What is a Student Success Team (SST)?Sometimes a child does not make sufficient progress in the general school program, even withmodifications and remedial instruction. Under current federal and state law, anyone can refer a childwhen he or she suspects a child has special needs. The child can be referred to the schools StudentSuccess Team (SST). The SST, which typically includes the parent/guardian, develops a plan ofmodifications and/or interventions to be implemented in the general education classroom over a period oftime. If these modifications/ interventions are not successful, the SST may ultimately refer a child forconsideration of special education eligibility.The SST process is not meant to delay a necessary special education assessment. Rather, the SSTmeeting provides a forum for discussing identified concerns. Once concerns are identified, it is a time forproblem-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 thatimprove a students progress toward the district standards.One outcome of the SST process may be a special education assessment. However, many students aresuccessful after the SST process and do not require special education services. Parent participation inthe SST is particularly valuable. Parents bring important information to the SST and also receiveimportant information from school personnel. Parent participation helps ensure that a full discussion of achilds educationalperformance 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 strengthsand weakness and possible interventions. The school psychologist, counselor and/oradministrator are welcome to participate in this consultation.Referral: If the interventions that have been developed and implemented are unsuccessful, theparent/guardian, or the teacher makes a referral to the SST. If a parent requests a SST meeting oran evaluation for special education services, the meeting will be held within two weeks of receiptof the written referral.
Initial SST Meeting: School staff schedules and invites the parent/guardian to a SST meeting. Theteam 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. Itsimportant to note, however, that SSTs may vary from school to school and from case to case:Step 1: Overview -- The team reviews information about students strengths and areas of need,preferences, interests, and general health and well being. All relevant information is examined anddiscussed, including any outside evaluations the parent/guardian may have gathered. Informationis collected through team discussions, review of records, work samples, observations, andinterviews. (10 minutes)Step 2: Problem Identification -- The team lists instructional and/or behavioral concerns,prioritizes them, and defines the concerns in terms of one or two measurable behavioral goals.The goals may be based on district content standards, peer performance, or developmentalstandards. (15 minutes)Step 3: Define Intervention -- The team brainstorms possible interventions to meet the behavioralgoal(s) identified in Step 2. Interventions are then selected based on their feasibility and likelihoodof success. Creative uses of both community and district resources (e.g. the reading specialist,after school tutoring, counseling, etc.) are considered in determining the feasibility of eachintervention. Next, the duration and intensity of the intervention are established. The individualsaccountable for providing the interventions are identified. In addition, a liaison (i.e., someone toassist the interventionist(s) in fine-tuning the intervention) should be selected. (10 minutes)Step 4: Identification of Monitoring System -- The team establishes a continuous monitoringtechnique. Information on the students progress toward the identified goal(s) will be collectedand recorded frequently. Adjustments to the interventions are made based on this information.Progress may be charted. The responsibility of monitoring student progress is assigned to one ormore team members. (5 minutes)Step 5: Schedule a Follow-up Meeting --A date is selected for reconvening the SST team. Mostinterventions take from 4 to 8 weeks to see an effect.
Step 6: Hold the Follow-up Meeting-- The follow-up meeting will be held to determine the successof the intervention. The team will decide whether to: 1. discontinue the intervention because the goals have been achieved; 2. modify the interventions; 3. develop an additional intervention or consider other options.In making such decisions, the team will consider: 1. the discrepancy between actual and targeted behaviors before and after the intervention; 2. progress toward district content standards and performance indicators; 3. the intensity, duration, and effectiveness (e.g. whether it was implemented as planned) of the intervention; 4. and the amount of resources required to implement the intervention.Assessment for special education is probably not warranted in cases where the intervention results andother information reviewed by the SST suggest that the student does not have a disability of such severitythat 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 teamwill provide them the basis for its decision in writing. The notice may be completed at the conclusion ofthe initial SST or follow-up meeting and given to parents/ guardians, or mailed to them shortly after themeeting. The notice letter must include: 1. A copy of the Special Education Parents Rights and Procedural Safeguards; 2. A description and explanation of the districts position as well as a description of any options the district considered and the reasons why those options were not selected; 3. A description of each evaluation procedure, test, record, or report the district used as a basis for its decision; and 4. A description of any other factors that are relevant to the districts decision.How is eligibility for Special Education determined?The Assessment PlanThe primary assessment provider (e.g. school psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, etc.)will complete an assessment plan. The parent/guardian must sign an assessment plan before the schoolcan begin an individual assessment of a student. Parents must be informed about the assessmentspurpose, the methods or techniques which will be used, and the people (by title) who will be conductingthe assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to answer one or more questions identified on theassessment plan. The assessment questions are designed to identify the type of services and level ofsupport that will assist the student in attaining the district standards. If a parent does not approve an
assessment plan when the district believes an assessment is needed, the district or parent may requestan Alternative Dispute Resolution panel or proceed to due process.The Assessment ProcessThe assessment of a student is conducted to determine whether or not the student has special needs thatqualify him or her for special education services and to assist in instructional planning. Testing shouldresult in identification of the students present skill levels and interventions that are likely to be successful.The final step in the process is a team meeting where the separate components of the assessment arebrought together.The assessment involves collecting important information from parents/guardians and from qualifieddistrict personnel. These people may include some or all of those listed in the table on the next page. 1. Formal/informal test(s) administered in a one-on-one setting. 2. Review of school records and district assessments. 3. Parent interview 4. Teacher interview 5. Observation of the student in the classroom and possibly other setting, such as the playground 6. Health and developmental historyIn addition, the assessment will include reviewing any outside evaluations that have been obtained andmade available to the school district.Data gathered during the assessment process will be summarized in written assessment reports. IEPmembers may want to consider the following questions as they review the assessment reports: 1. Based on what we know about the nature of the students needs, is the assessment thorough? 2. Does the assessment provide a clear picture of how the student performs in critical skill or developmental areas? Does the assessment describe the students areas of strength as well as his or her weaknesses? 3. Do the assessment results help to develop instructional or behavioral goals? 4. Do the assessment results help to identify interventions that are likely to help the student reach these goals? 5. Did the assessment process answer the questions on the Assessment Plan? Assessment Team Members and Their Contributions People Who May Be Involved Expected Contributions Parents · Review and approve the Assessment Plan.
· Provide health and developmental history. · Describe the childs responses to tasks and social interactions in the non-schools settings of home, neighborhood and community. · Release existing assessment reports if available, including physicians reports. General classroom teachers · Inform the team about the students academic achievement, physical/motor performance, and social behavior in the classroom. Nurse · Reviews the students medical background and physical development. · Screens hearing and vision. Speech Language Specialist · Provides relevant information speech and language development. School Psychologist · Examines the students social, emotional, academic, and intellectual development. Adapted Physical Education · Examines the students physical and sensory/ motor Development. Specialist and/or Occupational Physical TherapistWhat is an Individualized Educational Program (IEP)?The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a legal document that must be written for each child who iseligible for special education services. The IEP helps ensure that special education services are providedas planned, and that their appropriateness is evaluated regularly.The IEP specifies services to be provided by the school di strict. It describes anticipated long-term goalsand short-term objectives for a student, and serves as a "blueprint" for instruction in the schoolenvironment. It is not, however, a daily lesson plan.The IEP must be reviewed and updated annually. However, parents and/or teacher(s) can request areview more frequently. Note: there is no such thing as an emergency IEP.Who should attend an IEP team meeting?Current law stipulates that, at a minimum, the following persons must attend an IEP team: the parent(s) or guardian(s);
a teacher knowledgeable about the student (a students general education teacher participates to the extent appropriate); an administrator, or designee; the student, when appropriate, (usually middle and high school students attend); and special education teacher.Who else may be members of an IEP team? advocates from organizations or agencies, such as a Regional Center counselor; non-school therapists or specialists who work with a child; and a friend or relative who will provide moral support and take notes for the familyHow does a "team approach" to an IEP team meeting work?The team approach to developing an IEP involves communication and cooperation among parents,teacher(s), and other specialists with different kinds of skills who may work for the school district oroutside agencies. Together, the team prepares an IEP that best suits the students present educationalneeds. The team develops the IEP at a meeting that is held at a time and place that is convenient forparents and the school personnel.What must the IEP document contain?In addition to eligibility information, the IEP document always includes the following components: 1. A statement of the students present levels of educational performance Statements about what the student can and cannot do are based on assessment information. These may include information about academic, social, language, motor, self-help, and pre- vocational skills. Statements should describe the students classroom performance and how the disability affects his or her participation and progress in the general curriculum. They should not list only test scores. 2. A statement of the students annual goals and short-term instructional objectives Based on the students identified learning needs, the IEP specifies skills the student will work on. The IEP must specify annual goals (i.e., what the student can reasonably be expected to accomplish within one year). Short-term objectives are measurable, intermediate steps between where the student is now (i.e., present levels of performance) and the annual goals. The objectives are developed based on a logical breakdown of the skills necessary to achieve the goal. The objectives serve as a guide for planning and implementing instructional activities in the classroom and as milestones for measuring progress. The IEP identifies a few learning goals in each area, however, these goals are not the only skills the student will learn during the year. The student will receive instruction in many other skills beyond those identified by his/her IEP. Progress toward attaining the annual goals will be reported to parents at least three times a year. For children who are limited English proficient (LEP), the goals and objectives must address English language development. 3. A statement of specific education and related services to be provided to the student.Some services may include when appropriate: o assistive technology, o extended school year services,
o shortened day services, o adaptive physical education, o transition services, o community experience, o employment and post-school living, and o acquisition of daily living skills and a functional vocational evaluation, if appropriate.4. A description of the extent to which the child will participate in the general education program or natural preschool environment and a description of the program to be provided.5. Participation in State or District-wide Assessments , with accommodations where necessary.6. Projected dates for initiation of services and the anticipated duration of services.7. Annual and Triennial Date The IEP will be reviewed at least once per year. The annual review date indicates the date that the IEP must be reviewed. A triennial review, which closely examines the appropriateness of the students program, is conducted every three years. This three-year review may entail an informal consultation between the parent(s), the teacher and the school psychologist or a more formal assessment. The IEP should include objective criteria, evaluation procedures, and schedule for determining whether short-term and long-term educational objectives are being achieved.8. Signatures and Parent/Guardian Approval Persons attending an IEP team meeting are asked to sign the IEP to indicate their participation; however, only the parent/ guardian is asked to approve the IEP. This is because an IEP cannot be implemented without parent approval.