Student Study Team (SST)

The SST Process

State law indicates that a student shall be referred for special educational instruction and services only after the resources of the general education program have been considered and, where appropriate, utilized.

Procedures have been developed in individual member school districts and charter schools (also known as local education agencies) for the receipt and processing of referrals for special education assessment. In all districts, the school site Student Study Team (SST) meets regarding children for whom there are concerns. The team addresses the implementation and level of success of the general education classroom program modifications and available general education resources and programs, including categorical programs. When the SST determines that all possible modifications have been exhausted or the modifications available are not appropriate, the SST or classroom teacher refers the child for an assessment for possible special education services. The parent is informed and encouraged to be a part of the SST process. Parents are notified if a referral for a special education assessment is made by the team.

The SST is a regularly scheduled, structured meeting of general educators, supported by special education and other staff as appropriate. Their purpose is to provide an effective support system in general education that will generate effective interventions for children who are experiencing challenges in learning or behavior difficulties at school. The SST process is designed to meet the needs of all children and results in a team action plan to ensure student success. The structure of the SST may be designed to fit the needs of individual school sites. Team membership varies according to the needs of the child, but should include the people that can best support the child and the classroom teacher. The majority of the team membership must be composed of general education teachers and should include the following team members: the child's classroom teacher, an administrator, the parent, the child, an upper grade teacher, and a lower grade teacher. The SST should also serve as a peer support system, so the more teacher participation the greater the benefits. Specialists should be included based on the potential needs of the child, the classroom teacher, and any others providing support to the child.

The SST process begins with a request from a teacher, counselor, parent, agency representative, or student that a concern has been identified. Once the request is made, the school's first level intervention plan is implemented. It is important to note that a request does not automatically initiate a SST meeting. If the concerns can be resolved without a SST meeting, then the child is monitored for successful progress. If the concerns are not resolved, SST meeting preparation is started. For the team to have optimum information to work with, the child's teacher should provide essential information about the child to the team. During the meeting, an effective practice to utilize is a group memory format to assist the team in efficient documentation of ideas generated during the meeting. On the action plan that is developed, a follow-up date should be set to review the progress of the child form whom there are concerns. The action plan should be evaluated at this meeting and determination made if any further follow-up is necessary.