What are the stages of the pre-referral process and what do they involve?
Page 7: Stage 4: Discussion of Possible Strategies
At their first meeting—and after they have discussed the information and decided on their primary goals—the team turn their attention to the fourth stage of the pre-referral process, discussion of possible strategies. During this part of the meeting, the members brainstorm strategies that they believe are most likely to meet the needs of the student. One or more strategies may be selected for each area of concern. For example, if the pre-referral team is meeting to discuss a concern about a student’s difficulty in remaining seated during class work, they may generate ideas about how to implement self-regulation strategies.
Some schools might find it advantageous to have established procedures in place to guide the implementation of strategies. Research has shown that teachers implement practices better when they are both supported and monitored by school personnel (generally, administrators). Whatever intervention they end up selecting, the team must specify its duration. In many cases pre-referral interventions are implemented for a period of four to six weeks. However, duration might be influenced by the type, intensity, or frequency of the identified concern. For instance, the team might decide to convene sooner to review the plan for a student who is displaying severe and frequent disruptive behaviors.
Along with interventions, the pre-referral team may identify appropriate accommodations to address the specific needs of the student in the general education classroom. Such accommodations might entail recommendations for the:
- Classroom environment (e.g., changing seating positions, making the classroom more accessible)
- Classroom management system (e.g., increasing positive reinforcement, providing individual student contracts)
- Instructional procedures (e.g., providing additional instruction, presenting content in a different format, grouping students)
- Task demands (e.g., assigning only the odd-numbered math problems, instead of all of them)
Keep in Mind
As they consider a strategy, a team will find it helpful to consider the following questions:
- How can we incorporate the student’s strengths into the plan?
- Why do we think this plan will improve the student’s behavior or academic skills?
- What are our goals and are they observable and measurable?
- How will we determine whether the student has met the goals and what data collection procedures will we use to monitor the student’s progress?
- For how long will we implement the plan before the team meets again?
- Does the teacher need any special training to implement the strategy?
- How will we track the progress of the strategy and ensure that it is being implemented as specified?
- How can we assist the teacher in implementing the strategy?
Pre-referral at Macy Middle School
Stage 4: Discussion Strategies
Once the team has determined the primary concerns regarding Jeremy, they are ready to discuss how to address these concerns.
What are his goals? Can we observe and measure them?
- Goal: Jeremy will turn in homework on time (the day it is due) 80% of the time.
- Team determined that teacher prompts may help here since it seems Jeremy’s work is often done, just not turned in, so the following strategies will be used across all of Jeremy’s classes:
Counselor makes sure that Jeremy has a planner to write all his homework assignments in one place; teachers check to make sure that homework is written daily in planner before Jeremy leaves each class period; parent signs at night that Jeremy has completed homework assignment.
Teachers write homework assignment on board and draw the classes’ attention to the assignment with a verbal reminder for them to take a moment to write it down.
Teachers check Jeremy’s planner and verbally prompt him to turn in his homework; teacher may give up to 2 prompts.
Teachers will track the homework assignments turned in on time (Counselor Young to develop and distribute a data sheet for monitoring).
Why do we think this strategy will work?
- His mother states that Jeremy generally completes his homework, especially if it has been written down.
- Teachers report that he simply gets distracted and seems to forget to turn it in on time.
Is any special training required?
- No — Counselor Young will review the goals and the datasheets with Jeremy’s teachers (Social Studies, English, Math, Spanish, n/a for band).
Who will carry out the plan and how can team assist?
- All of Jeremy’s classroom teachers will carry out the intervention. Mr. Young will serve as the primary contact person and will check in with the teachers periodically (at least 1x per week per class) to see how the intervention is going. The team will plan to meet again in 6 weeks to review Jeremy’s progress. If anyone on the team or any of Jeremy’s other teachers carrying out the intervention feel the need to meet sooner, Mr. Young will arrange an earlier meeting.
Schedule next meeting date
- Team decided to let Mr. Young contact parents closer to the date to see what works best for their work schedules. Mom said she would like Jeremy’s dad to attend as well, and she would have to check with him on scheduling.