IST stands for Instructional Support Team. The IST at the Middle School is comprised of staff members from a variety of different backgrounds and disciplines. It may include general education teachers, special education teachers, teachers for academic intervention services, school psychologists, counselors (guidance and student assistance counselor) and administrators. Depending upon the concerns or needs of the student, the IST may also include our school nurse and, if warranted, additional related service providers such as speech/hearing, occupational and/or physical therapy and vision services.
The purpose of the IST is to help provide additional classroom support to a student and teacher in order to help make a student more successful while they are at school. The purpose of the IST is also to brainstorm intervention strategies that can be used to maintain a student's current program. It is not the purpose of the IST to refer a student to the Committee on Special Education (CSE). Though the IST must sometimes consider this type of referral, a referral to the CSE is made as a last resort and only when all other avenues have been attempted and the student continues to struggle despite the interventions tried. In the case that the team feels a referral to the CSE is warranted, contact with the parent will be made prior to the referral being submitted.
The process of IST begins when a teacher or team of teachers has a concern regarding a student's progress. The concern can be academic, social/emotional, behavioral or physical. The teacher or team of teachers completes a referral for the student to be reviewed by the IST. At the IST meeting, the team reviews the referral with the teacher or team of teachers and gains additional information regarding the student. The IST brainstorms interventions strategies that can be tried in the classroom. Once a main concern is identified, intervention strategies are chosen to address that particular area. A liaison is assigned to confer with the teacher while the intervention strategies are being implemented. Often a follow-up meeting to review progress is scheduled for several weeks after the initial meeting. If a follow-up meeting is scheduled, a student's progress is reviewed by the IST and it is determined at that time if further intervention strategies are needed or if no further action is necessary as the student is progressing with the interventions chosen.
If you have any questions regarding IST or the IST process, please contact your child's teacher.