Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS)
Overview of Process
The Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS) Team is a multidisciplinary school-based committee that guides educators’ planning, delivering, and monitoring of interventions to assist students who are experiencing learning, behavioral and/or health difficulties. Each school within the district has their own unique team who coordinates a system for planning and delivering intervention and referral services designed to address individual students’ needs. The ultimate goal of any intervention plan will be to enable students to develop the problem solving skills necessary to be successful in the general education classroom.
The I&RS Team is comprised of relevant specialists such as school counselor, principal, reading specialist, math coach, speech language specialist, etc. The school counselor is the coordinator for each case and facilitates the I&RS process. The team develops an I&RS Action Plan that identifies the problem, determines measurable objectives/goals, outlines strategies to be implemented, identifies data to be collected to measure success, and sets a future date to review the effectiveness and outcomes of the recommended interventions or modifications. The team continues to meet to discuss progress, specific concerns, the implementation of prior interventions or modifications, and ways to further assist the student in developing grade level competencies. Parent/guardian input is important in the process and encouraged at various points throughout the year.
The purpose of I&RS is to assist teachers with strategies for educating students who are at risk because of learning, behavioral, and/or health issues. After discussing the student’s needs with the parent/guardian and trying different strategies in the classroom, the teacher consults with the school counselor to initiate a referral to the I&RS team. Additional parent communication occurs, along with various paperwork/documentation to assist the team with getting a complete picture of each student’s current strengths and needs.
An initial I&RS meeting is then scheduled to occur to review student information and classroom performance. The I&RS team analyzes the data and makes recommendations regarding the initial level of intervention and develops an action plan.
PHASE I (Classroom Intervention)
Phase I interventions apply to 80-90% of students. The goal at this level is to provide comprehensive instruction within the general education classroom to meet grade level expectations. Instruction is delivered by the general education classroom teacher. The curriculum continues to be based on the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, with differentiated lessons designed to meet various learning styles. Once students demonstrate grade level expectations, they will exit the I&RS process. Students who require additional interventions, outside of the classroom, based on entrance criteria will be recommended for Phase II.
PHASE II (Alternate Intervention)
Phase II interventions apply to approximately 5-15% of students. The goal at this level is to provide sufficient additional support to gain skills needed to close achievement gap. Supplemental support, in addition to differentiated classroom instruction, is delivered by basic skills staff. The focus of this phase is targeted small group instruction based on New Jersey Student Learning Standards. Students who meet grade level expectations will exit I&RS process. Students who have acquired self-initiating problem-solving strategies at this level will return to Phase I and have their academic needs fully met in the classroom. Students who require more intensive supports will be recommended based on entrance criteria for Phase III interventions.
PHASE III (Intensive Intervention)
Phase III interventions apply to about 1-5% of students. The goal at this level is to provide more extensive supplemental supports to gain skills needed to close achievement gap. Intensive individualized interventions are delivered by an intervention specialist at this phase. Research-based and evidence-based intervention programs, directed by New Jersey Student Learning Standards are utilized for instruction. Students who meet grade level expectations will exit I&RS process. Students who have acquired self-initiating problem-solving strategies will return to Phase I and have their academic needs fully met in the classroom. Students who continue to struggle may receive further evaluation through the Child Study Team.
At the beginning of the process, the school counselor sends parent/guardian a letter informing them of the initial I&RS request, with a questionnaire to obtain feedback to be shared with the team. Following the first I&RS meeting, where the initial action plan is developed, parents have the opportunity to come in to meet with the principal, school counselor and classroom teacher to review the process and plan implementation. Parents may continue to be informed of meeting(s), invited to participate, when appropriate, and will receive written copies of the team’s recommendations whenever they change.
What are some benefits of a referral to the I&RS team?
- The team process approach provides multiple perspectives and varying levels of expertise.
- As the I&RS team is comprised of a group of educational professionals with diverse trainings, experience and backgrounds, a large repertoire of strategies is available to your child’s teacher.
- Supplemental services and supports outside of the classroom are available to address areas of identified need.
- The I&RS process yields descriptive documentation to support whether or child may require additional services beyond general education programming.
For more information on the I&RS process, click here.