Special Education in Portsmouth
Special Education Referral and Identification Process
The special education process in Portsmouth reflects the New Hampshire Standards for the Education of Students with Disabilities. In summary, the process consists of:
1. REFERRAL - Referral may be made to Principal of the School or directly to Joanne Simons, Director of Pupil Support & Instruction, office at the School Department Offices (431-5080). Referrals may be made by teachers, parents, counselors or other person knowledgeable about the student. The parent is notified in writing of the referral, unless the parent has himself or herself made the referral.
2. DISPOSITION OF REFERRAL - Within 15 days of the Principal or Student Services office receiving the referral, a meeting will be held to decide whether testing or other intervention is warranted. That meeting can include the referring person, the building principal or his/her designee, and a special education teacher. Frequently parents participate in this meeting, but if not, the parent is notified in writing of the outcome.
3. EVALUATION AND IDENTIFICATION - This is completed within 45 days (unless a time extension is agreed upon) of the date that the parents signed permission for the testing. In Portsmouth this is a gold colored form.
4. DEVELOPMENT OF AN INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN (IEP) - This is a plan with a number of components, including instructional goals and objectives, classroom or other modifications and accommodations. The parent participates in the formation of this plan. The meeting to do this takes place within 30 days of the evaluations being completed.
5. PLACEMENT - This is a discussion in which the parent also participates concerning the appropriate program or environment in which to carry out the educational plan.
6. MONITORING - Oversight of the plan including needed changes and refinements takes place throughout the period of the IEP. The parent or any member of the team can ask that there be a meeting to review the progress of the IEP. In Portsmouth IEPs are usually reviewed at the quarterly marking periods. IEPs normally cover a period of one school year.
A small team called the Student Evaluation and Placement Team (SEPT) will meet to implement the above process. Size and membership of the SEPT may vary at different stages of the process and according to the nature of the student’s needs. The SEPT normally has two or three separate meetings from the initial referral to placement within a program. Parents will be fully informed in writing of each decision made by the SEPT, whether or not they are present at the meeting.