Special Education and Response to Intervention (RTI)

Special Education Parent Presentation 2.12.15

Response to Intervention (RTI) 

RTI is a school process that determines if a student is responding to classroom instruction and progressing as expected. In an RTI process, a student who struggles receives additional instruction provided by matching instruction to the student’s individual needs. RTI is a multi-tiered instructional model. Each level of instruction, also known as a “tier”, provides instruction with increased intensity. Tier 1 includes instructional support provided by the classroom teacher. If the additional support does not improve the academic performance, then the student is referred to the Student Support Team (SST). The SST will review the information and may suggest additional assessments to target individual student needs.  The student will be provided an intervention designed specifically for students with similar needs. The interventionist monitors the student on a regular basis to determine the effectiveness of the interventions. If Tier 2 interventions are not effective the student may be referred to a Tier 3 intervention. Tier 3 interventions may include resources within the community, more frequent interventions, and/or additional assessments.

A special education referral may be completed after the RTI process has shown no academic or behavioral growth. Each tier of the RTI process includes the parent of the student and asks that they be an active participant. It is truly a whole school, community and family effort. An excellent website for parents who would like more information on RTI is: http://www.rtinetwork.org.

Special Education in New York State

Determining special education programs/related services
Eligibility for special education and all special education programs/related services are determined by the Committee on Special Education (CSE) or the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE). These committees, in conjunction with parents and teachers, help develop Individual Education Programs (IEPs) for each school-age or preschool-age pupil with a disability on an annual basis. These IEPs include information about the unique learning needs of each student, such as the present levels of performance in the academic, social and physical development and the student’s management needs. The IEP document includes annual goals in the student’s areas of needs.

What is special education?
Special education for our exceptional children means specially designed individualized or group instruction or special services/programs to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities. Special education services and programs are provided at no cost to the parents. In New York State, special education is provided for preschool students (ages 3 to 5) and school-age children (ages 5 to 21).

Who receives special education services?
Special education services are available to any students with a mental, physical, or emotional impairment which adversely affects his or her educational performance. For school-age children, the thirteen handicapping conditions are: autism, deafness, deaf-blindness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, learning disability, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairments, speech/language impairment, traumatic brain injury, or visual impairment (including blindness).

How are special education services provided?

Special education services and programs may be provided individually to a student or in a group with other students who have similar educational needs. Every school district is required to form a Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) for children ages 3-5; and a Committee on Special Education (CSE) for children ages 5-21.

When a parent or teacher believes a child might qualify as an educationally disabled student, the district’s committee plays an important role. It reviews referrals from parents and teachers, arranges for student evaluations, reviews the results and makes a determination regarding eligibility and necessary program/services.

In consultation with the student’s parents, the committee makes recommendations about what a student needs in the way of special education services and programs, which are described in detail in a written plan for each child, known as the IEP.

The IEP determines the specifics of a child’s special education program, such as specific classroom set-up, curricula, support services, and educational goals.  A child’s IEP is reviewed annually to ensure that it is still meeting the child’s needs. Students are re-evaluated at least once every three years to determine if continued eligibility is necessary

Special Education Office Staff 


Mr. Pat Ruddy

Director of Pupil Personnel Services  


(315) 655-1361


Mrs. Morgan Trush

Special Education Department Secretary


(315) 655-5313

(315) 655-5261 (fax)

The Cazenovia CSD Special Education Office is located in Cazenovia Middle School at 31 Emory Ave., Cazenovia, NY 13035.

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