• What is Intervention?

    Intervention refers to efforts by school personnel to study and creatively problem solve educational issues that place a student at-risk.  Using a team approach that encourages parental involvement, school personnel carefully consider the needs of students who are at-risk for learning, behavior, and health problems and implement strategies to address areas of concern. Intervention is a process whereby action plans are revisited and modified. A successful intervention action plan, developed and shaped over time, can be a powerful method to support an at-risk student.

    What are Intervention and Referral Services?

    Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS) are the primary way in which general education teachers or specialists can assist a student who is at risk for school problems within the general education environment.  I&RS programs are not intended to replace traditional methods or resources for helping students to function effectively in school.  Rather, they exist to focus on particular student needs using available resources within the general education environment.

    The purposes of the I&RS are: to identify students in need and then plan and provide appropriate interventions for those students within the general education setting; to identify the responsibilities of building staff who participate in the planning and provision of intervention and referral services; to actively involve parents/guardians in the development and implementation of I&RS plans; to review and assess the effectiveness of the services provided in achieving the outcomes identified in the intervention and referral plan; to provide professional development to general education staff members who either refer students to I&RS or who assist in providing the intervention and referral services; and to coordinate the services of community-based social and health agencies.

    Below is a comparison of three building based multidisciplinary teams. Since the following programs are the primary school-based, multidisciplinary problem-solving and decision-making mechanisms, which address regulated functions in New Jersey schools, it is informative to identify further distinctions among them. 

    Comparison of Multidisciplinary Teams:


                    I&RS Teams

                     504 Teams

                    Child Study Teams

    Regulatory Authority

    State - N.J.A.C. 6A:16-8, Intervention and Referral Services

    Federal - 34 CFR 104, Subparts A, C and D, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

    Federal - 34 CFR 300, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

    State – N.J.A.C. 6A:14, Special Education

    Student Population

    Required - General Education

    Required - General Education

    Protected Against Discrimination - Special Education

    Required - Special Education

    Team Composition

    Multidisciplinary Team - Any certified staff members, and ad hoc members, as appropriate

    A group of certified persons, including those knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of the evaluation data and the placement options

    School Psychologist, School Social Worker, Learning Disabilities Teacher-Consultant

    (Speech and Language Specialist, as appropriate)

    Case Management Role

    Not regulated

    Case Coordinators recommended

    Not regulated

    Case Coordinators recommended

    Case Manager required



    Functional and/or Standardized

    Functional and Standardized

    Written Plan

    I&RS Action Plan

    504 Accommodation Plan

    Individualized Education Program (IEP)

    Review and Follow-up

    Required for each I&RS Action Plan

    A one-year review of the accommodation plan would meet the requirements, but the timeline is to be adopted by the district

    Annual review of IEP

    Re-evaluation of IEP every three years or sooner, if conditions warrant




    Local and State

    Family’s Due Process Rights





    Not regulated

    Not regulated

    Per Regulations


    What is the Intervention and Referral Services Process?

    The Intervention and Referral Services process is a collaborative school effort between district personnel and parents to intervene when a student has been identified with concerns related to learning, behavior and/or health in the general education setting.  The team collects and evaluates relevant data in order to identify specific barriers to student performance.  Once these barriers have been determined, individualized interventions are identified and implemented through an action plan in order to address areas of concern.  

    Steps in the I&RS process are: 

    1. Request for Assistance
    2. Information Collection
    3. Parent Notification and Participation
    4. Problem Solving
    5. Development of I&RS Action Plan
    6. Support, Monitoring, and Continuation of Process
    7. Problem Resolved, Revisiting the Plan, or Referral