I&RS is a state mandated system of clearly defined steps that are taken to assist a struggling student in improving educational outcomes. These steps are taken by a multi-disciplinary team, which meets, regularly, to monitor the success of students identified through the referral process, as needing specific academic and/or behavior “interventions” in order to be successful. These interventions are monitored over a period of time and may be modified, enhanced or discontinued as indicated by the needs of the student involved. The I&RS team aids students in the general education program.
As stated in N.J.A.C. 6A:16-8.1, the functions of I&RS are as follows:
- Identify learning, behavior and health difficulties of students;
- Collect thorough information of the identified difficulties;
- Develop and implement action plans which provide for appropriate interventions based on the information collected and the desired results;
- Provide support, guidance and professional development to school staff to properly identify and implement interventions designed to address student difficulties;
- Actively involve parents and guardians in the development and implementation of I&RS action plans;
- Coordinate the services of community-based social and health provider agencies and other community resources;
- Maintain accurate records of all requests for assistance and all I&RS action plans;
- Review and assess the effectiveness of the I&RS action plans in achieving the outcomes identified and make modifications as necessary; and,
- Make recommendations to the school principal for improving school programs and services.
If a student exhibits specific observable behaviors that indicate that he or she is experiencing learning, behavior or health difficulties, he or she may benefit from a referral to the I&RS Team.
- Request for I&RS intervention;
- I&RS meeting is held;
- Action Plan is designed and implemented; and,
- Action Plan is monitored and reviewed; this plan is revised, expanded, or discontinued depending on need.
The regulations requiring I&RS allows the building I&RS teams to be as flexible as necessary in order to perform the necessary functions. Typically, the following individuals participate:
- Principal and Teacher
- Support staff: School Counselor, Nurse, Learning Disabilities Consultant; Psychologist; Social Worker
- Other: Parent; Community Agency Representative
If the I&RS Plan is successful in meeting the needs of the student, then the Plan may continue to be maintained and monitored or the Plan may be discontinued. If the I&RS Plan is not successful, then additional data is collected, additional professional advice is secured and additional resources are identified. In some instances, a referral for intervention services or a referral to the child study team may be warranted.