Special Education

Use of Response to Intervention When Determining if a Student in Grades K-4 Has a Learning Disability in Reading

July 2012

District Superintendents
Superintendents of Public Schools
Superintendents of State-Operated and State-Supported Schools
Superintendents of Special Act School Districts
Executive Directors of Approved Private Schools
Principals of Public, Nonpublic, and Charter Schools
New York City Department of Education           
Commissioner’s Advisory Panel for Special Education Services
Impartial Hearing Officers
Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Centers
Special Education Parent Centers
Early Childhood Direction Centers
Organizations, Parents and Individuals Concerned with Special Education

Ken Slentz

Use of Response to Intervention When Determining if a Student in Grades K-4 Has a Learning Disability in Reading

The purpose of this memorandum is to remind all school districts in New York State (NYS) that, effective July 1, 2012, all school districts must have a Response to Intervention (RtI) framework in place, consistent with section 100.2(ii) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, as part of the process to determine if a student in grades kindergarten through grade four has a learning disability (LD) in the area of reading.  Consistent with section 200.4(j)(4) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, beginning on and after July 1, 2012, a school district may not use the severe discrepancy criteria to determine if a student in kindergarten through grade four has a learning disability in the area of reading. 

Since the October 2007 adoption of these regulations, the NYS Education Department (NYSED) has taken the following steps to assist districts in the planning, development and implementation of RtI frameworks:

  • Issued a guidance document for school districts. Guidance related to the evaluation and determination of LD in reading for students K-4 that must include data from the RtI process can be found in Chapter X of this guidance document. (http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/RTI/guidance-oct10.pdf)  
  • Established a statewide RtI Technical Assistance Center (TAC). (www.nysrti.orgexternal link)
  • Provided grants to fund 14 pilot schools who receive ongoing technical assistance and professional development from the RtI TAC. 
  • Developed additional resources available at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/rz-publist.htm.

    In addition, NYS has identified a number of schools with effective instructional practices for students with disabilities, including schools that have implemented high quality literacy instructional programs, with tiered levels of intervention to address the needs of struggling learners.

To date, NYS’ policy and technical assistance framework on RtI has focused primarily on grades K-4, with particular emphasis in the area of reading.  In order to effect broader implementation of RtI across school districts and grade levels, NYSED will utilize federal funding from a newly awarded State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) to expand the State’s capacity to provide professional development on RtI to school personnel and parents statewide and to offer support for high-quality implementation of RtI in grades Pre-K through Grade 8.  To accomplish this, a request for proposal was recently issued whose purpose is to establish four regional professional development teams to provide professional development and technical assistance to NYS preschool providers and school districts to implement Recognition and Response and RtI programs in grades Pre-K-8.  The technical assistance provided through this contract will also provide information for parents on Recognition and Response and RtI and will utilize information from the current SPDG effective practice schools and the RtI pilot schools to assist other districts in RtI implementation.

The implementation of an RtI framework will directly support other major NYSED initiatives related to the Common Core Learning Standards.  Specifically, it is within a systemic RtI framework of instruction, assessment and interventions that teaching and learning will offer the means of achieving the Common Core Learning Standards through quality instruction.

To ensure dissemination to appropriate individuals within a school district, we ask Superintendents to please share this memorandum with other individuals such as Assistant Superintendents for Curriculum and Instruction, Building Principals, Directors of Special Education, School Psychologists, Committees on Special Education Chairpersons, Guidance Counselors and Directors of Pupil Personnel.  Questions regarding this memorandum can be directed to the P-12: Office of Special Education at 518-473-2878.

Last Updated: July 16, 2015