Child Find

In accordance with federal regulations, Hamden Public Schools (HPS) assumes responsibility for the location, identification, and evaluation of all children from birth through age 21 who require special education and related services.  All children who are suspected of having a disability and who are in need of special education are part of the child find process in our District.

This includes students who are:

  • advancing from grade to grade;
  • enrolled by their parents in private elementary or private secondary schools, including religious schools located in our District (regardless of the severity of their disability); and
  • wards of the state and children who are highly mobile, such as migrant and homeless children.

In addition, HPS identifies students (Kindergarten through Grade 12) who may be gifted or talented.

Role of the Planning and Placement Team
The Planning and Placement Teams (PPT) in each of our schools ensure that the student meets the eligibility requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as amended in 2004 (“IDEA”) and state regulations.

In all cases, the Planning and Placement Team will not determine that a student has a disability if the suspected disability is because of a lack of instruction in reading or math.  If the student is not proficient in English, our Planning and Placement team will not identify the student as disabled if the limited English proficiency is the cause for the suspected disability.

Child Identification Process
HPS has a child identification process that includes the location, identification, and evaluation of a child suspected of having a disability or suspected of being gifted and talented.  Our Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) department coordinates the child identification process.  The department and its staff use a variety of community resources and conduct many systematic activities in our efforts to identify children requiring special services.  Our PPS staff members consult with appropriate representatives of students attending private schools located in our District such as the student’s parents, teachers, and administrators of those schools in carrying out this process.  The District assures that this process for students attending private or religious schools located in our District is comparable to activities undertaken for students with disabilities in our public schools.

Alternative Procedures and Programs Prior to PPT Referral
Before our District personnel refer a student to a Planning and Placement Team, alternative procedures and programs in regular education are explored and implemented where appropriate.  Each school in our District has a team that provides a variety of alternative strategies to the teacher.  Currently, this team is called the SAM team (SAM refers to the Student Assistant Model).  Parents are encouraged to collaborate with the teacher and other involved staff during this time. Parents or school personnel may request assistance from the school’s SAM teamThe team works collaboratively with the classroom teacher and parents to develop and document strategies to assist the student within the regular education program.  If the student's problems or difficulties persist, a prompt referral to a PPT is made.

Referral Form
A standard referral form is used to document all referrals to the Planning and Placement Team.  This form is available at the Pupil Personnel Services Department or in each of our District’s schools. Concerned parents and/or staff may complete the form.  Once the form is completed, it is given to the school administrator or his/her designee.  The completion of this referral form initiates the Planning and Placement Team process .

Gifted and Talented Students

Students attending a public school in Hamden in grades Kindergarten-12 who may be gifted and talented are identified, referred, and evaluated using a process described in the Chapter 1 Appendix.  While identification is mandated under state law, programming is permissive.  Hamden provides services, as described in this appendix, to those students identified as gifted and talented in grades 5 through 8.