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raelyn raelyn is offline
 
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No SPED Referrals-Lenthy
Old 11-10-2016, 12:24 AM
 
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I'm wondering if other districts have been told that there are too many children in special education. Our numbers are too high for state standards. LLD classes are have too many kids and Inclusion classes need to go back to SPED teachers sitting in the back of the room working only with SPED students.

Therefore new measures will be put in place that require intensive modification, intervention, and documentation from the classroom teacher before a meeting can even be requested to discuss the child. You need to do this and teach your regular lessons. When your administrator deems that you have sufficient cause and documentation, you're assigned a colleague, from a committee for such work, to review your work and determine if there are still more interventions, modifications and documentation that you need to do before an actual meeting about the child can take place.

It's November and we're just being told about this. With all of the days off, concerts, assemblies, ect that we have scheduled for November and December I don't foresee being able to schedule a meeting until after the new year. Let's just say we meet in February and come up with an action plan. That leaves the remainder of February and March for implementation. It's now April and time for a follow up meeting to see what other modifications, interventions and documentation I can provide. School ends soon. What has anyone, other than the classroom teacher, done to assist this child and address any issues? He or she may or may not have made some progress, but alas, there was no SPED referral on the books for him or her this school year. Is this the new norm? Every minute of each day is already accounted for. How in the world am I supposed to do all of these things for 1 child and still teach the other 20 kids, stay on top of PLCs and SGOs and all of the other million responsibilities that I have?


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Shhhh...do this
Old 11-10-2016, 02:00 AM
 
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I'm sure that if you had a concern about a child, you would certainly want to meet with the parents to discuss your concerns. So, here's what you do.

Discuss the concerns. Tell them what you, as a teacher, must do to get help for their child. Discuss the timeline, the actions, everything you've said here. Emphasize that as a teacher, this is the steps that you are required to take.

Now, let the parent know that he/she, as parents, have the legal right to request an evaluation on their child. If they do, a meeting must be held in 10 business days. Then ask them: what would you like to do?
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Old 11-10-2016, 02:49 AM
 
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What you describe is a system that many states have already put in place about 5 years ago or more- RTI- Response to Intervention. Yes, there is and was a feeling of over identifying SPED kids. RTI is a lengthy process of providing tiered interventions and monitoring, and moving into or up the tiers until intervention is deemed working or not and then a child can be suggested for evaluation if not working.

This can be good and can be bad. As a child may be showing progress with the interventions- it shows that the positive aspect of rti. However, we have those kids we know need services, but can't do it until the data and weeks/months of intervention show the need. Sometimes, even the littlest amount of progress made will offset the known need for services and cause more time in intervention, too.
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Old 11-10-2016, 02:57 AM
 
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In ok with RTI in the younger grades, but by the time they're a 4-6 grader, screw all the tiers. That's like saying nobody has ever tried to help this kid in all their years of school. Just test them!
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Old 11-10-2016, 03:53 AM
 
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Yep, sounds like RTI. We are doing this in my school. It's very frustrating when you have a child who is clearly LD and they just keep being tortured while waiting for it to be ok to go to a meeting and finally suggest testing.


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Old 11-10-2016, 04:51 AM
 
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Definitely sounds like RTI. I teach at a high school and we do RTI, so I don't think that it is out of the question to expect to see it in a middle school.
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Old 11-10-2016, 06:33 AM
 
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We do RTI and I'm on the RTI team at my school. I believe in it, but I also believe that sometimes kids have such severe special needs that they need to be addressed sooner than RTI will allow.

We have also been told, by our school psychologist, that there are too many kids in SPED and we can't be testing so many. I guess my questions is this: Don't we agree that too many people have cancer? So, will we not test for and treat that? I get that schools get in trouble by the state when SPED numbers are too high, but to me, that is NOT a reason to deny a child services that they need.

It is why I think that even though I'd like to move up into more admin-like, lead teacher positions, it will never happen for me. I just can't play that game. If I feel a kid needs help, I fight like heck to get them the help they need. I can't just sit by and say, "Weeeellll, too many kids are SPED, we can't have another..."
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Old 11-10-2016, 07:16 AM
 
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We've had the same problem. We have kids languishing in RtI for years (literally 3-4 years) and getting nowhere.

Having the parents request a meeting only gets you the meeting (at least in my district). The "team" still refuses to test kids. The psych basically says, "thank you for sharing your concerns, have a good day."

As a friend pointed out, it seems the point of SpEd is to deny the kids the help that they need and point the finger and blame the teacher. It's good times, let me tell you.
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My district-lawsuit
Old 11-10-2016, 12:24 PM
 
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My large urban district was sued over 20 years ago over the large number of minority students who were in special education (many BD) or "tracked" away from college prep courses. They lost the lawsuit. Leap forward 20 years later, we have had way too many superintendents with way too many differing agendas. One bent over backwards to prove that the children were misunderstood and needed love and coddling to help their shattered egos. I suspect many teachers, including myself, suffer from a type of PTSD from her reign of terror. Over the years fewer and fewer children are referred for special Ed services. Self-contained special ed programs are being decreased. RtI is the be all and end all. Buildings that can afford it have tutors to try and help students progress. I am fortunate to work in a building that has a team that is willing to test students and provide services if it is found those services are needed. We have 2 self-contained classrooms, 2.5 resource teachers, many students in full inclusion with paraprofessional support, and students who are mainstreamed into regular ed classrooms throughout the day with paraprofessional support. They are trying something new right now with my position. I am staring with two high needs students, on from a self-contained classroom and the other who is fully included. We are working toward a less restrictive environment for the child in self-contained and trying to keep the other student in the regular ed classroom for the rest of the year before recommending a possible self-contained placement. Teams in other schools are not as flexible or do not think outside the box like my school's team. It is too bad that it isn't consistent. It is also horrid that there are schools that only play the numbers game instead of providing the services a child needs to be successful, especially in the lower grades.
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it's frustrating
Old 11-10-2016, 01:19 PM
 
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1 -- If the Parents refer the child, a meeting must be held within days. (Doesn't mean testing will occur. This is supposed to be a TEAM decision.)

2 -- We too are told by the state that our numbers are too high. We "should" have about 10% of student population in sped. In reality we have over 15%.

3 -- RTI is a good program. We don't want to put kids in sped if their needs can be met another way. If tiers 1, 2, and 3 rti have occurred without success, the child will likely qualify for sped. If you are frequently testing kids who do not qualify, then your rti program probably needs tweaked.

4 -- You don't want to test unnecessarily. We pay about $400 to have one child evaluated. We tested 9 kids last week, so $3600.


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Old 11-10-2016, 04:29 PM
 
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I realize this may not be the same everywhere, but this is something teachers in my building frequently get upset about and I wish they would understand the reality behind what sped is and isn't. They push SO hard to get kids tested/into sped when the reality is that many times, the kid's title 1/RtI group is smaller, has less distracting behaviors, and/or meets for more time than the sped groups. We have so many kids in sped that the services just get watered down past the point of usefulness for most students. I was just posting on the sped board about a parent requesting testing (I believe this was a "helpful" suggestion from the teacher). The student is currently in a 3 student title 1 group that meets for 40 minutes per day, 5 days per week. The student is low and will likely qualify for services when tested. The sped group he will be moved into has 7 students and only meets for four days per week. It also has several students with severe behaviors who are purposely separated into different gen ed rooms, but are 2 feet away from each other in my group with no role models. He'd be much, much better off just staying in title. This has been the case for many students; they actually get less intervention when actually referred for sped. This has been the case in all three schools I've worked in, and in all three schools I'd say 95% of the gen ed teachers were completely unaware or thought that less time/larger groups was still "better" because of some "magic training" or "magic strategies" that sped teachers supposedly have.

The other thing with parents requesting testing is that if no RtI has happened, in my state they can't qualify as LD. The specific student I mentioned above has gotten title interventions, so despite not doing the "real" process with the RtI meetings, etc. he can probably still qualify. If nothing at all is documented and we get to the eligibility portion of the meeting, the student legally cannot qualify even if their testing scores are very, very low. My state has two qualifications that must be met in order for an LD label. One is that the student is significantly below peers (which is what we prove with testing) and the other is that the student has received multiple research-based interventions and shown a documented non-response. We've had this happen with teachers who think they can circumvent the process before. Then legally, the student can't be retested for a minimum of one full calendar year, and even then it's hard to justify getting someone who already didn't qualify "back in line" when so many new referrals are coming in. Whereas, if the kid truly is that low and they would just follow the process, the student will end up qualifying.
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Most would qualify
Old 11-10-2016, 04:59 PM
 
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We have an increasingly poor and troubled population. I would wager that if you tested all students who walked through our school doors 50-65 percent would qualify for special ed.

As it stands, some of our grades have an IEP rate as high as 30 percent.

A big issue this year is students who move into the district with an IEP. So even if there was a concerted effort/conspiracy to bring down the number of IEPs, we never know what could walk through the door.

We are a relatively small school and 5 students with existing IEPs came in to register a few weeks ago.
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Old 11-10-2016, 05:47 PM
 
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I wonder when the state standards were put into place. Think about the much higher percentage of kids diagnosed with adhd, autism, etc. now than even 10 or 15 years ago. I'd love to see the data that correlates the two...
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Old 11-10-2016, 05:59 PM
 
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I began teaching 32 years ago and the assessment/standards bandwagon was just beginning. There were many of us who knew that this movement would lead to more demands on the special educators. The problems now include the fact that some students can't meet the demands of standards and some students are learning disabled, You put the two together and you have lots of potential budget costs. So the districts began putting the breaks on the problem;teachers in gen ed getting the blame for student non performance and then the pd money making scheme began. It is a mess.

There are lawsuits all over California . As a teacher I do the required "rti" game in order to document my efforts. I can be sued years later over a student's lack of progress. As a parent myself, I do suggest to parents to raise hell about the lack of support and evaluation for their struggling child. I only suggest this to those parents I trust will not give away the fact that I told them to raise hell. Teachers in my district are warned not to tell parents to demand testing. Best of luck to all parents in this age of "data driven education."
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Wow!
Old 11-10-2016, 10:09 PM
 
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Thank you all for your responses and insight. I have a better understanding of what I'm facing. I have to admit that I feel defeated over this. I do have to ask how does one person do all of these interventions for the student(s) and maintain your regular teaching schedule? At present a reading intervention teacher works with students in my room 3 days a week for 35 minutes for Guided Reading. Other than that I'm on my own with 23 second graders. I'm already overwhelmed, now I have RTI to do too with no actual training on how to do it. I remember observing RTI 15 years ago in a neighboring district. They had RTI teachers that worked intensively with students during pull out sessions.
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Old 11-11-2016, 03:40 AM
 
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The general ed teacher is considered responsible for tier 1 and tier 2 . Classes are leveled and teachers share kids for 30 minutes. Each teacher has a group of kids with similar skills. At tier 3 a small group of kids is assigned to a special ed trained teacher .These students have not been successful at tier 1 or 2. This plan looks good on paper but when all is said and done, kids with learning disabilities stumble through the early grades and do not get their problems addressed unless parents are on top of it. If a student is African American or Spanish speaking the wait is even longer due to the reluctance of admin to label a minority student special ed . This is because of sub group difficulties in the data collection business of the federal government.Stand up for students and find a way to inform parents of their rights regarding their children.
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It just goes to show
Old 11-11-2016, 05:49 AM
 
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...that different states approach SPED so differently.

For example, there is no intervention requirement to be found eligible in my state. To be eligible, there must be a significant discrepancy between potential and actual performance. The dreaded words are "low in all areas." That means that the child is performing up to his potential and is not entitled to services. (Just a low I.Q.) As for interventions, that's a joke at my school. The sped inclusion teacher has been working since day one. The interventionists? Have yet to take a single group or put up a schedule.
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Our district
Old 11-12-2016, 06:19 AM
 
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Every classroom must provide 30 mins. 5 days/week of rti. for Tier 2 and must find the extra 30 mins somewhere else in the day 3 xs a week for Tier 3. Our school has rti time at the beginning of the day- same time for all classes. Each grade level looks to see who are the bottom 20% and what their needs are. Then they group the kids and kids go to different teachers for rti time. the students who are not needing rti do centers or accellerated work or social studies weekly in their classroom.
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