Special Education Process – Referrals
HOW CAN I REFER MY CHILD FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION?
If you suspect that your child displays any condition which may require some intervention or Special Education services, a referral can be made in the following manner:
- For children between the ages of birth to five, please complete Enrollment - registration on line and schedule an appointment with the Student Support Services Department, Fremont Unified School District. Once your registration is complete, you will be able to request an evaluation for your child. At that time, you will be directed to the Special Education department for a Child Find packet to fill out and submit.
- For students enrolled in Fremont Unified School, please contact the principal at your school for a referral to the school's Student Study Team.
- For students who live in Fremont and are enrolled at private schools in grades K-12, please contact the Special Education department at (510) 659-2569 for more information regarding the referral process.
WHAT IS A STUDENT STUDY TEAM?
A Student Study Team (SST) is a school-based, problem-solving group whose purpose is to provide support to students who are not successful in school. The SST can provide support by contributing both personnel and school resources in response to identified student needs. The SST will meet within 15 days of the parent referral to review parent/teacher concerns.
The SST can include the parent, principal, or other administrator, school psychologist, special education teacher or classroom teacher. Parent concerns and student needs are often successfully addressed through the SST process. If suggested interventions and strategies do not adequately address student needs, the SST and/or parent can request an assessment for Special Education services.
HOW WILL MY CHILD BE ASSESSED FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION?
Arrangements will be made to have your child’s strengths and needs evaluated. This will be done through assessment and conferences held among those who work with your child. The participants in this assessment process may include teachers, school psychologists, speech and language pathologists, nurses, and others. The assessment will be conducted only after the parents/guardians receive a detailed assessment plan and after the school receives written consent from the parents/guardians. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting will be held within sixty days of the date the signed assessment plan is received by the district.
WHAT IS AN ASSESSMENT PLAN?
When a formal referral for assessment is received by the school from a parent, the school has 15 days to develop an assessment plan. An assessment plan is developed by Special Education staff and may include the school psychologist, resource specialist, speech and language pathologist, or other Special Education teacher(s) to address the identified needs of the student. The assessment plan will state the areas in which the child will be assessed, and will be conducted by a multi-disciplinary team.
WHAT IS AN INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PROGRAM (IEP) MEETING?
After the assessment has been completed, the parent or guardian will be invited to attend an IEP meeting. The date and time of the meeting is mutually set by all participants. The parent or guardian may also wish to bring along other persons to this meeting. At the IEP meeting, district staff will present the results of their assessment. Parents are encouraged to participate, ask questions and become fully informed as to their child’s strengths and needs.
After the assessment information is presented and discussed, the members of the IEP team will determine the student’s eligibility for Special Education services in accordance with State and Federal guidelines. If the student is found eligible for Special Education services, the IEP will include the following:
- A summary of the assessment findings including the students current levels of performance
- A statement of student goals and objectives that will be addressed over the next six to twelve months. Goals and objectives are written so that student progress can be objectively measured. The team will suggest methods of meeting these goals and objectives and will make maximum use of the child's strengths and abilities. A description of evaluation criteria will also be included to determine how well the plan is working.
- Specific services will be identified which are determined to be appropriate in meeting the child’s goals and objectives.
- A recommendation for services, start date and anticipated frequency and duration of Special Education services will also be provided.
WHAT ARE MY PARENT RIGHTS?
Parents are notified of their rights at various stages throughout the IEP process and at least annually. Parent rights include the right to request an IEP meeting; the right to review assessment information; the right to have their eligible child receive free and appropriate educational services in the least restrictive environment. Remember, if you have any questions, school district personnel are here to assist you.
Your consent is also required before the IEP can be put into effect. If you are uncertain at the end of the meetingas to whether you want the plan to go into effect, you may wish to ask for further clarification. The IEP team and your students case manager is your resource and will provide you with any information you may require. Those components of the plan which are approved may be implemented; however, you have other rights if you disagree with the plan. Any questions about your rights can be answered by the school personnel.
WHAT IF MY CHILD IS FOUND INELIGIBLE FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES?
The district is obligated to follow the guidelines for student eligibility as set out by State and Federal law. Special Education is designed to serve students with significant disabilities which adversely affect their educational performance. If a student is not identified as having a disability or disabilities under the State and Federal guidelines, the IEP team will suggest interventions and strategies that can be utilized to address student needs. IEP team members may also decide to refer the student back to the SST for further interventions.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO DEVELOP A STRONG IEP FOR THEIR CHILD?
Prior to the Meeting:
- Conference with your student's teacher(s)
- Review or request a copy of any information, evaluation, assessment results, etc., that were conducted for your child.
- Jot down any questions you may have or any suggestions you wish to make regarding educational objectives, health issues, transportation, schedules, and insights you have about your child’s strengths and needs.
During the Meeting:
- Your input as the parent is critical, please share your concerns.
- Know that the offer of service for your child is collaboratively developed by the IEP team.
- Ask questions of feel free to take a break if needed
After the Meeting:
- Review the IEP and any other documents you received at the meeting.
- Maintain a file of important IEP papers, assessments, and staff contacts.
- If you have any questions or concerns, call the case manager or an appropriate member of the IEP team.
- As appropriate, share information with your child.
HOW OFTEN WILL THE IEP TEAM MEET?
IEP meetings will be held at least annually for your child. If you have concerns about your child's progress, ask for a conference with your child's case manager. If your concerns require further attention, you can always request an IEP meeting. The team is obligated to schedule a meeting within 30 days of a parent request.