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Parents and Families

My son started kindergarten this September 2011, he has no pre-k experience and had very little at home teaching. He began the year not knowing how to count, not being able to write his name, and had very little skill in color recognition. Since then we have made leaps and bounds at home to get him caught up. He can now write his first and last name, count to 20, and recognizes colors. The teacher wants to place him on RTI with evaluations every week for 8 weeks and then based on that will look at special education. I do not believe this is fair to my child who has only had school for 8 weeks and is showing significant progress. What rights do I have as a parent to get additional help for my child without him being labeled?

Response by Aaron Deris, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato:

First and foremost, RTI is for all students. The purpose of RTI is three fold- instruction, measurement, and problem solving. The first area, instruction, is to ensure that schools are providing quality evidence based instruction. This means that the curriculum the school is using should have evidence that it has been effective in allowing students to meet grade level standards. The second is assessment. In an RTI model the measurement is both the screening which is typically done at fall, winter, and spring and the progress monitoring  which is done typically weekly (Tier 3) and bi monthly (Tier 2). Regarding the last purpose- problem solving, this is to have a team looking at data and working to develop appropriate interventions for students who have been identified through the screening process as not being on track to make grade level targets.Second, you do have rights as a parent in terms of special education. You always have the right to ask for an evaluation for special education services if you believe your child has special education needs. You also always have the right to deny a special education evaluation for your child, if the school system decides to do one. From what you are describing, the school wants to continue to work with your son and monitor his progress with interventions. I always welcome any additional assistance. If you are concerned, then I would request a conference with the teacher and administration to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Third, I am providing you with information from PACER a national organization that provides general information on parents rights. However, each state publishes its own booklets on parent rights.

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