Special Services » Evaluation Process

Evaluation Process

Referral Process  &  Child Study Team Services

Referral Process for a Child Study Team Evaluation

What is a referral?
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. In most instances, the student suspected of having a disability should first be referred to the Intervention and Referral Services Team. If as a result of the interventions recommended by the team, the student continues to experience difficulties in the general education classroom, the I&RS Team will determine the next course of action which could include amending the Action Plan, determining 504 eligibility, or referring the student to the Child Study Team for evaluation.
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 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 your school district.
Who can make a referral?
  • I&RS: School staff and/or the building administrator(s) can refer a student to the Child Study Team through their school based Intervention and Referral Service(I&RS)teams. The I&RS teams are building-based, inter-disciplinary teams that meet regularly to develop intervention plans for students experiencing significant academic and/or social/emotional difficulties in the classroom. Once the I&RS has exhausted its resources and determines that additional information may be necessary, the I&RS team forwards a Child Study Team referral to the Office of Special Services. The Supervisor of Special Services forwards the request to the school’s Child Study Team who schedules an Initial Planning Meeting with the parent(s), Child Study Team and the student’s teacher(s) to discuss the student’s academic and/or social/emotional difficulties and a possible evaluation forSpecial Education and Related Services.
  • Parent(s) may initiate a Child Study Team referral for their child who may be experiencing significant academic and/or social/emotional difficulties in the classroom by contacting the Office of Special Services and forwarding the request in writing.
  • Administrators or Outside Agencies: If a student is experiencing significant academic and/or social/emotional difficulties in the classroom and the intervention plan has been unsuccessful in mitigating these difficulties the Principal, other building administrators or an individual from a state agency may refer a student to the Child Study Team.
Who are the members of the Child Study Team?
The New Jersey Department of Education requires that the Child Study Team include a school psychologist, a learning disabilities teacher-consultant, and a school social worker. These professionals are all certified and employed directly by the Highlands Board of Education.
What is the procedure after the referral is made?
Once the referral has been made the Case Manager has twenty (20) calendar days (excluding school holidays) to schedule an Identification Meeting. The necessary personnel expected to attend this meeting would be a social worker, psychologist, learning disabilities teacher-consultant, classroom teacher, speech & language specialist (if the suspected disability included that area or the child was age 3-5) and certainly the parent.
Are students automatically assessed if the request is made?
No. Once a request for a Child Study Team evaluation is made an Initial Planning/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 .  If the team determines an evaluation is not warranted, they may refer to the school’s I&RS committee, requesting that the I&RS committee amend the current Action Plan and/or refer the child to the 504 committee.
What is an 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 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 is an evaluation warranted?
An evaluation is needed when the parent(s), the members of the child study team and your child’s teacher meet and decide that your child may have a disability.
What is the procedure if the student is going to be assessed?
Once it is determined that assessments are necessary an initial evaluation plan is developed and the parent/guardian gives written permission. The district then has ninety (90) days to complete the necessary evaluations. Within the ninety (90) days an Eligibility Conference is scheduled where the evaluations are interpreted and it is determined if the student is eligible for special education and/or related services.


The Child Study Team (CST) is a group of professionals employed by the Highlands Board of Education who provide consultative, evaluative, and prescriptive services to teachers and parents in regard to students who are experiencing school related difficulties.
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 maximize a student’s potential.
What are the responsibilities of the learning disabilities teacher-consultant?
The Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDTC) is an integral part of the Child Study Team in evaluating, classifying and recommending programs for pupils. The LDTC consults with other district personnel, e.g., principals, social workers, school psychologists, counselors, teachers and related services personnel regarding pupil’s behaviors and needs. They administer educational testing as recommended by evaluation plans and provide instructional and curricular consultation for educators. The LDTC participates in the development of IEPs as well as developing interventions in the classroom. In addition to being a highly specialized educational consultant, the LDTC also serves as a Case Manager for assigned pupils. 
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. The social worker provides services to students to enhance their emotional well-being and improve academic performance. To achieve this, the social worker will: conduct social histories, provide individual and/or group counseling services, provide crisis management services, serve as case manager, and advocate for student services and students best interest. The social worker also collaborates with teachers and other support staff to support students social-emotional development.