Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS)

Old Tappan Public Schools 

Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS) 

N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7

The Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS) Team serves to support the needs of students who are experiencing some level of difficulty within the general education program. Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS) are intended to address issues, ranging from academic to behavioral concerns, that may interfere with student achievement. In collaboration with teachers and parents, the I&RS Team recommends intervention strategies to support students’ needs.


When might a teacher refer a student to the I&RS Team?

A teacher routinely differentiates instruction and expectations to address a child’s needs in the classroom. Despite these efforts, a child may continue to present with difficulties. When these difficulties persist, the teacher or the parent may request a review of the case by contacting the I&RS Coordinator (school counselor), so the I&RS Team can convene in an effort to brainstorm strategies and solutions to help the child.  

What kind of needs or difficulties are reviewed by the I&RS Team?

When a child presents with difficulties that affect his or her academic progress and/or exhibits behaviors that interfere with learning, the teacher may request support from the I&RS Team. These difficulties may include, but are not limited to, problems responding to written or verbal information; organizing, focusing, and/or completing work without constant teacher intervention; or challenges with following directions or following classroom procedures or school rules. 

How does the I&RS Team help the student and teacher?

The I&RS Team supports the student and teacher by developing an intervention plan aimed at providing alternative strategies, programs, and/or assessments. The interventions are designed to support the student in achieving success within the regular education program.

Who serves on the school’s I&RS Team?

Members of the I&RS Team include the principal, school counselor, and the teacher who is raising the concerns, along with a Child Study Team member, an interventionist, and other professionals of varying specialties, as appropriate, who are able to brainstorm strategies from a variety of perspectives and sources. 

How does the Team develop an I&RS Plan?

Following a teacher or parent’s I&RS Request, the I&RS Coordinator collects feedback from all of the child’s other teachers and parent(s). The I&RS Coordinator obtains assessment data, gathers classroom artifacts, and conducts observations. 

The referring teacher, the one who is raising the issue(s), is invited to discuss the documented student concern(s) with the I&RS Team at a scheduled meeting. 

During the meeting, which is facilitated by the I&RS Coordinator, the teacher describes the student and his/her challenges. The teacher identifies both successful and unsuccessful strategies used, as well as presents the data resulting from past and current efforts. The I&RS Coordinator also presents the collected data from the child’s other teachers. Alternative means of intervention and new approaches are suggested by the I&RS Team. 

If warranted, an I&RS Plan is developed, specifying the goals and related, measurable strategies to be implemented, as well as the school personnel responsible for each element of implementation. A timeline is established for the I&RS Plan, including a set time for follow-up to assess the effectiveness of the suggested strategies. 

How are parents informed about and involved with the I&RS process?

The teacher discusses his or her concerns with the child’s parent(s) prior to requesting an I&RS Team review. The I&RS Coordinator notifies the parent(s), via mail, phone, or e-mail,  that an I&RS Team meeting is going to take place. Under N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.2(a)6, schools are required to involve parent(s) in both the development and implementation of I&RS Plans when the I&RS Team is providing assistance. If the parent does not participate in the I&RS meeting, then following the meeting with the I&RS Team, the I&RS Coordinator or the referring teacher will brief the parent(s) about the meeting, and the parent(s) will receive a copy of the I&RS Plan that was developed during the meeting.  

How is follow-up provided?

The I&RS Plan is monitored by the teacher and the I&RS Coordinator. At the agreed-upon follow-up date, the teacher meets with the I&RS Team and, once again, reports on the child’s successes and challenges, as related to the Plan’s strategies. If the child’s needs are met, the Plan is dissolved. If the child’s needs are not met through the initial I&RS Plan, additional interventions may be suggested and modifications made to the Plan. A subsequent follow-up meeting is then scheduled.

Is the I&RS process the same as a referral for Special Education?

The I&RS process is a general education model and the Team recommends strategies and develops I&RS Plans intended to help resolve student challenges in the general education classroom, preventing referrals to the Child Study Team. If the I&RS Plan is not adequate enough and the student’s problems persist, a referral to the Child Study Team may be suggested. Parent(s) must participate in any decision that would involve a Child Study Team evaluation of a child.

Is an I&RS process and I&RS Plan the same as a 504 process and 504 Plan?

The 504 process is similar; however, the development of a 504 Plan requires that the child has a documented condition or disability, from a doctor, that substantially impacts his/her ability to learn. Parent(s) must participate in any decision that would involve the development of a 504 Plan for a child.

How can I get additional information about I&RS Services?

Our District Policy and Regulation No. 2417 govern the I&RS process. To answer any questions you may have, please contact either your child’s teacher, who is raising the concern(s), or the school counselor. Your child’s school principal is always available to help. 

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