RtI was recognized in the 2004 reauthorization of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as one option that school districts can use to identify students with learning disabilities. The federal law states: In determining whether a child has a specific learning disability, a local educational agency may use a process that determines if the child responds to scientific, research-based intervention as part of the evaluation procedures…(P.S. 108-446 § 614(b) (6)). However, it is important to note that school districts still have an obligation to Child Find and identifying children with disabilities early. Therefore, RtI cannot be a roadblock to referral for special education either.
Features of the RtI approach have been around for more than 20 years. What has changed now is that the force of current federal law is creating a fundamental shift in instructional delivery, so as to provide a sound foundation for quality instruction for all learners, while also creating a systematic, data-driven process to determine students’ specific learning needs.
State law in Texas also requires intervention prior to referral (19 TAC 89.1011), and that all districts provide a “general education referral or screening system. Students experiencing difficulty in the general classroom should be considered for all support services available to all students, such as tutorial, remedial, compensatory and other services.”
Therefore, in Coppell ISD general education takes the lead in providing evidence-based instruction, interventions, and accommodations to all learners. We believe all children can learn and provide early and ongoing intervention regardless of what the learner’s status is in regard to future or previous evaluation for special services.