Referral Process

The Referral Process


A referral is a written request for an evaluation that is given to the school district when a child is suspected of having a disability and might need special education services. A referral may be made by parents, school personnel, and/or agencies concerned with the welfare of students.  If the suspected disability is due to a medical condition where the student would benefit from reasonable accommodations and would not require specialized instruction, they may be eligible under a 504 Plan (consult with your Guidance Counselor).  Referrals for a Child Study Team evaluation are described below through Special Programs. 


Students between the ages of 3 and 21 suspected of having an educational disability may be referred to the Child Study Team for an evaluation.

If you believe that your child may have a disability, you may refer your child for an evaluation by submitting a written request to the school district, attention to Dr. Michelle Fenwick, Director of Special Programs.  Requests are made in hard copy form, dated, with an original signature.  In the letter please state your child's name, school, grade level, date of birth, and the specific concerns you have.  The letter must contain your original signature.  Upon receipt of your letter, a case manager from the Child Study Team will be assigned to your child's case and an Identification Meeting will be scheduled.  At this meeting please bring all relevant paperwork / documentation / medical reports that are relevant to your concerns.  The CST will review previous general education interventions that have been made and determine whether or not to proceed with testing. 


Within 20 calendar days (excluding school holidays) of receiving a referral, the school district must hold an Identification Meeting. The purpose of an Identification Meeting is to review all available data to determine whether or not an evaluation for Special Education and Related Services is appropriate. During this meeting, prior interventions and their effectiveness will be reviewed along with other educationally relevant data.   If it is determined that evaluations are warranted, another decision is made about the types of testing and other procedures that will be used to determine if your child needs special education services.  If an evaluation will not be conducted, recommendations may be made with respect to interventions or services to be provided the student in general education. Your informed written permission is required before the school may collect additional information as part of a formal CST evaluation.  


An evaluation is the process used to determine whether your child has a disability. This process includes a review of any relevant data, and the individual administration of any tests, assessments and observations of your child. For an initial evaluation, at least two child study team members and other specialists, as required or as determined necessary, must participate. A minimum of two assessments of your child are needed to determine initial eligibility for special education and related services. Each assessment must be conducted by a person who has appropriate training, or who is qualified to conduct the assessment through his or her professional license or certification.  When the area of suspected disability is language, assessment by a certified speech-language specialist and assessment to establish the educational impact are required. The speech-language specialist shall be considered a child study team member.


To determine eligibility for special education and related services, the evaluations are reviewed in consideration of whether the student meets eligibility criteria detailed in the New Jersey State Administrative Code NJAC 6A: 14 3.6 (c): "A student shall be determined eligible and classified "eligible for special education and related services" under this chapter when it is determined that the student a) has one or more of the disabilities defined in (c)1 through 14 classification categories [Auditory Impairment; Autism; Deaf-Blindness; Intellectual Disability (Mild, Moderate, Severe) ; Communication Impairment; Emotional Regulation Impairment; Multiple Disabilities; Orthopedic Impairment; Other Health Impairment; Preschool Child with a Disability; Social maladjustment; Specific Learning Disability (utilizing a severe discrepancy methodology is utilized; whether there is a severe discrepancy on or about 21 points between achievement and ability that is not correctable without special education and related services as part of but not the sole criteria); Visual Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury]; b) the disability adversely affects the student's educational performance, and c) the student is in need of special education and related services. This is often referred to as the three prongs of eligibility criteria.  

To view an overview of the IEP process please click here:   
Understanding the IEP Process

Understanding the IEP Process