Special Education » Referrals



Lucia Mar Unified School District (LMUSD) has a responsibility to actively and systematically seek out all individuals, from 3 to 21 years of age, with exceptional needs requiring special education and related services. 

Identification procedures involve systematic methods of utilizing referrals of pupils from a range of stakeholders, including teachers, parents, agencies, appropriate professionals, and other members of the public. These procedures are coordinated with school site systems for referral of pupils with needs that cannot be met through modification of the regular instructional program, including referrals from intervention teams, such as a Student Success Team (SST). 

“A pupil shall be referred for special educational instruction and services only after the resources of the regular education program have been considered and, where appropriate, utilized.” (EC 56303) 
For all referrals: 

Within 15 calendar days of receipt of request for evaluation, the assessment plan and prior written notice forms are completed and presented to the parent along with Notice of Procedural Safeguards. When the parent signs the assessment plan with consent, the date received by the district is recorded on the assessment plan and the assessment process begins immediately. The assessment must be completed, all reports written, and the IEP meeting conducted within 60 calendar days. 

Initial Referral Originating from Other than District Staff 
1. A request for initial evaluation is received by school district staff.  Verbal requests are put into writing, with school district staff offering assistance, as necessary. 

2. The written request is time and date stamped. 

3. Within 15 calendar days of the date of receipt, a Student Success Team (SST) will convene to address and respond to the request for evaluation. This team must respond within this 15-day window in one of the following ways: 

a. If the SST determines the request for evaluation is not appropriate, and the parent agrees, the evaluation process discontinues. The SST documents reasons for not evaluating, as well as the parent’s consent to rescind their request for evaluation. The parent must write a statement withdrawing the request for evaluation. 


b. If the SST determines the request for evaluation is not appropriate, and the parent does not agree, either the referral process continues and an assessment plan is developed or a written district response is sent to the parent explaining reasons for not evaluating. 


c. If the SST determines the request for evaluation is appropriate, the referral process continues and a case manager is assigned. 

4. Contact is made with the referring individual(s) to determine all areas of suspected disability and to develop proposed action. The assessment plan and prior written notice are completed and sent to the parent along with a Notice of Procedural Safeguards. 

Initial Referral Originating from District Staff
1. Prior to a referral for special education by school district staff, a pupil is referred to the site Student Success Team (SST).

2. If, after the resources of general education have been considered and utilized, the SST suspects a disability exists which may require special education, the team makes a referral for evaluation. 

3. The Education Specialist assumes case management responsibilities, completing the assessment plan and prior written notice and providing the parent with a Notice of Procedural Safeguards. If the team determines that a special education evaluation is necessary and speech or language is the only area of delay, the speech-language pathologist assumes case management responsibilities. 

Preschool Referral
For 3-5 year old children not enrolled in Kindergarten: 
1. Referrals by parents/guardians are taken by District staff, who fills out a referral and verifies that the child lives within the LMUSD attendance area. 

2. The referral information is forwarded to a speech-language pathologist who conducts an observation of the child, parent interview, review of records, and screening. The speech-language pathologist provides referrals and assistance to the family in utilizing community resources. 
a. If the speech-language pathologist determines that a special education evaluation is necessary and speech or language is the only area of delay, the speech-language pathologist becomes the case manager. The speech-language pathologist completes the evaluation, IEP process, and, if additional assessment is required, refers the child to a multi-disciplinary team. 

b. If the referral indicates a suspected disability other than a speech and language delay, the referral is sent directly to a multi-disciplinary team. The school psychologist coordinates the development of the assessment plan with other team members, assigns the team members, and coordinates the IEP process. 

Transition to Preschool from Early Education Program
Referrals from California early education agencies are taken by designated referral coordinators, who gather information about the child and contact the appropriate school psychologist or service provider who will become the case manager. The case manager reviews the child’s Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and other collateral information. 

Designated staff members attend the transition meeting (which is arranged by the early education agency and is a component of the Individualized Family Services Plan process) and gives information to the family about district services, assessment procedures, and the IEP process. The staff member assigned as case manager schedules the evaluation and IEP meeting, inviting personnel from all the involved agencies to attend. The IEP meeting is scheduled prior to the child’s third birthday. 
Student Success Team 
According to Education Code 56303, a Student Success Team (SST) is a general education function. An SST meeting is held when a parent and/or staff member feels a student’s learning, speech and language acquisition, behavior and/or emotional needs are not being met under existing circumstances. The purpose of this meeting is to provide an opportunity for parents and school staff to share concerns and ideas with various professionals and develop strategies to help the student in his or her area(s) of need. If the student is not responding to the initial interventions made in the general education setting, the SST reconvenes to review the reasons for lack of progress and identify next steps. It is important to note that one outcome of the SST process may be referral for special education evaluation. 

Although specialists such as school psychologists, speech-language pathologists, and education specialists may be involved, the SST is not a special education function and, as such, is not subject to the associated restrictions and timelines.