Special Education Referral Process

The first step that is taken when a student is having academic difficulties is a referral to the MTSS process.  MTSS stands for “Multi-Tiered Systems of Support” and the intent is to provide interventions that will help the student achieve success without entering special education.

The MTSS team consists of the child’s teacher, an administrator, a special education teacher, other general education teachers, and Intervention Teachers. The general education teacher provides background information regarding the problem exhibited by the student and the team works together to develop possible solutions.

MTSS provides three levels of intervention for students who are experiencing problems. Generally, the first level (referred to as Tier 1) is focused on utilizing high-quality general education instruction in the core curriculum with all students. The second level (or Tier 2) provides targeted group instruction or group remediation to improve performance. If performance does not improve in the second level over a period of time, then students are moved to the third level which consists of intensive, individualized interventions.


If the student continues to experience difficulty after individualized interventions in the general education classroom, a special education evaluation may be requested by school staff or by the child’s parent or guardian.

Once a request is made, the Special Education Director will gather assessment data and meet with school staff to discuss the data and the current interventions that are in place.  A parent or guardian may request to participate in this meeting.  The school may decide to implement additional interventions before initiating the testing process.  In this situation, the parent or guardian will be notified in writing about the decision.

If the school determines that assessment data supports a special education evaluation, the parent or guardian will be contacted to discuss the testing process. Before any testing can begin, the school must obtain consent from the parent or guardian.  The parent or guardian may decline to have their child tested, in which case, general education interventions will be continued.