Beginning the Process
The whole process begins when the regular education teacher notices that for example, a student in the first grade is having a difficult time keeping up with the rest of the class academically or maybe has tested low on a DRA (Direct Reading Assessment) or other reading assessment. The student may display inappropriate behavioral interactions in the classroom which would warrant an additional concern for testing and evaluation. At this point the teacher will share her concerns with the parents and the head of a school's designated SIT (Student Intervention Team).
In our school we call this team SIT. It is comprised of people from all the departments in the school and meets once or twice a week. We have aides teachers, Occupational Therapists, nurses, reading and speech specialists and our principal who convene to discuss students who have been recommended by teachers or other staff members for 504 accommodations or Special Education services or placement. This diverse group of school leaders can come up with lots of strategies and ideas to help in the early stages of the process in determining whether a student receives a 504 plan or IEP (Individual Education Plan).
When the regular education teacher or other school member refers the student to the team, a meeting is set up and they are asked to bring the following items:
1 The Teacher Referral Form
2 The Students' Accommodation Plan [if the student has one]
3 Students at Risk Indicator's Checklist
4 Current DRA Level [reading assessment in our school]
5 Some Student Work Samples