The Child Study Team (CST) is a professional group employed by the Gateway Board of Education to provide consultative, evaluative and prescriptive services to teachers and parents in regard to students who are experiencing school difficulties.
The NJ Department of Education regulations required the CST members include a school psychologist, a school social worker and a learning disabilities teacher consultant.
How is a student referred for a Child Study Team evaluation?
Students between the ages of 3 and 21, suspected of having an educational disability may be referred to the Gateway Group Child Study Team. Typically, referrals come from the following:
- PARENTS: Parents may request a Child Study Team evaluation by forwarding their request in writing to Kristy Green, Director of Special Services. The Gateway Group Child Study Team will only accept original signatures for requests for evaluation. We will accept the use of electronic mail from the parent/guardian once the original signature is obtained requesting an evaluation. The parent may not utilize electronic mail to provide written consent when the district provides written notice and seeks parental consent as required by N.J.A.C. 6A:14.
- INTERVENTION AND REFERRAL SERVICES COMMITTEE (I & RS): The I & RS Committee is a building based group that meets regularly to provide intervention strategies for students experiencing difficulty in the classroom. Once the I & RS committee has utilized its resources and determines that the additional information may be necessary, or feels that the student may be potentially educationally disabled, the student may be recommended for a CST evaluation.
- ADMINISTRATION OR OUTSIDE AGENCIES: The Principal or other building administrator or an individual from an outside agency may refer a student for a CST evaluation.
What is the procedure after a referral is made?
Once a referral has been made, the CST has 20 days to schedule an Initial Identification Meeting. The necessary personnel expected to attend this meeting include a school social worker, school psychologist, learning disabilities teacher consultant, director, speech and language specialist (if the suspected disability included that area or the child is between the ages of 3 and 5) and the parent or guardian.
Are the students automatically tested if the request is made?
No. Once a request for a CST evaluation is made, an Initial Identification Meeting must be scheduled. At that meeting, it is determined if a CST evaluation is warranted and if so, an Evaluation Plan is developed.
What is the procedure if the student is going to be tested?
Once it is determined that the testing is necessary, an assessment plan is developed and the parent/guardian gives written permission. The district then has 90 days to complete the necessary evaluations. Within the 90 day window, an Eligibility Conference is scheduled. The evaluations are interpreted and it is determined if the student is eligible for special education and/or related services.
If a student is eligible, does that mean that they will be placed in a special education class?
No, not necessarily. Before a student receives services, and Individual Education Program must be developed and agreed to. Each school offers a continuum of service delivery options for students with disabilities.
For an informative guide to understanding the special education process in New Jersey see the following link: