Special Education: Eligibility

Eligibility of children for special education programs and related services shall be determined by an eligibility committee: 1. within 65 business days after the referral for evaluation is received for an initial evaluation; 2. No later than the third anniversary of the date the child was last found eligible for special education and related services; or 3. Within 65 business days after the parent or parents are notified of the decision not to reevaluate, made in accordance with 8 VAC 20-80-54 F.
Membership of the eligibility committee shall include, but not be limited to, school division personnel representing the disciplines providing assessments, the special education administrator, or designee and the parent or parents. At least one Radford City representative in the group must have either assessed or observed the child. The group may be an IEP Team, as defined in 8 VAC 20-80-62 C. as long as the above requirements and notice requirements of 8 VAC 20-80-70 C are met. If determining whether a child suspected of having a specific learning disability is a child with a disability, as defined by this chapter, the group shall include: A. The child's regular teacher: (1) if the child does not have a regular teacher, a regular classroom teacher qualified to teach a child of that age; or (2) for a child less than school age, an individual qualified to teach a child of that age; and B. At least one person qualified to conduct diagnostic examinations of children such as a school psychologist, speech-language pathologist, teacher of specific learning disabilities, or teacher of remedial reading.
In interpreting evaluation data for the purpose of determining if a child is a child with a disability and determining the educational needs of the child, Radford City Schools shall:
a. Draw upon information from a variety of sources, including aptitude and achievement tests, parent input, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social or cultural background, adaptive behavior; and
b. Ensure that information from all these sources is documented and carefully considered.
The eligibility committee shall provide procedural safeguards in determining eligibility and in ensuring the confidentiality of records.
A child may not be determined to be eligible under this chapter if the determinant factor is lack of instruction in reading or math or limited English proficiency and the child does not otherwise meet the eligibility criteria.
The EC members making the decision regarding the child's eligibility shall work toward consensus. Radford City Schools shall obtain parental consent for the initial eligibility determination. Thereafter, parental consent shall be secured for any change of identification.
The eligibility committee shall have a written summary that consists of the basis for making its determination as to the eligibility of the child for special education and related services. This summary shall be signed by each eligibility committee member present. The written summary shall be maintained in the child's scholastic record.
Radford City Schools shall provide a copy of the documentation of the determination of eligibility to the parent or parents.
The summary statement of the eligibility committee’s essential deliberations shall be forwarded by the committee to the IEP committee upon determination of eligibility. The summary statement may include other recommendations.
Each member of the EC shall certify in writing whether the report reflects his conclusions. If the group does not reach a consensus and the report does not reflect a particular member’s conclusion, then the group member must submit a separate statement presenting that members conclusions.
No changes shall be made to a child's eligibility for special education and related services without parent consent.

For a child suspected of having a specific learning disability , the documentation of the group's determination of eligibility must also include a statement of: Whether the child has a specific learning disability; The basis for making the determination; Relevant behavior noted during the observation of the child; The relationship of the behavior to the child's academic functioning: The educationally relevant medical findings, if any; Whether there is a severe discrepancy between the child’s achievement and ability that is not correctable without special education and related services; The determination of the group concerning the effects of any environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

Radford City Schools utilizes the Worksheets provided by the Department of Education to document information necessary to determine if each student referred is eligible for special education and related services.
A child with a disability must be found to be eligible for special education in order to receive related services. Related services are those supportive services that are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education. Once a child is found eligible for special education, decisions about the need for related services are made by and added to the IEP by the IEP team. An evaluation may be conducted, if needed.
Information relevant to instruction for a child found not eligible for special education shall be provided to the child's teachers or any appropriate committee. Parental consent to release information shall be secured for children in private schools, as necessary. Some children may be referred for consideration for 504 services if appropriate or to the Child Study Committee to develop reasonable modifications in curriculum and instruction.
Documents »