1)      Q   Where do I find information on the available transportation methods for disabled students?
Call the Student Services Office at 706-554-6306.
2)      Q   What is Student Services?
The Burke County Student Services Department provides Psychological Services and Special Education Services for students with disabilities.
3)      Q   What is IDEA?
IDEA is the acronym for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal law that requires that children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.
4)      Q   What is Response To Intervention (RTI)?
Response to Intervention (RTI) is a Federally and State mandated process that requires a school to provide appropriate, researched-based interventions at increasingly intense levels prior to a referral to Special Education. All decisions must be data driven and well documented. In Georgia, a 4 tier pyramid has been developed to guide educators in implementing the RTI process. Parents/Guardians are to be informed of their children's progress and will be invited to attend various meetings throughout the process.

In Tier 1, the general education classroom, all children are provided with standards-based, research supported instruction that is differentiated according to students' various needs. Teachers monitor the students' progress frequently and use the results to guide and adjust instruction. Approximately 80% of students are expected to make adequate progress at this level. Students who show no or limited progress with the typical interventions in place in the general classroom setting can be referred to Tier 2 of the RTI proces. Tier 1 interventions typically last 6-12 weeks for a student who does not make sufficient progress.

In Tier 2, students who are considered "at-risk" for falling behind or who are showing delays are targeted for additional, more intensive interventions. Progress is monitored via frequent assessments every two weeks. The Intervention team uses the student's response to intervention (progress monitoring data) to determine whether the student has made sufficient progress to return to a Tier 1 level of service, to plan additional interventions, or to refer the student to Tier 3/ Student Support Team. Examples of interventions at this level may be small group tutoring, more frequent computer remediation, a different type of reading/math curriculum or a specific counseling or behavior management plan. An additional 10% of students should make progress at this level. The duration of Tier 2 interventions can vary, but should last a minimun of 9-12 weeks for the interventions to have a chance of making a difference in the student's progress.

At the Tier 3/ SST level, the interventions are more individualized, more intense and progress monitoring is conducted more frequently (weekly). The SST uses the progress monitoring data to make decisions on whether to return the student to a lower level intervention or to refer to Student Services for a full evaluation and consideration for special education (Tier 4) services. An additional 5% of students should make progress at Tier 3. As in Tier 2, the duration of this stage can vary, but typically falls in the 9-12 week range.
5)      Q   How is a student referred to Student Services?
After having documented interventions attempted to address a student's academic and/or behavioral problems through the Response to Intervention Process (RTI), the intervention team may make a request for service to the school's Student Support Team (SST) or Tier 3 of the RTI Pyramid of Interventions.
6)      Q   Then what?

Upon receipt of a referral for a school SST, the student's file is reviewed and consent for evaluation is obtained from the student's parent/guardian if an evaluation is needed. 
7)      Q   What are the eligibility categories?

A student may be eligible for services under one of the following eligibility categories:

Deaf/Hard of Hearing
Emotional Behavioral Disorder
Intellectual Disability (mild, moderate, severe, profound)
Orthopedic Impairment
Other Health Impairment
Significant Developmental Delay (identified ages 3-5)
Specific Learning Disability
Speech-Language Impairment
Traumatic Brain Injury
Visual Impairment

8)      Q   What is "least restrictive environment"?

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) means that a student who has a disability should have the opportunity to be educated with non-disabled peers, to the greatest extent appropriate.

9)      Q   What is an IEP?
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a plan that is developed by the IEP team to meet the individual needs of the eligible student.
10)     Q   What is Consent for Placement?
If the parent/guardian agrees to the eligibility determination and the IEP, he/she then gives consent for placement and the IEP can be implemented as written.
11)     Q   What is the annual review?
The team meets at least annually, but more often if necessary, to review and/or revise the IEP.