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Haley23 Haley23 is offline
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,809
Senior Member

Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,809
Senior Member

Old 03-10-2020, 04:11 PM
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We've never had any guidelines with the weeks thing. I know one factor is often documentation. It was a huge issue in my previous district and used to be a big deal for us here as well. Kids would be getting pulled for title 1 for years, but no one ever actually referred them to RtI (now MTSS here). So there would be frustration that they were "getting RtI for years" but there were no meetings/documentation and no one was really problem solving around that particular child. Then a teacher in 4th/5th would finally refer them and be mad that they had to do the whole process. Many years ago in my first district where I was in charge of RtI, I solved that by making it a rule that kids were placed in those title 1 groups at RtI meetings.

Another issue for most of my career has been that intervention/title 1 services are often better set up to serve students than sped programs. They get WAY more funding and resources. For example, the child would be in a 45 minute, 5 day per week, 3 student title 1 group and the teacher would be fighting tooth and nail for them to get identified for sped and be the 9th student in my group that was meeting for like 20 minutes per day, 4 days per week, often with a 2-3 year skill gap with students in the same group. It was extremely frustrating to have to sell getting an IEP as a good thing to parents knowing that it actually meant significantly worse intervention.

A couple of years ago we largely solved that problem by following the ESSA rule that allows other staff members to meet sped minutes. We do intervention blocks, and I no longer end up with 10 kids in my group while title 1 has 3 because I have to take all of the IEPs. We split the kids evenly and it's based on skill need. I take gen ed students as well if they fit. Then we ran into the "red tape" problem. While we weren't purposefully providing worse interventions for sped students anymore, IEPs/legalities added more red tape that resulted in sped kids getting worse interventions. Namely, IEP minutes and LRE. We had gen ed kids that were getting pulled for various groups up to 2 hours per day if they were really struggling. I could never put that many out of class minutes on my students' IEPs due to LRE rules.

Gen ed students also got flexibility- an extra group could be added or taken away based on need, whereas in sped you have to follow the minutes on the IEP. One year, they increased one grade level's intervention block from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. My kids only had 30 reading minutes per day on their IEPs, and I had no legal justification for literally doubling their out of class time, so my sped kids got half the intervention that gen ed kids got .

Last year I solved that my pestering my director until she agreed that in those cases, since it's an intervention block the entire grade level participates in, my kids can be pulled for longer than their IEP says because really other gen ed instruction isn't happening at that time. I have to do a lot of fudging of service log minutes to make sure I'm only logging the minutes on the IEP and not the time the kids actually spend with me or an interventionist.

So now, 10 years later, we are finally in a place where at least having an IEP doesn't lead to worse services. However, there really isn't any extra benefit either, other than documentation should the student happen to move schools. If I see a student hanging around in the low intervention groups for a period of time, I start asking why they haven't been referred to MTSS. We're already providing the intervention for all and all students are also progress monitored weekly, so the data is there. In cases where the kid will obviously qualify, they are typically referred after 2-3 MTSS meetings. Sometimes it's much longer if there are factors in the way- vision issues and parents refuse to get glasses, poor attendance, new to the country, etc.
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