Referral and Evaluation Process
When a student has been identified as making minimal academic and/or emotional progress in the general education setting, he/she may be referred by their teacher to the Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS) for the purpose of collecting and evaluating relevant data in order to determine or identify specific barriers to student performance. This committee will create interventions to address educational difficulties in the general education classroom. Interventions in the general education classroom should be attempted prior to a Child Study Team (CST) or speech referral.
When interventions in the general education classroom are not appropriate for the student or when interventions are not effective, the student will be referred to the CST or speech/language specialist for evaluation.
Students may be referred to a CST or for a speech evaluation by instructional staff, school administration, parents, and /or community agencies. Parents should submit their written request to the Director of Special Services.
A referral is the first step in the special education process. It is a formal written request that a student be evaluated by the CST to determine whether a student is eligible for special education and related services or by the speech/language specialist to determine whether a student is eligible for speech services. Click here to access the referral form.
Once a referral is received, the parents will be invited to an Identification Planning Meeting that will be scheduled within twenty (20) days of receipt of the referral (excluding school vacations other than summer vacation).
Based on a review of available information about the student’s educational progress, a decision will be made at this meeting whether a CST or speech evaluation is warranted. If an evaluation is warranted, the nature and scope of the CST or speech evaluation will be discussed. If it appears that the problem can be alleviated with interventions in the general education program and the student has not participated in the I&RS process, there may be a decision not to conduct an evaluation, but to refer the student to the I&RS Committee for development of interventions, suggestions for other interventions for the parent to pursue, or refer the student to the 504 Committee. If the student is already in the I&RS process and an evaluation is not warranted, the I&RS plan can continue or be adjusted.
If there is an agreement to perform an evaluation, a written plan for the evaluation is developed at the meeting, describing the nature and scope of the evaluation. Written consent for an evaluation is required by the parent/guardian. This consent for evaluation can be provided at the conclusion of the meeting or the parent may wish to take additional time before providing written consent. Evaluations can only begin after the parent has provided written consent. The district has ninety (90) days from the time written consent is provided to complete the entire evaluation, eligibility, and placement process. Comprehensive, diagnostic evaluations are provided at no cost to the parent and are completed in the student’s native language. They are completed by certificated professionals who will explain the results of their testing.
Upon completion of the evaluations, the professional staff will provide the parent(s) with a written report of the details of the testing results. Parents will be provided with copies of the district’s evaluation reports ten (10) days prior to the eligibility meeting. These evaluations will help determine if the student has an educational disability and whether special education services are required. The discussion of the evaluations and the determination regarding special education eligibility will take place at the eligibility meeting.
Eligibility for special education and related services, or eligibility for speech-language services is determined at a mutually convenient meeting. Meeting attendees will be asked to sign an attendance sheet. The child study team members or speech-language specialist will review evaluation results and answer questions. The case manager will discuss the rationale for determination of eligibility or non-eligibility.
If the student is determined to exhibit an educational disability, a determination must be made as to the least restrictive educational setting in which the student can receive educational benefit from special education services. In order for a student to be found eligible for speech-language services, they must exhibit a disorder or articulation, voice or fluency that adversely affects educational performance.
The Individual Education Plan (IEP), Placement, Instruction, and Annual Review
When eligibility for special education is agreed upon, the development of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) may commence immediately or with fifteen (15) days of the eligibility determination. The purpose of this meeting is to determine the student’s current educational status and develop a program designed to meet the student’s unique needs. Discussions of the student's present levels of educational performance, as well as results of performance on any state or district assessment will be held. Sources of information in determining a student’s program should include evaluation data, teacher reports, classroom observations, student strengths and parental concerns.
Beginning at age 14, a transition plan for the student’s future will begin to be developed. At age 16, the IEP will list a multi-year plan for promoting movement from school to the student’s desired post-school outcomes.
Annual measurable goals are developed that are related to the core curriculum standards through the general education curriculum, unless otherwise required according to the students' educational needs. Progress reporting methods will be included in an IEP. The IEP will explain the extent, if any, to which the student will not participate with non-disabled peers in the general education class and in extracurricular and non-academic settings.
Parental consent is required in order to implement the initial IEP. The program and services recommended therein will not begin prior to signed consent.