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Special Education

Highlander follows all State and Federal requirements for identifying and servicing students with special needs.

RTI Process

The RTI (Response to Intervention) process at Highlander is a way to identify students who may not be making the progress they should be making in the areas of academic learning or social emotional functioning.  Teachers or parents may refer a student to RTI in order to brainstorm some possible reasons why the student is not making progress and to develop strategies that can be put in place to assist the student.  This is a cyclical process and progress is evaluated to determine if the strategies or interventions are working.  If not, more intensive interventions may be tried.  If there continues to be a concern about the student’s progress, a student may be referred for Special Education Assessment.

Special Education

Students may be referred for special education assessment to see if they qualify for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) either through the RTI process or by a direct parent referral.  When a referral is received, the special education team will meet to determine if there is a need for testing.  If students qualify for special education services, an IEP will be developed.  The Special Education Handbook has more specific information about this process and IEPs.

504 Plan

Students who do not qualify for an IEP but have a diagnosis that impacts school performance, such as ADHD, may qualify for a 504 plan that will outline modifications and accommodations they can receive.

When students enter Highlander with an IEP, a meeting will be held to review and update the IEP.

Highlander employs resource teachers, a speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, a social worker, and a school psychologist, as well as multiple specialized reading tutors.


Highlander follows all State and Federal regulations regarding the discipline of special education students.