Special Education Process Sequence
The New Hampshire Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities, March 24, 2017
1. Referral. When a parent, teacher, or other person suspects a student may have a disability and are in need of special education and/or related services, he/she may make a referral to the school or LEA (local education agency, which is another term for the school district). If a parent makes the referral, it should be made in writing, and explain why the parent believes their child may have a disability and needs special education. Parents should date all letters to the school and keep a copy for their records. If the referral comes from someone other than the parent, including from the child’s teacher, the parent must immediately be notified in writing that a referral has been made. Within 15 business days of the referral, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team will meet to determine whether the concerns raised by the referral can be addresses utilizing existing pupil services available to all students, whether additional information is required, and what evaluations, if any, are needed to address any remaining concerns raised by the referral;
2. Evaluation. When the IEP Team, including the parents, determine that the concerns raised by the referral can not be addressed utilizing existing pupil support services and more information is needed as a disability is suspected, the evaluation procedure of the special education process will begin. The IEP team first considers any information they already have about the student and then will determine what educational evaluations will be conducted. Upon receipt of signed parental consent, the evaluation process shall be completed within 60 days by trained and knowledgeable, certified and/or licensed practitioners.
3. Determination of Eligibility. Based on the evaluation results and within the 60 day timeline, the IEP Team will meet to discuss the various diagnostic findings and evaluation written summaries regarding the student. To be eligible for special education services, the student must meet the eligibility requirements of the suspected educational disability, and require specialized education and/or any related services in order to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education. The student will then be identified with one or more of 14 disability categories defined in the NH Standards. Once a student begins receiving special education, he/she is reevaluated at least once every three years to ensure the IEP Team continues to have current information on which to base their decisions.
4. Development and Approval of the Individual Education Plan. Within 30 days after the student is found eligible for special education services, the IEP Team will meet to develop an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) for the student. Once a student has an IEP, it is reviewed and revised at least annually, and it must be in place at the start of each school year.
5. Placement. As part of the IEP meeting, the team will discuss and determine to the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities, including students in public or private providers of special education, are educated with students who do not have disabilities. Consistent with 34 CFR 300.114, special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of a student with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.
6. Ongoing Monitoring and Annual Review of IEP. The student begins receiving services as soon as possible after the parents and school district consent in writing to the IEP and placement. Then the student’s parents, educators and others involved with the student’s special education program monitor the student’s progress on an ongoing basis to ensure his/her educational goals and objectives are being met. The IEP Team will meet at least once each year to review and revise the IEP, or more frequently if any member of the IEP Team has concerns about the child’s progress.