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2011-2012 school year, the district established a Strategic Planning Committee
with the intent to identify and target areas of need for improvement. In collaboration with the Warner Study
Team, University of Rochester, a Perception Data Survey and Focus Group
Information Study was completed.
As a result, the district created a Special Education Task Force.
The Task Force met
to review the district’s special education continuum of services, make
recommendations for improvement, enhance our collaborative approach to supporting
students with disabilities in general education settings, develop transition
services, and make sure we are always adhering to the Least Restrictive
The district is
committed to utilizing Response to Intervention (RtI) and its general education
resources through interventions and strategies prior to the provision of
special education to our students. The Homer Central School District
Response to Intervention (RtI) plan was developed to meet the requirements of
Section 117.3 to ensure student’s progress toward meeting state standards. RtI is the practice of providing
high-quality instruction/intervention matched to student needs and using
learning rate over time and level of performance to make important educational
decisions about individual students (NASDSE, 2006). RtI represents an important educational strategy to close
achievement gaps for all students, including students at risk, students with
disabilities, and English language learners, by preventing smaller learning
problems from becoming insurmountable gaps. It has also been shown to lead to more appropriate
identification of and interventions for students with learning
disabilities. Each day educators
make important decisions about students’ educational programs. These include decisions as to whether a
student is struggling to meet the standards set for all students, if they need
changes in the form of early intervention and instruction, or might have a
learning disability. This decision
as to whether a student has a learning disability must be based on extensive
and accurate information leading to the determination that the student’s
learning difficulties are not the result of the instructional program or
approach. RtI is an effective and
instructionally relevant process to inform these decisions. These services are aimed at helping
students meet and/or exceed the New York State Learning Standards as measured
by New York State Assessments.
These services are available to students with disabilities on the same
basis as non-disabled students; however, services shall be provided to the
extent consistent with the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). It
is with this spirit that we hope that all students learning difficulties will
be adequately remediated at their individual level. By doing so we are giving every student the opportunity to
succeed to his or her fullest potential.
While some students may reach the point of a formal special education
referral and evaluation, others may never require that level of intervention. The process for formal evaluation is
outlined in the following manual. Additionally,
the district’s RtI procedural manual is included within the appendices as an
integral part of the departments overall operations manual.
Manual and its appendices were developed with the purpose of providing our
staff with a reference tool for newly hired employees, special educators, general
educators, related service providers, guidance counselors, school
psychologists, and district administrators.
It is our hope
that this is a living breathing document and that we will continue to strive
towards improving our department and the services for our students.