Create a checklist of items to do and bring for the IEP meeting. Include three sections:What to do before the meetingWhat to do and bring during the meetingWhat to do after the meetingYour plan should include any terms and requirements specific to your state. More information for the requirements in your state may be found at:http://tea.texas.gov/Academics/Special_Student_Populations/Special_Education/Parent_and_Family_Resources/Guidance_on_Admission,_Review,_and_Dismissal_Guide_Production_and_Required_Dissemination/Approach this assignment with a focus on the legal requirements of the teacher/school. Please read the section of the coursework titled Section 2: Response to Intervention and the Individualized Education Program. Pay close attention to the sub section marked Individual Education Plan. (pg. 44-49). Use this as a guide for creating your checklist. Then review the rubric, make appropriate changes, and resubmit.
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Section 2. Response to Intervention and the
Individualized Education Program
Response to Intervention
Response to Intervention (RTI) is such a significant and broad topic within the field of
special education that it merits its own discussion. It is primarily applicable to students
who are exhibiting signs of a “hidden” disability such as a learning disability or
intellectual disability, but the principles of RTI may apply to any struggling learner who
is not on an IEP.
Educators have struggled daily to help children in their classrooms who are
experiencing difficulty in school. Prior to the reauthorization of the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) in 2004, students who exhibited learning
problems were thought to be destined for a special education referral in order to get
the assistance needed.
Unfortunately, the road to special education services could be difficult and all too often
the student had to “fail first” before they were even referred for testing. If the testing
showed the student had the intelligence to learn at a certain level but was not, then
the child was considered to have a discrepancy between ability and performance. If the
discrepancy was not significant, then the child simply did not qualify for special
education services and was left without any structured interventions in place to assist
the student as they progressed through the grades.
Often the referral process could not even be started until after the child had been
unsuccessful in a number of grades. Since there had to be adequate time for the
student to acquire knowledge, first grade was too early even though it might be very
apparent that the student was not progressing at the rate of the majority of his peers.
By the time a student reached the upper elementary grades their learning difficulties
often created other problems that caused behavior issues, only adding to their already
mounting academic concerns.
When IDEA was reauthorized, a new approach to helping struggling students was
introduced. Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-step approach in providing
services and different types of levels of interventions to students struggling to be
successful in the classroom. What makes RTI unique from the old process of
interventions is that it requires schools to focus on high quality interventions while
monitoring the student’s response to these interventions. Before the introduction of
RTI, a struggling student’s best hope for structured intervention was special education
testing and qualifying for services. RTI requires school personnel to determine through
universal screening which students are “at risk” for not meeting grade level
requirements or those who have behavioral or emotional problems that might interfere
with their learning. The key to RTI is providing scientific, research-based instruction and
interventions in the general education setting; monitoring and measuring student’s
progress and using these measures to develop instructional practices that help the
student become a successful student. Early interventions in reading have long been
accepted and used at elementary campuses but there was not a comprehensive
approach to intervening with students who were at risk in written expression, math, or
While there are several interpretations of what an RTI model should look like the
guiding principles are the same:
RTI requires a multi-tier approach for identifying and intervening with students
who are at risk for developing a variety of academic or behavioral issues
A three tier or multi level approach is the one most commonly used with the
intensity of the intervention increasing as the student moves through the various
tiers or levels of intervention
Continuous monitoring of student progress is used to determine if the student is
Data collection of student’s response must be done at each level
Parents must be involved and informed in the RTI process
RTI is a process which can take a great amount of time in order to see results
The RTI approach changes to meet the need of the student
The question arises from educators as to whether RTI was developed as primarily a
means to decrease the number of students referred for special education evaluation.
The answer to this is no. IDEA 2004 did away with the requirement that a student
must exhibit a “severe” discrepancy between ability and achievement in order to be
eligible for special education services. RTI offers a more flexible approach to put
interventions in place in order to recognize children who are truly learning disabled
without requiring a certain point discrepancy to qualify for the interventions. IDEA
2004 offered school districts the option to use some of their federal special education
funds for early intervention for students who had not been identified as needing special
education but who needed additional supports to be successful in the general
education classroom. These funds can be used for professional development for
teachers to help them deliver instruction in many different ways that often help
The most exciting part of RTI is that children no longer have to fail before interventions
can be put in place. Using the RTI approach could reduce the number of students
referred for special education services and keep more children in general education
settings. While there will still be the need for those students who reach tier three in
the RTI method to be further evaluated through the special education process, using
RTI can reduce the number referred. By using research-based interventions, educators
will be able to quickly identify students’ problems and help them bridge academic gaps
The Three-Tier Approach
When a child is identified as needing classroom interventions to help them succeed,
many school districts use a three-tier model to determine the intensity of various
Tier One is the lowest level of intervention and occurs in the general education
classroom. The classroom teacher puts the interventions in place and a student’s
response to the intervention must be documented. It is at Tier One that a large
majority of struggling students will achieve success and require no further interventions.
Once the student begins to achieve at the same level as age appropriate peers, the
interventions can be continued or discontinued based on the student’s progress.
Interventions at Tier One are structured toward whole group instructional procedures
since RTI provides for universal screening in academic and behavior areas for all
students. Students who continue to struggle once the Tier One interventions are in
place for a certain amount of time are identified as students who need to receive
additional support at Tier Two.
However, if a large percentage of students are still struggling and the Tier One
interventions have been in place long enough, the classroom teacher may have to
evaluate his or her instructional methods. Most of the research on the RTI model
indicates that eighty percent or more students will be successful with the Tier One
interventions. The amount of time that Tier One interventions need to be monitored
and documented varies from school district to school district, but the authorities on RTI
indicate that a minimum of one six-week period must be used for Tier One before
referring a student to Tier Two.
Tier Two interventions provide supplemental instruction in addition to the regular
classroom instruction. It is important to note that these interventions are provided in
addition to the Tier One interventions already being used by the classroom teacher. A
good example of a Tier Two level of intervention would be an intense small group
instruction focused only on one or two grade appropriate objectives. The Tier Two
interventions should be provided to the student several times each week; once again,
documentation of progress should be maintained.
Those students who are still struggling after Tier Two interventions have been in place
for a number of weeks and there is no indication of meaningful measurable progress
move on to Tier Three.
Tier Three is where teachers develop intense individual instructional designs to increase
a specific student’s academic performance is developed and delivered. It is also at the
Tier Three level that possible determination of eligibility for special education is
determined. Individual diagnostic assessments should be conducted to determine
specific deficits in academic areas. If the student does have significant deficits the need
for specialized instruction delivered at the student’s academic level can be provided
through a variety of services under special education.
RTI and the General Education Teacher
As RTI becomes the accepted model for working with all students, classroom teachers
will have to be exposed more to a varying array of instructional practices. It will no
longer be accepted that students who struggle must need services that can only be
delivered under the guidelines of special education. The accepted belief must be that
all children can learn. The school must be committed to providing instruction that
meets the needs of all the learners that enter classrooms every day. To do this, general
education teachers must be trained on differentiated instructional practices and
provided with the instructional tools they need.
This is not to imply that special education teachers will no longer be needed in our
public schools. It does appear, however, that the role of the special education teacher
will change. Special education teachers may no longer primarily work with their
students in a self-contained classroom but rather work in collaboration with general
education teachers in all classroom settings.
RTI also clearly establishes that schools must provide interventions early. If a student is
struggling, educators can no longer accept the “wait to fail” approach but must act
quickly to assist the student. When students appear to struggle, teachers need to be
actively engaged in determining what problem the child is experiencing and then
decide on what interventions they can provide.
Response to Intervention is a method, not an absolute that will eliminate struggling
students in our schools. Implementing interventions is only a part of the RTI process
and without the other key components, it cannot be effective. The assessment used by
the teachers to gage the student’s response to a particular intervention is critical since
the student’s response is what should steer the methodology. What RTI does offer is
yet another way to move students toward academic success. It does not matter what
method a teacher must employ to help a student as long as each student arrives at the
same destination – academic success.
Implications for School Districts
The majority of school districts across the country have had a district special education
coordinator for some time to assist schools within a district on complying with special
education requirements. The Amendment narrows a school district’s determination that
a particular student does not have a disability under the ADA or Section 504. [It has no
effect on the definition of disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA).] The amended language puts a greater emphasis on the question of what is
necessary in order to provide a student with a nondiscriminatory education. The Senate
Managers state that they do not anticipate that the national Office for Civil Rights
(OCR) will need to extensively change its current regulations and guidance. They believe
that most schools currently operate in a manner consistent with the original
congressional intent of Section 504/ADA and should be minimally affected by the
Amendment. While it may be true that USDE may not need to significantly modify its
regulations, it is not clear that the Amendment will have a minimal impact on schools.
Such impact will depend in major part on OCR’s interpretation of its current regulation
based on the expanded definition of disability and the related practices required of a
school district’s staff.
To explore this issue, several regulatory provisions of Section 504 that apply to
elementary and secondary schools receiving federal financial assistance are summarized
Free Appropriate Public Education
Schools must provide a free appropriate public education to students with
disabilities through implementation of an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
An IEP developed in accordance with IDEA is one means districts may use to
meet this standard.
School districts must conduct an evaluation of any person who, because of
disability, needs or is believed to need special education or related services
before taking any action with respect to initial placement in a regular or special
education program and any subsequent change in placement. The evaluation
procedures are similar to the nondiscriminatory provisions outlined in IDEA. Also,
reevaluations must be conducted periodically, and compliance with IDEA is one
means of meeting this requirement.
In interpreting evaluation data and in making placement decisions, staff must
follow procedures similar to those in IDEA. In addition, placements include those
in regular education with the provision of supplementary aids and services.
School districts must establish and implement, with respect to actions regarding
the identification, evaluation, or educational placement a system of procedural
safeguards that includes notice, an impartial hearing with opportunity for
participation by parents/guardians and their counsel, and a review procedure.
Also, compliance with IDEA is one means of meeting this requirement.
These requirements raise the following issues:
• Do students with dyslexia who are involved in a Response to Intervention (RtI)
process have a disability under Section 504? If so, what type of documentation
and procedures will OCR require for each student? Will the Response to
Intervention process and documentation suffice? What type of procedural
safeguards notice is required?
• Will school districts be required to evaluate for ACT/SAT accommodations high
performing high schoolers with reading impairments who never before asked for
• Currently, school districts frequently provide students with health impairments
an informal health plan. Will OCR consider these plans to meet its regulatory
requirements? As above, what type of procedural safeguard notice is required?
While there are no immediate answers to these questions, school districts may ask their
regional OCR office for technical assistance and work with local, state and national
educational associations to advocate for interpretations that are reasonable and do not
have unanticipated consequences.
Individual Education Plan
Once a student moves to Tier III of RTI, it is time to contact the school’s diagnostician to
have a conversation and possibly refer a student for a formal evaluation to receive
special education services. If a learner is diagnosed as having a special need, then a
meeting will be set to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Information
about the diagnostic process specifically for learning disabilities is including in the
learning disabilities part of Section 3 of this course, but the following information
provides a general overview of the process.
School districts are mandated by IDEA to “identify, find and evaluate students who live
within the state who need special education and related services.” This ongoing
process of identifying special needs students is called Child Find. A student can also be
identified and referred for an evaluation by a parent, teacher, or other school
When the school district receives a referral they must notify the parents in writing
within 15 business days and get their consent to do the evaluation. This is termed
“prior written notice.” In the letter to the parents, the school district includes the
reason for the evaluation and the ensuing process. The district should also include a
copy of the Procedural Safeguards. You will find a generic copy of the Procedural
Safeguards posted in this course. It is very important that you familiarize yourself with
this document which explains the rights that protect both the students and the parents.
You should also acquaint yourself with any additional state specific requirements
Once the parental consent is received, the school district has 60 calendar days to
complete the evaluation process and decide if the child is eligible for special education.
During the evaluation, the student will be assessed in all areas related to the suspected
disability. For example, a student could be evaluated for communication skills, academic
performance, motor abilities, behavior status or other areas as needed. The evaluation
results will be reviewed by qualified professionals as well as the parents to decide the
child’s eligibility for special education and related services. The evaluation results are
further used to guide decisions about the student’s program. If parents do not agree
with the evaluation they have the right to request an independent educational
evaluation which is done at the expense of the district.
As a reminder, in order to receive special education or related services the student must
be identified as eligible under one of these categories listed in IDEA:
other health impairment;
specific learning disability;
speech or language impairment;
traumatic brain injury; or
visual impairment (including blindness).
Within 30 calendar days after a student is determined eligible for special education or
related services, the IEP team must meet to write an IEP.
The IEP Team
The plan is developed by a school faculty member (often a special education teacher)
who consults everyone involved with the student. These people include:
• The student, if appropriate
• Parent or guardian
• School administrator
• Others who can help plan the student’s program
Before the Initial IEP or the Annual Review Meeting
At least three weeks prior to the IEP meeting the designated person, which is usually
the special education teacher, contacts the parents of the student to invite them to the
meeting. Let us assume that you are the designated person. When you contact the
parents you must inform them of the purpose of the meeting, who will be attending
the meeting, and you will ask them if they would like to bring anyone else who may be
familiar with their child. For example, sometimes parents choose to have a child
advocate attend. If the parents have limited proficiency in English or are deaf you will
additionally have to arrange for an interpreter to be in attendance. You want to make
certain that the parents have every opportunity to understand what is happening at the
When you contact the parents, suggest some meeting dates and times. It is generally a
good idea to talk to the principal and the other attendees to see their availability prior
to speaking with the parents. This will help you avoid going back and forth with
everyone and it will better ensure that all needed persons will be in attendance. If you
contact the parents by phone it is important to follow up with a letter or email. It is
imperative to k …
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