Students sometimes experience challenges and need additional support beyond what the classroom teacher can provide. These difficulties may be academic, social, and/or emotional. When noted by school personnel, the process for addressing the difficulty may begin with a referral to the Student Support Team (SST) or to the school social worker.
The parent is informed and brought into the process at this time. Often the issue is resolved by the Student Support Team or at the school counseling level, but sometimes further assistance is necessary. When further information or resources are necessary, the child may be referred for special education services. If a child is found eligible to receive services, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is written and services are provided at school.
School counseling services are available to students who are experiencing social or emotional issues at school. Hyde-Addison’s School Social Worker is available to counsel students, parents, and teachers.
Student Support Team (SST)
Student Support Teams (SSTs) are school-based committees charged with helping local schools provide all students with opportunities to learn and progress in the general curriculum. The Student Support Team process recognizes that many variables affect learning. The primary purpose is to help general education teachers meet diverse student needs within general education settings. Teachers and parents request SST assistance. SST members – school counselors, general education teachers, administrators, other support staff, and parents – use a collaborative process to assess the needs of students who are struggling academically and/or behaviorally. The process is data-driven; team members consider evidence that the teacher collects to document the concern. After identifying a positive goal or goals for the student, SST members recommend academic and/or behavioral instructional strategies that the teacher agrees to implement during a six-week period. The SST also designs an implementation plan that includes monitoring and evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the intervention.
Special Education Referrals
The goal of special education is to enable students to work successfully in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) as defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
All students must first go through the Student Support Team process before a referral for assessment by the special education team. When the Student Support Team makes a referral, the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) convenes and formally evaluates the student to determine eligibility for special education services. The Multi-Disciplinary Team includes the special educator, general educator, administrator, and service providers such as speech-language pathologists, and school psychologists.
The special education assessment may include the following evaluations:
- Speech and Language
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Family History
Additionally, student work samples are evaluated as part of the assessment process.
Recommended assessments are made by the appropriate professionals and their reports are written and presented at the Multi-Disciplinary Team Meeting. These professionals, the special education teacher, the parent, Principal, and classroom teacher meet together to determine if the child meets eligibility criteria for special education services. If the team reaches a consensus that the child is eligible, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is written specifying the nature of the needs, goals to be achieved, and the services that will be delivered to support the child. It is the responsibility of the Multi-Disciplinary Team to ensure that these services are provided to the child.
Annual evaluations are held to review the status and progress of each child with an Individualized Education Plan. The parent, principal, special education teacher, classroom teacher, and service providers meet to discuss the progress of the student and plan for the next academic year. The special education teacher assesses the student’s progress using classroom work, informal assessments, and formal assessments. The date of the annual evaluation is determined by the anniversary of the initial psycho-educational assessment.
Triennial evaluations are held every third year after the initial psycho-educational assessment. This is in accordance with IDEA. The Multi-Disciplinary Team meets and determines what formal assessments need to be re-administered to determine if the child is still eligible for special education services.
For more information about special education, please contact one of our SPED educators.