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Intervention and Referral Services

 

Jamie E. Ciofalo

I&RS Coordinator

jamie.ciofalo@lodi.k12.nj.us

"Exploring new strategies for engaging students in the learning process..."

INTERVENTION AND REFERRAL SERVICES (I&RS)

N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7

 

WHY DOES THE DISTRICT HAVE A SYSTEM OF INTERVENTION AND REFERRAL SERVICES?

New Jersey Administrative Code requires all school districts to have a system of intervention and referral services as follows:

6A:16-8.1 Establishment of intervention and referral services

District boards of education shall establish and implement a coordinated system in each school building for the planning and delivery of intervention and referral services that are 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. District boards of education shall choose the appropriate multidisciplinary team approach for planning and delivering the services required under this subchapter.

1. The intervention and referral services shall be provided to aid students in the general education program; and

2. The intervention and referral services, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:46-18.1 et seq. and this subchapter, may be provided for students who have been determined to be in need of special education programs and services.

i. The intervention and referral services provided for students with learning disabilities shall be coordinated with the student's Individualized Education Program team, as appropriate.

WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY FUNCTIONS OF THE SYSTEM INTERVENTION AND REFERRAL SERVICES?

The functions of the system of intervention and referral services in each school building shall be to:

• Identify learning, behavior and health difficulties of students;

• Collect thorough information on the identified learning, behavior and health difficulties;

• Develop and implement action plans which provide for appropriate school or community interventions or referrals to school and community resources, based on the collected data and desired outcomes for the identified learning, behavior and health difficulties;

• Provide support, guidance, and professional development to school staff who identify learning, behavior and health difficulties;

• Provide support, guidance, and professional development to school staff who participate in each building's system for planning and providing intervention and referral services;

• Actively involve parents or guardians in the development and implementation of intervention and referral services action plans;

• Coordinate the access to and delivery of school resources and services for achieving the outcomes identified in the intervention and referral services action plans;

• Coordinate the services of community-based social and health provider agencies and other community resources for achieving the outcomes identified in the intervention and referral services action plans;

• Maintain records of all requests for assistance and all intervention and referral services action plans, according to the requirements of 34 CFR Part 98, 34 CFR Part 99, 42 CFR Part II, N.J.S.A. 18A:40A-7.1, N.J.A.C. 6A:16-3.2, and N.J.A.C 6:3-2.1;

• Review and assess the effectiveness of the provisions of each intervention and referral services action plan in achieving the outcomes identified in each action plan and modify each action plan to achieve the outcomes, as appropriate; and

• At a minimum, annually review the intervention and referral services action plans and the actions taken as a result of the building's system of intervention and referral services and make recommendations to the principal for improving school programs and services, as appropriate.

WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF I&RS?

• Identify learning, behavior and health difficulties of students;

• Collect thorough information on the identified learning, behavior and health difficulties;

• Develop and implement action plans which provide for appropriate school or community interventions or referrals to school and community resources, based on the collected data and desired outcomes for the identified learning, behavior and health difficulties;

• Provide support, guidance, and professional development to school staff who identify learning, behavior and health difficulties;

• Provide support, guidance, and professional development to school staff who participate in each building's system for planning and providing intervention and referral services;

• Actively involve parents or guardians in the development and implementation of intervention and referral services action plan;

• Coordinate the access to and delivery of school resources and services for achieving the outcomes identified in the intervention and referral services action plans;

• Coordinate the services of community-based social and health provider agencies and other community resources for achieving the outcomes identified in the intervention and referral services action plans; and

• Review and assess the effectiveness of the provisions of each intervention and referral services action plan in achieving the outcomes identified in each action plan and modify each action plan to achieve the outcomes.

Credit: Washington Township Office of Curriculum & Instruction

FREQUENTLY ASKED I&RS QUESTIONS

Are programs of I&RS limited to addressing only academic concerns?

Programs of I&RS are intended to address the full range of issues (i.e., academic, behavior and health) that may interfere with student achievement of high academic standards in safe and disciplined learning environments.

Are programs of I&RS considered special education or general education programs?

The school-based program of I&RS is an ancillary student support service for helping staff and parents address the complete spectrum of student learning, behavior and health problems in the general education program, with an emphasis on early identification and intervention of problems at the elementary, middle and high school levels. The scope of I&RS programs is much broader than the limited function of pre-referral interventions to the Child Study Team (CST).

Under N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.1(a)2i, however, teams may plan and provide intervention and referral services for students who have been determined to be in need of special education programs and services, and assist staff while waiting for the findings of CST evaluations. As appropriate, the intervention and referral services provided for students with learning disabilities are to be coordinated with the student's Individualized Education Program team.

Are schools required to involve parents in the I&RS process?

Yes. Under N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.2(a)6, schools are required to actively involve parents or guardians in both the development and implementation of intervention and referral services action plans when the building I&RS system is providing assistance on behalf of parents' children.

HOW IS I&RS DIFFERENT FROM THE CHILD STUDY TEAM?

I&RS TEAMS CHILD STUDY TEAMS
 A general education model that permits the provision of services to special education students, as appropriate.  A special education model.
 A collegial, collaborative problem-solving model, rather than a diagnostic model, and a coordinating mechanism that addresses global learning, behavior, and health issues.  A joint decision-making process that identifies, evaluates, and determines the eligibility for and the placement of students with educational disabilities.
 Addresses students’ specific learning, behavior, and health needs in the context in which they occur.  Provides for appropriate placements in the least restrictive environments.
 Does not classify student problems.  Determines students’ educational disabilities.
 Participates in the development of an intervention and referral services action plan.  Participates in the development of an individual education plan (IEP).
 Regulated under N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7 and does not fall under the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997.  Regulated under the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 and N.J.A.C. 6A:14.
 Systematically focuses all school and community resources on the resolution of individuals’ educational problems, in particular, and school-wide problems, in general.  Focuses special education, general education and other pupil services on the needs of students with educational disabilities.
 An adult-centered program, where direct assistance primarily is provided to adults who request assistance for problems encountered in the general education program.  A student-centered program, where direct assistance primarily is provided to students with educational disabilities, and support is provided to school staff and parents.
 Schools are required to actively involve parents in the development and implementation of I&RS action plans.  Parents are required to participate in each step of the special education decision-making process.
 I&RS teams write Action Plans based on teacher requests and specific observable information. These plans are implemented in the general education setting and must be monitored and reviewed. Follow-up meetings happen around 4 to 6 weeks after the initial meeting. At the follow-up meeting, the team will decided to continue the plan, modify the plan or if no further action is needed.  Child Study Teams use various tests to place students into different programs, such as resource centers, in-class support, self-contained, or alternative educational placements. Child Study Teams write Individualized Education Plans, or IEP's which are reviewed annually, at a minimum. Re-evaluation of IEP’s must take place every three years or sooner.
 Typically, an I&RS Team is comprised of the principal, counselor, teachers, and the coordinator. Other specialized members, such as a reading specialist, occupational/physical/speech therapists, or the nurse may also participate.  Typically a Child Study Team is comprised of a school psychologist, a learning disabilities teacher consultant, and a social worker. Therapists, teachers, the nurse and counselors may also participate.

Credit: Washington Township Office of Curriculum & Instruction

 

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