Child Study Team

Clayton Special Services

Child Study Team

Special education is a federally mandated provision of services for students ages 3-21 who are deemed eligible based on a specific category of disability.  Eligibility and programming are governed by the federal law, The Individuals with Disabilities Act, and the New Jersey Administrative Code (NJAC 6A).

To determine eligibility, a child must be referred, by either parents or school staff, to the Child Study Team for a comprehensive evaluation.  However, it is required that, to the extent appropriate, interventions through regular education be attempted to remediate the problem(s) and written documentation of the implementation and effectiveness of the interventions be maintained.  The Child Study Team is a multidisciplinary team of specialists responsible for evaluating a child.  Their reports form the basis upon which eligibility is determined.

Special Education Referral Process and Information

Informational Booklets

NJAC 6A:14
Chapter 14 – Special Education- New Jersey Administrative Code – Title 6A – Education
http://www.nj.gov/education/code/current/title6a/chap14.pdf
 
 
NJAC 1:6A
Chapter 6A Special Education Program – New Jersey Administrative Code -Title 1 – Education
http://www.nj.gov/education/specialed/reg/njac_1_6a.pdf
 
As a parent of a student who is or may be determined eligible for special education services or as an adult student who is or may be determined eligible for special education services, you have rights regarding identification, evaluation, classification, the development of an IEP, placement, and the provision of a free, appropriate public education under the New Jersey Administrative Code for Special Education, N.J.A.C. 6A:14. A description of these rights, which are called procedural safeguards, is contained in the document, Parental rights in Special Education (PRISE), which is linked above.
A copy of the PRISE is provided to you upon referral for an initial evaluation, upon each notification of an IEP meeting, upon reevaluation and when a due process hearing is requested. In addition, a copy will be provided to you at your request.
 
To obtain a copy of PRISE, please contact:

Clayton Public Schools Child Study Team Office at 856-881-8704 ext. 3009.

For help in understanding your rights, you may contact any of the following:

Child Study Team Supervisor, Greg Esposito, at 856-881-8704 ext. 3007

Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) at 800-654-7726

Protection and Advocacy, Inc. at 800-922-7233

NJ Department of Education through its Gloucester County Office, Gloucester County Supervisor of Child Study Team Louis Fair at 856-686-8386

Project Child Find

Project Child Find is a free referral service and public awareness campaign to assist in the identification of unserved/underserved youth with a delay or disability from birth through twenty-one years of age.
 
In addition, Project Child Find develops and distributes information to the public about early intervention services and special education programs throughout New Jersey.
 
Project Child Find’s comprehensive efforts include:
 
  1. Assisting families of infants and toddlers, birth through two, concerned about their child’s development by directing all requests regarding early intervention to the family’s local Special Child Health Case Management Unit. If you need the number for your Special Child Health Case Management Unit, call Project Child Find at 1-800-322-9174.
  2. Assisting families of preschoolers, three through five, concerned about their child’s development by directing requests to their local school district. 
  3. Helping families access community services through referral.
  4. Promoting community and public awareness of all children with disabilities by providing information.
  5. Assisting local school district boards of education to identify unserved children from age three through twenty-one who are in need of special education and related services.
 
Information through Project Child Find may be obtained by calling the toll-free number, 1-800-322-8174, which is in service 7 days a week, 24-hours a day. All calls received are confidential.
 
Please see the Project Child Find flyer here.

Special Education Referral Process and Information

Who can be referred?
Preschool children and students ages three through twenty-one who live in the Clayton School District and are suspected of having developmental or learning difficulty.
 
How do I refer my child to the Child Study Team for evaluation?
What is a referral?
A referral is a written request for an evaluation that is given to the school district when a child is suspected of having a disability and might need special education services.
Who can make a referral?
  • Parents
  • School personnel
  • Agencies concerned with the welfare of students, including the New Jersey Department of Education
  • We cannot accept a doctors note as a referral
If you believe that your child may have a disability, you may refer your child for an evaluation by submitting a written request to your school district. Address the letter to Mr. Gregory Esposito, Child Study Team Supervisor, along with a brief reason of why you would like to refer your child for evaluation.
 
Initial referral, evaluation and eligibility criteria
 
When a student is referred for an initial evaluation to determine eligibility for special education programs and services, an Initial Evaluation Planning meeting is held within 20 days of the written request (The time frame excludes school holidays, but does not exclude summer vacation). Attendees include but are not limited to, the Child Study Team which includes the school psychologist, school social worker, learning disabilities teacher consultant, the parents, and the regular education teacher. This group shall determine whether evaluations are warranted and, if warranted, shall determine the nature and scope of the evaluations.
If it is determined that evaluations are necessary and parental consent is given, the evaluations, determination of eligibility for services, and if eligible, development and implementation of the IEP for the student shall be completed within 90 calendar days of date in which the district received parental permission to evaluate.
When an initial evaluation is completed, a meeting shall take place to determine whether the student is eligible for special education and related services. A copy of the evaluation reports and documentation and information that will be used for determination of eligibility shall be forwarded to the parents not less than 10 calendar days prior to the meeting. A student shall be determined eligible when it is determined that the student has one or more of the disabilities defined in N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.5(c), the disability adversely affects the student’s educational performance, and the student is in need of special education and related services.
There are 13 disabilities defined in N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.5(c). The characteristics of the disabilities and the assessments required to identify them are described in this section of the code. All relevant data compiled during the evaluation process determine if a child is eligible for special education and/or related services and that these services are necessary for the child to appropriately progress in his/her learning.
 
Individualized Education Program (IEP)
 
Should the student be found eligible for requiring special education services, an IEP meeting shall take place to develop the IEP and shall be in effect before special education and related services are provided to the student. This meeting may be combined with the meeting to determine eligibility. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.7 for specific IEP requirements. Initial implementation of the IEP cannot occur until consent is obtained.
A Child Study Team secretary will send a notification letter stating the meeting date, time, location, and participants mandated to attend. Make sure all the appropriate people have been invited and let your case manager know if you wish others to attend. Clayton generally begins inviting students at their 8th grade annual review or age 14. The meetings are scheduled based on the average amount of time required to complete the IEP process. IEP meetings can be reconvened if needed.
Parent participation is important to the development of a child’s IEP. In an effort to be an active and knowledgeable participant, parents should keep copies of report cards, progress notes and examples of your child’s work. Share information about your child and your child’s disability with your case manager. Latest health reports, tutor reports, articles about your child’s disability or new technology would be helpful.
You may check with your child’s teachers to see if any testing was recently completed that will be used in developing the IEP. Please realize that assessment practices include more than isolated skill tests. Determining a child’s present level of educational performance can include portfolio evaluation, functional assessment, rubrics and a variety of alternate assessments. If you plan to request a unique or different program with which the rest of the team may not be familiar, please provide your case manager with the information prior to the meeting. You may request evaluations and/or a copy of recommendations regarding components of the IEP in advance of the meeting, however, these may not be available prior to the meeting.
All decisions about the IEP will be made at the IEP meeting or at a reconvened IEP meeting if necessary. For other than initial implementation of special education, consent is not required and parents shall be provided with 15 days written notice before implementation of the IEP along with a copy of the procedural safeguards published by the New Jersey Department of Education.
 
Transition Planning
 
Transition planning is a coordinated set of activities for a student, that promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, and/or community participation based on individual needs. Intensive transition planning begins when a student turns 14 years of age, although it is a lifelong process. Documentation of transition planning is located in a student’s IEP. This planning must include the student, parents, teachers, CST personnel, and guidance.
Guidance counselors can be especially helpful when planning post-secondary options for high school students. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s guidance counselor to investigate options such as two-year programs, four-year programs, or vocational/technical schools. It would be helpful to learn about what post-secondary programs have been utilized by past Clayton special education students.
Resources for Transition to Adult Life
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) in the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development:
DVRS provides the following types of service to personas with a physical or mental impairment which is a substantial impediment to employment. Interested persons must apply for a determination of eligibility and needed services. Individuals who are blind or have a serious visual impairment are served by the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, not DVRS.
Services that are provided may include:
  • Diagnostic Evaluation
  • Individual Vocational Counseling and Guidance
  • Job Seeking Skills Training and Selective Job Placement
  • Follow-up Support Services
  • Post-Employment Services
  • Physical Restoration Job Coaching, Vocational, Professional, or On-the-job Training
  • Referrals to Centers for Independent Living for independent living skills training (www.njsilc.org/ist.html)
Contact information:
PO Box 398 135
East State Street Trenton, NJ 08625
phone: (609) 292-5987
fax: (609) 292-8347
www.nj.gov/labor/dvrs/vrsindex.html
 
Local DVRS: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services Center
215 Crown Pt. Rd., Suite 200
Thorofare NJ 08086
856-384-3730

Special Education Parent Advisory Group

Clayton SEPAG Mission Statement:
 
 The mission of the Clayton Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG) is to encourage honest and effective communication, understanding, and mutual respect in a supportive partnership inclusive of all students, parents, educators, and the community at large in an effort to ensure the delivery of appropriate services to students with disabilities.
 
SEPAG’s role:
  • To provide direct input on the policies, programs, and practices that affect services and supports for students with disabilities.
  • To increase the involvement of families of children with special needs in school activities.
  • To advise on issues that affect the education, health, and safety of students with special needs.
 
Who should attend a SEPAG meeting?
  • Parents and guardians in the district with a student or students with disabilities.
  • Parents and guardians in the district with a student or students eligible for or receiving services under an IEP or 504 plan.
 
What happens at a SEPAG meeting?
  • Concerns related to a group of students are shared and discussed.
  • District representatives provide updates related to special services in the school district and at the state and national levels.
  • Parents have adequate time to discuss issues among themselves and plan the agenda for the next meeting.
  • Speakers, other district leaders, and individual staff members may be invited, based upon requests from the SEPAG.
 
What else can a member of the SEPAG do to advance the mission?
  • Volunteer to be a parent representative regarding issues and concerns raised at your individual school.
  • Remember that SEPAG meetings are not the forum for a discussion about individual students or a child’s IEP. Topics are limited to those with impact on all students or a group of students. Additionally, these meetings are for parents only. It is not appropriate to have your child attend these meetings.
  • SEPAG meetings may prove to be for parents only. There may be times when having children at the meeting would be inappropriate. This is a decision that the SEPAG members can make ahead of time based on the topics that are to be discussed.
  If you have any questions about the group, please contact Greg Esposito at 856-881-8704 x 3007 or via email at gesposito@claytonps.org. You can also sign up for the Remind group to receive reminders on meetings and other information by texting @6f8cc6 to 81010.
 
How to attend Meetings: Click HERE

State Resources/Support Groups

Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs

 

State CHIP Program – NJ FamilyCare

 

Access Link

NJ TRANSIT guide provides a description of the accessible services available to people with disabilities and senior citizens. You’ll find information on:
  • Accessible rail and light rail vehicles
  • Lift-equipped and kneeling buses
  • Accessible light rail stations and vehicles
  • Access Link ADA Paratransit
  • Community Paratransit
  • Other Public Transit Information Phone Numbers
 

Division of Development Disabilities in the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DDD)

DDD aranges and coordinates needed services to eligible New Jersey residents who have developmental disabiliits. A developmental disability is a disability that begins before age 22, and which creates lifelong conditions that affect the individual’s ability to live without assistance. Most people on the DDD caseload live at home with their families. DDD has begun to shift resources and supports to these people using a self-directed model.
(800) 832-9173
(609) 987-0864 (Direct line)
http://www.nj.gov.humanservices/ddd
 

Division of Mental Health Services in the New Jersey Department of Human Services

The Division of Mental Health Services serves adults with serious and persistent mental illnesses.
Phone: (800) 382-6717
(609) 777-0702
http://www.nj.gove/humanservices/dmhs
 

Division of Children and Families

The Division of Children’s Behavioral Health Services (DCBHS) serves children and adolescents with emotional and behaviorial health care and challenges and their families. DCBHS is committed to providing these services based on the needs of the child and family in a family-centered, community-based environment.
Phone: (609) 984-4500
If you have questions or concerns, you can contact them at: AskDCF@dcf.state.nj.us
http://www.state.nj.us/dcf/divisions/
 

Division of Disability Services in the New Jersey Department of Human Services

The Division of Disability Services serves as a single point of entry for people with disabilities seeding information on the Human Services System. the Division of Disability Services promotes and facilitates the maximum independence and participation of people with disabilities in community life through information and access to services and supports. The Division also works to foster coordination and cooperation among government agencies.
Phone: (888) 285-3036
(609) 292-7800
http://www.nj.gov/humanservices/dds
 

Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides services for children, older teens and adults who are blind or visually impaired and meet the applicable vision criteria. Some people are required to pay a share of the costs to provide the services depending on family income.
Phone (973) 648-3333
Local (856) 614-3000
http://www.nj.gov/humanservices/cbvi
 

The ARC

 

ADDA – Attention Deficit Disorder Association

484-945-2101
http://www.add.org
 

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (CHADD)

 

United Cerebral Palsy Association of New Jersey (UCP)

888-322-1918
http://www.cpofnj.org 
 

National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY)

 

NJ Center for Outreach and Services for Autism Community, Inc. (COSAC)

 

ASPEN – Asperger Syndrome Education Network 

856-478-2707 e-mail ASPEN_SJ@yahoo.com
http://www.ASPENNJ.org
 

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services 

1480 Tanyard Rd., Suite A
Sewell, New Jersey 08080
Phone: 856-384-3730
Fax: 856-384-3777
VP: 856-342-0342
 

PerformCare

1-877-652-7624

Child Study Team Contact Info

Address & Phone

Herma Simmons Elementary School
300 West Chestnut Street
Clayton, NJ 08312
Phone: (856) 881-8704
Fax: (856) 881-0992

Office Hours

Mon – Fri 8:00 AM. – 4:00 PM

Department Staff

11

Greg Esposito

Supervisor of Child Study Team
GEsposito@claytonps.org
(856) 881-8704 x3007
11

Valerie Dzindzio

Administrative Assistant
VDzindzio@claytonps.org
(856) 881-8704 x3009
11

Chelsea Johnson

School Psychologist | Case Manager PS-1st Grade, Elementary Autism Class, Preschool Disabled Class
Cjohnson@claytonps.org
(856) 881-8704 x3010
11

Lisa Brodack

Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDT-C) | Case Manager 2nd through 4th Grades, Elementary Multiple Disabilities Class
Lbrodack@claytonps.org
(856) 881-8704 x3008
11

Christine Tracy

School Social Worker | Case Manager 5th through 7th grades, Elementary Emotional Support Class, Out of District
Ctracy@claytonps.org
(856) 881-8704 x3011
11

Susan Redfield

Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDT-C) | Case Manager 10th-12th, High School Multiply Disabled Class
Sredfield@claytonps.org
(856) 881-8701 x1016
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