Districts have a process to follow for a student to be referred for special education evaluation. This process is mandated by state and federal legislation. Also, this process is guided by the philosophy that special education should be seen as the last resort to provide support for a student. The following steps constitute the referral process:
- Pre-referral interventions: Before a student can be referred for an evaluation the school must be able to document the efforts it has made to address and solve the presenting problems of the student. The school must to able to document a minimum of two interventions. Typically interventions are in place for five to eight weeks in an attempt to solve the problem(s) exhibited by the student.
- Referral to Child Study Team: If the interventions are not successful in solving the problem and the school believes the child might qualify for special education services, the child is referred to the building child study team. This team determines what areas need to be evaluated and who will be involved in the evaluation process. This results in an evaluation determination plan that is reviewed with the parents. Parents have to give their permission for the district to proceed with an evaluation if the student has never received special education support previously.
- Evaluation: Once the school receives parent permission, the evaluation has to be completed within 30 school days. A meeting is set up with the parent to review the results of the evaluation and determine if the student qualifies for support services.
Parents can request the school district conduct an evaluation of their child to see if they qualify for special education services. This request can be in writing or given verbally. It should be submitted to the building principal or the special education director. It is important to include specific information about the education concerns of the student, as this will help the district identify what components of the evaluation process to include. Parents do need to understand the district can deny a request to evaluate a student. To do this the district would have to provide the rationale, in writing, for not conducting the evaluation.
Examples of why a district would deny a parent request to evaluate could be:
- in reviewing school information it is clear the student would not qualify for special education.
- the student was recently evaluated and didn't qualify.
Please contact our office at 218-327-5705 for questions about the referral process.