Kelli EstevesTitle, department and job responsibilities: Assistant Professor of Education. I teach courses in the Foundations program in the College of Education. In spring semester 2011, I am teaching ED 241 – Developmental Theory and Application in Education. I will also be teaching a graduate course this summer on the topic of Response to Intervention with Diverse Learners and another section of ED 241.

Years at Butler: This is my first year.

Most memorable academic experience(s) at Butler:I had the opportunity to participate in Critical Friends training this summer at Butler with teachers from Lawrence Township. The training was a part of Project Alianza, a project focused on supporting teacher professional development for English Language Learners in Indiana, led by COE’s Dr. Katie Brooks and Susan Adams. It was a powerful experience for me to be in the “student role” and learn from some amazing instructors and listen to what is on the hearts and minds of teachers.  

Projects/research you’re currently involved with: I am working on a manuscript with a colleague on the topic of response to intervention (RTI) for middle and high schools. It is a follow-up to a book I co-authored in 2009 titled RTI Success: Proven Tools and Strategies for Schools and Classrooms. The intent of RTI is to intervene early on rather than waiting until a student is failing in school. More specifically, the goals are to prevent over-labeling of students with disabilities and to implement interventions in the general education setting before a student fails and is referred for special education services. Another focus of RTI is the promotion of collaboration and teaming among all educational services. Many elementary schools are currently using the RTI framework, but it has not caught on in secondary schools yet. I am researching why this is, and what is (and what’s not) working for secondary schools who have implemented RTI.

What current intellectual or creative question are you thinking about these days: Most of my questions have surrounded the topic of RTI in middle schools and high schools. How does implementation in those schools differ from RTI in the elementary setting? What are the opportunities? What barriers currently exist?

What do you enjoy most about teaching: I love getting to know students. What makes them think? What are their passions? How do they learn? What assumptions do they have about teaching and learning? I also enjoy surprising students with various instructional strategies. Most of the students in my classes are future teachers, so I like to model creative instructional strategies with the hope that they will use a variety of instructional methods and take some risks when they have their own classrooms. I have really enjoyed my time at Butler so far. I work with some truly inspiring colleagues and students who are dedicated and eager to learn.

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