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School Leadership for Response to Intervention Learning Forward Summer Conference July 25, 2012 Allison Hertog, M.A., J.D.

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Presentation on theme: "School Leadership for Response to Intervention Learning Forward Summer Conference July 25, 2012 Allison Hertog, M.A., J.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 School Leadership for Response to Intervention Learning Forward Summer Conference July 25, 2012 Allison Hertog, M.A., J.D. MakingSchoolWork.com

2 Changes in Determining Eligibility for SLD under IDEA  Discrepancy approach  Prior to IDEA 2004, discrepancy model was the primary way to identify students with SLD to make them eligible for special education services.  Critics : “wait to fail” b/c must fail for long periods before showed sufficiently large deficits in achievement to satisfy the "severe discrepancy" requirement.  Dramatic rise in numbers of SLD students during 1990s.  Landmark paper published in 2001, Rethinking Learning Disabilities, suggested SLD was a “catch-all” for low-achieving students and that served as a “sociological sponge that attempts to wipe up general education’s spills and cleanse its ills.” 2

3 IDEA 2004 – A Revolution for SLD  IDEA 2004  States may no longer require school districts to use only a discrepancy model when determining eligibility for SLD.  States must allow (but not require) for the use of “a process based on the child’s response to scientific, research based intervention” or RTI.  States may also allow the use of other alternative research- based procedures for determining whether a child has SLD.  Five states mandate RtI as the first approach to SLD identification (CO, FL IL, IA, CT). Most states offer option to LEA of either RtI or a discrepancy model. 3

4 Parental Rights under the IDEA RtI and CHILD FIND  LEAs are legally obligated to “find” all children who may have a disability and need special education services.  Schools cannot rely on parents or private psychologists — schools have to affirmatively identify.  Prior to 2004, one way to evaluate children - a psycho-ed evaluation referred by parent/teacher. 4

5 Parental Rights under IDEA cont.  Every parent has right to request initial evaluation at any time, even if RtI is proceeding.  “Evaluation” may be psycho-ed and/or RtI, but no right to an eval of any type. to-rti to-rti  School can refuse to evaluate. But, if school “suspects” child may have disability and needs special ed, school legally obligated to evaluate under Child Find.  Once parent signs consent to a psycho-ed evaluation, the LEA has 60 days to complete evaluation and RtI.  Parent entitled to receive Prior Written Notice giving explanation of refusal to evaluate. Stating that child has not yet participated in or completed RTI process is not a legally sound reason for denial.  Once parent has Prior Written Notice can file due process or state complaint against school district. 5

6 OSEP Memo 1/21/2011 – Advocacy tool for parents, teachers, administrators  U.S. Dept of Ed Office Special Ed Programs (OSEP) (OSEP Response to Intervention (RTI) Memo, Jan. 21,  Definition of RtI  “ A schoolwide approach that addresses the needs of all students, including struggling learners and students with disabilities, and integrates assessment and interventions within a multi-level instructional and behavioral system to maximize student achievement and reduce problem behaviors. “... schools must “adjust the intensity and nature of those interventions depending upon a student’s responsiveness.” 6

7 OSEP Memo to Sch. Dists. Cont. Advocacy Tool  Core Characteristics of RtI Process  All students screened – academic and behavior. RtI is “High quality research-based instruction” in gen. ed.  “Continuous” monitoring of student performance (systematically collected and analyzed)  Parents must be kept informed of student progress  Multiple levels of instruction (i.e., tiers) that are “progressively more intense,” based on the students response to instruction 7

8 What Does the OSEP Memo Mean to Schools? IF YOUR NOT DOING “RTI” ACCORDING TO THE FEDS, YOUR SCHOOL /DISTRICT IS IN DANGER OF BEING SUED! 8

9 Case in Point: El Paso Indpt.Schl. Dist. (2008)  LEA violated Child Find by repeatedly referring a student with ADHD for “interventions” for 3 yrs despite his lack of academic improvement.  LEA should have evaluated student, who failed state standardized assessment 3 times.  Child Find triggered when LEA has reason to suspect : (1) the student has a disability; and 2) a resulting need for special education services. 9

10 Case in Point: Cobb County Sch. Dist. (2012)  LEA did not violate Child Find, even though child started showing reading delays in kindergarten and ultimately identified as SLD.  Key facts helping LEA: Child passed the state standardized exams in 1st and 2nd grades w/0 accommodations and “consistent progress” as a result of RTI.  When a child passes state standardized exam, courts weigh heavily in a school district’s favor. 10

11 School Leadership for Response to Intervention Learning Forward Summer Conference July 25, 2012 Allison Hertog, M.A., J.D. MakingSchoolWork.com


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