A referral for an evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services can be made by a variety of parties. Under the regulations, school districts must ensure a responsive school environment that meets the needs of all students and should implement and document the use of attempted instructional strategies on a case-by-case basis. A parent’s right to refer for a special education evaluation, however, is not limited and should never be delayed because the school district has not fully explored and/or attempted some or all of the available instructional support programs or any other type of interventions. In any case where the parent, or the student over the age of 18, or person making a referral has concerns about the student’s development or a suspicion that the student may have a disability, school districts must promptly send notice and seek permission to conduct an initial evaluation to determine if the student is eligible for special education.
INITIATING A REFERRAL FOR SPED ELIGIBILITY
1 a. School Referral – After the Director determines that all efforts have been made to meet the needs of the student within the regular education program, and these efforts have not been successful, a student should be referred by school personnel for an evaluation to determine eligibility for Special Education.
The LEA is considered to have knowledge that a child has a disability if the parent has expressed concern in writing that the child is in need of special education and related services, if the parent has requested an evaluation, or if school personnel have expressed specific concerns about the pattern of behavior demonstrated by the child to an administrator. Proceed to #2.
1b. Referral by a parent concerned with the student’s development – If someone outside of the charter school requests a Team evaluation, the Director of Special Education of the charter school should immediately arrange for a meeting with the parent to discuss concerns. If this meeting results in a request for an evaluation proceed, to #2.
The District has 45 school working days from the date of the parent’s consent or consent of a student over the age of 18 to conduct an evaluation including all required assessments and to convene a Team meeting and determine if the student is eligible for special education.
1c. If an outside evaluation has been completed and submitted to the Charter School the Executive Director should contact the Director of Special Education. The results of the outside evaluation will be considered in determining the need for a referral for a Team evaluation. A meeting with the parents should be scheduled within ten days of receipt of the report. If it is determined that an evaluation is necessary, proceed to #2.
2. To refer a student for a Special Education Team Evaluation, the Director of Special Education (with assistance from social workers or other regular education staff and in consultation with the Chairperson) must complete a written referral.
3. The Director of Special Education will notify the Chairperson of the referral. The Director of Special Education will be the contact person for the entire evaluation process. The parents will be contacted by the Director to discuss the reasons for referral and the nature of the proposed evaluation.
4. Within 5 working school days of receiving the referral for an initial evaluation, the Director will send out a Parent Consent Packet consisting of the following:
- Proposal to Conduct an Initial Team Evaluation (N1)
- Evaluation Consent Form * (N1A)
• Notice of Procedural Safeguards
*Parent or student 18 years old must complete and return
Requested assessments should be conducted in the suspected area(s) of disability and should answer the question of whether a student has a disability. The school will send a notice to the parent(s) and ask for consent to conduct an evaluation. The Evaluation Consent Form outlines assessments the school recommends. It should be noted that all areas related to the suspected disability must be evaluated.
Required assessments include:
- Educational Assessment: Part A (completed by the special education teacher/Director
- Educational Assessment; Part B (completed by the student’s mainstream education teachers)
- Assessment of the area(s) of suspected disability
- Observation of the student
Other assessments that may be recommended include:
- Health Assessment
- Psychological Assessment
- Behavioral Assessment
- Home Assessment
- Specialist Assessment (occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy)
Within 30 school days of receiving parent consent, the school must evaluate the referred student. Evaluation activities will be tailored to the specific student. If a specific learning disability is suspected, the school will complete a classroom observation of the student in the classroom setting.
5. If the parent does not return the Evaluation Consent Form within 30 days, the Director of Special Education will call the parent to discuss any concerns. If after 10 additional days, the parent still does not respond, the Chairperson will send the parent an Evaluation Consent Form/Second Notice (N1A).
Additional efforts to obtain parental consent will be made and documented. If the parent revokes consent or refuses any evaluation, and the Charter School determines that such action will deny the student an appropriate education, the District shall seek resolution through the Bureau of Special Education Appeals.
6. Upon receipt of the signed Evaluation Consent Form (N1A), the Director will notify the evaluation Team members that they may begin to assess the student. When the evaluations are scheduled, the Chairperson will schedule the Team Meeting and send to parent(s) the following:
- A Notice of Team Meeting (N3)
- Attendance Sheet (N3A)
In the event that the parent calls to change the meeting time/date, the Chairperson must send out the Notice of Team Meeting Date/Change (N3). If the student is 14 years of age or older, the Chairperson will review the evaluation process and give the student an invitation to the Team Meeting.