Child Study Team

The Child Study Team is a multi-disciplinary team of professionals working together to help parents, teachers, and students achieve success in an educational setting. They are responsible for identifying and providing services for students who are in need of special education and related services. Related services may include: speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, adaptive physical education, extended school programs, and/or specialized equipment, i.e., wheelchairs, walkers, etc.

What is a Child Study Team?

The Child Study Team (CST) is a multidisciplinary group of professionals employed by the Pine Hill Board of Education to provide parents and teachers with a variety of learning related services. Federal and state laws emphasize the importance of parents as key decision makers in the educational process.

Child Study Team personnel share many common skills such as child advocacy, understanding of school functioning, knowledge and implementation of special education law, case management, transition planning, in-service training, research, and community collaboration. However, each discipline approaches the intervention and eligibility process from a different perspective based on the training and skills of each profession.

This model is a team approach in which separate professionals assess the educational impact of a child’s learning, behavioral, emotional, social, community, health, communication and language functioning. As such, the Child Study Team provides students and parents with the most comprehensive and reliable method of assessing children's needs and recommending appropriate educational and related services.

School Psychologists are specialists with training and expertise in psychology as it is applied to education. They use their training and skills to collaborate with parents, educators, and other professionals to ensure that every child learns in a safe and supportive environment. School Psychologists use their understanding of school organization and effective learning to help students realize their academic and social potentials. They tailor their services to the particular needs of each child and each situation. A psychological assessment shall be the responsibility of a School Psychologist employed by the district Board of Education. The psychological assessment should include standardized and functional appraisals of a student’s current cognitive, intellectual, adaptive, social, emotional and behavioral status in the context of his/her environments. The assessment could include consultation with parents, educators, and relevant professionals; a student interview; and observation of the student in other than a testing situation.

The Learning Disabilities Teacher-Consultant (LDT-C) functions in the school environment as an educational diagnostician, instructional programmer and Child Study Team member. The LDT-C is required to be dually certified as a teacher. The requirement of classroom teaching experience offers a multi-dimensional relevance to the assessment and implementation processes. Learning Disability Teacher-Consultants (LDT-C) use their understanding of classroom functioning, effective teaching and adaptive instruction to help students maximize their learning potential and provide practical assistance to their teachers. Services provided include teacher/student consultation, coordination of services, and program development. The LDT-C must also effectively communicate with parents, teachers and administrators. An educational assessment shall be the responsibility of a learning disabilities teacher-consultant employed by the district board of education. The assessment could include both standardized and functional assessments, review of the student’s work samples and the student’s records, classroom observations, interviews of teacher and other relevant parties, evaluation and analysis of the student’s academic performance and learning characteristics.

School Social Workers provide unique services to students and their families, helping the students attain maximum benefits from their educational programs. The School Social Worker's knowledge of social, emotional, cultural and economic differences among children and families enable them to be the link between school, family and community. As a member of the educational team, School Social Workers promote and support students' academic and social/emotional well-being. A social assessment shall be the responsibility of a School Social Worker employed by the district board of education. The social assessment shall include an evaluation of the student's adaptive social functioning and emotional development and of the family, social, and cultural factors which influence the student's learning and behavior in the educational setting.

Speech-Language Specialists* are experts in all areas of communication who make assessments, analyses and classifications of students' communication competencies and characteristics. As a member of the educational team, the Speech Language Specialist participates in the planning of educational programs for children with communication disorders. Speech Language Specialists plan, prepare and deliver treatment programs for children with speech and language deficiencies. They also serve as resource persons in the area of speech and language development and disorders to classroom teachers, parents, administrators and the child study team. A speech and language assessment shall be the responsibility of a Speech/Language Pathologist. The assessment shall include observations of the student in other than a testing session, consultation with the classroom teacher, communication with the parent(s)/guardian(s), and an evaluation and analysis of speech and language development.

*Approved by ALC, NJASP, NJASLS, and NJASSW in October, 2002

School based Occupational Therapy (OT) is provided when a student needs services to function in an educational environment. The need for OT services is identified through the use of formal and informal assessments conducted by the therapist.  Direct OT services consist of group and/or individual sessions provided in class or out of class where the child’s specific goals are addressed through hands on, purposeful activity.  Consultation is an ongoing communication between the therapist, parent, teacher and student where problem solving and trial of different adaptations are used to allow the student to functional optimally in his/her educational environment without the need for direct services.

School based Physical Therapy (PT) may be requested when there are those unique situations in which gross motor activity may significantly impact a student’s ability to access their education.  The school therapist works on school related goals to help the student benefit from their educational program.  Educational performance for young children also includes self-help skills, gross motor skills and participation in physical education classes.  PT services can take place in a variety of school settings such as a classroom, hallway, gym, and playground or in separate therapy room.  Collaborating with educational staff to modify the child’s environment and daily school activities is also part of school therapy.

What Other Professionals Might the Child Study Team Call Upon?

School Physician – A medical examination may be conducted to determine if any physical factors can account for the student’s difficulty in school.  This may include a vision and hearing screening, and a standard physical examination.

Neurologist – This examination may be conducted if there is concern about possible open or closed head injuries (traumatic brain injury), autism or a pervasive developmental disorder, which would impact your child’s education performance.  This would be conducted by a medical doctor whose specialty is in neurology or neuro-developmental pediatrics.

Psychiatrist– This evaluation is conducted by a consulting psychiatrist to determine to what extent, if any additional emotional factors, beyond the scope of the psychological, influence your child’s educational performance.


How is a student referred for a Child Study Team Evaluation?

Students between the ages of 3 and 21 suspected of having an educational disability may be referred to the Child Study Team for an evaluation by a variety of sources but generally they come from one of the following:


Parents may request a Child Study Team Evaluation by contacting the Case Manager at their child’s school and forwarding the request in writing.

2. I&RS:

The I&RS Intervention and Referral Services is a building based inter-disciplinary group that meets regularly to provide intervention for students experiencing difficulty in the classroom. Once the I&RS has utilized its resources and determines that additional information may be necessary, or feels that the student may be potentially educationally disabled, the student may be recommended for a CST evaluation.


The Principal or other building administrator or an individual from an outside agency (doctor, social worker etc.) may refer a student for a Child Study Team Evaluation.

What is the procedure after the referral is made?

Once the referral has been made the Case Manager has twenty (20) days to schedule an Identification Meeting. The necessary personnel expected to attend this meeting would be a social worker, psychologist, learning disabilities teacher consultant, classroom teacher, speech & language specialist (if the suspected disability included that area or the child was age 3-5) and certainly the parent.

Are students automatically tested if the request is made?

No. Once a request for a Child Study Team evaluation is made an Identification Meeting must be scheduled. At that meeting it is determined if a Child Study Team Evaluation is warranted and if so an Evaluation Plan is developed.

What is the procedure if the student is going to be tested?

Once it is determined that testing is necessary an assessment plan is developed and the parent/guardian gives written permission. The district then has ninety (90) days to complete the necessary evaluations. Within the ninety (90) days an Eligibility Conference is scheduled where the evaluations are interpreted and it is determined if the student is eligible for special education and/or related services.

Special education services are provided for children who range from the age of three to the age of twenty-one. Many different programs are available to students who have a documented disability. Examples of these programs would include: general education with support services, resource center intervention, special classes, and special schools. A student's Individualized Education Program (I.E.P.) dictates the setting and range of services.

The Pine Hill Child Study Team is located at the Overbrook High School on Turnerville Road.

Child Study Team Members are as follows:

Director of Special Education Preschool through Twelfth Grade:

Amy Francis - [email protected]

Elementary CST Team Members:

Desiree Marasa - Psychologist - [email protected] .org

Judilynn Weiserth - LDTC - [email protected]

Tom Diaz - Social Worker - [email protected]

Middle School / High School CST Team Members:

Lara Koenig- Psychologist - [email protected]  

John Chillem - Social Worker/School Psychologist - [email protected]

Tom Diaz - Social Worker -  [email protected]

Preschool Age Child / Project Child Find   - Fact Sheet

If you have or know of a preschool child (2 ½ - 5) who may have a speech, vision, hearing, motor, learning, or emotional problem, free services may be available through the Pine Hill Public School System.

If you have a concern about a child, please call Debby Barratt at 856-767-8000 extension 3021 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Or you may write: Ms. Amy Francis, Director, Special Services, Overbrook High School, 1200 Turnerville Road, Pine Hill, NJ 08021.

Si tiene o conoce a un nino de edad pre-escolar que tenga problemas del habla , vision, audicion , de aprendizaje , motores o emocionales , las escuelas en Pine Hill ofrecen servicios deayluda gratuitos.

Si tiene alguna preocupacion sobre algun nino , por favor llame a Debby Barratt , al 767-8000 ext . 3021 de 8:00 am a 4:00 p, o’llame a Ms. Amy Francis, Director de Servicios Especiales , Overbrook High School, 1200 Turnerville Road, Pin

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