How do we promote fidelity of implementation of intensive supports that will endure over time?

Question: How do we promote fidelity of implementation of intensive supports that will endure over time?

Answer: It is important to consider the implementation fidelity when we look at providing intensive interventions. Implementation fidelity, it really means that, are we implementing the program the way it was written, are we implementing the program with consideration to what the research is behind that, and also are we considering the specific needs of the student and creating a program that we all agree on is most appropriate. To start out with we suggest you use a team approach. And members of the team may include a psychologist, a social worker; it may include a content specialist in academics, a reading specialist. Importantly it should include classroom teacher, as well as a parent or family member. So we have members on the team who have content expertise as well as who know the student and the education environment well. If you have a team approach identifying what the intervention should be it will help because you have multiple knowledge sets of people coming in with their expertise. Another important issue around a team approach is that if you have change over, staff turn-over, a team approach provides continuity and you will have somebody there who understands what the student needs and also understands the fit within the organization or the education environment. So a team approach is important. Once a program is identified and intensive support is created around an individual student, we want to ensure that we have the best individual implementing it, the best educator implementing that intervention, and we want to make sure that, that individual has the skill set and the knowledge to continue that work. So we want to ensure that the interventionist is selected based on their knowledge of the intervention; we want to make sure that training may need to take place around the intervention; there may need to be coaching to ensure that the training is carried out in the education environment; and there may be technical expertise that is needed, so technical assistance around problem solving when things do not occur the way they should go. We also need to engineer the environment to ensure that it is very easy to implement well. And what I mean by engineering the environment — one idea is to provide information that is easy and accessible — so directions for the plan should be really clear and easy to implement, there should be materials that are available to implement well without having to track down where the materials are, there should also be time allowed that is dedicated to implementing the intervention. Another issue is we need to set up evaluation components to ensure success. Evaluation components — we talk about [how] progress monitoring is important for intensive supports. And progress monitoring around student needs to see if the student is progressing and if not what do we need to change, but we also need to look at progress monitoring around the person providing the intervention, so is that person given feedback on how well they are implementing the intervention. And a final component to all this is that we need to have leadership within the building or within the district that will dedicate time to support intensive interventions, that will make it a priority that we need successful interventions for all students, and that will allocate resources for the teaming, and for the materials, and for the training.

Developed By: 
National Center on Intensive Intervention