A student is typically referred for an evaluation by a Student Support Team (SST) when it has documented sufficient evidence to suspect that a disability may be the primary cause of the student’s learning or behavior problem(s). This usually occurs after appropriate interventions in the general education classroom have failed to find a satisfactory solution.
A parent may also request an evaluation. Prior to referral for evaluation, students are provided a wide range of intensive, research-based interventions. School level data review teams/ Student Support Teams meet regularly to review the progress of students who are referred for interventions. When a student does not make the progress required to meet age or grade level standards, the student’s Response to Interventions (RtI) referral packet is submitted to the Program for Exceptional Students Department (PES) in the Muscogee County Public Education Building (MCPEC).
MCSD will obtain informed consent from the parents before the evaluation is conducted. Reasonable effort will be made to obtain the consent to include but not limited to detailed records of phone conversations, copies of correspondence, home and place of employment visits. [34 C.F.R. § 300 .300(a)(d)]
If a parent refuses to respond or consent to the evaluation request, MCSD may pursue the initial evaluation through the mediation and impartial due process hearing procedures if the child is enrolled in public school.
[34 C.F.R. § 300.300(a)(3)] [34 C.F.R. § 300 .300(d)(4)] The School Psychologist, Speech Language Pathologist, and/or School Administrator should contact the Director of the Program for Exceptional students if there are significant concerns with a parent refusal to evaluate.
If a child is a ward of the state and is not residing with the parents, MCSD is not required to obtain consent from the parent if despite reasonable efforts the parent cannot be located, the rights have been terminated or subrogated by a judge. [[34 C.F.R. § 300 .300(a)(2)] The School Psychologist, Speech Language Pathologist, and/or School Administrator should contact the Director of the Program for Exceptional students if there are significant concerns obtaining parental consent.
The initial evaluation must be completed before the initial provision of special education and related services are provided to a child with a disability. [34 C.F.R. § 300 .301(a)]
Parental consent is not required for:
Timelines for Initial Evaluations:
- Reviewing existing data as part of an evaluation or reevaluation.
- Giving a test or evaluation that is given to all students unless consent is required for all students. (State assessments, benchmarks, etc)
- A screening to determine appropriate instructional strategies for curriculum implementation that shall not be considered to be an evaluation for eligibility. [34 C.F.R. § 300 .300(d)] [34 C.F.R. § 300 .302]
The district has 60 calendar days to complete the initial evaluation process, completion being defined as when the eligibility meeting is held. [34 C.F.R .§ 300 .301(c)(1)] Exceptions include:
- When students are not required to be in attendance for five consecutive days, (e.g., during holidays, vacation, or special circumstances), an extension to the timeline equaling those days out will be applied.
- If the permission is received less than 30 days before the end of the school year, the days can be split between the current and next school year.
- When the parent repeatedly fails or refuses to produce the child for evaluation.