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Chelsea School District


The Chelsea School District Process for Determination of the Existence of a Specific Learning Disability (SLD):

The Chelsea School District (CSD) is committed to supporting success for all learners. We have specific steps and processes that are mandated when looking at potential eligibility for special education services.

Just as most other districts across the state, CSD is undergoing significant changes in the way that eligibility for special education services as a student with a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) is determined. While we have never relied on a simple “discrepancy” model (performance substantially below ability, sometimes a “wait to fail” model), we must now indicate how else we will be making decisions related to SLD eligibility.

While we are working to build upon our already significant efforts to create a strong, consistent “Response To Intervention” (RtI) process (a type of early intervention: “catch ‘em before they fail”) across the district, we are not fully prepared to use this model to the extent necessary for eligibility determination. RtI is, essentially, the use of specific, evidence-based interventions, along with the careful measurement of student progress, to direct and adjust instruction. The goal for all is progress toward age and/or grade-level standards.  Based upon a student’s response to interventions, the decisions about whether or not the student may have a Learning Disability become easier to make.

Our RtI efforts, as available and documented, will be used as data for part of any evaluation.

The RtI/early intervention process is vital to the collection and review of the comprehensive data necessary to complete a full evaluation for the determination of SLD. Although a parent may request an evaluation at any time, the RtI/early intervention process is critical to the decision-making process. Without the time to provide intervention, a decision about SLD eligibility can not be made.

At present, CSD uses a “Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses” (PSW) Process in all buildings and all grades in the district for the consideration of SLD eligibility.

By using this process, the following must be considered and requires extensive analysis:

  1. The student does not achieve adequately for the student’s age or to meet State-approved grade-level standards in one or more of the areas identified at 34 CFR §300.309(a)(1)(i) (Federal Law) when provided with learning experiences and instruction appropriate for the student’s age or State-approved grade-level standards; and
  2. The student exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses (PWS) in performance, achievement, or both, relative to age, State-approved grade-level standards, or intellectual development, that is determined by the Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team (MET) to be relevant to the identification of a SLD, using appropriate assessments, consistent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 04) Evaluation Procedures and Additional Requirements for Evaluations and Reevaluations.

A multi-disciplinary team must differentiate possible SLD from other causal factors, such as:

  • Other handicapping conditions
  • Cultural differences of heritage, values or behavior
  • Environmental or economic disadvantage
  • Limited English proficiency

For additional information about parental rights and the Special Education Process, please log on to , the Washtenaw Intermediate School District website. There you will find copies of parental rights, the current Parent Handbook, and other related documents and information which may be of use.

This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.