After semester of hybrid, virtual learning, administration creates new Response to Intervention model to best meet student needs


Principal Tom Harmas wears his mask to comply with COVID-19 guidelines while sitting at his desk. He said that administration is redeveloping the school’s Response to Intervention model to best meet student needs during the pandemic.

Rhea Acharya

Principal Tom Harmas said he is currently working alongside administration to develop a new Response to Intervention (RTI) model, so the school can respond to the academic and social-emotional needs of students in the best possible way.

He said, “We’re changing the way that we’re putting together our resources. We also have not only included the academic responses in our new model that we have, but we’ve also included the (social-emotional learning) responses.”

According to Harmas, the new RTI model will help students who struggled academically first semester get back on track in the coming weeks.

“(Last semester) we had too many failures in Edmentum just because a lot of people didn’t do what they needed to do. We are looking to see if we need to put in a tutoring remediation piece for these students and where that would be and what time of day or evening that would be,” he said.

Sarah Konrad, head director of the social studies peer tutoring program and senior, said that she thinks this year has brought unique academic challenges to students. She said she has seen that helping other students academically is much harder to do via email or other virtual platforms when compared to in-person interactions. She said this year, the social studies peer tutors meet with hybrid students in-person during SSRT, and then they have another system where all-virtual students can send in questions that peer tutors will respond to virtually.

“Compared with in-person peer tutoring, (virtual peer tutoring) is very detrimental to kids, especially those who are tactile rather than visual learners,” she said. “When I tutor kids in-person, I can physically open the textbook and then point to pictures and phrases, and that’s really helpful for students. A wall of black-and-white text in an email, on the other hand, is just hard to sift through.”