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Referral/Pre-Referral Procedures

CODE:  IHBAA-R

School Administrative District No. 31

    REFERRAL/PRE-REFERRAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE

SAD #31 shall refer to the IEP Team all school-age students suspected of having a disability that requires special education and related services.  Referrals to the IEP Team may be made by a child’s parent, by professional school staff, or by others with knowledge of the child.  Referrals should be made and processed consistent with these procedures.

    A.    Referrals by Parents

            A parent may refer his or her child to the IEP Team at any time.  That referral shall be made in writing directly to the office of
            the Director of Educational Resources.  Should the parent seek to make a referral through other professional staff (such as
            teachers, guidance counselors, or administrators), that professional staff member shall directly assist the family in making the
            referral in writing to the office of the Director of Educational Resources.  Should a parent attempt to make a referral orally,
            professional staff shall assist the parent in reducing that referral to writing and submitting it to the office of the Director of
            Educational Resources.

            A parent referral shall be processed consistent with these procedures and governing timelines even if the child is receiving
            interventions pursuant to the District’s pre-referral procedures (discussed below).  Those pre-referral procedures shall continue               during the referral process, however.

    B.    Referrals by Staff

            Any professional employee of the school unit may refer a child to the IEP Team regardless of the results of initial child find
           activities, but only after completion of any pre-referral intervention process used by the school unit.  The school unit may move
           directly forward with the referral process in those circumstances where the school unit and parent agree to do so.  Even in that
           situation, however, pre-referral interventions will continue during the referral process. 

           Professional school staff shall prepare a referral in writing and shall submit that referral directly to the office of the Director of
           Educational Resources.

    C.    Referrals by Others

            Individuals or agency representatives (including representatives of the Department of Health and Human Services) with
            knowledge of the child may refer that child to the IEP Team regardless of the results of initial child find activities, but only after
            completion of any pre-referral intervention process used by the school unit.  The school unit may move directly forward with the
            referral process in those circumstances where the school unit and parent agree to do so.  Even in that situation, however,
            pre-referral interventions will continue during the referral process. 

            Should such a person attempt to make a referral orally, professional staff shall assist that person in reducing that referral to
            writing and submitting it to the office of the Director of Educational Resources.

    D.    Receipt of Referral


            Regardless of the source of the referral, a referral is received by the school unit on the date that the written referral is received                by the office of the Director of Educational Resources.  It shall be signed and dated by the Director of Educational
            Resources/designee, thereby indicating the date of the receipt of that referral. 

    E.    Time Line for Processing Referral

            Once the referral has been received in the office of the Director of Educational Resources, the IEP Team shall review existing
            evaluation data and determine the need for additional evaluations.  The IEP Team may conduct its review without a meeting. 
            If additional evaluations are needed, the local unit must send a “consent to evaluate” form to the parent within 15 school days
            of receipt of the referral.  Also upon receipt of the referral (from any source), the local unit shall send the parent its written
            notice form documenting that referral.

            Once the office of the Director of Special Education receives the signed consent for evaluation back from the parent, the local
            unit shall have 45 school days to complete the evaluation and to hold an IEP Team meeting to determine whether the student
            qualifies for special education services. If the student is identified as a child with a disability in need of special education, the
            Team should develop an IEP for that child either at that same meeting or within 30 calendar days of determining that the student
            is eligible.

            The local unit shall implement the IEP as soon as possible following the IEP Team meeting when the child is found eligible, but no
            later than 30 calendar days after that meeting.

    F.    Transfer Students

            Students who have already been identified as in need of special education services and who transfer into the school unit from
            another school unit within Maine shall, on enrollment and in consultation with the parent, be provided with FAPE (including
            services comparable to those described in the child’s IEP from the previous school unit) until the local unit either adopts the
            child’s IEP from the previous unit or develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP. 

            Students who have already been identified as in need of special services and who transfer into the school unit from another
            school unit from outside of Maine shall, on enrollment and in consultation with the parent, be provided with FAPE (including
            services comparable to those described in the child’s IEP from the previous school unit) until the local unit conducts an evaluation
             to determine whether the student is eligible for special education and, if so, develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP.

            If the transfer student’s current IEP from his or her prior school unit is not available or is believed to be inappropriate by either
            the parent or the school, the local unit should develop a new IEP through appropriate procedures within a short time after the
            student enrolls at the school.

            If a child transfers into the school unit after the referral time line has begun in the previous school unit but before an eligibility
            determination has been made, the time line referenced above for completing that process shall not apply if the local unit is
            making sufficient progress to ensure a prompt completion of the evaluation, and the parent and school unit agree to a specific
            time when the evaluation will be completed and the eligibility decision made.
                                       
    Pre-Referral Procedures

            Professional school staff members who observe that a student is encountering academic or functional difficulties in school that
            interfere with the student’s education shall document those specific difficulties.

            The school staff member shall then develop intervention strategies. The staff member may consult with other school employees
            and/or the student’s parents in developing the intervention strategy. The intervention strategies shall have an established time
            period for implementation, and at the end of that time, its success shall be assessed and documented at the bottom of the
            intervention checklist. If the intervention strategies have not been effective or if the interventions are demonstrated to be
            effective but require continued and substantial effort that may include the provision of special education and related services,
            the staff member shall refer the child to the IEP consistent with the procedures set forth above. 

            The local unit shall notify parents whenever their child has demonstrated educational difficulties that have led to completion by a
            staff member of the pre-referral checklist and intervention strategy checklist.  That notification of pre-referral interventions
            should include copies of the completed checklists and shall request that the parents contact the staff member who has completed
            the documents. That notification shall also inform parents that they have a right to refer their child directly to the IEP Team if
            they suspect that their child may need special education services. The local unit may advise the parents as to why it may be
            appropriate to have the child participate in the intervention strategies prior to a referral to the IEP team, but the local unit shall
            not reject or delay the referral until the completion of the intervention strategies.

            All notes from the pre-referral process and, if relevant, team meetings and all the data collection procedures that may have been
            developed through this process shall be considered by the IEP Team and shall become part of the child’s special education file.
            For children who do not qualify for special education services, all pre-referral documents are kept in the child’s cumulative folder
             for future reference and for ongoing educational planning.

            The general education interventions developed through this pre-referral process shall be continued in the event of a referral
            while the referral is being handled by the IEP Team, and the resulting data shall become part of the child’s special education file.


Legal Reference     Ch. 101, §§ II(27), III, IV(2)(D), (E), V(4)(A) (Me. Dept. of Ed. Rules) (July 2011)

First Reading:        02/15/2012
Second Reading:    03/21/2012
Updated Reading:  08/15/2012