The Doctor is in: Time for an Academic Physical with Dr. Nikki Roorda

Roorda_Nicole (1)Every day, in millions of doctors’ offices across the world, people go in for their annual physical exam.  This process brings out a multitude of emotions from patients including, but not limited to, “I hate going to the doctor.  I know s/he is going to tell me to lose a few pounds and to stop eating out so much” to “I am excited to see how my changes in lifestyle choices have impacted my high blood pressure,” and everything in between. 

The purpose  of health screenings is defined by the American Medical Association (AMA)  as, “Health care services or products provided to an individual without apparent signs or symptoms of an illness, injury or disease for the purpose of identifying or excluding an undiagnosed illness, disease, or condition” (2000).  The  AMA contends that through the use of screening, our doctors can determine if a medical emergency exists.  No matter what thoughts go through our minds when we go in for our annual physicals, at the end of the day we trust in the process of the health screen to keep us safe from underlying medical issues.

We now have the opportunity to look at the academic health of our school system through the use of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS).  Similar to an annual check-up at the doctor’s office, this screening will help look at the academic health of your school or district to see if you have resources distributed appropriately within your system, or if there is a need to bolster your Core Instructional Cycle, where 80% of your students should be successful without any additional supports.

I would love for you to bring your team and join me at the 2016 Sound Grading & Communication Practices Conference in Portland, OR from 9:45-11:15 a.m. on December 1 or  2, 2016, as we dig into your data and conduct an “Academic Physical.”  Our session will address the following learning targets:

  • Identify key features of successful schools/districts
  • Describe the differences between RTI and RtI
  • Analyze the health of your school’s Core Instructional Cycle
  • Identify potential barriers to implementing a new initiative
  • Develop an action plan to develop/revise your current MTSS/RtI plan

Please plan on bringing hard copies of your universal screening data or state achievement test data  in a content area, or be able to access your data electronically, as we will participate in a process that will help you discover the health of your system, as well as time as a team to develop an action plan for continuing this work at home after the conference is over.  I look forward to seeing you!!!

Dr. Nikki Roorda is the regional director for Heartland Area Education Agency, an intermediate services unit in Iowa, where she works with building and district-level administrators and teachers to improve outcomes for students. She is a valued consultant for ATI, and will be presenting at this winter’s conference in Portland, OR.  

American Medical Association (2000). State Variations in Newborn Screenings.  Retrieved from,d.cWw  on October 14, 2016.


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