HOW THINGS WORK
THE FIRST STEP IN THE REFERRAL PROCESS
The Intervention and Referral Service (I&RS) Committee serves as a resource for teachers and is an integral part of the pre-referral process. I&RS members typically include, but are not limited to, the school principal, nurse, counselor, CST members and teachers. The purpose of the I&RS Committee is to address any possible concerns teachers may have regarding their students’ academic, social, and emotional functioning. Based on meetings with teachers, the I&RS committee develops specific strategies for use in general education classrooms. Classroom teachers then implement these strategies according to I&RS recommendations. Parents are informed about the progress of their child through contact with the teacher. If the strategies are not effective, they may be revised or, if it is suspected that a student may have a suspected educational disability, a referral will be made for a Child Study Team evaluation.
The Evaluation Process
3. Eligibility Determination
4. Individualized Education Plan
5. Educational Program
6. Annual IEP and Re-Evaluation
THE IDENTIFICATION AND PLACEMENT PROCESS:
A student is generally referred for evaluation by teachers, counselors or administrators through the I&RS team. A referral may also by requested by the child’s parent/guardian. The referral should be made in writing, addressing the presenting concerns specifically highlighting the child’s current strengths and needs. The referral is presented to the Director of the Child Study Team who forwards it to the assigned case manager. The building case manager or designated case manager during the summer months has the responsibility for facilitating the referral process.
Informed, signed, parental consent must be received in order for the school to proceed with the evaluation. It is important for the parent to understand the components of the evaluation and how the results of the evaluation will be used to determine eligibility for special education services. An initial evaluation shall consist of a multi-disciplinary assessment in all areas of suspected disability. Such evaluation shall include at least two assessments and shall be conducted by at least two members of the Child Study Team in those areas in which they have appropriate training or are qualified through their professional licensure or educational certification and other specialists in the area of disability as required or as determined necessary. The specific kind of evaluations a child needs is decided on an individual basis and will include professionals trained to assess specific areas. Persons from varying disciplines including a school psychologist, speech and language therapist, physical therapist, audiologist and/or occupational therapist may conduct evaluations.
The common elements of a comprehensive assessment generally include the following:
- A school psychological evaluation, which includes a standardized intellectual test that measures cognitive functioning, a student and teacher interview, observation in the school setting and, where appropriate, social-emotional and adaptive behavior rating scales.
- An educational evaluation, which includes academic achievement testing, learning style inventory and a classroom observation.
- A medical evaluation/health appraisal, which includes a physical examination and current visual and auditory testing and if deemed appropriate.
- A social history, which may include developmental and medical histories.
Persons trained in the area of hearing or visual impairment may also provide assessment services when appropriate. Following parental consent for an initial evaluation of a preschool or school-age student, the evaluation, determination of eligibility for special services and, if determined eligible, the development and implementation of a student IEP shall be completed within 90 calendar days.
As a parent, you can provide the school with information about your child that may be considered in deciding if your child has a disability that requires special education and related services.
After the appropriate evaluations are completed and summary reports are written, an Individualized Education Program (IEP team) conference is held to determine if a child has a disability and is in need of special education and related services. The IEP team includes the child’s parents, school staff members and persons who are knowledgeable about the child’s learning and behavior in the home and school environment. The team will discuss every area of physical, behavioral and academic functioning that may be affecting the child’s educational performance. The team must decide if the student (a) meets the eligibility criteria for a disability as outlined in the New Jersey Special Education Administrative Code, Chapter 14, Title 6A and (b) if the disability adversely affects educational performance; and (c) is in need of specially-designed instruction and related services. Once a student is determined eligible, North Hanover Township Schools will provide a student IEP that will include Special Education programming and appropriate related services, as needed.
* North Hanover Township School District is a unique school district because of our military families. For this reason, it is important to maintain the IEP and evaluation documents in a safe place so that when you arrive at the next duty station, comparable services are able to be continued for the timely educational benefit of your child.
According to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the IEP Team should include the following persons:
- The parents/guardians of the student.
- A general education teacher.
- A special education teacher.
- A representative of the local education agency (NHSD) who is able to provide or supervise the specially designed instruction and related services in order to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.
- A person who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results. This person may be a team member described above.
- Other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student.
- The student, where appropriate.
Parents are given written notice of a meeting early enough to ensure that they will have an opportunity to attend. Meetings are scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time and place. At times, the parent is provided an opportunity to participate in a meeting by way of videoconferencing and conference calls. There are procedures established under state and federal law to address parental concerns, such as complaint resolution, mediation or a due process hearing. For a more comprehensive review, you may obtain a PRISE Booklet [Parental Rights In Special Education] in the Child Study Team Office or access the following website at: