Armstrong School District
181 Heritage Park Drive, Suite 2 · Kittanning, PA 16201
Educational Support System (ESS)
Fact Sheet for Parents
What is the Educational Support System (ESS)?
Each student has different learning needs. For some students, learning new skills is not always easy. In some cases teachers seek assistance from the ESS team for intervention planning, consultation, and support for students in need. Students’ needs may include academic needs related to reading, written language, mathematics, or other subject areas. Additionally, some students’ needs are related to their emotional well-being or behavior.
ESS provides a means for educators and parents to collaborate and problem-solve individual student’s needs. ESS consists of a team of individuals who meet to discuss students’ needs, review assessment results, and develop plans to assist students in improving academically, emotionally, or behaviorally. The overall goal of ESS is to support students in need by intervening early, communicating often, and collaborating as a team to ensure your child’s success.
How does my child get referred to the ESS team?
Students are referred to ESS when a significant need in a core subject area is observed (i.e. failing grades or poor classroom performance) by the classroom teacher or another member of the team. Additionally, students may be referred if they show behaviors that impede their learning or that of other students.
What does it mean if my child has been referred to the ESS team?
If your child has been referred to the ESS team, it means that their teacher has concerns about their academic achievement or social, emotional, or behavioral skills that may require additional support, problem-solving, and intervention.
How does ESS work?
Once a child has been referred to the ESS team, a meeting is scheduled to discuss the student’s needs and develop a plan to address those needs. The plan includes background information, such as grades and results of assessments, goals, and a plan to monitor your child’s progress. After an intervention plan has been developed, it is implemented and supported by the ESS team through ongoing communication and monitoring. After the plan has been implemented for a period of three to four weeks, the team meets again to review the student’s progress and change the plan as needed. The goal is to see positive changes in the student’s skills and reduce the level of intervention that is needed. If the student does not progress as expected, changes are made to the plan and other options may be considered by the team.
Who are the members of the ESS team?
The core members of the ESS team are the parent/guardian, principal/assistant principal, school psychologist, classroom teacher, Title I reading teacher, and/or additional individuals who know the student well (community agency representatives, mental health liaison, etc.). While these are the core members, each team is different and may consist of a variety of different members.
What is my role in ESS as a parent?
Who knows a child better than their parent(s)/guardian? Parent/guardian input is welcomed and encouraged every step of the way. Our goal is to have open, ongoing communication with families about their child’s progress.
Does this mean my child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?
No. A child that has been referred to the ESS team does not have an IEP; however, parents have the right to request an evaluation for special education services at any time. Oftentimes, students progress as expected with some additional support and do not need to be evaluated for learning support or other special education services. In other cases, students do not progress as expected and an evaluation is sought to further evaluate their learning strengths and needs to determine whether they are in need of specially designed instruction.
Who do I contact if I have questions about ESS or my child?
If you have questions about ESS or your child, please feel free to contact your child’s building.