Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who is eligible to receive Special Services?

Any child between the ages of 3 and 21, whose parents are legal residents of North Caldwell, who has been found eligible to receive special education and related services, following assessment by the child study team.

What is the process to determine eligibility for Special Services?
Any child between the ages of 2 ½ and 5 can be evaluated by the Child Study Team (CST) to determine if an educational disability/delay exists. Parents are encouraged to phone the Special Services Department to request further information, if they suspect that their child has special needs. (973-228-2571, ext. 1190)

The classroom teacher or parent may refer any child who is having difficulty in school to the school-based Intervention and Referral Service team. This multi-disciplinary team meets monthly, in each school, to recommend strategies to assist our students in general education settings. Members of this team may include the student’s classroom teacher, school principal, a Child Study Team member, speech language specialist, school nurse and academic tutorial teacher. If school-based, general education efforts do not resolve the difficulty, the IR&S team may make a referral to the Child Study Team.

Children may be referred for evaluation based on a written request from a parent, teacher, or principal. After a referral is received, an evaluation-planning meeting is scheduled within twenty days to determine whether an evaluation is warranted. Parents participate in this meeting with members of the child study team and the child's classroom teacher. If there is agreement to conduct an evaluation, parents provide written consent regarding the nature and scope of the evaluation before assessments can begin.

The evaluation, which includes review of relevant data and individual tests, multi-disciplinary assessments and observations of the child, determines whether the child is classified with an educational disability as defined by the NJ Department of Education. The assessment process may take up to ninety days to complete. Parents are provided with written assessment reports ten days prior to their participation in an eligibility-determination meeting. If the evaluation team determines that a child does have a disability, a meeting is scheduled to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to address the child's needs.

What is an Individualize Educational Plan (IEP)?
The IEP is a written plan that describes the child's current academic achievement and functional performance, a specific course of action appropriate for the child and measurable goals or benchmarks. Parents attend the IEP meeting and provide written approval of the initial IEP before it is implemented.

A member of the Child Study Team serves as case manager and monitors the child's progress. The IEP is reviewed and updated annually.

Where can I get more information?
Your children are very important to us. This brief summary is provided as a brief introduction to Special Services. We encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding your child. Contact your child's teacher, principal or the Special Services Department, (973-228- 2571, extension 1190). Our main office is located at Grandview School, Hamilton Drive East. Members of the team are located in each of our two elementary school buildings.

The NJ Department of Education brochure "Parental Rights in Special Education" is available online: click here . This brochure is also distributed by the Special Services Department to parents whose child is referred for an evaluation. A revised copy of the procedural safeguards statement that is published by the New Jersey Department of Education to meet the requirements of N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.3(g)7, is now available on the New Jersey Department of Education website. This document was developed to explain the rights afforded under special education to adult students with disabilities and the parents of students with disabilities.

Glossary of Commonly Used Terms

Child Study Team (CST) - A team of specialists on the district staff who evaluates students suspected of having a learning disability and develops of Individualized Educational Plans (IEPS). The team for each child is comprised of individuals who will knowledgeable about school programs and educational needs and strategies to support your child.

Evaluation - An assessment that determines whether a child has an educational disability, as defined by the NJ Department of Education. Components of a Child Study Team Evaluation include an educational assessment, psychological assessment, social assessment and speech language assessment for students under age 6. Other assessments may be included based on each student's individual strengths and needs.

IEP - Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a written description of the educational plan developed for a child determined to have educational disabilities.

IEP Team - The group of individuals who are responsible for the development, review and revision of the student's individualized educational program. This includes the parent, classroom teacher, members of the child study team and special education teacher and/or specialists working with your child.

Least Restrictive Environment - To the maximum extent appropriate, a student with a disability is educated with children in general education settings, with non-disabled peers.

Intervention and Referral Service (IR&S) - A school-based committee that addresses the needs of students through interventions in the regular classroom. Though a CST staff member will usually serve on this committee, this is not a special education initiative.

Integrated Preschool Class – A small class, composed of students with and without disabilities. Students with special needs participate in this program and receive services based on their IEP’s. Typically developing preschool students complete applications complete applications and are accepted following a lottery, which is held in May. Tuition, based on a rate determined annually by the Board of Education, will be charged for the participation of non-disabled students. An open house is scheduled annually to provide information to interested parents.

Resource Program - A support program for children in K-12 who’s Individualized Educational Plans (IEPS) determine that they need special education supports for their academic work. A special education teacher works with the child to provide additional instruction and support in and/or out of the child's regular classroom.

Related Services – Speech-Language, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling and social skills are provided to students determined to be eligible for special education and related services.

Extended School Year Services – The IEP team reviews student progress and determines whether the student experiences significant difficulties with regression and skill recoupment following absences and school vacations. Specific recommendations are made regarding the student’s need for special education and related services during the summer.

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