Most schools have some form of consultation team that will meet when a student is struggling. This team is often called an SST but may go by other names. This team includes the teacher, parent, usually the principal or other representative, and anyone else who is highly involved in the child’s education.
The purpose of this team is to identify the child’s strengths, gather background information, and get everyone’s concerns out on the table. Then, leveraging the child’s strengths, the team brainstorms possible solutions for the presenting problems. These solutions may be school- or home-based, and may be actions for the teacher, parents or child.
These meetings are often recorded using a standard form that ensures the team sticks to a problem-solving agenda. Here is an example: Common SST Form
Through this team, referrals for higher levels of service (Special Ed, 504, or RTI) may be made if appropriate. Many times, however, just getting everyone on the same page can have a surprising influence on the child’s functioning.
How to Get an SST
- Just ask. In most schools, asking your child’s teacher for an SST meeting will be enough to get the ball rolling. You may also speak with the principal directly to request this meeting.
- Agree to a date. The principal, or an SST Coordinator, will contact you with a letter inviting you to a meeting at a specific date and time. These meetings may occur after school, or during a time in the school day when the teacher can be released from duty.
- Be prepared. Bring any additional information to the meeting that may be helpful for school staff to understand your child. You are not required to share sensitive data by any means. However, if there is new information that would be helpful, put it on the table!
- Take action. The end result of an SST is a list of Action Items. Make sure you know who is responsible for each item, and by which date.
- Ask for a follow-up. A common next step is to follow up within 6-8 weeks to determine if the Action Items are effective for supporting the student. Make sure you leave this meeting with a date for the next.
More questions? Just ask!