Prior to a referral for eligibility determination for special education, the student who is experiencing difficulties in the regular education program is referred to the Teacher Assistance Team or the Teacher Support Team in the building. This team helps teachers to establish successful programs for "difficult to teach" students within the regular classroom. The principal of the school is responsible for ensuring that the prereferral process occurs and that it is documented in the student's regular education record. Any in-house student referral for special education eligibility must be preceded by referral to the Teacher Assistance/Teacher Support Team. It is hoped that in some cases early intervention by Teacher Assistance/ Teacher Support Teams can prevent later referral to special education. This process must occur prior to referral for eligibility determination.
Any parent can refer a student for eligibility determination at any time. When this occurs, the Teacher Assistance/Teacher Support Team and the Special Education Evaluation Team move forward simultaneously in their respective duties. In this way the student has the benefit of receiving modifications and supports as recommended by the Teacher Assistance/Teacher Support Team while awaiting the 45 day evaluation time period used by the Special Education Team. Modifications recommended by the Teacher Assistance/Teacher Support Team may include, but are not limited to modification of the curriculum, of teaching strategies, of teaching environments, of materials and of the use of support services, and/or consultative services. The prereferral process may be as short as four weeks or as long as six weeks. All students, except preschool students, who are referred for eligibility determination, must undergo the prereferral process.