The Planning and Placement Team (PPT) Process

The Planning and Placement Team (PPT) process involves a series of educational actions taken on behalf of students who are eligible or may be eligible for special education services. The following terms and steps are outlined below in an effort to provide some insight into this process:

Planning and Placement Team (PPT) Planning and Placement Teams (PPTs) are interdisciplinary teams comprised of an administrator or administrative designee, special education teacher, regular education teacher, pupil personnel representative (e.g. a school counselor, social worker, school psychologist, and/or speech/language pathologist), parents, and (if appropriate) the student. Parents may invite other individuals who they believe can contribute to the decision-making process. PPTs review referrals to special education, determine eligibility for special education services and develop, review or revise Individual Education Plans as appropriate.

Referral to Planning and Placement Team (PPT) A student may be referred to special education if he/she is suspected of having a disability and may be in need of special education and related services. Referrals are typically generated by the Response to Intervention Team (RTI), but may also be initiated by a parent, the student (18 years of age or older), or other individuals from other agencies to whom parental consent has been given.

Parents or school personnel may request assistance from the school’s RTI Team. The 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.

School personnel must complete the Referral to Special Education form provided by the Connecticut State Department of Education. Parents (or eligible students) are encouraged, but not required, to use this form as well. Parents may provide a written request for an initial evaluation to the building principal or school counselor outlining the concerns they have regarding their child’s progress in the general education curriculum. Parents are encouraged to include any documents, evaluations or other information that may be helpful to the school in reviewing the referral. When a parent is not able to put this request in writing, the parent may request the building principal identify a staff member who will document the parent’s request in writing. This document will serve as the referral to special education.

Once a student is referred to special education, a PPT meeting takes place to review the referral, determine whether the student needs to be evaluated, and decide which evaluations, if any, will be administered. Parents, or eligible students, must give written consent for an initial evaluation to take place.

Evaluation An evaluation is used by the PPT to determine a student’s specific learning strengths and needs, and to determine whether or not a student is eligible for special education services. The evaluation may include a review of information collected by the district through informal and formal observations, a review of schoolwork, a record review, standardized and classroom-based assessments, and communication with the student’s teacher(s), parent(s), and the student. The PPT will also review and consider any evaluations and information provided by parents. Once evaluations are conducted, the PPT reconvenes to review them and determine whether a child is eligible for special education services.

Eligibility Students may be eligible for special education services if they have an identified disability as supported by evaluation results that requires special education and related services. Students cannot be determined to have a disability due to a lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math or due to limited English proficiency. Typically, regular education interventions through the RTI process are developed, implemented with fidelity, monitored, and revised over time before a team makes a referral to special education.

Disability Students qualify for special education services due to an identified disability. The Connecticut State Department of Education Bureau of Special Education recognizes the following disability categories: Autism Deaf-Blindness Developmental Delay (ages 3 – 5) Emotional Disturbance Hearing Impairment Intellectual Disability Multiple Disabilities Orthopedic Impairment Specific Learning Disabilities Speech or Language Impaired Traumatic Brain Injury Visual Impairment Other Health Impairment Other Health Impairment – ADD/ADHD Least Restrictive Environment Connecticut General Statutes define a least restrictive environment as one which meets the needs of a child requiring special education -- to the maximum extent possible -- but which fully serves children not requiring any special education or related services. North Branford Public Schools is committed to this concept, and to the importance of collaboration between staff and parents in order to maintain and enhance this type of environment.

Individualized Education Program An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written plan, developed by a PPT, which describes the educational program for special education services. All IEPs are reviewed annually. The IEP includes: the student's current levels of educational performance; special education and related services planned for the student; annual educational goals; short-term instructional objectives; special transportation requirements; the extent to which the student will participate in the regular school program; any modifications of the regular program which may be necessary, as well as testing accommodations; if needed, the amount of time to be scheduled for each part of the program; the date on which the program will begin; the criteria to determine if the goals are being achieved; and the exit criteria, which will determine when the special program is no longer appropriate. Parental input is a critical component of the educational decision-making. Parents must give written consent for the initial identification of a student, including the initial IEP to be implemented. IEPs, once developed by the PPT, are implemented within 10 school days.

Annual and Triennial Reviews The PPT is responsible for reviewing and revising a student’s IEP periodically, but not less than annually (i.e. Annual Review). Students must be re-evaluated to determine if they continue to have a disability and continue to need special education and related services every 3 years (i.e. Triennial Review). Re-evaluations also help monitor a student’s progress over time, as well as provide an update on the student’s current functioning to assist the team in planning an appropriate program.

Parent’s Rights Parents of a child with a disability are given a copy of Steps to Protect a Child’s Right to Special Education: Procedural Safeguards in Special Education one time per year. Procedural Safeguards are typically mailed home in August. A copy of Procedural Safeguards will also be given if a child is referred for an initial evaluation, if a parent files a complaint, if the parent requests a copy, or if there is a change of placement resulting from a disciplinary action.