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It’s hard for me to believe it, but it’s Wednesday again!  This week, I’m tackling an acronym I heard for the first time yesterday.  I was at a meeting put on by my school district for parents of special needs kiddos in the district.  They called it “Special Education 101.”  We meet at the main office of the district in the board room and they tackled topics like the different sections of the IEP, how the district’s new progress reports will work, what to do if you can’t come to a consensus at an IEP meeting, and different resources that the community offers.  It was great since we are still new to the area.  It would have been easy for me to have skipped the meeting, thinking, “I used to be a classroom teacher, I’m sure I’ve heard it all before,” or, “I’ve been attending IEPs for my kids for over two and a half years now, I’m sure it will be nothing new.”  But I’m so glad I didn’t because I got lots of great information.  If you have kids of your own in your school district’s special education program I would be definitely encourage you to attend a similar type meeting if one is offered.  If not, ask for something to be put together.  That’s how the meeting I attended came about.  Parents had come forward and asked for something that would give them a basic overview of what special ed. in the district looked like.  Possibly, something similar could come about where you are if enough interest is shown.

One of the most exciting parts of the meeting yesterday was hearing about RTI2 (that’s supposed to be a 2 like an exponent).  Here is some more info about it:

Response to Instruction and Intervention is a framework for teaching and learning. Helping students succeed is the fundamental mission of the Tennessee Department of Education, and Response to Instruction and Intervention is a significant priority towards that end. This work is about empowering districts to give every student the opportunity to meet high expectations and the support to reach them. The work described in the RTI² Manual matters to every academic division in the department.
The Tennessee State Board of Education has approved Special Education Guidelines and Standards regarding Evaluations for Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD). This change in current standards from use of a discrepancy model of identification to a Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI) model becomes effective July 1, 2014. This change will require all districts and schools to use RTI² to determine eligibility of students to receive Special Education services in the category of Specific Learning Disability. RTI² is a path to providing instructional opportunity to any student struggling to succeed and should not be viewed as a path to special education eligibility.

The way it was described to us yesterday, it’s a way of determining specific needs of special ed students and responding to those needs with proven instructional methods.  They may be modifications to curriculum, accommodations that improve students’ success, and specific methods of instruction.  The environment that a student is placed determines their success to such a great extent. As a mother of two boys with ASD I have especially noticed this, and am so happy to see the district developing new ways of assessing student need, ways to track their progress and constantly growing to help them achieve their goals.  Please check out the above post and link for more info.  What are some things that your district does that you are happy about?  What are some things you wish were different.  Have a great day!

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