Special Education

Child Study Team

Atlantic Community Charter School’s special education program provides a range of special education programs to address the needs of student with disabilities. We offer a variety of placement options to meet the needs of our students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. In addition to our various placement options, we offer a variety of related services, including speech and language services, occupational and physical therapy, and counseling.

Our Child Study team may also work with students, parents, and teachers within the general education classrooms. The team members will work with the students, parents, and teachers to help create strategies and techniques to prevent and/or remediate the academic or behavioral difficulties that the student may be experiencing.

Upon written request, Atlantic Community Charter School will conduct an initial identification meeting for any resident child to determine whether a referral for special education and related services is appropriate. Such a request may be made by writing to the building principal at 112 S New York Rd., Galloway, NJ 08205.

The Referral Process

How is a student referred for a Child Study Team Evaluation?

Students between the ages of 3 and 21 suspected of having an educational disability may be referred from a variety of sources to the Child Study Team for an evaluation. Generally the referrals come from one of the following:

  1. Parents: Parents may request a Child Study Team Evaluation by contacting the Special Education Department and forwarding their request in writing. Atlantic Community Charter School only accepts written referrals from parents with signatures affixed and not through any electronic forms of communication (i.e., email or telephone).

  2. The Intervention and Referral Services Team (I&RS): I&RS is a building-based inter-disciplinary group that meets regularly to provide interventions for students experiencing difficulty in the general education setting. Once the I&RS has utilized its resources and determines that additional information may be necessary, or feels that the student may be potentially educationally disabled, the student may be recommended for a CST evaluation.

  3. Administrators or outside agencies: The principal or other building administrator, or an individual from an outside agency (doctor, social worker, etc.), may refer a student for a Child Study Team Evaluation.

What is the procedure after the referral is made?

Once the referral has been made, the Case Manager has 20 days to schedule an Identification Meeting. The necessary personnel expected to attend this meeting would be a social worker, psychologist, learning disabilities teacher/consultant, a general education classroom teacher, the speech & language specialist (if the suspected disability included that area), and the parent.

Are students automatically tested if the request is made?

No. Once a request for a Child Study Team evaluation is made, an Identification Meeting must be scheduled. At that meeting, it is determined if a Child Study Team Evaluation is warranted and, if so, an Evaluation Plan is developed.

What is the procedure if the student is going to be tested?

Once it is determined that testing is necessary, an assessment plan is developed. The parent/guardian must give written consent for this to occur. The district then has 90 days to complete the necessary evaluations. Within the 90 days, an Eligibility Conference is scheduled, at which time the evaluations are interpreted and it is determined if the student is eligible for special education and/or related services or not.

If a student is eligible, does that mean he or she will be placed in a special education class?

Not necessarily. Before a student receives services, an Individual Education Program must be developed and agreed to. At Atlantic Community Charter School, the students eligible for special education services may receive those services within general education classrooms and programs, in in-class support settings, or in resource classes.

Child Study Team Services

The Child Study Team (CST) is a group of professionals employed by Atlantic Community Charter School that provides consultative, evaluative, and prescriptive services to students, teachers, and parents in regard to students who are experiencing school-related difficulties.

Who are the members of the Child Study Team?

The members of the Child Study Team as determined by the New Jersey Department of Education are a school psychologist, a learning disabilities teacher/consultant, and a school social worker.

What are the responsibilities of the school psychologist?

The school psychologist has expertise in determining a child’s level of cognitive and conceptual development. In addition, the psychologist is concerned with the emotional status of the student, and how both internal and external factors may affect behavior and performance in school. The school psychologist works with both general education and special education teachers to support classified and at-risk students.

What are the responsibilities of the learning disabilities teacher consultant?

The learning disabilities teacher/consultant (LDT-C) is trained to determine the learning styles of students, determine specific achievement levels in a variety of content areas, and recommend specific teaching methods and strategies that may benefit a student. This professional is generally called upon to model specific strategies and methods that may benefit students.

What are the responsibilities of the school social worker?

The expertise of the social worker lies in assessing the student relative to the family, the school, and the community. This professional generally gathers information concerning the student’s health, family, and school history as it pertains to the student’s current school functioning. The social worker is also the professional most responsible for coordinating community resources on behalf of students and their families.

Speech and Language Services

What are Speech and Language Services?

The development of age-appropriate speech and language skills is essential to the learning process and to a student's social, emotional, and academic growth. Students must be able to comprehend language, express their thoughts and opinions, interact effectively and efficiently with peers and adults, and produce speech that others can easily understand.

Atlantic Community Charter School provides speech and language services to students who demonstrate a need to improve their speech and language skills in articulation, language, fluency, or voice disorder in order to make educational benefit.

How are students referred for Speech and Language services?

Students can be referred for speech and language services by their parents or their classroom teachers if they are concerned about a student's speech and language proficiency as part of a Child Study Team Evaluation or in isolation. The goal of these services is to help students develop the speech and language skills necessary to make educational benefit in their classes.

Occupational and Physical Therapy

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is a related service designed to help students within a school setting who are showing an educational related disability that impairs his/her ability to function in the school environment. Occupational therapists use purposeful activity to facilitate a student’s active participation in the areas of self-care, academic and/or vocational pursuits, as well as play and leisure activities. Using direct and indirect services, as well as assistive technology and environmental modification, school occupational therapists collaborate with parents, teachers, and other educational staff to help implement a child’s program. The goal of services is to assist a student to function well within the school setting.

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical Therapy is a related service designed to help students access their school environment and participate safely and to the best of their ability in their academic curriculum.  School physical therapists address functional limitations such as difficulties with mobility, transitions, or gross motor skills, as well as interventions that address impairments that contribute to those functional limitations such as posture, balance, strength, and coordination.  Difficulties in these areas must impact upon student participation in their educational program and environment.

Project Child Find

The Atlantic Community Charter School
Notice of Child Find Activity
Pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act and New Jersey Administrative Code,
Title 6A:14, Special Education

Atlantic Community Charter School has a responsibility to locate, identify, and evaluate all resident students with disabilities who are in need of special education and related services, including students with disabilities attending nonpublic schools. The school district locates, identifies, and evaluates, where appropriate, the following: Children below school-entry age (3-5); school age children; children entering school for the first time; children enrolled in public and private schools; transfer pupils and school age children who are eligible to attend school but who are not attending school and who are students of The Atlantic Community Charter School.

Use the following developmental checklist to help you determine if your child could benefit from a special education program and seek help early.

  • Does your child frequently rub his/her eyes or complain that their eyes hurt?

  • Does your child have reddened, watering or encrusted eyelids?

  • Does your child hold his/her head in a strained or awkward position (tilts head to either side, thrusts head forward or backward) when trying to look at a particular person or object?

  • Does your child sometimes or always cross one or both eyes? Yes No

  • Does your child have frequent earaches or ear discharge?

  • Does your child turn the same ear toward a sound he/she wishes to hear?

  • Does your child play near other children by age 3?

  • Does your child join other children briefly in play by age 3?

  • Does your child imitate adults doing routine chores by age 2 to 3?

  • Does your child enjoy playing alone with toys, pots and pans, sand, etc. by age 3?

  • Does your child share and take turns by age 5?

  • Does your child say his/her first and last name by age 3?

  • Does your child ask “what” or “where” questions by age 3?

  • Does your child repeat common rhymes or TV jingles by age 3?

  • Does your child talk in short sentences by age 4?

  • By age 5 can people outside your family understand your child?

  • Is your child able to kick a ball by age 3?

  • Can your child run by age 3?

  • Does your child walk up and down steps by age 3?

  • Is your child able to balance on one foot for short time by age 4?

  • Can your child throw a ball overhand and catch a large ball bounced to him/her by age 5?

  • Does your child understand simple directions by age 3?

  • Does your child associate functional use with familiar objects (as a spoon is for eating) by 3?

  • Does your child understand simple stories told or read to him/her by age 3?

  • Does your child give reasonable answers to such questions as “What do you do when you are sleepy?” or “What do you do when you are hungry?” by age 4?

  • Does your child seem to understand the meanings of the words “today,” “tomorrow,” and “yesterday” by age 5?

If you answered several items above “no” and have a child between the ages of 3 and 5 years of age whom you suspect may have a developmental delay, please contact your local school district’s child study team office or your county’s supervisor of child study. In Atlantic County, you may reach the county supervisor by calling 609-625-0004 Ext. 44.

Project CHILD FIND is a service of the New Jersey State Department of Education to help identify unserved handicapped children from birth to 21 years of age. Project CHILD FIND is funded through a grant from the United States Department of Education. Information for children with potential disabilities or those with disabilities from birth to three is available through Project Child Find, (a service established by the N.J. Department of Education through I.D.E.A., Part B funds from the U.S. Department of Education) at 1-800-322-8174.

Steve DiMatteo
Director of Special Education
Atlantic Community Charter School
112 South New York Road
Galloway, NJ 08205
(609) 428-4300 ext. 103
Fax (609) 652-4080