Student Support Teams (SST)
The Student Support Team (SST) is an interdisciplinary group of professionals and parents who attempt to address the needs of students who are having academic and or behavioral difficulties at school. SSTs are mandated by the Georgia Department of Education as a result of a legal decision Ollie Marshall case, 1984. The ruling address concerns that minority students were being disproportionately referred to and placed in special education programs. As a result, the SST model involves viewing students from a holistic perspective. It is also based on the premise that “two heads are better than one” when developing plans for students who are having difficulty in school.
The selection of the School Support Team (SST) is the responsibility of the school. Members who make up the student support teams vary from school to school. Three is the minimum number of SST participants as defined by Georgia Board Rule 160-4-2-.32. These may include an administrator, counselor, regular education teacher, special education teacher, school social worker, parent, ESOL teacher, school psychologist and others. Each school shall have a minimum of one Student Support Team and shall establish support team procedures.
A study involving 24 elementary teachers found they were not using Student Support Teams (SST) as designed. Teachers believed the primary purpose of SST was to test and place students into special education, referred students with whom they had not been successful, and believed there was a covert evaluation process (Spencer, Logan 2003). Children that are misplaced in special education are practically trained to underachieve. SST is for children who can be educated without special education services. Special education placement is very valuable to some students, but students who are inappropriately placed often suffer more than they benefit. A lack of differentiation of instruction can cause inappropriate referrals and special education placement. Differentiated instruction and behavioral support should not be something that a student gets in only in special...