Welcome to the Summit Public Schools
Special Education Department
The Department of Special Services provides quality educational services to students who are educationally disabled and have special needs. Services are designed to provide learning in the “least restrictive environment” and include a variety of placement options such as regular class placement with support, resource centers, self-contained programs, and specialized placements. The department staff is comprised of more than 50 highly skilled professionals who deliver the specific educational services as specified in carefully developed IEPs (Individual Educational Plans) for more than 450 special education students.
Specialized services and placements are available to students to meet their individual needs. Program offerings are continually assessed to meet students' changing needs. Programs and services are provided to facilitate inclusion in the general education classroom to the fullest extent possible. In-class support resource centers are considered for this purpose and are in place in all grades and schools.
Referral for Special Education Services
A parent or guardian of a child in the district may request a referral to the Child Study Team by contacting the building principal or by writing to the Director of Special Services.
General Education Services
Intervention and Referral Services
Intervention & Referral Services (I&RS) is an interdisciplinary team of professionals within the school environment who come together throughout the school year to formulate coordinated services and team delivery systems to address the full range of student learning, behavior, social, and health problems in the general education program as well as for students determined to be in need of special education programs and services. According to N.J.A.C 6A:16-8.1,8.2 the goal of the committee is to see measurable student improvement in the identified targeted areas. Staff members refer students to the I&RS Committee through the building principal or school counselor. The I&RS Committee develops an Action Plan containing goals, interventions, and sometimes a timeline for the plan's duration.
The I&RS committee follows a multidisciplinary approach with a well-articulated system of supportive activities and services for staff who have identified student difficulties and those who will be involved in the progress monitoring.
Section 504 Plan
For a student to be recognized as a disabled person and qualify for a Section 504 Plan, the student must meet three criteria: (1) a mental or physical impairment, (2) which substantially limits, (3) one or more major life activities. If the student has an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, the impairment is a qualifying disability if it creates a barrier to the student’s ability to access the same educational opportunities afforded to non-disabled students. It is important to understand that all three criteria must be met before the student is eligible for a Section 504 Plan.
It is vital to understand that for a student to qualify for a Section 504 Plan, the impairment must substantially limit or impose, to a “considerable” or “large degree,” a limitation to one or more major life activities.
The 504 Team will consider all relevant information, including the nature and severity of the disability as well as how long the disability is expected to last. Simply having a condition or disability does not automatically qualify a student for Section 504 protection. The condition must present a barrier to the student’s ability to access the same educational opportunities as that afforded a non-disabled student, or a substantial limitation does not exist.
For more information about Section 504 Plans and the 504 process, contact your building principal or school counselor.