The Child Study Team Process
The child study team consists of school psychologists, school social workers, learning disabilities teachers-consultants, and speech-language specialists. The team's primary function is to evaluate and design appropriate programs for students who are experiencing learning, health and/or behavioral difficulties. Some children may be eligible for special education.
Who is Eligible?
Any child between the ages of 3 and 21, whose parents are legal residents of Jefferson Township, is a potential candidate for services.
What is the Process?
Students who are having difficulty in school may first be referred to the school-based Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS) Team to find solutions to those difficulties. If the school-based, general education efforts do not resolve the difficulty, the I&RS Team may make a referral to the Child Study Team. The parent/guardian may also make a signed written request for an evaluation. Such a request shall be considered a referral and should be sent to the Director of Special Services or the Principal of the child’s school.
Each step of the way, parents are a part of the process. When a referral is made, a meeting is arranged to review all available information with the parents/guardians, the Child Study Team, the child’s teacher, and others who might have knowledge of the child and his or her difficulty in school. A decision is then made whether or not the child potentially has an educational disability. If there is agreement, the nature and scope of the evaluation is discussed. Written parent consent is required for the Child Study Team to complete a multidisciplinary evaluation in order to determine eligibility for special education and related services. These are conducted at no cost to parents of Jefferson Township.
A Child Study Team evaluation typically consists of a social history reported by the parent/guardian to the school social worker, an evaluation of the child’s potential for learning and their learning characteristics by the school psychologist, an assessment of the student’s academic achievement by the learning disabilities teacher – consultant, and if needed, an assessment of a student’s expressive and receptive language skills by the speech and language specialist. Other specialists, such as physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, neurologists, and school nurses may be called upon to provide input. A written report is prepared and sent to the parents in advance of an Eligibility meeting, which is held to discuss all of the evaluations and to receive the recommendations of the Child Study Team.
If a student is determined to be eligible for special education and related services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed. The IEP document is confidential and private. The information contained in it may be shared only with other school officials with a legitimate educational interest or may be released to other officials, subject to the exceptions listed in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Placement options are considered with the least restrictive environment (LRE) being the determining factor. While school districts are not required to “maximize” a student’s opportunities, they are required to provide an “appropriate” education. The Child Study Team has the responsibility of case managing for each student who receives special education services. They are responsible for monitoring the student’s progress and placement throughout the school year.
Please contact your building principal or the Office of Special Services, 973-663-5782 ext. 3, for additional information.