Referral Process

Updated 8/12/15

A referral is a written request to identify an Individual with Exceptional Needs. A parent, teacher, other service provider or the student himself/herself may make such a referral.

A parent referral must be in writing and the district must respond within fifteen (15) days. Utilization of any district referral forms is not required for a parent request.

Typically a student shall be referred for assessment(s) only after the resources of the general education program have been considered, documented and where appropriate, utilized. Prior to a referral for special education by a staff member and/or parent, the site principal, counselor, or designee should utilize a Student Study Team (SST) or other collaborative process to document attempts of general education program accommodations and/or modifications and assure that the individual's needs cannot be met in the general education program. However, the school site Student Study Team (SST) process cannot be used to delay a referral made by a parent.

When the Local Education Agency's (LEA's) designee receives a referral for assessment, the LEA's designee or assigned staff member must document that program accommodations and/or modifications in the general education classroom have been made prior to the referral. The student's parents or guardians shall be notified of the referral in writing by the site team prior to assessing a student for special education eligibility. If it is determined by the school district that an assessment is not warranted, the district may refuse to assess. Staff must notify the special education administrator of this decision and document the reasons an assessment is not warranted in order for the parents to be notified in a Prior Written Notice. Parents' rights and appeal procedures must be given to the parents, as they have the right to appeal the decision. Such a written response declining the request for assessment must be provided to the parents within fifteen (15) days of receiving the referral.

If it is determined that an assessment is warranted, a proposed written assessment plan must be developed by the site team and given to the parent for approval within fifteen (15) days of receiving the referral. Parents' rights must be included with the assessment plan. If necessary, parent permission for release/exchange of information can be obtained at the same time.

Parents have fifteen (15) days to return the assessment plan to the school. Timelines for the assessment begin when the district receives the signed consent form. The assessment must be completed and an IEP team meeting convened to determine eligibility within sixty (60) calendar days.


Click here to download and print "Procedures Guide-Referral Process"