An SST in some states stands for student support team but I have also heard them referred to as student success team. The goal of an SST is to try to find academic interventions and accommodations that might help an individual student be successful in a specific area. SSTmeetings usually occur once a month. The teacher is in charge of implementing the intervention strategy or accommodation for the student and documenting any results. If this is not done correctly, the SST process is stalled.
Contrary to popular belief, the SST process is not necessarily the precursor to being tested for a learning disability. If certain interventions are successful, they are documented and should be used for years to come to help the student be successful. SST‘s should be revisited monthly and if they are no longer necessary, they should be classified as closed. An SST can be reopened at anytime in the future if an educator or parent sees it as necessary. Even if an SST is considered closed, it should remain in the student’s permanent file for future teachers to review and be aware of.
If there is no improvement after all SSTintervention strategies and accommodations are considered, tried and documented, the possibility of having a student tested for a learning disability should be considered.
Why should parents be on the Student Support Team?
I was recently not invited to my son’s SST meeting and I’m very unhappy about it. Prior to me changing my career to entrepreneur, I was a teacher. I was a SPED teacher. At one time I was the SST Coordinator for the grade I taught and of course I have had to go to SST meetings for every student I taught that had one over the past 10 years. I can safely say that I have experience with the SST process. I have a lot of experience with providing the correct intervention accommodations for students. One of the reasons why I switched careers was because we adopted a special needs son who needed more than I could give him when I was teaching. I wanted to be able to help and focus on him and be there as a supportive parent, something that he hadn’t had before. I feel robbed of that opportunity because I was denied the right to be an advocate for my son and his education. Education is something I feel is one of the most precious gifts a parent and society can give to a child.
So what do I think I could have added to that SST meeting that the other members couldn’t? How about that the doctor picked up on the fact that my son has a speech delay in a matter of minutes. She asked if he was being served in speech and then why not? She was upset that the school wasn’t giving him the accommodations that he needed and that it wasn’t related to the ADHD, which is what the teacher is convinced of. She is the only person with daily contact with my son so her word was taken. If I were invited, I could have countered that statement.
Any time there is an SST meeting, the parents should be invited. When I was the coordinator, it was standard practice to contact the parents three times to try to get them to the SST meeting. They are valuable resources. After all, they do know their children the best. Parents should help teachers decide what the best intervention accommodations are for their children. Parents and teachers need to work together to get the best results for the student and child. The SST or RTI meeting is a great starting point.