Special/Struggling Populations

Treeside ensures a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to all students regardless of ability and circumstance in accordance with Federal and State Law.  We are dedicated to the early identification of and service to students regarded as a special population such as Special Education, 504, English Language Learners, High Achieving Students, and the homeless.

Finding Struggling Students

The Special Education staff will train all members of the instructional staff annually in confidentiality and “child find” procedures. We will use the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) to find students who are suspected of having a disability not yet identified or determined eligible for special education services.  If a student is not progressing toward mastery of the Utah State Standards or is struggling socially, behaviorally, in communication or with motor skills, the teacher will follow the three-tiered system of support:

  • Tier One (Prevention) includes high-quality classroom instruction delivered by highly qualified teachers and regular assessments of all students to monitor their progress toward reaching grade-level benchmarks.
  • Tier Two (Selected Structured Intervention) includes targeted group intervention in class or outside of the classroom for students who are not meeting grade level benchmarks. During Tier Two students may be referred to the Student Success Team (SST).
  • Tier Three (Intensive Intervention) includes more intensive and possibly individualized intervention for students who continue to be at risk. SST members identify the specific academic areas of need for low achievers and plan interventions that are monitored and reviewed at subsequent meetings. At this level, a student may be referred for Special Education eligibility assessment (with parental permission) according to IDEA.

Our approach & special populations

By using methodologies influenced by Waldorf education, Treeside has the tools necessary to effectively educate children with disabilities in a full inclusion classroom and the least restrictive environment. For our students with mild/moderate and or moderate/severe learning disabilities, we will utilize strategies that support their ability to process and retain information, build social relationships, and organize effectively for learning.

Our approach makes accommodations easier than might be possible in a traditional classroom because of its highly differentiated and holistic approach to meeting the needs of each student.  We will make it possible for students with special needs to meet grade level standards, scaffolded and modified if needed, as set forth in individual plans. This is facilitated by Treeside's practice of looping allowing students with IEPs the advantage of working to achieve their goals with the same teacher for consecutive years minimizing instructional time lost during transitions between grades and assimilation. Students will demonstrate what they know through formal and informal testing, portfolios, oral presentations, and projects without being impeded by their disability.

Special Education

We strive to identify students with special needs as quickly as possible.  Upon entrance to the school, we will ask if the student has a current IEP. If an IEP is in place, records from the previous school will be requested and special education services will begin immediately in accordance with the existing IEP. The IEP team will then determine whether to adopt the existing IEP or convene a meeting for the purpose of constructing a new IEP.

As a public school we adhere to all state and federal laws and regulations regarding special education including, but not limited to, requirements outlined in the Utah State Board of Education Special Education Rules (USBE-SER II.A.) as well as, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Executive Director will oversee the special education department, closely monitor special education caseloads, and follow special education caseload guidelines from the USOE. We will further meet the needs of Special Education students through:

  • Properly licensed teachers and highly trained paraprofessionals will work with individuals and groups
  • Providing auxiliary service providers, including but not limited to, psychologists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists as needed
  • Students are educated in the least restrictive environment possible  ie main-stream classroom
  • Provide timely and thorough Individual Education Plan (IEP) development
  • The Special Education Director will closely monitor and oversee that all students receive accommodations and services set forth by their IEP


Any student, who has an objectively identified disability that substantially limits a major life activity including but not limited to learning, is eligible for accommodation by Treeside. If a child is suspected to be eligible for a 504 plan, a 504 team will be assembled by the Director and will include the parent/guardian, the student (where appropriate) and other qualified persons knowledgeable about the student, the meaning of the evaluation data, placement options, and accommodations. The 504 team will review the student's existing records; including academic, social and behavioral records, and is responsible for making a determination as to whether an evaluation for Section 504 services is appropriate. If the student has already been evaluated under the IDEA but found ineligible for special education instruction or related services under the IDEA, those evaluations may be used to help determine eligibility under Section 504. The final determination of whether the student will or will not be identified as a person with a disability is made by the 504 team in writing and notice is given in writing to the parent/guardian of the student in their primary language along with the procedural safeguards available to them.  If during the evaluation, the 504 team obtains information indicating possible eligibility of the student for special education per the IDEA, a referral for assessment under the IDEA will be made by the 504 team.

English Language Learners

Our use of multiple modalities is particularly important for English Learners students in the regular classroom. It builds oral language skills, concept comprehension, and key social skills. Research shows that students who engage in complex forms of socio-dramatic play and multi-sensory learning, have greater language skills, better social skills, and greater information processing skills than those students given little or no play time (Miller, 2009).

We will further meet the needs of EL students through:

  • Valid assessment and Identification though WIDA
  • Providing strong classroom instruction by teachers holding ESL/EL certifications
  • One-on-one tutoring by or under the supervision of ESL/EL certified teacher
  • Extra time and help with individual or group assignments
  • Peer tutoring
  • Supplementary curriculum focused on EL students

High Achieving Students

We are committed to a developmentally driven education for all. Students achieving above grade level as measured by standardized test and interim benchmark assessments, will receive appropriate academic extensions within the classroom. Teachers will differentiate by using appropriate resources, products, assignments, and pacing. During a portion of small group collaboration time, high achieving students may be paired with lower performing students to offer support or be paired with other high achieving students to share challenging assignments. Enrichment activities and Main Lesson block projects will also provide opportunities for academic challenges.

Homeless Students

Understanding the effects of homelessness on a child’s development, education, and socio-emotional wellbeing, Treeside will take special care in the education of students who are deemed homeless who “lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence” (Center Serve, 2015). They will be given all of the rights and privileges under the McKinney Vento Act as well as a free appropriate public education. We will provide students with any and all needed school supplies, they will have free access to field trips, learning activities and project based learning opportunities. Treeside's Parent Guild will become involved in fundraiser opportunities for the economically disadvantaged as well as doing coordinated carpooling and transportation offerings. Additionally, we will consider all needs of the student and make referrals for community services as needed by individual family situation.