6 days ago


The Child Find mandate, included in the IDEA, requires all school districts to seek out, identify, and evaluate all children with disabilities from birth through age twenty-two (22), whether or not they are homeless or enrolled in public or private school, regardless of the severity of their disability, and if they are incarcerated, including students with disabilities who have been suspended or expelled from school. This obligation to identify all children who may need special education services exists even if the school is not providing special education services to the child. The IDEA requires all states to develop and implement a practical method of determining which children with disabilities are receiving special education and related services and which children are not. In addition, Child Find responsibilities apply to students who are migrants, English Learners, and those in correctional facilities. 34 C.F.R. § 300.111 0520-01-09- .05(1)

Due to the impact of an educational disability, it is important that effective, ongoing efforts are made to inform the general public of the Child Find responsibilities placed upon school districts to locate all children who may need special services. In order to achieve the overall goal of locating and effectively serving all children within Marshall County School System with potential disabilities that could impact learning, MCSS utilizes the following three components: 

1.       Child find procedures for each school include: 

a.       Universal screenings 

b.       Monthly Response to Intervention (RTI) team meetings to identify at-risk students (Reading, Math, Written Expression)

c.       Teacher and parent referrals 

1.       Interagency cooperation - Some partnerships in Marshall County include the following: preschools, homeschool collaborators and residential settings, as well as Centerstone and Mercy Behavioral Health

2.       Public awareness - In an effort to provide public awareness, MCSS: 

·         Upon finalization of the monitoring, the team will be working to update MCSS Website to include information regarding special education services. 

·         Shares social media posts with stories about Special Population (sometimes picked up by news outlets) 

      1. Schools are consistent with parent communication regarding any concerns. 

 Due to impact of an educational disability, it is important that effective, ongoing efforts are made to inform the general public of Child Find responsibilities placed upon school districts to locate all children who may need special services. In order to achieve the overall goal of locating and effectively serving all children in the state of Tennessee with potential disabilities that could impact learning. Marshall County follows a comprehensive approach. Our comprehensive approach includes the identification of Gifted Students as well. Intellectually Gifted students are considered for IEP services just as others who have disabilities (i.e. Specific learning disability, speech or language needs, occupational therapy, etc) Below are the recognized disabilities in in Tennessee:




Developmental Delay

Emotional Disturbance

Functional Delay

Hearing Impairment

Intellectual Disability

Intellectually Gifted

Multiple Disabilities

Orthopedic Impairment

Other Health Impairment

Specific Learning Disability

Speech or Language Impairment

Traumatic Brain Injury

Visual Impairment



The Child Find Coordinator is the Direct of Special Education who develops and implements effective, ongoing child find efforts within Marshall County Schools. Marshall County Schools have partnerships with all agencies in their geographic region which serve children. Staff in other agencies which serve children often have opportunities to interact with children and their families and gain insights that may not occur within the local school setting.


Marshall County follows all rules and requirements of the Title X McKinney-Vento Homeless Act. The ACT requires that “homeless preschoolers and all homeless children be included in the Child Find process for early identification of special education needs. It is recommended that, when possible, the eligibility process for identifying special needs be expedited to avoid delays in services provided to eligible children caused by frequent mobility.


Marshall County schools effectively use school screening programs and collaborative working relationships with other agencies serving children that will result in many children who have special needs being identified. All student in Pre-K through 12th grade is given Pre-K (Preschool Social Emotional Competency Inventory (P-SECI), AimsWeb (K-6), or i-Ready (7-12) Reading and Math or EasyCBM (K-12) as the Universal Screener. During school-based data meetings that are held every 4.5 weeks, the team reviews academic data of students who are accelerating in multiple academic areas or who are not making adequate progress. General Education teachers and/or parents may also recommend students by following the Marshall County School System Referral Flow Chart. General Education teachers and/or parents recommend students as gifted to complete a review of data. General Education teachers are provided information regarding criteria for intellectually gifted students.


MCSS follows Tennessee’s Response to Intervention and Instruction (RTI²) process. 

RTI² is Tennessee’s framework for teaching and learning that begins with high-quality, differentiated instruction throughout the day and emphasizes intervening with students when they first start to struggle to avoid prolonged academic difficulties in Reading, Math, and Written Expression.

Tennessee’s Special Education Guidelines and Standards require all districts and schools to use RTI² to determine the eligibility of students to receive special education services for SLDs; however, identification is not the sole purpose of RTI². 

RTI² also offers additional instruction with multiple entry and exit points based on students’ needs: a student who is on grade level may receive high-quality Tier I instruction and enrichment; another student who is showing slight deficits in specific areas may receive targeted interventions through Tier II for a specific period of time; alternately, a student who has significant needs may receive extended, intensive interventions through Tier III. 

Special education services are a continuation of the path through the RTI² tiers. A student who does not show growth in response to an appropriate intervention that is delivered with fidelity in Tier III may be eligible for the most intensive services available, special education services. However, the RTI² model provides instructional opportunities for all students and is not exclusively a path to special education eligibility. 

RTI2 includes universal screenings and survey-level assessments. However, students may need to be screened for other concerns, including, but not limited to: 

·      Speech and/or language screening 

·  MCSS speech-language pathologists have articulation and language screening tools that may be utilized if concerns arise. The school-level SLP should be contacted to discuss concerns and if a screening or referral for special education evaluation is warranted. 

·      Gifted screening 

·  MCSS follows child find procedures including a systematic screening process for all students completed yearly. The screening process includes reviews of multiple sources of data, including: 

·         State achievement testing 

·         RTI2 screening data 

·         Teacher checklists 

·         Group-administered criterion- or normed-referenced assessments 

·  Based on the systematic screening results, school teams determine if further individual screening is needed or if the student should be referred for a comprehensive evaluation. State screening permission forms and result forms are to be utilized. Individual screening involves multiple components. These components involve: 

·         Parent information 

·         Observations and checklists 

·         A review of the continuum of programming including interventions that have been attempted 

·         Individual achievement assessments and/or academic measures 

·         Creative thinking rating scales or assessments


Marshall County Schools develop and implement procedures for creating public awareness of special education programs and services. Some ways this is accomplished is through public notices, announcements in the newspaper, social media, radio, brochures posted in school lobbies, churches, doctor offices, school websites, Marshall County School System website, (work in progress), and homeless shelters which increase the notification of parents of the activities conducted by Marshall County Schools.


Any child suspected of having a disability may be referred to the Marshall County School System. All referrals shall be in writing to the school principal or Special Education Supervisor. Either a written request from the parent is received or a school personnel makes a referral for special education to the designated person in the building responsible for the implementation of this process. (IF, Guidance Counselor, etc). Send home Marshall County Schools Department of Special Education Parent Information Form from Section D in the MCS Special Education Reference Document (pink) notebook. Complete Step 1, of the Pre-Referral for Initial Evaluation document. Procedural Safeguards must be provided to a parent following their request of an evaluation. School Assessment Team (SAT) includes the following:  LEA, Instructional Facilitator, Classroom Teachers, 504 Coordinator, Special Education Teacher, Vision Specialist, Speech and Language Pathologist. The team convenes within 10 days of the referral, the School Assessment Team meets to:

1.       Review data

2.       Determine and Discuss Interventions

3.       Make a determination of whether or not to continue with referral process and determine if a Support Team Meeting              

a.        If NO STM is warranted, notify parent or referring teacher. Ask parent to meet and provide a letter of documentation.

b.       If STM is determined, Case Manager creates an Invitation to Meeting and Prior Written Notice to send home to parent. Make sure to use this language in the PWN “This is a consideration of special education referral/assessment and discussion of academic progress.”


Disperse the Support Team Packet to be completed by the identified team members within 10 days of the SAT meeting. The Support Team Meeting includes the following team members: LEA, Parent, Instructional Facilitator, Classroom Teachers, 504 Coordinator, Special Education Teacher, Vision Specialist, Speech and Language Pathologist

1.       Take meeting notes

2.       All relevant data and information collected through the Support Team Packet is discussed by the team

3.       A decision will be determined on whether to conduct an evaluation


a.                   Evaluation NOT Needed – Complete PWN with determination and provide parent with a copy at the meeting.  

b.                   Evaluation Needed:

1.       Obtain an Initial Consent for Formal Referral - (60 Day Calendar Begins)

2.       Case Manager completes PWN with determination and provide parent with a copy

3.       Submit the student’s information to the school psychologist, or Speech Language Pathologist for testing


Eligibility Determination Meeting - Create an Invitation to Meeting – 10 calendar day meeting notice. IEP team determines if the student is eligible for special education services. The student must have a disability that negatively impacts his/her educational performance and an indication of a need for special education services and/or related services. Create a Prior Written Notice within 10 school days.

A.      No disability is noted that impacts educational performance. Special education NOT required. Process stops.  Create a non-eligibility and PWN stating the determination.  Student referred for interventions again.

B.      Determination that a disability impacts educational performance and eligibility is determined for special education services.  Create an ER and PWN stating the determination.  IEP developed in 30 days.


IEP Process (IEP and LRE) -

Create an Invitation to Meeting – 10 calendar day meeting notice. A multi-disciplinary team of parents, general and special education teachers, administrators, SLP, and Vision, and others meet to develop the Individualized Education Program (IEP). This document guides the special education program that will be provided for the student. The IEP team must also determine the least restrictive environment (LRE) and provide justification in the IEP for more restrictive placements. Create a Prior Written Notice within 10 school days.


IEP Implementation (FAPE) - The entire IEP team has the responsibility to ensure that the IEP is implemented.



A Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) shall be made available to all children with disabilities, including those children who reach twenty-two (22) years of age during the schoolyear and children who have been suspended or expelled from school for more than ten (10) school days in a school year. To meet the obligations of FAPE, Marshall County schools shall provide services that address all a child’s unique needs and not on the child’s disability. The Tennessee academic standards adopted by the State Board of Education shall serve as a basis for developing special education programs. Marshall County schools provide a variety of services, interventions, and programs to meet the educational needs of all students, including the needs of children with disabilities. Marshall County Schools also provide children with disabilities with special transportation as required by the student’s IEP.