Identification Procedures


In accordance with federal regulations, state statutes and local board of education policy, Berlin assumes the responsibility for the location, identification and referral of all children requiring special education and/or related services from birth through age 21, including students who are in private schools, in religiously affiliated schools, migrant children, homeless children, and those who are in need of special education even though they are advancing from grade to grade.

The district's child identification process is coordinated by the Pupil Personnel Services Department, which utilizes a variety of community resources and conducts many systematic activities in its effort to identify children requiring special services. This includes nursery programs, the town's social worker (migrant/homeless children), and appropriate representation of private and religiously affiliated schools.

A Student Referral Form is used to document all referrals to special education.


Professional and Agency Notification

The Pupil Personnel Services Department maintains a current listing of community resources that may be sources of referral for children who may require special education and related services. This list includes pediatricians and other health providers, mental health centers, nursery schools, private schools, regional education service centers, day care centers and other appropriate individuals/agencies.

A letter which outlines the district's child find responsibilities and provides instructions for prompt referral of any child suspected of being in need of special education and related services is sent on an annual basis to identified referral sources. Along with the letter is sent a pamphlet describing preschool services for children from birth to age 5. Notices are also posted in public places, including on local cable TV, advertising child find activities at the preschool level.

More information can be found in our Guide to Special Education in Berlin.

Birth to Three Component

The school district works in collaboration with the Connecticut Birth to Three system to ensure the identification of children ages birth to three with disabilities. Parents and referring parties should call 1-800-505-7000 (Infoline) to initiate entry into this system.

Children are referred to the Birth to Three system by a variety of sources, including parents, hospitals, pediatricians, nursing services, social services and school system staff. Children identified as being in need of services are referred to community agencies, and programs and services are provided in accordance with the eligibility standards and service options currently available through the Birth to Three system. The school district maintains a record of the children with disabilities for whom special education and related services will likely be required upon entry into school at age 3.

The school district works with the Birth to Three system to ensure the effective transition from one service delivery system to the other when children requiring special education and related services reach school age. In accordance with Connecticut statutes and regulations, a transition plan is developed to support the transition to preschool services provided by the school district. The transition plan includes the following provisions:

  1. To train parents regarding future placements and other matters related to the child's transition.
  2. To prepare the child for changes in service delivery, including helping the child adjust to, and function in, a new setting.
  3. To obtain parental consent to transmit information to the local school district to ensure continuity of service.

The transition plan for a child enrolled in the Birth to Three program is contained in the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). School district personnel attend IFSP meetings when invited. The transition plan must be in place at least 90 days prior to the child's third birthday. The district must ensure that an Individualized Education Program(IEP) is in place by the third birthday for each child eligible for special education and related services.

PreSchool Screening (Ages 3-4)

The Berlin Public Schools offers preschool screening as a service for every town resident between the ages of 2 y 6 m and 4 y 8 m by the end of January each year.

The results will help you and us to understand your child's strengths, talents and needs.

Recognizing the importance of early stimulation/intervention, the Berlin Public Schools has long been committed to locating, evaluating, identifying and providing programs for preschool children.

Your child will be screened in a relaxed, informal atmosphere by a team of our staff including a school psychologist, a speech and language pathologist, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, and a special education teacher. Three and four year olds will begin at a play table and then move comfortably to other stations for assessments in motor skills, concepts, and speech/language development. Two year olds are screened in their own play-based area. Following screening, you will receive feedback in the mail that we hope will be helpful to you in planning for your child.


  • 3 years of age; original birth certificate will be required
  • Current Berlin resident; proof is required
  • The identification of a disability which will significantly impede school progress through the PPT process


Childrens' eligibility for special education and related services is determined through the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) process. Parents who are concerned about their child's physical, social, emotional, speech, language, motor and/or cognitive development are encouraged to phone the Pupil Personnel Services Department at 860-828-6581 to discuss their questions. Staff members are available to explain the process and to schedule a referral Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meeting.


Screening of Transfer Students

The principal/designee (Gr. K-6) or guidance department (Gr. 7-12) of each building is responsible for reviewing the records of any new student transferring from another school system. If the records indicate that the student has been identified as a student with disabilities (IDEA), a process is followed that ensures implementation of the IEP (Individualized Education Plan). If the student is transferring from another Connecticut district, the IEP is put into place and reviewed/updated at the next annual PPT or earlier if necessary. The student could be referred for additional assessments to determine whether current placement/services are appropriate. In the case of a student transferring from an out-of-state school, the IEP is implemented as closely as possible until an IEP meeting is held, additional evaluations completed, and a new IEP is developed. The IEP will be rewritten on Berlin's forms as soon as the first Berlin PPT is held. This typically takes place within 30-45 days of your child entering Berlin Schools.

If the record review indicates that the student has an Accommodation Plan (AP) under Section 504, then a 504 meeting is immediately held to review the AP. The student could be referred for additional assessments to determine whether the current placement/services are appropriate. The 504 Plan is immediately implemented as written from the sending school, or as modified by the 504 Team. The 504 Accommodation Plan should be rewritten on Berlin's forms.

Screening of School-Aged Children (Ages 5-21)

Principals, program directors and school staff analyze student performance on standardized achievement tests, Connecticut Mastery Tests, and Curriculum Based Assessments in reading, math, language arts on a regular basis. Students who experience academic, social or emotional difficulties are referred to the Student Assistant Team.

Scientific Research-Based Intervention (SRBI) and the Student Assistant Team (SAT)

The Student Assistant Team is a collaborative process designed to bring regular and special education staff together to develop ways to assist in helping meet the diverse needs of its students. It is necessary that the pre-referral steps be taken and alternative strategies for students who are experiencing difficulty in school be tried before referral to special education. These strategies include specific interventions that are both scientific and research-based which are implemented by the staff to a student's program, curriculum, method of instruction or assessment and become part of the total pre-referral process. They must be identified and employed with specific outcomes and projected dates prior to the initiation of a formal referral to the PPT process.

Steps in the SAT Process

  1. The teacher contacts parents about the concerns in question and informs them that assistance of other grade level teachers will be requested in an effort to address the concerns. (Tier 1)
  2. If child continues to have difficulty, the teacher refer the student to SAT by filling out a SAT Initial Student Referral Form and giving it to the Principal.
  3. The Administrator will convene one of the following to discuss the specific nature of the student's problem. The SAT Meeting form will be used to document the meeting minutes. (Tier II and Tier III)

Repeated Suspensions / Potential Dropout

Students whose behavior, attendance or progress in school is considered unsatisfactory (potential dropouts) are screened for a possible referral to Special Services by each building level Student Assistant Team. Depending on the nature of the problem, referral sources include teachers, parents, nurses, administrators, guidance counselors, etc.

Students who receive five or more suspensions during a given school year are referred to the Child Study Team. The purpose of the referral is to review the student's current academic/social adjustment in order to more effectively deal with the student's inappropriate behavior. In those cases in which the student is suspected of having a disability, a referral is made to the PPT.