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The Paragould School District is participating in an ongoing statewide effort to identify, locate, and evaluate children, birth to the age of twenty-one, who have a physical, mental, communicative and/or emotional disability. Early identification of children in need of special education experiences is most important to each child. Furthermore, this information gathered from contacts with parents and other agencies will be used to help determine present and future program needs as progress is made toward the goal of providing a free appropriate public education to all children with a disability.

The Paragould School District implements child identification, location, and evaluation of children birth to twenty-one who have disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disability, and who are in need of special education and/or related services. The Paragould School District will work with the local Head Starts, Human Services, Health Department, and Mental Health Agencies, as well as local education agencies, 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 is made, it is the responsibility of the school district to insure that the referral-to-placement procedures are followed. The following activities briefly describe the procedures.

As a part of procedures, parents are invited to attend a referral conference to review a child’s educational record and performance and determine a need for an evaluation. Prior to an evaluation, copies of the Parents Rights under IDEA are given to the parents. District personnel explain these copies to the parents and insure that they understand the procedural safeguards.

After parental consent for testing is obtained, a non-discriminatory evaluation is conducted. Students are evaluated in all areas related to the suspected disability by qualified personnel.

Parents are invited to attend the Eligibility Determination Conference by the Multidisciplinary Evaluation/Eligibility Team to determine if a disability exists. If the child meets eligibility criteria for special education services and/or related services, an Individualized Education Program is developed and the parents are invited to attend the meeting. Parents must sign permission for placement before a child can receive services. Parents, teachers and students participate in the process. All students receiving special education services will have their individualized program reviewed annually and reevaluated at least once every three years.

Please contact Kelly Colbert at 240-2291, or visit our office at 1501 W. Court Street if you know any children who may have a disability.