Referral Process What happens when a teacher has concerns?
If a teacher has concerns with a child's school performance, he or she may request assistance from the school's intervention team. Such teams are designed to support teachers in developing strategies and suggestions for students who are experiencing difficulty in regular education. Throughout the implementation of instructional strategies and supports, student progress is monitored to determine whether the alternative strategies are successful and should continue. This process is called Response to Intervention (RTI). Family Guide to RTI
If, after a series of interventions, the team members believe a full evaluation may be necessary, they request a Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meeting with the parents to discuss the need for evaluation. This is a formal process that follows state and federal guidelines, to which parents must be invited. This referral "starts the clock" with mandated timelines.
Special Education law requires the school to meet strict timelines in evaluating a child and formulating an appropriate Individualized Education Plan (IEP). After the initial referral, the school must complete its evaluation and formulate an IEP, if appropriate, within 45 school days (excluding weekends, holidays, school vacations and time required to obtain written consent). The initial referral that begins this 45 day period can take place at any time during the school year, even if there are not 45 school days left.
What happens when a parent/guardian has concerns?
A parent/guardian may also make a request for an evaluation by writing a letter to the teacher or guidance counselor. It is wise to date your request and keep a copy for your records. You may also verbally request a referral, however, a letter provides proof that a referral was indeed made. Upon receipt of the request for evaluation, the Planning and Placement Team will meet to consider the request. A request for evaluation does not automatically trigger an evaluation. The team will meet and discuss the reasons for the request and determine if an evaluation is warranted. If the team decides to refer for evaluation, the same process outlined above would the n be followed.