The Educational Support Process
Intervention and Referral Services
The Intervention & Referral Services Team is a state mandated, school based committee and referral service for non-classified regular education students. The purpose of the I&RS team is to respond to the diverse educational needs of Medford Township students by establishing and implementing a coordinated system for the planning and delivery of intervention services that are designed to assist students who are experiencing learning, behavior, or health difficulties.
After the teacher has attempted to address the problems in the classroom by initiating appropriate accommodations, communicating with the student/parents, and seeking the assistance of counselors, supervisors, and administrators, he or she may seek the assistance of the I&RS team. The I&RS team is made up of a variety of teachers and staff members from diverse backgrounds who can offer expertise to the teacher. The team helps to identify learning, behavior, and health difficulties of students, collect information on the identified difficulties, and develop and implement action plans that provide for appropriate school interventions. The team works with teachers to achieve the desired outcomes.Parental involvement in this process is important since parents play a major role in a child's developmental and learning process.
Section 504 Accomodations
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a Federal mandate in which an individual (i) has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity; (ii) has a record of such an impairment; or (iii) is regarded as having such an impairment. This may include any disability, long-term illness, or various disorders that “substantially” reduces or lessens a student’s ability to access education because of a learning-, behavior- or health-related condition. As a result, these students, regardless of their intelligence, will be unable to fully demonstrate their ability or attain educational benefits equal to that of non-disabled students.
Each child's needs are determined individually and accommodations put in place, dependent upon what is appropriate for each child. These accommodations are based on the nature of the disabling condition and what that child needs in order to have an equal opportunity to compete when compared to the non-disabled. The ultimate goal is to give students the knowledge and compensating skills they will need to be able to function in the educational setting.
Please contact the Principal at your child's school for more information.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 beginning at age three through grade eight, whose parents are legal residents of Medford 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 Educational Support 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 Medford 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 Educational Support Services, 609-654-6416 ext. 8027 for more information.