Several procedural steps are required for a student to be identified for special education services and for reviewing the ongoing need for these services. These steps are:
What is a Student Success Team (SST)?
Sometimes a child does not make sufficient progress in the general school program, even with modifications and remedial instruction. Under current Federal and State law, anyone can refer a child when he or she suspects a child has difficulty at school. The child can be referred to the school's Student Success Team (SST). The SST, which typically includes the parent/guardian, develops a plan of modifications and/or interventions to be implemented in the general education classroom over a period of time. If these modifications/ interventions are not successful, the SST may ultimately refer a child for consideration of special education eligibility.
The SST process is not meant to delay a necessary special education assessment. Rather, the SST meeting provides a forum for discussing identified concerns. Once concerns are identified, it is a time for problem-solving. Typically, an intervention is designed, implemented, and monitored for 4 to 8 weeks. The purpose of this process is to identify the level of support and types of educational conditions that improve a student's progress toward the district standards.
One outcome of the SST process may be a special education assessment. However, many students are successful after the SST process and do not require special education services. Parent participation in the SST is particularly valuable. Parents bring important information to the SST and also receive important information from school personnel. Parent participation helps ensure that a full discussion of a child's educational performance takes place.
How does the SST meeting process work? Where do we begin?
Consultation: First, the parent/guardian and the teacher discuss the student, identifying strengths and weakness and possible interventions. The school psychologist, counselor and/or administrator are welcome to participate in this consultation.
Referral: If the interventions that have been developed and implemented are unsuccessful, the parent/guardian, or the teacher makes a referral to the SST. If a parent requests a SST meeting or an evaluation for special education services, the meeting will be held within two weeks of receipt of the written referral.
Initial SST Meeting: School staff schedules and invites the parent/guardian to a SST meeting. The team members may include the parent, psychologist, teacher(s), counselor, and school principal. The SST commonly adheres to the following six steps and approximate time requirements. It's important to note, however, that SSTs may vary from school to school and from case to case:
In making such decisions, the team will consider:
Assessment for special education is probably not warranted in cases where the intervention results and other information reviewed by the SST suggest that the student does not have a disability of such severity that the identified needs cannot be met in general education, with or without accommodations. If parents/ guardians disagree with the SST decision that special education assessment is not necessary, the team will provide them the basis for its decision in writing. The notice may be completed at the conclusion of the initial SST or follow-up meeting and given to parents/ guardians, or mailed to them shortly after the meeting.
The notice letter must include: