A concerned parent is always welcome to write a letter requesting a Child Study Team meeting regarding her child. However, a parent letter will not make the Child Study Team process faster, and can often make it take longer. Here's why:
When a parent writes a letter, the Child Study Team must meet with the teacher and parent within 20 calendar days of receiving the letter - called an Evaluation Planning Meeting. This means that you (the teacher) now have less than 20 days to assemble all of the required paperwork and data regarding the student's difficulty and progress.
NJAC 6A:14-3.3(b, c) says that Interventions in the general education setting shall be provided to students exhibiting academic difficulties and shall be utilized, as appropriate, prior to referring a student for an evaluation of eligibility for special education and related services. Furthermore, the staff of the general education program shall maintain written documentation, including data setting forth the type of interventions utilized, the frequency and duration of each intervention, and the effectiveness of each intervention.
It is the responsibility of the I&RST at your school to develop and implement these interventions. If no data, or limited data, concerning the documented effectiveness of interventions can be presented at the Evaluation Planning Meeting, then the referral will not be accepted by the Child Study Team and the case will be returned to the I&RST for further interventions.
A parent letter does not exempt you from the I&RST process.
Additionally, the teacher and parent should be working together to improve the student's progress. Because the teacher is always the primary source of educational information about the student, a parent letter implies that the parent is unhappy with the teacher's management of the student's difficulty and felt it was necessary to "go over the teacher's head."
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.
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