The Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) services children from ages 3-5. Students may be referred by their parents; a designee of the school district in which the student resides, or the public school district the student legally attend or is eligible to attend; the commissioner or designee of a public agency with responsibility for the education of the student; and/or a designee of an education program affiliated with a child care institution with committee on special education responsibility. A request for an initial evaluation may by made by a professional staff member of the school district in which the student resides, or the public or private school where the student legally attends or is eligible to attend, a licensed physician, or a judicial officer. Evaluations are conducted by approved providers. Throughout the process, parent permission and approval are needed in order to continue to the next step. Consent is always obtained in writing. A parent has the right to stop the process at any point by submitting a request in writing.

The Referral Process

All referrals to the Committee on Preschool Special Education must be made in writing to the Office of Special Services. Upon receipt of the referral, a “Consent to Evaluate” and a copy of the Procedural Safeguards are sent to the parent. The Consent to evaluate needs to be signed and returned to the Office of Special Services. When it is received, it is date stamped and approved evaluation sites are contacted. The evaluation site then contacts the parents to arrange the time and place for the evaluations. Legally, the entire process can take up to 60 calendar days from the date of the district receiving the signed “Consent to Evaluate”.

The Evaluations

All evaluations consist of a social history interview, an educational, psychological, and medical evaluations. As the evaluators begin to learn about the child, other evaluations may be recommended. These include, but are not limited to: Speech and Language; Occupational Therapy; Physical Therapy; Audiological; Augmentative Communication; Assistive Technology; etc. The test and the evaluation are matched to the child’s needs. All evaluations are provided at no cost to the family.

Each evaluator is required to write a report describing the evaluation tools and the child’s strengths and needs in that area. Many of the reports include a comparison of where the child is compared to his/her peers. Scores are reported in a number of ways-standard scores (SS), age equivalent (A.E.), and percentiles (%ile). Explanations are provided for the terms as they apply to the specific evaluation.

The evaluation sites provide the parent and the district with copies of the evaluations.

The Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) Meeting

The Office of Pupil Services schedules a Committee on Preschool Special Education meeting when the evaluations and the reports are completed, the information has been shared with the parents/guardians, and the district has received the reports. The purpose of the CPSE meeting is to review the findings of the clinicians, speak with the parents/guardians, and to determine if the child is eligible to be classified and, if so, the services to be provided.

As stated in the Commissioner’s Regulations, Part 200, the participants/members of each committee on preschool special education includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • The parents of the preschool child;
  • A regular education teacher of the child whenever the child is or may be participating in the regular education environment;
  • A special education teacher of the child, or, if appropriate, a special education provider of the child;
  • A representative of the school district who is qualified to provided or supervise special education and who is knowledgeable about the general curriculum and the availability of preschool special education programs and services and other resources of the school district and the municipality. The representative of the district serves as the chairperson of the committee.
  • A parent member of a child with a disability who lives in the school district and whose child is enrolled in a preschool or elementary level education program, provided that such a parent is not a required member if the parent(s) of the child request that the additional parent member not participate;
  • An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results, provided that such individual may also be the appointed as the regular education teacher, the special education teacher or special education provider, the school psychologist, the representative of the school district or a person having knowledge or special expertise regarding the student when such member is determined by the school district to have the knowledge and expertise to fulfill this role on the committee;
  • Other persons having knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate, as the school district or the parents shall designate. The determination of knowledge or special expertise of such person shall be made by the party (parents or school district) who invited the individual to be a member of the committee on preschool special education;
  • For a child in transition from early intervention programs and services, the appropriate professional designated by the agency that has been charged with the responsibility for the preschool child and;
  • A representative of the municipality of the preschool child’s residence, provided that the attendance of the appointee of the municipality shall not be required for a quorum.

If a person cannot physically be present at a CPSE meeting, arrangements may be made for a telephone conference.

Children are classified as a “Preschooler with a Disability”. Classification is necessary in order for services to be provided. Services may be provided at the child’s school, at home, or a combination of both. All services are provided by County CPSE approved agencies and individual providers. The district contacts the various agencies in order to arrange for services.

In the event that the delivery of services is delayed, the student will be given compensatory services. Missed sessions from the date of initiation on the IEP, and the actual start date are arranged either as an extra session per week or during the summer.

Extended School Year (ESY)

Students are eligible to receive extended school year services if there is documentation that the student will exhibit Substantial Regression if services do not continue throughout the summer. Part 200 of the Commissioner’s Regulations defines Substantial Regression as, “a student’s inability to maintain developmental levels due to a loss of skill or knowledge during the months of July and August of such severity as to require an inordinate period of review at the beginning of the school year to reestablish and maintain IEP goals and objectives mastered at the end of the previous school year.”

It is necessary for clinicians and teachers to furnish a written statement to the CPSE at the time of Annual Review. All of the information is reviewed, and the CPSE determines a student’s eligibility for extended year services.

Students eligible for CPSE services, are not necessarily eligible for extended year services. If it is determined by the CPSE that the student requires ESY services, they may be delivered at home, camp, school, clinicians’ offices, or a combination. Services are provided for an additional six (6) weeks.

Re-Evaluation/Triennial Review

Both federal and state law mandates that each classified student be re-evaluated every three (3) years. Evaluations include, but are not limited to a psychological, educational, social history, and medical updates. In addition, if a child is receiving other services, evaluations are performed in these areas as well. Prior to any testing, the parent/guardian is asked to sign a “Consent to Evaluate”. Parent/guardian permission is required for each phase of the process. Evaluations are completed by the appropriate clinician or service provider. A CPSE is convened to discuss the results and to ensure that the child is receiving the appropriate services. If the re-evaluation is completed in the second part of the school year, the re-evaluation meeting is combined with the Annual Review meeting.

Other CPSE Meetings

A child’s parent/guardian, clinician, service provider, or teacher may request that a CPSE meeting be held at any time throughout the year. Written requests must be submitted to the Office of Pupil Services. The Office of Pupil Service then schedules the meeting and sends out invitation letters.

The CPSE meeting may discuss the overall progress of the child, or a specific service. The format and process for the meeting is the same as Initial, Re-evaluation, and Annual Review meetings.

Declassification

Students who no longer require services are declassified. The process entails a full evaluation, written reports, and a CPSE meeting. It is a CPSE and not an individual decision.

If A Parent/Guardian Disagrees with the CSE Decision

If a parent/guardian disagrees with the outcome(s) of a CSE meeting, there are a number of legal means to contest the decision.

  1. The parent/guardian requests another meeting and submits to the CSE additional information to support the reason for the disagreement. The parent/guardian has the right to invite clinicians, physicians, specialists, and others with knowledge of the child and the discipline to provide this information.
  2. If the parent/guardian is not satisfied with the outcome of additional CSE meetings, the case can go to Mediation or an Impartial Hearing. Information on both of these processes is available in the Office of Pupil Services.

If A Parent/Guardian Disagrees with the CPSE Decision

If a parent/guardian disagrees with the outcome(s) of a CPSE meeting, there are a number of legal means to contest the decision.

1. The parent/guardian requests another meeting and submits to the CPSE additional information to support the reason for the disagreement. The parent/guardian has the right to invite clinicians, physicians, specialists, and others with knowledge of the child and the discipline to provide this information.

2. If the parent/guardian is not satisfied with the outcome of additional CPSE meetings, the case can go to Mediation or an Impartial Hearing. Information on both of these processes is available in the Office of Pupil Services.