Child Study Team
One More Early Dismissal Day!
Tuesday, December 9 – 12:40 (K-8)
Child Study Team
Classroom teachers at Lawrence are committed to meeting the needs of every child in their classrooms. Teachers strive to differentiate and provide appropriate accommodations across a range of needs that includes “learning styles, life experiences, languages spoken, expectations from families, previous school experiences, and background skills and knowledge.” Fortunately, teachers are not alone in their efforts and can seek consultation and additional support from a variety of specialists.
This year, we have had more parents than usual question why we are recommending additional support services for their child. I thought it might be helpful to describe our Child Study Team process. For information on what services are available at Lawrence, I refer you to pp. 18-19 of our handbook (available on the school website).
Each school in Brookline utilizes a Child Study Team (CST) process to provide consultation and access to additional supports. According to the Public Schools of Brookline’s Child Study Team Framework and Guidelines, the purpose of CST is for “students to succeed in general education classrooms with interventions that are targeted to students’ learning needs, with attention to monitoring and documenting progress, close evaluation of that progress and determination of appropriate next steps…. When a teacher sees that a student is struggling with academics and/or behavioral issues and the teacher’s strategies to support the student’s learning are not yielding the desired results, the teacher is encouraged to bring this case to the CST for feedback and support.”
Lawrence has two Child Study Teams (K-3 and Gr. 4-8). Our Inclusion Facilitator Maureen Houston chairs both teams. Each CST is comprised of 8-10 staff members:
Guidance Counselor Guidance Counselor
Psychologist Intern Psychologist
Literacy Specialist Literacy Specialist
Speech & Language Speech & Language
Behavior Specialist Nurse
2 Classrooms Teachers 2 Classroom Teachers
Principal Vice Principal
A teacher completes a referral form and then meets with a CST member who has been assigned as liaison to the case. Together they review the information and identify a focus question. The teacher then presents the case to the CST in order to help the team understand the student’s learning profile. Other team members who are familiar with the student may provide additional information. The team then generates a list of strategies and suggestions based on the focus question. From this list, some are selected to implement. A timeline is established and a follow-up meeting is scheduled (usually 6-8 weeks later). The plan may include strategies for the classroom teacher to try or involve specialists observing and consulting with the teacher or providing support services to the child. In some cases, if strategies are not working and additional support is not yielding progress, a child may be referred for a special education evaluation.
On average, the K-3 CST will review about 40 students per year and the Gr. 4-8 CST will review about 20 students. While the numbers vary from year-to-year, approximately one-third of students referred to CST are later referred to special education.
Classroom teachers will communicate with parents when they have concerns about a child’s progress. If a CST referral is made, teachers will update parents about any recommendations made by the team following the meeting. If a special education referral is made, parents would meet with Special Education Team Facilitator Lorri Ventura to review the referral and recommendations for testing. No testing will occur without signed parent consent.
A small number of parents decline additional support services for their child. We respect your right to do so. I would, however, suggest that parents consider our recommendations carefully. There is no stigma associated with support services. The typical classroom has 8-9 adults who work with various students over the course of a week. We have an obligation to inform you if we are concerned about your child’s progress. It is with good intent that we do so. We are fortunate to be part of a community that provides these additional resources to help us ensure that every child is learning and making progress.