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Intervention & Referral Services

As per N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7, district boards of educations are required to:
"… establish and implement a coordinated system in each school building for the planning and delivery of intervention and referral services that are designed to assist students who are experiencing learning, behavior, or health difficulties and to assist staff who have difficulties in addressing students' learning, behavior or health needs."


I&RS are school-based teams that design and monitor the implementation of strategies for educating non-classified students who are referred because they are experiencing difficulties in their classes. IRS school-based teams are specifically designed to intervene with those students that are experiencing difficulties; academically, behaviorally, socially or personally. The intent is to coordinate and increase the quantity and effectiveness of student interventions. The IRS teams’ ongoing process tracks students over time, resulting in fewer students "falling through the cracks." IRS teams provide support and guidance to classroom teachers; and plan and provide for appropriate interventions for students. The IRS members include the referring teacher, special education representative, school nurse, and administrator. Parents of referred student attend some meetings.


The types of at-risk behaviors students manifest while in school include not concentrating or focusing on learning, not completing assignments, not achieving to demonstrated skill level or tested potential, declining or failing grades, cheating, absenteeism, tardiness, falling asleep, inability to stay in seat or work within structure, decreased participation, self defeating responses to peer pressure, deteriorating personal appearance and hygiene, erratic behavior, loss of affect, acting out, fighting, defying authority, violating rules and dropping out of school. These and other problems place students at risk for school failure and other problems, leaving parents and teachers frustrated and in need of assistance.


In response to these circumstances and the attendant needs of students, the New Jersey Department of Education continues to provide leadership to schools for educational improvement and whole-school reform. One such effort is the schools program of intervention and referral services (I&RS).


The purposes of an Intervention and Referral Services Program are:
  1. To identify learning, behavior, and health difficulties of students.
  2. To collect thorough information on the identified learning, behavior, and health difficulties.
  3. To develop and implement action plans which provide for appropriate school or community interventions or referrals to school and community resources.
  4. To work with teachers and to assist in achieving the desired outcomes.
How Does a Referral to the I&RS Team Work?
After a teacher has attempted to address the problem in the classroom by contacting the parent/guardian and enlisting the help of other school personnel, he/she may seek the assistance of I&RS.
  • The concerned teacher initiates the referral process by filling out the Initial Request for Assistance and gathers information on grades, history, etc.
  • Once request is received a case coordinator will be assigned.
  • The referring teacher as well as all other teachers whom have contact with the student will fill out the Teacher Information Form.
  • Parent/guardian is contacted for additional information and is informed of the process. Parents are welcome to attend all meetings about their child and help in the action planning process.
  • Who ever makes the referral becomes an active part of the I&RS team for the particular case that he/she referred.
  • After reviewing information, the I&RS team may develop an action plan to help achieve the desired behavior and/or outcome(s).
  • About 4-6 weeks after development of action plan, team will have a follow-up meeting on that student to determine if interventions and strategies were effective. At this time it will be determined whether the case will be closed or if a new action plan needs to be developed.