The Child Find mandate, included in the IDEA, requires schools to seek out, identify, and evaluate all youth (ages 3-22) with disabilities, whether or not they are homeless or enrolled in public or private school, regardless of the severity of their disability. In addition, Child Find responsibilities apply to students who are migrants, ELs, and those in correctional facilities.
Due to the impact of an educational disability, it is important that effective, ongoing efforts are made to inform the general public of the Child Find responsibilities placed upon school districts to locate all children who may need special services. In order to achieve the overall goal of locating and effectively serving all children within Germantown Municipal School District with potential disabilities that could impact learning, GMSD utilizes the following three components:
- Child find procedures for each school include:
- Universal screenings
- Monthly Response to Intervention (RTI) team meetings to identify at-risk students
- Teacher and parent referrals
- Interagency cooperation - GMSD has partnerships with the following agencies within district:
- Private schools
- Public awareness - In an effort to provide public awareness, GMSD:
- Posts information regarding special education services on the website
- Shares social media posts with stories about the ESE population (sometimes picked up by news outlets)
- Schools are consistent with parent communication regarding any concerns.
Response to Intervention and Instruction (RTI²)
GMSD follows Tennessee’s Response to Intervention and Instruction (RTI²) process.
RTI² is Tennessee’s framework for teaching and learning that begins with high-quality, differentiated instruction throughout the day and emphasizes intervening with students when they first start to struggle to avoid prolonged academic difficulties.
Tennessee’s Special Education Guidelines and Standards require all districts and schools to use RTI² to determine the eligibility of students to receive special education services for SLDs; however, identification is not the sole purpose of RTI².
RTI² also offers additional instruction with multiple entry and exit points based on students’ needs: a student who is on grade level may receive high-quality Tier I instruction and enrichment; another student who is showing slight deficits in specific areas may receive targeted interventions through Tier II for a specific period of time; alternately, a student who has significant needs may receive extended, intensive interventions through Tier III.
Special education services are a continuation of the path through the RTI² tiers. A student who does not show growth in response to an appropriate intervention that is delivered with fidelity in Tier III may be eligible for the most intensive services available, special education services. However, the RTI² model provides instructional opportunities for all students and is not exclusively a path to special education eligibility.
For further information on RTI2 in GMSD, please refer to GMSD’s Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Department.
RTI2 includes universal screenings and survey-level assessments. However, students may need to be screened for other concerns, including, but not limited to:
- Speech and/or language screening
- GMSD speech-language pathologists have articulation and language screening tools that may be utilized if concerns arise. The school-level SLP should be contacted to discuss concerns and if a screening or referral for special education evaluation is warranted.
- Gifted screening
- GMSD follows child find procedures including a systematic screening process for all students completed yearly. The screening process includes reviews of multiple sources of data, including:
- State achievement testing
- RTI2 screening data
- Teacher checklists
- Group-administered criterion- or normed-referenced assessments
- Based on the systematic screening results, school teams determine if further individual screening is needed or if the student should be referred for a comprehensive evaluation. State screening permission forms and result forms are to be utilized. Individual screening involves multiple components. These components involve:
- Parent information
- Observations and checklists
- A review of the continuum of programming including interventions that have been attempted
- Individual achievement assessments and/or academic measures
- Creative thinking rating scales or assessments