The State of New Jersey mandates that all schools have the services of a Child Study Team available to students. The team includes a school psychologist, social worker, and learning consultant.
Our team plays an essential role in the total educational program. The members:
- Serve as consultants to faculty and administration regarding students
- Conduct comprehensive studies of students with significant learning and/or behavioral difficulties
- Recommend educational strategies and programs to meet the special needs of students, and
- Work with parents and community agencies to promote a cooperative approach to the educational, social, and physical wellbeing of children.
Students who are experiencing significant learning and/or behavioral difficulties in school may be referred to the Child Study Team for possible consideration for the need of special education and/or related services. Parents may address their concerns, in writing, to the Supervisor of Special Services. An original signature is required on all Child Study Team referrals.
Upon receipt of the written referral and original parent signature, the Office of Special Services date stamps the request, assigns a case manager and within 20 calendar days, excluding school holidays but not weekends or summer vacation, and schedules an initial evaluation planning meeting.
The meeting shall be attended by:
- the Child Study Team,
- the parent(s),
- and a regular education teacher with knowledge of the educational performance of the District's programs.
The purpose of the meeting shall be to review existing data and make a determination regarding the need for an evaluation(s). If so, the nature and scope of the evaluation(s) will be determined. Once the parent provides written consent for the evaluation(s), the District has ninety (90) calendar days to complete the evaluations.
If the evaluation results verify that the student has a significant learning and/or behavioral disability, which is impacting on his/her ability to be successful in school, an individualized education program is developed for the student and specific special education program services are provided.
Who are the Members of the Child Study Team?
The members of the Child Study Team as determined by the New Jersey Department of Education are a school psychologist, a learning disabilities teacher/consultant, and a school social worker.
What are the responsibilities of the school psychologist?
The school psychologist has expertise in determining a child’s level of cognitive and conceptual development. In addition, the psychologist is concerned with the emotional status of the student, and how both internal and external factors may affect behavior and performance in school. The school psychologist works with both general education and special education teachers to support classified and at-risk students.
What are the responsibilities of the learning disabilities teacher consultant?
The learning disabilities teacher/consultant (LDT-C) is trained to determine the learning styles of students, determine specific achievement levels in a variety of content areas, and recommend specific teaching methods and strategies that may benefit a student. This professional is generally called upon to model specific strategies and methods that may benefit students.
What are the responsibilities of the school social worker?
The expertise of the social worker lies in assessing the student relative to the family, the school, and the community. This professional generally gathers information concerning the student’s health, family, and school history as it pertains to the student’s current school functioning. The social worker is also the professional most responsible for coordinating community resources on behalf of students and their families.
The Referral Process
How is a student referred for a Child Study Team Evaluation?
Students between the ages of 3 and 21 suspected of having an educational disability may be referred from a variety of sources to the Child Study Team for an evaluation. Generally the referrals come from one of the following:
- Parents: Parents may request a Child Study Team Evaluation by contacting the Special Education Department and forwarding their request in writing, with original signature included. The Upper Township School Districts accepts written referrals from parents with original signatures affixed and not through any electronic forms of communication (i.e., email or telephone).
- The Intervention and Referral Services Team (I&RS): I&RS is a building-based inter-disciplinary group that meets regularly to provide interventions for students experiencing difficulty in the general education setting. Once the I&RS has utilized its resources and determines that additional information may be necessary, or feels that the student may be potentially educationally disabled, the student may be recommended for a CST evaluation.
- Administrators or outside agencies: The principal or other building administrator, or an individual from an outside agency (doctor, social worker, etc.), may refer a student for a Child Study Team Evaluation.
What is the procedure after the referral is made?
Once the referral has been made, the Case Manager has twenty (20) calendar days to schedule an Identification Meeting. The necessary personnel expected to attend this meeting would be a social worker, psychologist, learning disabilities teacher/consultant, a general education classroom teacher, the speech & language specialist (if the suspected disability included that area), and the parent.
Are students automatically tested if the request is made?
No. Once a request for a Child Study Team evaluation is made, an Identification Meeting must be scheduled. At that meeting, it is determined if a Child Study Team Evaluation is warranted and, if so, an Evaluation Plan is developed.
What is the procedure if the student is going to be tested?
Once it is determined that testing is necessary, an assessment plan is developed. The parent/guardian must give written consent for this to occur. The district then has 90 days to complete the necessary evaluations. Within the ninety (90) days, an Eligibility Conference is scheduled, at which time the evaluations are interpreted and it is determined if the student is eligible for special education and/or related services or not.
If a student is eligible, does that mean he or she will be placed in a special education class?
Not necessarily. Before a student receives services, an Individual Education Program must be developed and agreed to. An initial IEP can not be implemented until parents provide written signature agreeing to program and/or services.
How is eligibility determined?
After completing the evaluations, the Child Study Team will conduct a meeting with the parent(s) and student's teacher(s) to review findings and determine eligibility for special education and related services. If the student is found eligible, then an Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be developed. Written parental consent is required for implementation of program(s) and/or service(s) on all initial evaluations.
Child Study Team assessments, specialized evaluations where appropriate (such as speech, hearing, neurological, psychiatric, etc.), and all pertinent information provided by other school personnel or from the parent(s) will be considered in determining eligibility.
To be eligible for Special Education and Related Services:
- A student must be identified as having a disability that meets the criteria of eligibility categories, as defined by NJ 6A:14-3.5c (1-14); and,
- The disability must adversely affect the student's educational performance; and
- The student must be in need of special education and related services.