Step #1 Referral
- Referral by instructional, administrative and other professional staff will be made in writing to the CST. Referring party must document that prior interventions to alleviate the educational problems were attempted but did not adequately address the educational difficulties. Interventions may include Basic Skills Instruction, Reading Recovery or other organized supplemental programs, individual tutoring, aide assistance, instructional modifications, the After School Assistance Program, behavior modification strategies, parent contact and retentions. Referral to the CST may be made directly when the it can be documented that the student's educational problems warrant referral without delay.
- Referral by Parent may be initiated by making a written request for evaluation. Written requests submitted to teachers will be forwarded without delay to the CST. Requests will be dated upon receipt by the CST.
Step #2 Notification and Identification Meeting
- Following receipt of referral, the CST will notify parents in writing that a meeting will be held to determine the need for an evaluation, and will hold the meeting within 20 days of the request to evaluate. Parents will be provided with notice of their procedural safeguards and will be given a copy of PRISE at this time (In all cases of parental notice, interpretation in the appropriate language will be arranged if necessary). For preschool students, this meeting will be held up to 120 days prior to the child turning age 3 to ensure that services will be in place when the child reaches age 3. The district may evaluate home-schooled students and may stand ready to provide FAPE (a Free Appropriate Public Education) should the child be enrolled in school, but is not obligated to provide services to home schooled students.
- The Identification Meeting will be held at a mutually agreed upon time and place. All attempts will be made to enable the parents to attend the meeting, including phone calls, teleconferencing, and rescheduling if they are unable to attend.
- Participants in the meeting will include parents, the complete child study team psychologist, learning consultant, social worker), the regular education teacher with knowledge of the student's educational performance, the speech-language specialist (when the child is preschool age or when the suspected disability is a speech or language disorder), and the student (when appropriate and/or age 14 or older).
- The Purpose of the Identification Meeting will be to review existing data on the student and determine what additional data, if any, are needed to determine whether the student has a disability.
- If evaluation is not warranted, the team will make recommendations, will inform the parents in writing that an evaluation is not warranted, and will again inform parents of their rights, including the right to request mediation if they disagree with the determination.
- If an evaluation is needed, the student will be considered potentially disabled and the team will develop an evaluation plan describing the nature and scope of the procedures to be used to evaluate the child, and the professionals who will conduct the evaluations. Parents will be required to give consent for the evaluations before the evaluations occur, and will be allowed up to 15 days to consider the evaluation plan. If parents do not consent to the evaluations, the district will request a due process hearing. In all cases, written notice of the proposed action will be provided along with statements of procedural safeguards and PRISE, and a case manager will be assigned. Independent evaluations will be provided, at no expense to the parent, if the team determines a need for particular independent evaluations (psychiatric, neurological, audiological) or if the parent requests and independent evaluation.
Step #3 Evaluation and Eligibility
- The team will conduct multidisciplinary assessment in all areas of suspected disability as outlined by the evaluation plan. Assessments shall include individually administered standardized tests, functional assessment/classroom observation, interview with parents, interview with teacher(s), records review, documentation of interventions, and informal measures (surveys, work analysis, criterion referenced testing). Assessment of all preschool students and students suspected of a disorder of articulation, voice, language or fluency shall include a speech/language assessment.
- Written reports of the assessments shall be prepared. Reports shall specifically describe the instructional implications of the test results and the behaviors noted while testing.
- Following completion of the assessments, the multidisciplinary team will reconvene to determine eligibility. The team shall include parents, at least one child study team member who participated in the assessments, the child's case manger, a teacher with knowledge of the student's educational performance, the speech-language specialist (when the child is preschool age or when the suspected disability is a speech or language disorder), and the student (when appropriate and/or age 14 or older). The results of the assessments shall be communicated in understandable language to the parents and a copy of the assessments shall be provided to them. The team shall collaboratively consider the following when determining eligibility:
- Does the student have one or more of the disabilities defined in NJAC 6A:14- 3.5?
- Does the disability adversely affect the student's educational performance?
- Is the student in need of special education and related services; would the student be able to achieve satisfactory progress?
- in the regular education program without special education or related services?
- Is the primary reason for the lack of progress due to a lack of instruction in reading or math or due to limited English proficiency?
- If the first four questions can be answered affirmatively, and the last is not a factor, the student will be considered eligible for special education services. If the student is ineligible, a rational for this determination will be provided.
- Written notice of the determination will be provided to parents, along with a statement of procedural safeguards and PRISE. Parents have 15 days to consider the determination and have the right to request mediation if they disagree with the determination.
- The team will conduct all evaluations, will determine eligibility and, if the student is eligible, develop and implement the IEP before 90 days have transpired.
Step #4 Individualized Education Plan
- Within 15 days of the determination of eligibility, an Individualized Education Plan will be developed. The team and parents may choose to develop the IEP at the eligibility conference, waiving their right to 15 day review. The IEP development team will include the parent, at least one child study team member, the case manager, the regular education teacher, a special education teacher familiar with the district's programs, the student (when appropriate) and a representative of the district board or their appointee.
- A copy of the proposed IEP will be provided to the parents. Parents are again apprised of the procedural safeguards and have 15 days to review the IEP and consent to its implementation. If parents do not consent, the team will request a due process hearing.
- The IEP will be implemented as soon as possible following consent.
Step #5 Annual Review and Reevaluation
- At least annually, or more often if necessary, the IEP team (parent, regular education teacher, special education teacher, CST member, case manager, board representative), shall meet to receive the classified student's progress toward the annual goals outlined in the IEP, discuss any new relevant data, and develop a new IEP. Parents will be provided notice of this meeting, and every effort will be made to secure their attendance. Parents will be given notice of the IEP team decisions and will have 15 days to review the new IEP. If parents disagree, they have the right to request mediation. Following 15 days (or sooner with parental consent) the IEP will be implemented.
- Within three years of previous classification, a multidisciplinary reevaluation of the classified student shall be conducted. Notice, multidisciplinary team meeting and consent for reevaluation will be conducted according to Steps #3 and #4 above. If no additional data are needed to reestablish eligibility, notice shall be provided to the parent of continued eligibility within 15 days of the meeting. If the student is no longer eligible, notice will be provided and parent will be informed of their right to request mediation.
- Reevaluation shall be conducted sooner than every three years at the request of the parent or teacher or when conditions warrant a reevaluation.