All special education teachers know about the three-year reevaluation. Every three years, we are required to take a look at our students’ progress, behavior, medical and family information and any changes that may have occurred in their lives during this time. As teachers, we complete assessments, complete observation forms and fill in the data collected three years ago so it can easily be compared to new data. General education teachers and parents also complete observation forms and share any other relevant information.
What’s the point of all this? We are determining whether or not the student continues to need special education services and if the current services are meeting his or her needs.
As a self-contained teacher, my reevaluations are usually pretty straight forward. We document behavioral progress and progress with academic and life skills, but there is usually no question whether or not the student will continue to receive special education services in my classroom. However, the last reevaluation I completed was a different story.
I got my first inclination that something was up when I began looking for past alternate assessment scores; I could only find one year’s score in his file. This child is in 6th grade and should’ve taken the assessment in grades 3-5. Then, I began completing my assessment packet on this student. I already knew he had significantly higher adaptive behavior skills and academic skills than my other students, but actually seeing the discrepancy on paper was shocking. For example, the computer-based math program I use in the classroom which advances students through curriculum based on their mastery of skills gives progress reports on the number of standards passed and grade levels advanced—my student had advanced more than two grade levels since September!
The day of the meeting, my student’s guardian attended. She informed me that my student’s previous living situation had been unstable, causing him to change schools frequently and explaining the missing assessment scores. I expressed my concerns about the student not being in the least restrictive environment and the need for further testing to determine the most appropriate placement for him. She was in full agreement, and I scheduled an assessment with our school psychologist.
Three years ago my student had an IQ that qualified him for alternate assessment and a self-contained classroom for academic instruction. When he was retested, his IQ had jumped 20 points! This was definitely the last piece of information needed for some changes to be considered.
I contacted the assistant supervisor of special education, and we assembled a team for the meeting to discuss what was best for my student: an assistant principal, the 6th grade counselor, a 6th grade science teacher, a resource teacher, my student’s guardian, the assistant supervisor of special education and myself. The meeting went exceptionally well!
The following day, my student went to general education classes for science and social studies and a resource special education class for math and reading. He continues to attend related arts and is now going to lunch with the 6th graders from the pod he was assigned to.
This transition occurred a week ago. I expected there to be some challenges, and there have been. My student became upset in social studies when told he could not use the restroom during class. There has also been concern about his participation in the general education courses due to his reading ability. The team is coming together again this week to further collaborate on what will help this student be successful in his new environment.
As much as I’ll miss seeing my student, I could not be happier that he is now getting the special education services he needs. One of my assistants saw him in the hall last week and reported that he was “grinning from ear to ear.”
This situation has definitely taught me the value of the three-year reevaluation and the importance of taking the time to really look at a student’s situation when determining if he or she is receiving the educational services he or she needs.
Have any of you experienced similar eye-openers? Any advice on how I can best support my student’s new teachers?