Special Education Referral Process
The Sharon Public Schools is required under state (Chapter 766) and federal (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) special education laws to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities. These laws also guarantee students and parents/guardians certain due process rights in the event of a disagreement about the content of the IEP or the child's educational placement.
Sharon Public Schools utilizes a Response to Intervention Model as a way to support student growth along the entire continuum of a student’s educational experiences. This includes general and special education supports.
The Sharon Public Schools identifies and evaluates children from age 2.6 through 21 who may be eligible for special education services. Referral sources include parents, teachers, pediatricians, student support teams and private community providers. If a concern is raised about a school-aged child related to school performance the child may be referred to the building-based student support team (RtI Team- Response to Intervention). The team may further refer a student for a special education evaluation once all regular education instructional support efforts have been considered. Parents may refer their child for an evaluation at any time if they suspect their child has a disability. In this case the RtI process takes place simultaneously. A special education evaluation may only take place with parental consent. Special education eligibility testing focuses on assessments and evaluations in the area(s) of suspected disabilities.
To determine eligibility, the evaluation team must review and answer the following questions:
1. Does the student have one or more than one disability?
2. Is the student making effective educational progress?
3. Is the lack of progress due to the disability?
4. Does the student require special education in order to make effective educational progress?
The results of a comprehensive battery of assessments including teacher reports, specialist evaluations, and information from parents and outside providers are used to answer these questions.
An educational assessment may include:
-a history of the student's educational progress in the general curriculum
-a summary of pre-referral activities including documentation of support provided through regular education
-information regarding the student's attention skills, participation in class and extra curricular activities, and social relations with groups, peers and adults
-a review of the student's attendance record
-a narrative description of the student's educational and/or developmental potential
An evaluation team may include a chairperson, special educator(s), regular educator(s), speech/language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, vision or hearing specialist, behavior specialist, adjustment or guidance counselor, school nurse, building principal, and school psychologist.
Assessment information must be comprehensive and sufficient to allow the educational team to:
1. Determine the presence or absence of a disability and eligibility for special education services under legal standards
2. Evaluate factors related to the student's performance in school
3. Plan appropriate services to respond to the student's needs.
Some students are entitled to a Section 504 Accommodation Plan under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A Section 504 Plan may be developed for an individual who has a disability requiring assistance, but does not require special education to make effective educational progress.
Parent Rights Document
Please review this document if you have questions or concerns regarding Parental Rights and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Procedural Rights related to Special Education.
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