Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS)
The Colorado definition of Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) is "a prevention-based framework of team-driven data-based problem solving for improving the outcomes of every student through family, school, and community partnering and a layered continuum of evidence-based practices applied at the classroom, school, district, region, and state level." MTSS is utilized to improve learning results for all students. Determining a child’s response to scientifically, researched-based intervention is also required in the identification of a Specific Learning Disability. For more information around MTSS, please visit the Colorado Department of Education site.
MTSS Lead Coordinator:
At American Academy we typically provide special education services for Specific Learning Disability, Speech or Language Impairment, and other mild to moderate disabilities. For additional information around the disability categories outlined by the Colorado Department of Education, please visit the Colorado Department of Education website
. Our Student Support Services staff works closely with families of students with more significant disabilities in order to determine FAPE.
What is a Specific Learning Disability (SLD)?
Specific Learning Disability (SLD) means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. Specific Learning Disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of: visual impairment, including blindness; hearing impairment, including deafness; orthopedic impairment; intellectual disability; serious emotional disability; cultural factors; environmental or economic disadvantage; or limited English proficiency.
Formerly, the SLD construct of “unexpected underachievement” was indicated by low achievement as compared to a measure of the child’s ability (IQ/achievement discrepancy). Revisions made in 2008 redefined the SLD construct of “unexpected underachievement” to indicate low achievement and insufficient response to empirically validated instruction/intervention that works with most students, even struggling ones (Response to Intervention). For more information on the Response to Intervention framework and the criteria for determining a Specific Learning Disability, please visit the Colorado Department of Education website.
What is a Speech or Language Impairment?
A child with a Speech or Language Impairment shall have a communicative disorder which prevents the child from receiving reasonable educational benefit from general education.
The following is a list of common speech and language disorders with a brief explanation of each.
- Articulation - the way we say our speech sounds
- Phonology - the speech patterns we use
- Apraxia - difficulty planning and coordinating the movements needed to make speech sounds
- Fluency - stuttering
- Voice - problems with the way the voice sounds, such as hoarseness
- Receptive Language - difficulty understanding language
- Expressive Language - difficulty using language
- Pragmatic Language - social communication; the way we speak to each other
- Deafness/Hearing Loss - loss of hearing; therapy includes developing lip-reading, speech, and/or alternative communication systems
- Oral-Motor Disorders - weak tongue and/or lip muscles
- Swallowing/Feeding Disorders - difficulty chewing and/or swallowing
Taken From: Super Duper Handy Handouts, Number 162. What is A Speech-Language Pathologist? Written By: Susie S. Loraine, M.A. CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologists:
Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. 504 plans ensure that individuals with disabilities that significantly impact one or more major life activities have equal access to education and educational programs. At American Academy, 504 accommodations are designed to allow students access to the curriculum and programming based on individual needs.
**In order for a student to be considered for a 504 plan, they must demonstrate evidence of a physical or mental impairment that significantly limits a major life activity, which produces significant academic/educational struggles. It must also be determined that MTSS supports are unable to alleviate the struggles with short-term interventions.
Significant academic struggles can be defined as a student who continues to show a pattern of academic/educational failure. This can be demonstrated by a lack of response to interventions, failing grades, unsatisfactory performance on assessments, and an inability to comprehend grade level material. Significant academic struggles are more than having to spend hours on homework.
Colorado READ Act
In 2012 Colorado’s State Legislators repealed the Colorado Basic Literacy Act (CBLA) and introduced the Colorado Reading to Ensure Academic Development Act (READ Act) legislation. “The state’s goal [for the legislation of the READ Act] is for all children in Colorado to graduate from high school having attained skill levels that adequately prepare them for post-secondary studies or for the workforce, and research demonstrates that achieving reading competency by third grade is a critical milestone in achieving this goal” (Colorado Department of Education, 2015). The READ Act maintains many elements of CBLA such as a focus on K-3 literacy, assessment, and individual plans for students reading below grade level, but it also differs in that it focuses on students identified as having a significant reading deficiency, delineating requirements for parent communication, and providing funding to support intervention. For more information on the Colorado READ Act, please visit the Colorado Department of Education website
. The CDE approved assessment American Academy uses is iReady. The assessments are given to 100% of K-3 students three times per year to monitor progress.
READ Act Coordinators:
The Role of a Professional School Counselor
Through a comprehensive and developmental school counseling program, our campus school counselors work as a team with students, families, and American Academy staff to address the academic, career and personal/social development of all students.
What does a School Counselor do?
- Work with ALL students to encourage a safe school climate of trust and respect.
- Deliver classroom lessons that align to American School Counselor Association standards.
- Facilitate small groups.
- Meet individually with students to provide short-term support (not therapy).
- Help students who are struggling to make positive behavior choices at school.
- Collaborate with parents/guardians, teachers, support staff, and administration.
- Provide education and information about students’ social-emotional needs.
- Maintain confidentiality of students and their families unless there is a need to know or a safety concern.
If you are interested in having your child meet with the campus school counselor or participate in a small group, please visit the School Counseling
web pages for information.
Gifted & Talented
The mission of our Gifted and Talented Program is to promote intellectual, social and emotional growth in the gifted and twice exceptional student population through encouraging student-lead advocacy, providing active support and purposeful education programming and opportunities. There are added opportunities for students on Advanced Learning Plans (ALPs), such as the choice of participating in the Passion Pursuit Project. Universal screening for potentially gifted students is required for all third and sixth grade students using the CogAT assessment. It is a group administered assessment tool that provides data in order to determine general reasoning abilities in verbal, quantitative and nonverbal. The results are used as one source of data for gifted identification and can be utilized by teachers to inform instruction.
English Language Development (ELD)