Determining Eligibility for Special Education Services

  • The district conducts ongoing Child-Find activities for the purpose of locating, identifying, and evaluating school-aged students with potential signs of developmental delay and other risk factors that could indicate specific needs of a student requiring special programs or services. Additionally, parents and teachers who suspect a child may need services can make a referral to the Instructional Support Team (IST) to explore regular education supports and classroom modifications. Multi-disciplinary evaluations (MDE) follow for those not making sufficient progress with IST supports. Parents can also directly request an MDE regardless of whether their child attends public, private, or parochial school.

    Evaluation Process
    A Multi-disciplinary evaluation (MDE) consists of information provided by parents and school personnel, classroom observations, a review of records from school or outside agencies or providers, and assessments by specialists when appropriate (e.g. school psychologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech and language therapist, behavior specialist, consulting psychiatrist). The results are summarized in an Evaluation Report (ER) which discusses eligibility, need, and recommendations for specially designed instruction and related services. The report must be completed in 60 calendar days. An initial evaluation cannot begin without written parental consent.

    Individualized Education Process
    If the student is found to be eligible and in need of specially designed instructional strategies through the evaluation process, an IEP meeting is held with team members (parents, school personnel, specialists) to develop the Individual Education Plan. The IEP team determines the instructional program, goals, objectives, related services, supports for school personnel, and specially designed instruction to meet the needs of the student. The team must convene in no less than 10 school days and no more than 20 school days from the date of the ER. Parents can opt to meet as soon as they wish after receipt of the ER by signing a waiver with the district.

    Notice of Recommended Educational Placement
    Once the initial IEP has been developed in cooperation with the parents, a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) is presented to the parents for their signature. If the parent approves the NOREP, the child will begin to receive Special Education Services.

    Review Process
    IEP’s must be reviewed at least annually. This means that the team reconvenes to review the progress of the student on the IEP goals and objectives and makes necessary revisions. The Re-Evaluation process is tri-annual, except for students with mental retardation, in which case it is bi-annual. Teams can choose to conduct a review of records if no additional testing is deemed necessary.

    A parent can request that an IEP be re-opened at any point during the life of the IEP if they feel changes are warranted. A parent can request a Re-Evaluation at any point in the 2 or 3 year cycle if they feel additional testing is necessary.

    IDEA Disability categories include:

    • Autism
    • Deaf-Blindness
    • Deafness
    • Emotional Disturbance
    • Hearing Impairment
    • Mental Retardation
    • Multiple Disabilities
    • Orthopedic Impairment
    • Other Health Impairment
    • Specific Learning Disability
    • Speech and Language Impairment
    • Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Vision Impairment including Blindness