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Special Education

Referral to Special Education: Child Find

South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD) is obligated to find and identify individuals with exceptional needs who reside within the district and to notify all parents of their rights pursuant to Education Code Section 56300.

Students are eligible for special education when assessment and evaluation results demonstrate that the degree of the pupil's impairment requires special education, adversely affects educational performance, and cannot be corrected without special education and related services. 

Any parent suspecting that a child has exceptional needs may request an assessment for eligibility for special education services through the school principal. 

  • If you have a student enrolled in a private school whom you would like to refer for special education services at SSFUSD, please contact the district at 650-877-8700. You will need to prove residency prior to any assessment.
  • If you have a preschool age student whom you would like to refer for special education services, please contact the Hillside Preschool at 650-827-8412. You will need to prove residency prior to any assessment.
    • Preschool age or students enrolled in private school must provide evidence of proof of residency for all requests. 

Address Verification for Preschool Age Children or Students Enrolled in Private School

Please see this link for Registration & Enrollment verification details and process. Here is a direct link for a checklist of required documents to move forward with a request for evaluations.

Steps to Initiate a Special Education Assessment

Step 1. Contact your site principal or school psychologist to request that your child is assessed for special education eligibility.

  • These requests are best made in writing with some specific reasons why you believe the child should be evaluated. Often, school districts prefer to hold Student Study Team (SST) meetings prior to assessing a child. An SST is a meeting where teachers, caregivers, and others can discuss the challenges (and successes) the child is having and propose some regular education resources that may alleviate the problems. SSTs can be productive; however, there is no legal requirement to hold an SST before assessing a child.

Step 2: The district sends an assessment plan to the holder of educational rights .

  • Once an assessment request is made, the school or school district has 15 days to either provide an assessment plan or deny the request. To best understand the request a team from a school site or the district will contact the parent to discuss their educational concerns and, if appropriate, develop an assessment plan to evaluate for special education eligibility.  If the district denies the request, you will be notified in writing which will include an explanation of why the request was refused, a description of any other options the team considered and the reasons for the rejection or acceptance of those options, a description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record or report the team used as a basis for the proposed or refused action,  a description of any other factors that are relevant to the school’s proposal or refusal, and sources for the parent to contact in order to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of the notice requirements. 

Step 3: The educational decision-maker consents to the district's assessment plan.

  • The assessment plan will include a number of evaluation areas (for example, Language/Speech Development and Social/Emotional/Adaptive/Behavior). The school or school district will only evaluate the areas which have a check in the corresponding box on the assessment plan provided. If you believe that the district has not identified all of the appropriate evaluation areas, contact the district representative who sent the assessment plan. If you are satisfied with the proposed assessment plan, sign it and fax or send it back to the district representative. After obtaining parental consent, assessments are conducted by qualified district staff. The district will have 60 days to complete the assessment and hold a meeting to discuss the results of the assessment. 

Step 4: Review of the Evaluation of Special Education Eligibility

  • Parents are provided with a written report of evaluation results at an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team meeting where the IEP team will discuss and explain the results of the assessments, including:  educational eligibility criteria, the adverse effect of the disability on the student’s educational performance, and areas of educational need.  If the student is eligible, the IEP team shall identify goals and objectives for the student and offer appropriate special education service(s).  Your input is vital in the final development of your child’s IEP.  We will request your input at every step of the way to ensure we are accurately capturing your child’s learning profile and educational needs in order to develop an appropriate Offer of FAPE.  The IEP will not be implemented until the holder of educational rights signs the document. Once they do, the IEP goes into effect. If, after the assessment, the district determines that the child is not eligible for special education, they will discuss this finding. When disagreements occur, parents can refer to their Procedural Safeguards and should contact their assessment team and school principal to discuss their concerns. They may even need to request the support of a district special education administrator, such as a program specialist.  If disagreements cannot be resolved even with the support of district administration, parents wishing to request an independent educational evaluation for their student should refer to the Guidelines for Independent Educational Evaluations, found here.

Next Steps

Parents of eligible students will have an Annual IEP meeting per year to discuss and understand their student’s placement and services.  Students can be withdrawn from enrollment in special education with a written request to the Director of Special Services.  Students will have a Triennial IEP meeting every three years to review eligibility.  

Parents/Guardians/Educational Rights holders will receive a copy of their Procedural Safeguards (Revised Oct. 2016) upon referral for assessment and at least once per year. 

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Additional Resources

San Mateo County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA)
SSFUSD’s Special Education Parent Advisory Committee