Definitions of SSS Terms
Significant Academic Struggles
In order for a student to be considered for a 504 plan or an Individual Education Plan, they must display significant academic struggles that were not effectively addressed with RTI. Significant academic struggles can be defined as a student who continues to show a pattern of academic failure. This can be demonstrated by a lack of response to interventions, failing grades, unsatisfactory performance on assessments, and an inability to comprehend grade level material. Significant academic struggles are more than having to spend hours on homework.
Response to Intervention
All students must go through a Response to Intervention (RTI) process before special education eligibility can be determined. RTI is a process that schools can use to help children who are struggling academically or behaviorally. RTI is a problem-solving method that provides educators with a consistent step-by-step process to identify problems and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.
504 Plan
The "504" in "504 plan" refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which specifies that no one with a disability can be excluded from participating in federally funded programs or activities, including elementary, secondary or postsecondary schooling. “Disability” in this context refers to a "physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities." This can include physical impairments; illnesses or injuries; communicable diseases; chronic conditions like asthma, allergies and diabetes; and learning problems. A 504 plan spells out the modifications and accommodations that will be needed for these students to have an opportunity to perform at the same level as their peers, and might include such things as wheelchair ramps, blood sugar monitoring, an extra set of textbooks, a peanut-free lunch environment, or a tape recorder or keyboard for taking notes.
The READ Act requires the creation and implementation of an individual intervention plan (called a READ plan) for students identified with a significant reading deficiency. The Act outlines specific components that must be included in the READ plans to ensure the effectiveness of the intervention strategies.
Individual Education Plan (IEP)
IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. This is a legally binding document that spells out exactly what special education services your child will receive and why. It will include your child's disability, placement, services and therapies, academic and behavioral goals, a behavior plan if needed, percentage of time in regular education, and progress reports from teachers and therapists. The IEP is planned at an IEP meeting.
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