Referral and Eligibility of Services


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 Supervisor of Special Services.

Becoming Eligible

A child as young as 3 can be evaluated by the Child Study Team (CST) to determine if an educational disability exists. Children younger then seventh grade should be referred to their current Elementary School' s CST. For children in seventh grade or older, parents should write a letter addressed to the Supervisor of Special Services stating the concerns that they have regarding their child. Within twenty days of receipt of the letter, a pre-planning meeting will be set up with one of our CST members. At this meeting a decision will be made as to whether an evaluation is warranted.

Any child who is having difficulty in school should be referred to the school-based Intervention & Referral Services (I&RS) Team, to find solutions to those difficulties. If school-based, general education efforts do not resolve the difficulty, the I&RS Team may make a referral to the Child Study Team. Parents are part of the process and are informed before any action is taken.

Parents have the option of making a direct referral to the Child Study Team; however, working with the school-based I&RS Team is recommended as a appropriate first step in most situations.

All requests for referral must be made in writing with parent signature and mailed to the Supervisor of Special Services.

Process and Timeline

STEP 1: Acknowledgment of Referral

Once a referral is acknowledged, parents are notified in writing of a meeting with the Child Study Team.

STEP 2: Initial Planning Meeting

An Initial Planning Meeting is held within twenty (20) days from when the referral is received. The participants of the meeting are the parent(s), the classroom teacher, and the Child Study Team (CST) members. The CST consists of a learning disability teacher-consultant, school psychologist, and the social worker. Following review of the material and data presented, a decision is made whether or not the student potentially has a disability that impacts his/her academic progress.

STEP 3: Evaluation

A case manager is assigned upon the written request for an evaluation and an evaluation plan is developed. During the evaluation process, the student is considered to be potentially educationally disabled. 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 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.

STEP 4: Eligibility

When an Eligibility Determination Meeting is held, the CST members and/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.

IEP Eligibility Classification Categories

Under state and federal law, children with disabilities in any of the following categories, who are also found that the disability impedes on educational progress, and is in need of special education services or programs:

  • Deafness/hearing impairment
  • Autism
  • Cognitively impaired/mental retardation
  • Communication impaired/language disorder
  • Emotionally disturbed/behavior disorder
  • Multiply disabled (two or more equally disabling conditions)
  • Orthopedically impaired, including malformation or malfunction of bones, muscle or tissue
  • Other health impaired/chronically ill
  • Preschool disabled (ages 3-5)
  • Social maladjustment
  • Specific learning disability
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visually impaired.

If a child has (a) one of these disabilities, (b) the disability is impacting upon educational, meaningful progress, and (c) the student requires special education programs or services, they would be eligible under one of the above classifications as Eligible for Special Education and Related Services.

If the disability is solely in Speech and Language, it is possible for a student to be found Eligible for Speech Language Services.

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.