In New Jersey, every public school building must establish and implement a coordinated system for planning and delivering intervention and referral services designed to assist students who are experiencing learning, behavior, or health difficulties, and to assist staff who have difficulties in addressing students’ learning, behavior, or health needs.
The Intervention and Referral Services team is made up of professionals within each school. The team members are flexible, but typically include at least: the building administrator, the guidance counselor, a general education teacher. One of these people has been designated the Team Leader and can be contacted with requests for assistance.
The following steps outline the I&RST referral process:
Problem Identification: The overall process begins when a staff member or parent concludes that he or she needs assistance with a learning, behavior or health problem encountered in the general education program.
Complete the Request for Assistance Form: The involvement of the I&RS team only begins when a staff member completes and delivers the appropriate request for assistance form to the designated location; verbal requests are not accepted. Individuals making verbal requests are asked to complete the initial request for assistance form. The form should elicit the reasons for the request, observed behaviors and all prior interventions for the behavior(s) of concern. The form should be delivered to a designated, safe place. Parents or concerned community members are also encouraged to request assistance from the I&RS team. It is made clear that requestors are partners with the team in the resolution of the identified concern(s).
Review the Request for Assistance Form:The team leader reviews the request for assistance form to make sure it is appropriate and manageable for the I&RS team. Forms that are incomplete or include inappropriate information (i.e., subjective remarks, labels, diagnoses, judgments, generalizations, implied or nonobservable behaviors) are returned to the requestor to be either completed or revised. Supportive instructions for making the required changes should be provided in either verbal or written form.
Assign the Case Coordinator: The team leader assigns an I&RS team member to be the case coordinator, based upon a predetermined rotating selection method. All team members serve their turns as case coordinator. The case coordinator’s role is not to mentor the student, but to facilitate the I&RS process, support the requestor and manage the paperwork for the case. The official I&RS case file, which is separate from, but part of the student’s cumulative file, is opened upon assignment of the case coordinator. The file is stored in a locking file cabinet.
Schedule I&RS Meetings: At the same time, the leader schedules the initial problem-solving meeting (approximately two weeks from receipt of the request) and the first follow-up meeting (approximately four weeks after the initial problem-solving meeting) with the record keeper.
Further steps can be found starting on page 136 of the Intervention and Referral Services Resource Manual.
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by Kristin Patterson-Maas, MS CCC-SLP All rights reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced, in any form, without written permission from the author.