Referral to Highly Specialized Strands

  • Referral to Highly Specialized Strands in Sudbury

    Prior to referring a student to a highly specialized strand, the Team will complete the following process:

    • Initial concerns regarding a student’s lack of effective progress with a current IEP will be shared with Team Chair, principal, Director of Student Services and child’s parent(s)/guardian(s). Communication with parents about concerns regarding child’s progress is open and ongoing.
    • Under the direction of the Team Chair, the school based special education staff and other relevant staff will review current components of the student’s IEP to determine that all attempts at supporting the child in the least restrictive environment have been implemented.  
    • The Team Chair leads an intervention process seeking a clear determination of the student's needs.  These needs are articulated in writing, with the essential programming components identified which will meet the student's needs.  

    Consideration must be given to the following:

    • Increase of supports within school, including consideration of decreased time in general education setting
    • Use of hybrid programming (using parts of in-house programs and/or other unique combinations of resources)
    • Additional staff training
    • Consultation from in-district specialists
    • Consultation from outside specialists
    • Use of new/alternative specialized instructional materials
    • Conduct additional assessments, as needed, such as completion of FBA and possible creation and implementation of  a positive behavior support plan, AT assessment, and literacy assessments
    • Documentation of response to changes and interventions will be maintained by the Team chair and placed in the student’s file. These efforts will likely require an amendment to the student’s current IEP, and/or evaluation consents.  Parents must be aware of the concerns and involved in the problem-solving process.


    Interventions resulting in continued lack of effective progress

    Evidence of lack of student progress, and additional efforts made, will be shared with principal and Director of Special Student Services by the Team Chair.  The Team Chair will then contact the Team Chair and principal of potential receiving school to share information. Team Chairs will meet to review case and supporting data and documentation. At the middle school the Team Chair will meet with the Program Team Chair and the appropriate grade level administrator(s).

    Team Chair of reviewing school disseminates documentation to program teachers and related service personnel for review. Within approximately 7 days of receiving documentation, reviewing school will meet to discuss impressions and determine next steps.

    Program teachers, related service personnel and/or Team Chair of reviewing school will schedule a time and observe student in home school within approximately 14 school days inclusive of the 7 school days noted. Collegial school visits will serve to assist in providing additional suggestions for building based support as well as consider the appropriateness of program referral.  In addition, within the same 14-school day time period, program teachers, related service personnel and/or the Team Chair at the student’s current school will visit the highly specialized strand being considered for the student to provide the team with additional information about the appropriateness of the potential referral.

    After the observation, the reviewing personnel will meet with Team Chair within approximately 7 school days to discuss observations and recommendations. Close communication between reviewing personnel, Team Chairs and Director of Special Education will determine if the program is an appropriate potential option for the special education team to consider.  Parents are kept apprised of all of these steps as integral members of the special education team and may also be involved in visits of potential programs. 

    Team meeting is held to review student progress and consider all options.  The team makes recommendations for services based on student needs first, then consideration is given to placement. Representatives from reviewing school will attend this meeting as appropriate.

    Next steps will include visitation(s) and a transition plan for student and parent if team recommends a highly specialized strand and parent consents.