|I&RS Team Members|
|Tara Kraatz, Team Leader|
|Carol Skidmore||Michael Squarcia|
|Heather Hacker||Chris Maslonka|
|Kelli Steele||Jen Rigby|
|Mary Ellen Aleksza||Erica Norris|
|John Mattes||Tiffany Slowinski|
|John McSweeney||Kevin Kley|
|Raime Miller||Cheryl Vida|
|Andrew Conforti||Tim Flynn|
What is Intervention and Referral Services? What Purpose does I&RS Serve?
We strive to increase student success by helping teachers implement effective strategies that meet the unique needs of struggling and at-risk students.
The New Jersey State Board of Education has established that the primary mission of schools is to enhance student achievement of high academic standards in safe and disciplined learning environments. The effectiveness of public education in fulfilling this mission depends largely upon the capacity of school systems to respond to the diverse educational needs of students. Constantly evolving social conditions and the changing educational needs that tend to emerge with these changes can pose dramatic barriers to student achievement.
The educational mission is made more complex by the increased incidence, prevalence and intensity of problems students bring to schools. These problems include high-risk behaviors, such as alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse, violence, vandalism, child abuse and neglect, early sexual involvement, youth pregnancies and parenting, suicide attempts and suicides, eating disorders, low self-regard, poor socialization skills, lack of readiness for school, as well as chronic medical conditions and physical disabilities.
The types of at-risk behaviors students manifest while in school include not concentrating or focusing on learning, not completing assignments, not achieving to demonstrated skill level or tested potential, declining or failing grades, cheating, absenteeism, tardiness, falling asleep, inability to stay in seat or work within structure, decreased participation, self-defeating responses to peer pressure, deteriorating personal appearance and hygiene, erratic behavior, loss of affect, acting out, fighting, defying authority, violating rules and dropping out of school. These and other problems place students at risk for school failure and other problems, leaving parents and teachers frustrated and in need of assistance.
In response to these circumstances and the attendant needs of students, the New Jersey Department of Education continues to provide leadership to schools for educational improvement and whole-school reform. One such effort is the program intervention and referral services (I&RS).
The purposes of an Intervention and Referral Services Program are:
To identify learning, behavior, and health difficulties of students.
To collect thorough information on the identified learning, behavior, and health difficulties.
To develop and implement action plans which provide for appropriate school or community interventions or referrals to school and community resources.
To work with teachers and to assist in achieving the desired outcomes.
Who are the Members of I&RS?
The I&RS team is made up of a variety of teachers and staff members from diverse backgrounds who can offer expertise to the team. The team is made up of the members listed above as well as the teachers of the student being presented. When a staff member makes a request for assistance they agreeing to be a member of the team for the length of that case. All teachers who have a student that is referred will be asked to fill out information on the student and to join the team in coming up with an action plan.
What Role do Parents Play?
Parents/guardians may refer their son or daughter to the I&RS team. They would contact the team leader, Tara Kraatz at firstname.lastname@example.org, and start the process through her. Regardless of who requests assistance for a student, the parent/guardian is asked to be involved in the process. There is a questionnaire and/or interview that the parents will partake in with a team member. Parental involvement in this process is important since parents play a major role in a child’s developmental and learning process.
How Does a Referral to the I&RS Team Work?
- After a teacher has attempted to address the problem in the classroom by contacting the parent/guardian and enlisting the help of other school personnel, he/she may seek the assistance of I&RS.
- The concerned teacher initiates the referral process by filling out the Initial Request for Assistance and gathers information on grades, history, etc.
- Once a request is received a case coordinator will be assigned.
- The referring teacher, as well as all other teachers who have contact with the student, will fill out the Teacher Information Form and the Guidance Counselor will fill out the Guidance Form.
- Parent/guardian is contacted for additional information and is informed of the process.
- The teacher becomes an active part of the I&RS team for the particular case that he/she referred.
- After reviewing information, the I&RS team may develop an action plan to help achieve the desired behavior and/or outcome(s).
- About 4-6 weeks after development of action plan, the team will have a follow-up meeting about the student to determine if interventions and strategies were effective. At this time it will be determined whether the case will be closed or if a new action plan needs to be developed.