Special Education & Student Services » Grade K-12 Referral Process

Grade K-12 Referral Process

Buford City Schools provides educational services for students who meet the eligibility criteria established by the Georgia Department of Education for the following areas of exceptionality:


Deaf / Blind

Deaf / Hard of Hearing

Emotional Behavior Disorder

Mild Intellectual Disability

Moderate, Severe, Profound Intellectual Disability

Orthopedic Impairment

Other Health Impairment

Significant Developmental Delayed

Specific Learning Disability

Speech Language Impairment

Traumatic Brain Injury

Visual Impairment / Blindness

Buford City Schools Special Education Referral Process
Prior to a child being referred to Special Education, the student goes through various tiers in the Response To Intervention program (RTI). Tier I includes evidence-based instruction, which is based on the College and Career Ready Performance Index. It includes effective school-wide behavior supports and differentiated instruction to promote higher levels of student engagement and achievement. Tier II interventions serve as standard intervention protocols for students in the school who require extended learning opportunities or students who are not making adequate progress and need additional interventions. If students are not making the expected levels of progress in Tier II, they are referred to Tier III. Prevention through intervention is stressed in all tiers. Alternative strategies for increasing the student’s academic, social, and behavioral performance are identified, reviewed, and implemented. Student referrals must be preceded by evidenced-based academic and/or behavioral interventions.
Student’s not referred for further Evaluation – Should the RTI team develop alternative strategies and interventions that are successful with a student, naturally the student should not be referred for further evaluation. However, the RTI team should not exclude a student from further evaluation because the team “feels” that the student will not meet special education eligibility. The RTI team must have data to support the decision that interventions are successful at Tier III and that the student is successful without further evaluation.
Referred for further Evaluation – The RTI team has attempted reasonable alternative strategies and interventions. If those strategies have not been successful and data supports the potential need for additional supports, the RTI team may make a referral for an evaluation to determine if physical/emotional/academic problems may be interfering with a student’s school progress.
Steps in the Evaluation Process
1. Appropriate LEA staff or the parent make a referral for an evaluation. A parental consent for evaluation is received from the parent. Once LEA staff receives the signed consent, the 60- calendar-day timeline begins.
2. Review all other data about a child, which include the permanent record, current classroom assessment and progress, results of any provided interventions, previous results of statewide assessments, attendance data, and disciplinary history.
3. Classroom observations in a setting in which the concern has been noted are conducted to determine current performance and to look for specific causes or reasons why the child is not learning or behaving at the expected levels. The observations are usually conducted by a diagnostician or other professional with expertise.
4. The current and previous teachers of the child are interviewed. The focus of the interviews is to determine whether the concerns cited as the reason for the evaluation are new issues or recurring issues. In addition, the interviews will provide information on any interventions or strategies that may have been tried previously.
5. The parents are interviewed as part of the evaluation process. If the parents have any independent evaluations or medical information they have not provided to the LEA, they should provide this information now. Information the parents have about learning at home, such as how long it takes the child to complete his or her homework and how much help the child requires, assists in the evaluation. Often the behavior of the child at home is also discussed to determine whether the parents see the same behaviors as the school sees, what kind of interventions work at home, and how frequently certain behaviors occur. In addition, many times the LEA needs to screen for adaptive behavior, and it may ask questions about household chores or tasks, about money management, and about other things that do not always feel educational to the parent. This information contributes to the whole picture of the child.
6. All previous information and data on the child is reviewed (e.g., previous evaluations, medical reports, psychological evaluations, and independent evaluations). This helps the team determine which evaluations to administer for the current evaluation.
7. Many evaluations include the administration of surveys or questionnaires. These are usually published forms of surveys or questionnaires that gather information about the typical day-to-day behavior of the child. The surveys or questionnaires are often completed by multiple people who know the child in order to provide a comprehensive view that encompasses school, home, and the community.
8. As all this information is received, the multidisciplinary evaluation team begins to review the information and determine what individual assessments are needed, and by whom, to provide more in-depth information. The needed assessments are then conducted and may include a variety of instruments that look at learning, listening, speaking, behavior, sensory, motor, and/or academics.
9. As these assessments are administered, other areas of concern may arise that need to be evaluated and additional assessments will be conducted as necessary. For example, fine motor skills may not have been a concern when the evaluation was requested; but, information from the assessments and observations may indicate a concern that warrants an evaluation of the fine motor skills as a component of the comprehensive evaluation.
10. All instruments are scored, and the results are analyzed and interpreted by the professionals who administered the instruments.
11. The person coordinating the evaluation discusses the results of the evaluation with the parent and educators, with accompanying evaluation report(s) at this time. This discussion could occur at the completion of the 60-day initial evaluation period or at the eligibility meeting, which as a matter of best practice, should occur within 10 calendar days of the completion of the initial evaluation.
12. An eligibility meeting is conducted. The eligibility meeting determines whether a disability exists and what the impact is on the education of the child. If there is an adverse impact, the team may determine that the child is a child who needs special education and related services. Evaluation report(s) and an eligibility report are created regardless of whether the child is determined eligible or ineligible.