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Child Study Team

The New Jersey Administrative Code for Special Education (N.J.A.C. 6A:14) and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) are laws that ensure children with disabilities a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. An essential part of these laws gives parents the right to participate in their children’s education.  This is also known as Parental Rights at Special Education or PRISE.

New Jersey Department of Education regulations require that the basic team includes a school psychologist, a learning consultant, and a school social worker, all of whom must be appropriately certified. For a preschool student, the regulations require the basic team to include a speech/language specialist.

Who Might Require Child Study Team Services?

Children over three years old experiencing physical, sensory, emotional, communication, cognitive and/or social difficulties may be eligible for special education and related services. 

Families with developmental concerns about children under the age of 3 may seek assistance from the Early Intervention System. You do not need a doctor or school referral. Call 888-653-4463. 

If parents are concerned about their school-age child’s progress, they should discuss such issues with their child’s teacher and/or assistant principal. Parents have the option of referring their child to the Response to Intervention (RTI) Team or the Child Study Team (CST). RTI offers intervention procedures that are provided in a regular education school program. Child Study teams determine if students need special education and related services. 

What is a referral? 

A referral is a written request for an evaluation that is given to the school district when a child is suspected of having a disability and might need special education services. 

Who can make a referral? 

  • Parents 
  • School personnel 
  • Agencies concerned with the welfare of students, including the New Jersey Department of Education 

If you believe that your child may have a disability, you may refer your child for an evaluation by submitting a written request to your school district. 

What happens when a referral is made? 

Within 20 calendar days of receiving a referral, the school district must hold a meeting to decide whether an evaluation will be conducted. If an evaluation will be conducted, another decision is made about the types of testing and other procedures that will be used to determine if your child needs special education services. If an evaluation will not be conducted, recommendations may be made with respect to interventions or services to be provided to the student in general education.

What is an evaluation? 

An evaluation is the process used to determine whether your child has a disability. This process includes a review of any relevant data, and the individual administration of any tests, assessments and observations of your child. For an initial evaluation, at least two child study team members and other specialists, as required or as determined necessary, must participate. A minimum of two assessments of your child are needed to determine eligibility for special education and related services. Each assessment must be conducted by a person who has appropriate training, or who is qualified to conduct the assessment through his or her professional license or certification. 

How is eligibility determined? 

When the evaluation is completed, eligibility is determined collaboratively at a meeting according to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.3(k)1.8 

To be eligible for special education and related services: 

  • A student must have a disability according to one of the eligibility categories; 
  • The disability must adversely affect the student’s educational performance; and 
  • The student must be in need of special education and related services. 

The school district must provide a copy of the evaluation report(s) and documentation to be used to make a determination of eligibility to the parent (or adult student, when applicable) not less than 10 days prior to the meeting. 

What is an individualized education program? 

After your child is determined to be eligible for special education and related services, a meeting will be held to develop your child’s IEP. The IEP is a written plan that describes in detail your child’s special education program. The IEP should describe how your child currently performs and your child’s specific instructional needs. The IEP must include detailed and measurable annual goals and short-term objectives or benchmarks. 

What Are The Classification And Disability Categories?

A student shall be found eligible and classified “Eligible for Special Education and Related Services” when it is determined that the student has one or more of the following disabilities which adversely affects the student’s educational performance resulting in the need for services.

  • Auditory Impairment
  • Autism
  • Intellectual Disability (Mild, Moderate, and Severe)
  • Communication Impairment
  • Emotional Regulation Impairment
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Deaf-Blindness
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Preschool Child with a Disability
  • Social Maladjustment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment

A student may be found eligible and classified “Eligible for Speech-Language Services” when there is a speech disorder meeting the eligibility criteria in Articulation/Phonology, Fluency and/or Voice, that requires instruction by a speech-language specialist.

What happens if I disagree with the school district over the identification, evaluation, classification, educational placement or the provision of a free, appropriate public education? 

There may be a time when you and the school district disagree. Many disagreements can be resolved by communication with your child’s teacher, case manager, the school principal, or other school district personnel. There are also procedures established under state and federal law to address your concerns, such as complaint resolution, mediation or a due process hearing.  

Members of the Ogdensburg Child Study Team 

Mrs. Krysten Struble, Child Study Team Administrative Assistant  

Krysten Struble has over six years of experience working on a Child Study Team. This is Krysten’s third school year as the Child Study Team Secretary at Ogdensburg School where she coordinates evaluations, schedules meetings and facilitates daily CST functions. Krysten is also a member of the Safety and School Climate Committee. If you are interested in referring your child for a CST evaluation or have any questions, please contact Krysten at

Dr. Leanne Paolazzi, Supervisor of Special education/School Psychologist 

Dr. Leanne Paolazzi has been the school psychologist in Ogdensburg for over 17 years. She has also been the Supervisor of Special Education for the last nine years. As a school psychologist, she sees students for counseling, is part of the Child Study Team, conducts cognitive assessments, and case manages students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Dr. Paolazzi is also the Harassment Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) Specialist and Community and Parent Involvement Specialist (CPIS) for preschool. As part of these roles, she chairs the Safety and School Climate Committee and the Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC). Parents are welcome on both committees. Please contact Dr. Paolazzi if you are interested in joining either committee.

Lauren Conklin, School Social Worker

Lauren Conklin has been the school social worker for Ogdensburg for the past 22 years. She completes social histories as part of the Child Study Team evaluation  She also is a case manager for students who are receiving special education services. Mrs. Conklin provides counseling to all students and will see them individually or in small groups. She also coordinates the Weekend Food Bag Program, the Character Education Program as well as the PALS program. She participates on the Safety and School Climate Committee and the Early Childhood Advisory Council.

Mrs. Lisa Sears, Learning Disabilities Teacher-Consultant

Lisa Sears has been a Learning Consultant for over 14 years in the Ogdensburg school. Not many people know this, but Learning Consultants are required to be classroom teachers before they are able to become Learning Consultants. Mrs. Sears taught second and third grade for 5 years prior to having children. During this time she received her masters degree in literacy. As a Learning Consultant, Mrs. Sears is a member of the Child Study Team, conducts educational evaluations, and case manages special education students with Individualized Education Programs. Mrs. Sears is also the 504 coordinator and a member of the Response to Intervention team. Mrs. Sears delivers academic support in Language Arts and Math in the classrooms.

Kaitlyn Trotta, Speech-Language Pathologist

Kaitlyn Trotta has been the speech and language therapist at the Ogdensburg School for 9 years. She works as a part of the Child Study Team, evaluating students in various areas of speech and language, developing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), and providing therapy for our students in grades prek-8. Kaitlyn enjoys being an active member on several of the school’s committees.

Nicole Swank-Bergman, Master of Social Work Student

Nicole Swank-Bergman is an intern for Ogdensburg for the 2023-24 school year. Nicole graduated from Bloomfield College in 2022, with her Bachelors of Arts, Psychology. She is currently a MSW Student at Louisiana State University  (LSU). As the school’s MSW intern, she will be working alongside the school’s Child Study Team, specifically the school’s Social Worker.