Yes. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its implementing regulations require that all children with disabilities who are in need of special education and related services, regardless of the severity of their disability, are identified, located, and evaluated. [20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(3); 34 C.F.R. § 300.111(a)] The federal regulations require that in discharging these “Child Find” obligations, a school must include children who are suspected of having a disability, even if they are advancing from grade to grade. [34 C.F.R. § 300.111(c)(1)] “Therefore, IDEA and the regulations clearly establish that the determination about whether a child is a child with a disability is not limited to information about the child’s academic performance. Furthermore, 34 CFR § 300.101(c) states that each State must ensure that a free appropriate public education (FAPE) is available to any individual child with a disability who needs special education and related services, even though the child has not failed or been retained in a course or grade, and is advancing from grade to grade.” [Letter to Clarke, 48 IDELR 77 (OSEP 2007)]
Arizona State Board of Education rules state that “identification (screening for possible disabilities) shall be completed within 45 calendar days after entry of each preschool or kindergarten student and any student enrolling without appropriate records of screening, evaluation, and progress in school, or after notification to the [school] by parents of concerns regarding developmental or educational progress by their child aged 3 years through 21 years.” [A.A.C. R7-2-401(D)(5)] “If a concern about a student is identified through screening procedures or through review of records, the public education agency shall notify the parents of the student of the concern within 10 school days and inform them of the public education agency procedures to follow-up on the student’s needs.” [A.A.C. R7-2-401(D)(8)]
According to Arizona State Board of Education rules, screening for possible disabilities for a child entering preschool is only required if the student enrolls “without appropriate records of screening, evaluation and progress in school.” [A.A.C. R7-2-401(D)(5)] Therefore, a screening for a child already having such screening or evaluation information would not be required. The regulations that implement the IDEA require States to have in effect policies and procedures to ensure that a child participating in early intervention services under Part C, “and who will participate in preschool programs assisted under Part B of the [IDEA], experience a smooth and effective transition to those preschool programs.” [34 C.F.R. § 300.124] To this end, a transition meeting is required. At this meeting the team reviews existing data on the child, determines if further assessments are required, and, by the child’s third birthday, develops and implements an IEP for the child. [Id.]
The regulations that implement the IDEA require each State to have policies and procedures to ensure that “all children with disabilities . . . including children with disabilities who are homeless children or are wards of the State, and children with disabilities attending private schools, regardless of the severity of their disability, and who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located and evaluated.” [34 C.F.R. § 300.111(a)(i)] In Arizona, each public education agency must have written procedures for the identification and referral of all children with disabilities within its boundaries of responsibility, including children with disabilities attending private schools and those who are home schooled. [A.A.C. R7-2-401(D)(1)] This is known as “child find.” A school district is responsible for identifying children with disabilities attending non-profit private schools located within its boundaries. [A.A.C. R7-2-401(D)(4)(b)] With regard to children with disabilities attending for-profit private schools, the school district responsible for child find activities is the district where the parent resides. [Letter to Chapman, 49 IDELR 163 (OSEP 2007)] Under Arizona statutes, homeschooled students are considered private school students. [A.R.S. § 15-763(C)] Charter schools are responsible for child identification activities for students enrolled in the charter school. [A.A.C. R7-2-401(D)(4)(a)] However, charter schools are not responsible for outreach under the child find regulations because charter schools have no specific geographical boundaries.
With respect to students transferring into a school, Arizona State Board of Education rules require schools to review enrollment data and educational performance in the prior school. [Arizona Administrative Code (A.A.C.) R7-2-401(D)(7)] “If there is a history of special education for a student not currently eligible for special education, or poor progress, the name of the student shall be submitted to the administrator for consideration of the need for a referral for a full and individual evaluation or other services.” [Id.]