Child find is a comprehensive child find system to assure that all children who are in need of early intervention or special education services are located, identified, and referred. The COLUMBIA SCHOOL DISTRICT is participating in an ongoing state wide effort to locate and evaluate children birth through twenty (birth – 20) who have a physical, mental, communicative and/or emotional disability. Early identification of children in need of special educational experiences is most important to each child. It is the goal of this district to identify, locate and, if needed, evaluate all children with disabilities residing in our district. This includes children attending private schools (including home schools), and those children who are suspected of having a disability and who are in need of special education services even though they may be advancing grade to grade. We are requesting that personnel in your agency refer individuals twenty (20) years of age or younger who may have a disability to Debra Hood, who is the Child Find Contact Person for the Columbia School District. The Child Find Contact Person works with the local Head Start, Human Services, Health and Mental Health agencies, as well as local educational agencies (including private schools and home school contacts), physicians and other individuals to identify and locate children out of school and in school who may be in need of special education services.
Once a referral has been received, it is the responsibility of the Child Find Contact Person to ensure that the process to determine the need for special education services is implemented correctly. District personnel, agency personnel and parents/guardians will review data that has been collected to determine the need to pursue special education eligibility. A vital part of this process is informing parents of their rights and responsibilities under current law. If a decision is made that an evaluation is needed, written parental consent will be obtained prior to the administration of any assessments. Assessment instruments and data collections will be conducted in a nondiscriminatory manner.
If the individual is determined to be in need of special education and eligible for services, parents will be contacted to provide written consent for inception of these services. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will be developed to outline the specific needs of the individual. This IEP is developed and revised through a process that includes the participation of parents, teacher(s) and students. All individuals receiving special education are reevaluated every three years to insure eligibility criteria are still met and IEPs are reviewed/revised at least annually. The Columbia School District currently offers special education services implemented by certified special education staff at each of the school sites in the district. Services are provided to students based on their unique needs as outlined in their individualized education plan.