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Section 504 of the Rehablitative Act of 1973/Student Support Teams
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                  Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools- See Document Uploads

 


Georgia Student Achievement Pyramid of Interventions/Response To Intervention
For children in kindergarten through 12th grade enrolled in public schools, Child Find is accomplished through the Georgia Student Achievement Pyramid of Interventions, a framework of instructional interventions that begins with standards-based classrooms serving as the foundation for teaching and learning. The Pyramid represents the process of continually implementing progress monitoring and then providing layers of more intensive interventions so that students can be successful and progress in their learning. This proactive approach does not wait until students have large gaps in their learning that are almost too great to overcome. Neither does it allow high-achieving students to languish in a curriculum that is not challenging to them. This approach focuses on determining when students are struggling and then providing scientific, research or evidence-based interventions to address their areas of need; it also documents students’ strengths and provides additional challenges in a variety of ways.


The Pyramid facilitates the Child Find process for students in public schools. All students in Georgia schools participate in evidence-based instruction that is developed based on grade level Georgia Performance Standards. When students struggle in the general education curriculum, Tier 2 and, if needed, Tier 3 (Student Support Team) interventions are provided. At both tiers, data is collected to determine the students’ responses to interventions that have been implemented. Students who do not make progress with the individual interventions provided at Tier 3 may be referred for an evaluation to determine eligibility for special education and related services. Consequently, in essence, Tier 3 serves a Child Find responsibility for students who may need special education and related services. Students in private schools, home schools, and charter schools, who are referred for special education services, should also have documentation of these prior interventions to assist in the determination of eligibility for special education services. Implementation of the Pyramid of interventions requires three essential components: (1) Multiple tiers of interventions service, (2) A problem-solving method, and (3) An integrated data collection system to inform decisions at each tier of service delivery.


Child Find is a critical part of the special education process for all children suspected of having disabilities. With the completion of RTI and the focus on progress monitoring and response to intervention, only those students who are not making progress, despite evidence-based instruction, will be referred to special education to determine their eligibility. The eligibility team must be provided with enough data to determine if the student was not making progress toward obtaining intervention target(s) for progress. As RTI is operationalized, it is expected that a minimum of 12 weeks of support will be provided to determine that a student is or is not making progress. A referral with less than 12 weeks of support is not best practice. The problem solving team must analyze RTI data and have evidence to support their decision(s) with sufficient progress monitoring and summary of intervention strategies and approaches.
School personnel and parents/guardians may determine that there is a reasonable cause to bypass the RTI/SST process for a student. Documentation in the student's record shall clearly justify such action, including whether the parent or guardian agreed with such a decision. In cases where immediate referral is sought, the RTI/SST shall still determine what interim strategies, interventions, and modifications shall be attempted for the student.

Typical Procedures for the Tier 3/ Student Support Team Process:

• the student receives hearing and vision screening if this has not already been done at an earlier Tier.
• a referral is received by the Tier 3/SST chair
• a meeting is scheduled (if prior interventions and progress monitoring from "Tier 1" and/or "Tier 2" is submitted)
• notification of the time and date of the meeting is sent to the parents and team members
• a formal Tier I/ SST meeting is held to discuss the concern using a problem solving format
• interventions are generated with frequency and duration determined (additional data documentation and progress monitoring is determined)
• follow-up meetings  should be scheduled, at a minimum, on a  monthly basis to review the data
Except in severe cases (see procedures below) or in situations where intensive interventions for sufficient duration have already been documented at lower tiers, the Tier 3/SST process should, as with the other layers of support in the Pyramid of Interventions provide a minimum of 9-12 weeks of intervention that is in addition to and more individualized than the previous intervention attempts. Data Collection should be more frequent and should be done every 1-2 weeks depending on the progress monitoring instrument (see instrument for recommendations).  After the student has had the recommended time in the interventions recommended and the Tier 3/ SST feels that he or she has not made sufficient growth toward grade level standards, the student may be referred to the special education department for a comprehensive evaluation. A meeting must be called to accomplish this and to complete the referral to special education form. Multiple documented attempts to include the parent in this meeting must be made and documented. All required documentation must evaluated and collected and the originals must be sent to the special education department. Only members present at the final Tier 3/SST meeting should sign the referral. If the file is incomplete or sufficient interventions and progress monitoring data is not documented, the special education director may reject the file and return it to the Student Support Team for further review. If the file is complete and appropriate, the special education director will sign off on receipt of the file and the department will begin the parental consent for evaluation process. 


RTI/SST Bypass Procedures:
In very severe cases, where children are suspected of having significant or profound cognitive disabilities,  severe and sudden emotional/ behavioral issues or sensory (hearing or vision) problems, the RTI/ SST procedures may be “bypassed.” In these cases, the principal must make contact with the Special Education director to express the nature of the concerns and why this student’s condition warrants a bypass of the RTI/SST process. If given verbal approval, the principal must put the request in writing and the Tier 3/ SST must meet, provide, and implement a Tier 3 plan of support as well as a summary of any prior intervention strategies and results while the evaluation process is being conducted. Progress monitoring must also be conducted. Hearing and vision, the social history and other supporting documents must also be provided prior to parental consent being sought. The probable exception to the school level SST support plan is with documented hearing or vision issues which are severe enough to warrant immediate consultation from the RESA Vision/Hearing Specialists (or private contractors) who will assist in the sensory evaluation process and will recommend classroom modifications and accomodations until the eligibility decision is made. In this case, those recommendations may be added to the SST support plan if necessary.

The Tier 3/SST shall include at a minimum the referring teacher and at least two of the following participants, as appropriate to the needs of the student:

a. Principal.
b. General education teacher.
c. Counselor.
d. Lead teacher.
e. School psychologist.
f. Subject area specialist.
g.  ESOL teacher.
h. Special education teacher.
i. School social worker.
j. Central office personnel.
k. Section 504 coordinator.
l. Other appropriate personnel.
For additional information concerning Student Support Teams visit: http://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Student-Support-Teams/Pages/default.aspx

 

 


Miller County Schools