Making a Referral for Special Education
RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION (RtI) TEAMS
A problem-solving team designed to increase student academic achievement and/or improve behavior via research-based interventions and data-driven decision making.
RtI teams are in place in all Unit 4 schools. The primary function of the team is to engage in individual problem solving for students who, after receiving core instruction, are not making sufficient progress in one or more academic, social-emotional, or functional areas The team will analyze student needs, set measurable goals, and develop and monitor interventions supported by research. RtI teams are also used to respond to a parent request for a 504 Plan or a referral for a full case study evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services. RtI team members typically include a building administrator, a school psychologist, a school social worker, a special educator, and a general education teacher as well as other individuals who know the child.
When a request for a full case study evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services is made, it should be given to the building principal where the student attends school or would attend school if enrolled. If such a request is given to an employee of the district, the employee will immediately give the referral to the building principal.
Any staff person, parent/guardian, or agency may refer a student for a special education case study evaluation to determine if special education is necessary. The RtI team will discuss the reasons for the referral and determine whether conducting an evaluation is appropriate.
A RtI Team meeting will be scheduled at the building. You are invited to attend by the building. RtI Teams meet regularly to discuss students and review concerns and data.
Domain Review Meeting
At the meeting
At the meeting the following areas or “domains” are discussed: Academic Achievement, Functional Performance, Cognitive Functioning, Communication Status, Health, Hearing and Vision, Motor Abilities, and Social-Emotional Status.
Parents can expect to meet a variety of school personnel, possibly to include: the General education teacher, a building administrator, the School Psychologist, Speech Language Therapist, and School Social Worker.
Each staff person will serve as a part of the team to determine what domains will need to be evaluated. Parents are an integral part of this team.
The parent should be prepared to discuss significant history and current functioning in all the domain areas.
The School Psychologist will discuss any general intelligence or achievement data needed.
The School Social Worker will discuss whether social developmental history is a necessary component of the case study.
The general education teacher will discuss performance in the classroom.
If at any time you do not understand what is being discussed, please ask for clarification. The school staff is aware that your child’s success is very important to you. Following the discussion of the domains, the team will determine whether or not additional information is needed to determine eligibility for Special education services. You will be asked to sign either agreeing that no further information is necessary or giving consent to perform the evaluations as stated in the Domain Review.
Your signature of consent to evaluate, or agreement that no further information is necessary, begins the sixty day timeline to complete the case study evaluation. Please note that this means 60 school days.
Eligibility Staffing: What to Expect
The Eligibility Determination Conference (EDC)
Often parents attending their first Special Education Eligibility Conference are surprised by the number of school professionals in the room. This can be intimidating but parents should be aware that each individual in the room has some special input regarding the student and is there with the child’s best interests in mind. The Domain Review Meeting, held prior to the Eligibility Meeting, dictates which professionals attend in response to the evaluations completed.
The parent is an equal member of the special education team, having unique knowledge and helpful information about the child. It can be difficult to have so many individuals reporting about your child. If at any time you do not understand what is being presented, feel free to ask the team members for clarification. After the professionals have completed the reporting of the evaluations, eligibility will be determined per the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and Unit #4 Eligibility Criteria Guidelines. A discussion will occur regarding the way in which the student’s disability affects his or her educational performance (adverse effects). Additionally, a discussion and documentation of the child’s unique educational needs will take place.
Following this discussion, if your child is found eligible for services and an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is written, you will be asked to sign consent for your student to receive the services recommended.
Individual Education Plans (IEP): What to Expect
The Individual Education Plan (IEP)
The IEP document is to be developed by a team of persons, including the parent or guardian, who have knowledge about the child educationally. The team should consist of a general education teacher, special education teacher, the parent, a school administrator, and other personnel having knowledge or dealings with the child, relevant to the educational process.
The parent should receive written notification of the conference ten days prior to the meeting. If the ten days notice was not provided, but the parent wished to go ahead with the meeting, the parent may sign a waiver to give up that right and have the meeting occur.
The parent also has the right to bring persons to the meeting who may have pertinent information regarding the child. In cases where the student, as agreed by the team, is able to participate, the student may also attend. At the age of 14 ½ years old, the student will be invited to discuss his or her post‐secondary goals.
Goals and Benchmarks
The IEP includes goals and benchmarks to outline desired progress. The goals are written be completed within a year’s time, and to be reviewed, at a minimum, annually at the student’s Annual Review. The benchmarks are small steps leading to the completion of the long term goal.
Parents should receive information regarding the student’s progress on annual goals and benchmarks as often as general education students receive reports on their work in school. This is generally quarterly.
Placement in the Least Restrictive Environment occurs near the end of the IEP meeting, after all of the information available on the student has been provided and goals have been written. The team, including the parent, then reviews the student’s educational needs and goals and determines the placement in which those needs can be met most appropriately. Related services are also discussed at this time and may include speech services, social work services, occupational or physical therapy services, and transportation.
If at any time, you have a question or concern regarding your child’s IEP, you have a right, as a member of the IEP team, to reconvene the meeting to discuss your concerns. It is best to contact your child’s special education teacher to facilitate this process.