The process for acquiring an IEP (Individualized Education Program) can be complicated and difficult to understand. In Cobb County, Georgia the school system uses a tier process as part of the RTI (Response to Intervention.) According to this process, the student begins on Tier 1 and moves to a higher tier as needed. If the child needs additional help, he/she continues to move up to another tier.
Tier 1: All students begin on this level with a standards-based curriculum. If a child is identified as needing additional help, the child moves to Tier 2. Typically at this stage, the parents are notified.
Tier 2: Based on the student’s needs, the teachers implement targeted interventions and evidenced-based techniques to help the child be more successful in the classroom. Teachers use these strategies for several weeks and begin to collect data on the child to determine objectives and goals. Then the RTI team meets to discuss how the child has responded to the strategies used and if he is successful in the classroom or needs additional assistance. If they decide he needs more assistance, he moves to Tier 3.
Tier 3: Additional staff members become involved and a team of teachers, counselor(s) and specialists meet to consider the specific learning challenges of the student and to determine how to help the student through using specific techniques. This team, called the Student Support Team, develops strategies that will be used in the classroom and also considers whether the student is in need of an IEP. If they determine that an IEP is needed, the student moves to Tier 4.
Tier 4: An evaluation is performed and the IEP is developed. This specific program is designed to provide a special education for the student based on his/her identified disability. The IEP includes goals and specifics on monitoring these goals.
Reference: The Cobb County School System Response to Intervention Handbook for Schools 2006-2007