Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different types of meetings that occur before and after classification for special education and related services and speech/language services?
I&RS Meeting: A collaborative school effort between district personnel and parents to intervene when a student has been identified as making minimal academic, social, behavioral and/or emotional progress in the general education setting. The team collects and evaluates relevant data in order to identify specific barriers to student performance. Once these barriers have been determined, individualized interventions are identified and implemented through an action plan in order to address areas of concern.
Initial Identification and Planning Meeting: A meeting that occurs within 20 days of receipt of a referral of a student for special education and related services or speech/language services. Parents/guardians and the student (if appropriate) are invited. They meet with the CST and one or more of the student’s general education teachers to review the student’s needs and determine if evaluation should occur.
Eligibility Meeting: A meeting during which the CST reviews the findings from completed assessments, determines the student’s eligibility status, and if the student is eligible, develops appropriate programming for the student in collaboration with the IEP team.
Annual Review IEP Meeting: A yearly meeting in which the IEP team reviews the student’s progress in the current program and plans for future programming based on the information presented.
Reevaluation Planning Meeting: A meeting held within three years of the student’s last eligibility meeting where the IEP team discusses whether formal testing is warranted or if there is sufficient available information to continue eligibility. A reevaluation planning meeting can be scheduled at any time the team deems it appropriate to evaluate eligibility (i.e., after fewer than three years have elapsed).
At what point is my child considered classified?
After the initial eligibility meeting is held that determines the student eligible for special education and related services, or speech/language services, and after the parent/guardian has provided consent to implement the initial IEP.
Does my child have to be classified to receive speech and language services?
Yes, either as eligible for special education and related services or as eligible for speech/language services.
Am I allowed to have my child evaluated by an outside agency to determine eligibility?
Parents are entitled to an independent evaluation of their child by outside service providers if they are in disagreement with the evaluation(s) conducted by the CST. A portion, if not all, of the cost of the evaluation may be reimbursed by the district. It is important that the district’s CST evaluate your child first since it is in the best position to observe classes and communicate with teachers. The team is also more knowledgeable about the curriculum, procedures, and processes in your child’s school. Additionally, the evaluation process helps the CST become more familiar with your child’s needs and is in a better position to assist teachers and staff members who may work with your child in the future. Please see Board Policy #2468.
I had a private evaluator assess my child and several recommendations are made in the evaluator’s report. Will these recommendations be accepted by the district?
The CST must consider the findings of any evaluation provided by the parents/guardians of a student with an IEP or who is undergoing evaluation for eligibility. In some cases, the entire report may be accepted; in other cases a portion of the report may be accepted; and in some instances the CST may not accept the findings of the report at all. The CST will provide you with its determination in this regard and the reasons for its conclusion.
Are parents part of the team that determines eligibility for special education and related services?
No. Although parental input is utilized in making eligibility determinations, the CST is responsible for determining eligibility for special education and related services and parental consent is not required.
What factors determine a student’s eligibility for Extended School Year (ESY) services?
The IEP team determines eligibility for summer ESY services by analyzing the amount of skill regression a student will experience as a result of the disruption in educational services and the amount of time that will be required to recoup these skills. The IEP team will consider other factors such as the nature and severity of the student’s disability.
Who is allowed to access my child’s CST records?
Teachers and staff members who are responsible for the implementation of a student’s IEP can access the student’s CST records; however, they are required to treat the information contained in these records confidentially. The district must obtain written consent from parents/guardians or an adult student before sharing CST records with any other people or agencies. Parents/guardians and adult students are entitled to schedule appointment to review a student’s CST records upon request.
What are my rights as the parent/guardian of child with an IEP?
Your rights are outlined in a document referred to as Parental Rights in Special Education (PRISE). Please click on one of the following links to access the document:
What is Project Child Find?
Project Child Find is a free referral service and public awareness campaign that assists in the identification and provision of services of underserved youth with a delay or disability from birth through 21 years of age. Project Child Find also develops and distributes information to the public about early intervention services and special education programs throughout New Jersey. The toll-free number for Project Child Find is 800-322-8174.
What services are available to children until they reach school-age at age 6?
New Jersey school districts are obligated to provide educational programs to children from ages 3 to up to age 5 who demonstrate developmental delays. These children are evaluated by a CST, and if special education is warranted, they are recommended for a classification of preschool handicapped and an appropriate program is developed to meet their needs. When a child turns 5, he or she is reevaluated to determine eligibility to receive special education services. If the child is eligible, a classification is identified and an IEP developed.