Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS)

Jamie Edward Ciofalo, Director of Pupil Personnel Services and I&RS District Coordinator  jciofalo@epsd.org

School I&RS Coordinators 

DMHS/A@E Janis E Dismus Middle School McCloud Elementary  Grieco Elementary D.A. Quarles Early Childhood Center

Mr. Richard Suchanski

rsuchanski@epsd.org

Mrs. Laura Mathieu

lmtheiu@epsd.org

Mr. David Murphy

dmurphy@epsd.org

Mr. Abraham Alarcon

aalarcon@epsd.org

Mrs. Gina Leonard-Edone

gleonardedone@epsd.org

Where Does the I&RS Process Begin?

The I&RS process must begin with a Pre-Referral Plan as developed and implemented by the teacher, school counselor or administrator who has identified a child who is experiencing academic or behavioral difficulties. The Pre-Referral Plan must include SMART Goal(s) and corresponding data. 

Why?

Because, it should be noted that programs of intervention and referral services may not be used to delay obvious and appropriate referrals to special education (N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3 et seq.). Schools are not permitted to create any barrier for the administration of appropriate evaluations to determine the existence or nature of students’ educational disabilities. This means, for example, that schools may not require the review of all student cases by the I&RS program prior to child study team review, since this requirement would create a barrier to the administration of appropriate evaluations. Therefore, a building-based program of intervention and referral services is not necessarily a pre-referral intervention mechanism for CST evaluations. An I&RS team is one of many resources used by schools to intervene with student problems, prior to child study team evaluations. The Pre-Referral Plan as developed and implemented by the teacher, school counselor or administrator may serve as the source of data-driven evidence of interventions.

Quite simply…

  • Evidence of Interventions is required
  • Evidence of Interventions is not necessarily I&RS
  • A teacher, school counselor or administrator who has documented, data driven evidence of interventions in form of a Pre-Referral Plan accounts for evidence of interventions

What are the Primary Functions of the System?

I&RS is:

  • Collaborative
  • Consultative
  • Supportive

The purpose of I&RS is to assist students who are experiencing:

  • Learning
  • Behavior or
  • Health Difficulties

and to assist staff who have difficulties in addressing students’:

  • Learning
  • Behavior or
  • Health Needs

I&RS is not a process to remove a student who is experiencing learning, behavior, or health difficulties from the general education setting.

Functions of I&RS

The functions of the system of intervention and referral services in each school building shall be to:

  • Identify learning, behavior and health difficulties of students;
  • Collect thorough information on the identified learning, behavior and health difficulties;
  • Develop and implement action plans which provide for appropriate school or community interventions or referrals to school and community resources, based on the collected data and desired outcomes for the identified learning, behavior and health difficulties;
  • Provide support, guidance, and professional development to school staff who identify learning, behavior and health difficulties;
  • Provide support, guidance, and professional development to school staff who participate in each building’s system for planning and providing intervention and referral services;
  • Actively involve parents or guardians in the development and implementation of intervention and referral services action plans;
  • Coordinate the access to and delivery of school resources and services for achieving the outcomes identified in the intervention and referral services action plans;
  • Coordinate the services of community-based social and health provider agencies and other community resources for achieving the outcomes identified in the intervention and referral services action plans;
  • Maintain records of all requests for assistance and all intervention and referral services action plans, according to the requirements of 34 CFR Part 98, 34 CFR Part 99, 42 CFR Part II, N.J.S.A. 18A:40A-7.1, N.J.A.C. 6A:16-3.2, and N.J.A.C6:3-2.1;
  • Review and assess the effectiveness of the provisions of each intervention and referral services action plan in achieving the outcomes identified in each action plan and modify each action plan to achieve the outcomes, as appropriate; and
  • At a minimum, annually review the intervention and referral services action plans and the actions taken as a result of the building’s system of intervention and referral services and make recommendations to the principal for improving school programs and services, as appropriate.

Frequently Asked I&RS Questions

Are programs of I&RS limited to addressing only academic concerns?

Programs of I&RS are intended to address the full range of issues (i.e., academic, behavior and health) that may interfere with student achievement of high academic standards in safe and disciplined learning environments.

Are programs of I&RS considered special education or general education programs?

The school-based program of I&RS is an ancillary student support service for helping staff and parents address the complete spectrum of student learning, behavior and health problems in the general education program, with an emphasis on early identification and intervention of problems at the elementary, middle and high school levels. The scope of I&RS programs is much broader than the limited function of pre-referral interventions to the Child Study Team (CST). Under N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.1(a)2i, however, teams may plan and provide intervention and referral services for students who have been determined to be in need of special education programs and services and assist staff while waiting for the findings of CST evaluations. As appropriate, the intervention and referral services provided for students with learning disabilities are to be coordinated with the student's Individualized Education Program team.