prior to this time period, the elementary campus had one of the highest special enrollment percentages in the district.



Special education, Education, Bilingual education, English language learners, Estrella model, Response to intervention, RtI