SST meetings

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by cali*teacher, May 21, 2010.

  1. cali*teacher

    cali*teacher Companion

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    May 21, 2010

    Part of the module I am working on right now is talking about the SST meeting process, a term used in California, Student Study Team, if a child is having particular problems and areas of concern and the referring teacher brings this group of team members together to discuss the child. Okay, I am reading about this SST meeting, the team members, the purpose, the details about how to proceed with one, etc, etc, and honestly it makes me cringe. That sounds like a nightmare for a poor parent, and the child him or herself that might be involved in the meeting, to have to have a whole panel of people discussing your child's deficiencies, and kind of like dissecting a child. As a parent, I know how it can be when you have a teacher telling you in a private meeting she thinks your son has ADD and should be on meds. That was a big NO from me by the way, as I don't agree with medicating kids like that. (in the reading, however, it says one of the Don'ts of this type of meeting is to bring up something like that, no mentioning of suggesting meds, diagnosis of ADD, etc), but still the whole thing just makes me feel a little cringeworthy. I think sometimes when a child is made to feel like there is something "wrong" with him/her it effects their self esteem, and the parent feels a little threatened. It seems a child psychologically couldn't help but wonder internally I'm a problem child, or I'm stupid, if he's sitting with a whole panel of people discussing areas of concern about him or her, no matter how positive the meeting seems to be on the surface. I can see that as producing some anxiety. I'm just putting this on here to see how others feel, if it has been a really positive thing, or not so positive. Is there anyone else who feels this way?
     
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  3. bros

    bros Phenom

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    May 21, 2010

    Isn't SST what California calls RTI?

    Also, the stuff about ADHD is a don't because teachers are not qualified to diagnose or treat anything. Therefore no school employee may suggest medication or say anything like "The student cannot come back until they are on medication"
     
  4. MissSkippyjonJones

    MissSkippyjonJones Comrade

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    May 21, 2010

    Sorry for the length:
    Last year I participated in close to 10 SSTs (Student Success Teams is what we call them) for my students. All of these meetings were very positive. The parents, student, principal, classroom teacher, and SST coordinator were all in attendance. This wasn't a time to make the student feel bad, but rather a time for us to talk about what the student does well, and what they are struggling with. The parents were also able to share what they have noticed at home which is really helpful for us at school. The classroom teacher is able to talk about what interventions they have already tried and what has and hasn't been working. The others involved in the meeting are then able to make suggestions about other possible interventions or steps for the teacher, parent, and student to take. After about 2 weeks another meeting takes place to discuss the results of the new interventions. If they are working and improvement has been seen then that is documented and often no other steps need to be taken. If they haven't worked then SPED testing may be suggested to see if the student will qualify for special services. Without a SST and documented interventions, SPED testing can't take place. It is also next to impossible to retain a student who has not gone through the SST process. For my students, I saw the SST process help them a lot. A few were able to get tested and qualified for special services and the rest really benefited from the interventions at home and at school. Like BROS said, the teacher cannot tell the parents that the student needs medication, etc., but the SST team can suggest to the parent that the student get a complete physical, eye exam, etc. to rule out any medical reasons that may be causing them to struggle at school. One of my students did have ADHD and it was through the SST process that it was diagnosed and treated.
     
  5. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    May 21, 2010

    No, SST (student study team) is when a grp consisting of the teacher, parent, P or VP, school psych, & maybe the SLP & another peron or two, such as the APE talk about the student that's having the problem & coming up w/ solutions, possible testing for special ed services, etc. The grp usually consists of the same professionals that are in attendance for an IEP meeting, but the kid isn't in any kind of special ed services yet.

    RtI (which is how it may be shown w/ the lowercase 't') stands for response to intervention where in my district, the general ed teacher must perform certain things for a certain length of time w/ the kid having problems & have documentation of what was done & the results to show that everything possible was down BEFORE the kids is possibly tested for special ed services, speech, etc.

    Now as far as I know, the SST meeting may be done first before the RtI steps & documentation are done.
     
  6. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    May 21, 2010

    Look at it as a "problem solving meeting." People who see the child in different environments are coming together to figure out how to help the child be successful. It's much more efficient to have one meeting with everyone so they're on the same page than having seperate conversations with everyone... what works for you might not work for me, but if I don't know you're trying it, I won't know.

    We've done this for several of the kindergartners I'm working with... the child is not there, though... and at this level, it doesn't always involve the parent... consistency is often the key, and unless everyone's on the same page, there isn't consistency.
     
  7. cali*teacher

    cali*teacher Companion

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    I just don't ever, ever want to be a source of harm in any way to a child, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, etc. I have seen children kind of singled out and picked on by teachers before, not my own, but I have a close relative where this was going on with her son. I think her son got a "reputation" amongst the faculty, and it just seemed to domino effect and he was singled out each subsquent year. His mother was constantly in meetings and told how terrible her son was. It created a mindset in her son that he was a bad kid. It was a source of a lot of stress for her, and I saw how it was really harmful to her son's psyche, not helpful. He had it in his mind he was just the "problem" kid. As a professional would I have the autonomy not to be involved in something like that. I don't see myself being the referring teacher. And I really wouldn't want to be involved in any proceedings like that. I want to see a child flourish and do well, maybe in some cases it works, but I definitely see where in other cases it would be a huge stressor to someone.
    I know a very dear lady, she started a Christian school in connection with her and her husband's church years ago. It has been in existence for years and she taught many years there and still does from time to time, although an elderly woman. Her motto is children will pretty much become what you put in their heads, "I'm Johnny Bad Boy" or "I'm Janey Good Girl", because kids really do take to heart and rise to meet the expectations whether good or bad. This woman is a true treasure in this world, and has shown so much kindness and love to me and others, and it's genuine.
     
  8. MissSkippyjonJones

    MissSkippyjonJones Comrade

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    May 21, 2010

    I understand your feelings and find them valid, but as a teacher who had a student in my class last year that needed to be in SPED but was never put through the SST process until the 4th grade I see how by not referring the child you can also be harming them. This student didn't get put into RSP until April of his 4th grade year. He missed out and struggled for so many years and because of this he was extremely depressed and felt like a failure. Due to the SST process I was able to talk to his mom about all of this, work with other professionals, get him tested/placed in RSP, and get him placed in our school's "self-esteem" group with the counselor.
    As a teacher, we have difficult parts to our job. The most difficult (for me) is having to tell a parent that their child is struggling, but we must do it.
     
  9. cali*teacher

    cali*teacher Companion

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    And again, things might seem to be fine and positive on the surface, but what about what really is going on in the child's mind, or even the parents' minds for that matter. They might seem cooperative and such, and everything seem okay, but you know that has got to be at least a slightly stressful ordeal for a parent to be called to such a meeting, I don't know how it wouldn't be to some extent.

    I can and would have a meaningful, compassionate private talk with a parent if I saw struggles, but would I want to be part of a "panel" of people facing a parent and child, with all my "research based data"? no.
     
  10. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    May 21, 2010

    I'm not a parent...

    but I'd like to think I'd rather know what my child is struggling with and what the school is trying to do to help than not know. AND... I'd rather the speech therapist, occupational therapist, or resource teacher be able to tell me what they're doing directly than have it filtered through the classroom teacher who, knowledgable as she is, has a different focus and area of expertise.

    At my school, before the parents come in for a meeting, there have been (usually muiltiple) problem-solving meetings with just the school team, to brainstorm and share ideas... that way, when parents come in, we have some data and experiences to share with the parent. We're seeing (abc). What we've tried is (qrst), and we've seen (xyz) results. Do you see this at home? How do you handle it?

    Also remember that this is very rarely (I'd hope never!) the first time thep arent has had communication with the school. Generally, the classroom teacher and the parent have already had conversations about whatever the successes and struggles are... so this shouldn't be a complete surprise to them... and a good teacher has prepared them in advance (we'd like to have a meeting with me, you, the social worker, the school's speech and occupational therapists, and his resource teacher to talk about what we're seeing... ) so the number of people is something they can mentally prepare for.

    I know having an entire panel of interviewers is nerve-wracking- I can only imagine the shock a parent would face if they ddin't know!!!
     
  11. cali*teacher

    cali*teacher Companion

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    I've not been a teacher before in that role. I might find that this can be a very positive thing and come back here a year or two later and say how it's a good thing. I just don't ever, ever want to be one of those teachers that practically harass a poor child because he isn't fitting in their particular mold of expectations because of a control freak personality if you know what I mean. I'm sorry but some people have done more harm than good to children. I was bothered to see some teachers in the school I was student teaching use those teacher prof stick things and point it just inches from a child's face. I see that as abuse of authoriity and just wrong. I can't believe it is actually allowed. Now, I'm not one against reasonable authority, heck, I even believe corporal punishment should still be used within reason in schools, but when it's like just bordering on abusive that's just wrong.
     
  12. swansong1

    swansong1 Maven

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    Let me add my two cents worth.
    1) Some children who are ADHD or ADD have a chemical imbalance in their brain that causes their symptoms. They have a real medical condition that can and should be treated. Once the proper medication is administered, the symptoms are controlled, and the child now has a chance to flourish. If you had a diabetic child (for example) would you want that child treated for their medical condition? I'm not trying to be sarcastic here, just trying to explain.
    2) You don't want to participate in meetings to discuss how best to help your student. Do you want to bury your head in the sand and hope the child who is struggling will magically improve? Your job as a teacher will be to do whatever it takes to reach each child and help them be the best they can. If that means having a meeting with a bunch of professionals who have knowledge to impart and strategies based on their years of experience that will help that child, do you still want to sit back in your classroom and do nothing?
    3) As far as these meetings being stressful to the parent or child...how much stress do you think these parents are already feeling knowing that their child is struggling in school...or how stressful is it for the child to feel they can't keep up with the other students and they don't understand why? Can you imagine the positive feelings that both the parent and student will now feel when they realize that everyone around them is working to devise strategies to make that child succeed in school.?
    I could go on, but this is too long already. I have been teaching special needs children for a long time and I have raised 2 special needs children (so I have been on both sides of the table). I really have to tell you that I appreciate your opinion, but I completely disagree with your viewpoint
     
  13. cali*teacher

    cali*teacher Companion

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    Again, I repeat, I don't want to see a child flounder, I want to be there to help. I want my classes to be a safe haven and loving.
    I am putting this out here, because I want to see what others have to say, do they agree, disagree. Am I in left field? Everyone here reading this has to admit they have seen some teachers almost pick on a child.
    As for myself, I never had problems in school, I loved school when I was a child, I respected the authority, seemed to flourish in a public school environment. I had one issue in the 5th grade and my teacher quickly nipped it in the bud. She had a meeting with my mom, and it was handled. I respected her, and had a total attitude change after that. That's the only time I remember a problem, but overall I loved school and my teachers, so I really don't know what it's like to be a problem, although I remember the troublemakers. I am saying children I know personally who have honestly been hurt by this approach though, it's all I'm saying.

    And, I will never, agree with putting a young child on these psychotropic meds like people do at the drop of a hat. It messes with their brain chemistry and these meds haven't been around long enough to know their full effects long term.
     
  14. cali*teacher

    cali*teacher Companion

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    Kids are kids, and especially, boys will be boys. You cannot expect a classroom of kids to sit totally still for 6 hours a day without getting a little hyperactive, and of course some more than others. I notice it's the ones who don't have children themselves who have all these unrealistic expectations that a child should just sit there motionless, and if he doesn't comply he needs to be on meds. If you can't deal with a kid being a kid, then you might want to rethink some things. Remember what they say about Albert Einstein in his childhood. Lord, that man would have been put on some type of ADD med for sure if he were a child in a school today.

    Oh, and if I walked around the corner and I saw one of my son's teachers doing that, poking a teacher prof stick or whatever you call those things at his chest or face like what I witnessed, you better be prepared to some fur flying.
     
  15. swansong1

    swansong1 Maven

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    I absolutely agree that some children are just very energetic and do not need to be on meds to make their teacher have an easier time. That teacher just needs to deal with it. Some of your points are very valid. I'm just concerned that you don't close your mind to the fact that groups of professionals (SST team, for example) will (hopefully) have the experience to help the parent and child feel comfortable and have the expertise to help the student.
     
  16. cali*teacher

    cali*teacher Companion

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    In answer to your question, absolutely not, I wouldnt see a child have problems and put my head in the sand, I think I would probably use other types of interventions though maybe? I guess I can be thankful from life and life experiences in being a mother, and others life experiences I can work on a broader base of knowledge and compassion in that aspect. Then again, you are saying as a mother this has been very positive for you and your child. This is the kind of input I am trying to get. My initial reaction to the idea of the SST concept was a turn off. I was curious what others opinions are, if they will be honest, and personal experiences are.

    There would be some definite weighing out of priorities and motives in situations before taking part in that type of intervention.
     
  17. cali*teacher

    cali*teacher Companion

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    I had a friend, who had her son on those type of meds for years because the kid was hyperactive and problematic at times. I didn't personally agree, but that was her son, her business. Her son ended up having some kind of horrible stroke and was in a coma for a while, when he was like 18. He is now out of the coma and somewhat functional, but he is brain injured and in a wheelchair, etc., dependent on others in all his care. The scans showed scarring on his brain from something, and this caused the stroke or event. I feel that it's possibly all those years of medications that finally took a toll on him. He was presently on the meds when the event occurred, and had had a medication adjustment a little prior to the event.
     
  18. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Sometimes a kid needs more help than you're able to give within the confines of your classroom... be that speech or OT services, resource, etc... theat's why we teach in a building and not a vaccuum :)
     
  19. swansong1

    swansong1 Maven

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    In my class, I have to use every resource available in the district to advocate for my students. I think you will find when you get your classroom that you will be eager to use all your available resources. I have found that my parent experiences have helped in the classroom and my classroom experiences have helped as a parent. I think, as you have said, that your parent experiences can only have a positive impact on your teaching.
     
  20. cali*teacher

    cali*teacher Companion

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    Of course I would refer a child to say a speech pathologist, or OT services, etc, why wouldn't I if it was needed. It would be harmful not to. It's just the idea of a parent being faced, and possibly the child involved too, with all these people and their panel with their "research data" and the intervention tools, and it could create a not so positive environment for the parent or child, if they already a little anxious about a meeting like that. If it is truly beneficial and has positive effects then hey, great, but I'm not so sure of it in every case. It's like the goals are good and well intentioned, but it's the manner of doing it is I wonder about.
     
  21. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    I have never seen a negative SST meeting. (Not that I have been to hundreds, only a few). In Hawaii it is called a BSP behavior support plan meeting. We talk about what triggers the child's behavior, what might be going on at home, what behaviors we most want to change and then discuss how to go about it. It's great to have that many people all trying to help and come up with solutions. I've never seen a meeting like this where the child was in on the meeting- even in CA. Usually the child is brought in alone later by one member and they share what was discussed and how we want to help them. it's not negative at all unless the parents don't think there is a problem. Then it can get hairy.
     

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