What considerations should schools and districts be aware of when they deliver Tier 3 intervention?

Page 7: Communication with Parents

rtiT3_07_coupleKaty Stromwell and the team learn how schools maintain communication with parents or guardians throughout the RTI process. This ongoing communication should be designed to:

  • Explain the RTI process
  • Share information about how the child’s progress will be monitored
  • Discuss tier interventions
  • Describe how instructional decisions related to tier placements are made
  • Inform parents of their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act 2004 (IDEA ’04)
  • Involve parents in the process and increase their participation

    Increasing parent Participation
    • Follow up written notice of meetings with a telephone call or email
    • Be flexible with meeting times
    • Arrange a pre-eligibility meeting
    • Inform parents that they can invite other family members or advocates from the community to the meeting
    • Identify reasons why parents cannot attend and try to locate a resource to meet this need

For Your Information

Although a parent is generally defined as a natural, adoptive, foster parent, or someone acting in place of one of these individuals (e.g., a surrogate or guardian), states may vary in their definitions of who can legally represent a child or make educational decisions on his or her behalf.

Communication with parents is always important but is especially so when students would benefit from more intensive individualized interventions, such as those provided in Tier 3. Katy Stromwell and her team explore what form of communication is required when Tier 3 is special education.

In the event that a student is not making adequate progress in Tier 2, he or she is referred for a special education evaluation. Once this occurs, the criteria for parent involvement and parents’ rights are established through the regulations of IDEA ’04. These established criteria are referred to as procedural safeguards or parents’ rights.

Parents' Rights

  • Receive written prior notice
  • Receive independent educational evaluations
  • Grant informed consent for evaluations and for the provision of special education services
  • Review their child’s educational records

Parents’ rights
Procedural safeguard What this means for families An example
Receive written prior notice Parents have the right to get information in writing that tells them what the school is or is not doing as it relates to their child’s special education needs. The school sends a written notice to the family that the school would like to evaluate or re-evaluate their child.
Receive independent educational evaluations (IEE) Parents have the right to have their child evaluated by a professional outside of the school system if they disagree with the results of the school district’s evaluation. A parent disagrees with the school’s findings regarding her child. The parent arranges for a separate evaluation, the results of which will be reviewed by school personnel. (IEE’s may or may not be reimbursed, depending on the situation and guidelines followed.)
Grant informed consent for evaluations and for the school’s providing special education services Parents grant informed consent before the school conducts an evaluation or provides special education services for the first time. Once a child has been determined eligible for special education services, the school obtains informed consent from the parents before providing these services.
Review their child’s educational records Parents always have the right to review their child’s educational records. They may obtain copies of these and have the information contained therein explained to them as needed. Concerned that there is faulty information in their child’s records, two parents ask to review them. If they find an error, they can request in writing that the records be amended.

A document outlining these procedural safeguards should be written in a manner that is easily understood and should be available to families in their native language. Among the benefits of reviewing these safeguards with families is ensuring that they fully understand the material. School personnel are required to share a written copy with families at established times which include:


  • The initial referral for an evaluation
  • A parental request
  • An IEP annual review
  • Filing of a due process complaint by a parent
  • Changes in student placement due to disciplinary reasons

Keep in Mind

As important as it is to communicate with parents throughout the RTI process, it is equally important to communicate with students. Teachers can do this by:

  • Meeting individually with students to discuss their progress
  • Supplying students with visual representations of their work (e.g., progress monitoring graphs)

In either case, teachers should communicate at a level appropriate to the individual student.

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