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Student Assistance Team: General Screening and Student Intervention Guidelines September 2018 Revision

Note: This procedural directive was reviewed and revised in July 2020. We provide this revision for historic purposes only. Please refer to the current procedural directive.
Each school has a Student Assistance Team (SAT) whose purpose is to support the progress of students struggling with the general education curriculum despite the use of differentiated instruction and universal interventions. The SAT develops Tier 2 interventions for at-risk students who are not responding to the Tier 1 core program in the general education environment for students who might need supplemental, strategic, and individualized support. 
Initial evaluation for special education (Tier 3 interventions) is appropriate when the SAT team recommends the same or agrees with a parent request. 

Screening Procedures Applicable to all Students

Purpose: General screening utilizes the school-wide systems already established for providing general information about the status and progress of each student and for locating students who have unique needs.
Definition: General screening refers to all types of general information collected about students at each school level. This information relates to the student's present levels of performance, standardized test information, health records, and/or other available reports.
Parental Notification: This notification is provided as part of the general parental notification prior to the SAT meeting (SAT Parent Letter).
The following are examples of general screening procedures applicable to all students:
  • Ongoing child identification (public awareness and screening)
  • Vision and hearing screening (in accordance with APS Nurse Procedure Manual) 
  • Review of health records 
  • State and district-mandated tests 
  • Placement tests 
  • Progress reports 
  • Documented teacher observations (including study skills, social behaviors, learning styles, test scores, academic skills, etc.) 
  • Attendance records 
  • Cumulative file data 
  • Primary languages/alternative language services 
  • Demographic information 
  • Other available data
  • Student interventions prior to the Student Assistance Team review
Purpose: Teacher(s) identifies areas of individual student need and address(es) those needs in the classroom and/or with the parent(s)
Definition: Interventions are actions designed to meet the individual student’s needs in an educational setting.
Interventions may include but are not limited to: 
  • Changing instructional strategies for the student 
  • Seeking parental involvement (when appropriate) including notification and/or conference 
  • Initiating a behavior management system for the student
  • Conducting a documented observation of the learning environment and the individual student’s behavior by someone other than the student’s teacher
  • Initiating a weekly and/or daily progress report
  • Providing special services/program (i.e., Title I, Alternative Language)
  • Providing services and/or tutorial services
  • Providing school counseling services 
  • Providing substance abuse intervention and support
  • Referring to community agencies and/or private practitioners 
  • Reassigning student to another class(es)/level and 
  • Enrolling in an alternative school setting

Procedure for students in need of individual intervention:

  • Consideration of General Screening information 
  • Classroom teacher(s) and/or individual(s) identifies area(s) of need for student
  • Interventions are selected by the identifying person and implemented for individual students with parent participation/notification 
  • Determination of language proficiency when primary language is not English

Review of Student Referrals by the Student Assistance Team

Purpose: Teacher(s) gather all relevant data on students referred for Student Assistance Team review. The team recommends interventions for individual students whose specific needs have been identified.
Definition: The Student Assistance Team is an interdisciplinary team that reviews referrals of individual students whose educational needs have not been resolved through strategies for students in need of intervention. The population being considered will include:
  • Students who are performing below standards and/or who are exceeding standards
  • Students being considered for an Academic Improvement Plan - Level II
  • Students with disabilities not eligible for Special Education services who may be considered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and/or 
  • Former special education students who are returning to general education, but need modifications that may be considered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
Prior to initiating a Student Assistance Team review, parent notification of individual student screening and review is required. The date(s) and result(s) of parent and school contact(s) (either in person or by telephone) must be documented. Required parent notification includes sending and maintaining a copy of the SAT Parent Notification Letter.


Classroom teacher(s), parent(s), or other person(s) will initiate a review by the Student Assistance Team.
The membership of the Student Assistance Team should include as many of the following as applicable and feasible:
  • Principal or designee
  • Counselor or designee 
  • General education teacher 
  • Special education teacher (when applicable) 
  • Teacher(s) of student being reviewed 
  • Licensed nurse (if available) 
  • Parent and student (when appropriate) 
  • Other members as appropriate 
  • A facilitator, if designated, must be from general education
An official recorder must be named to maintain Student Assistance Team records.
All members must have SAT training.
The team will determine meeting dates, times, procedures, and timelines for student review.
The team activates in-school procedures and established timelines for intervention strategies based on supporting data.
Where appropriate, the following data , collected by the designated team representative(s) may include: 
  • Student Assistance Team referral form
  • "General Screening Information" and teacher-developed classroom intervention plan
  • Health assessment (in accordance with the APS Nurse Procedural Manual)
The team will develop an intervention plan that recommends strategies to address individual student needs and requires documentation of the following:
  • Present levels of performance (academic and social/emotional) including areas of strength
  • Goals and instructional strategies 
  • Persons responsible for implementation 
  • Timelines - implementation and effects of interventions are documented. A minimum of six to eight (6-8)  weeks is required for interventions 
  • Outcomes of the intervention strategies 
  • Date of follow-up meeting
  • The person(s) who initiated the SAT Referral must receive a copy of the Student Assistance Team Referral Plan
  • Parent(s) must receive Support Team recommendations with Parent Notification of Support Team Recommendations Form 
  • Parent(s) must receive Student Assistance Team recommendations with Parent Notification of Student Assistance Team Referral Intervention Plan
  • At the follow-up meeting the SAT Reviews and evaluates implemented strategies
  • Determines successful/unsuccessful interventions
  • Considers other available options, as needed, which may include but are not limited to: 
  • Additional intervention strategies recommended by Student Assistance Team 
  • Referral for retention 
  • Referral for further evaluation under Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act 
  • Referral for special education evaluation 
  • Records 
A confidential record of each student reviewed by the team must be maintained by the Student Assistance Team.
If a student transfers within APS, the Student Assistance Team chairperson must place student's SAT records in the student cumulative folder or send the records to the new school's Student Assistance Team chairperson. The receiving school will review the student's SAT plan with their staff and place the previous Student Assistance Team Intervention Plan in the student’s cumulative folder.
If a student is referred for a special education evaluation, a copy of the records is placed in the referral packet.
If a student is transferred to a non-APS school, or dis-enrolled, the school must place appropriate records in the student’s cumulative file and destroy any remaining records.

Student Assistance Team Training Manual

Each school must maintain a current manual available to all staff.
Evidence of a yearly review of the Student Assistance Team procedures is required.
Meetings for students being discussed for Section 504 eligibility are recorded on Section 504 Accommodation Plan (form #504). Both the parent and all involved staff members must receive a copy of this plan.

Prior Written Notice of Refusal to Evaluate 

Definition: Prior Written Notice of Refusal to Evaluate means written notification to a parent or guardian whose request for an initial special education evaluation of their child is being refused. 
Purpose: Prior Written Notice of Refusal to Evaluate notifies the parent/legal guardian of the district’s intent to refuse a request for evaluation by the parent or legal guardian.


  • Written or verbal request for initial special education evaluation made by parent or legal guardian
  • Principal or designee completes Request for Initial Special Education Evaluation (the “Request”) and submits to the APS Office of the SAT liaison
  • Principal notifies the school SAT chair to convene a SAT for the referred student if not already in process
  • The SAT convenes to consider the request for initial special education evaluation in accord with guidelines published by the SAT Liaison Office
  • If SAT agrees an initial special education evaluation is appropriate, the SAT chair will forward the request and SAT packet to the APS Special Education Department. The SAT chair will ensure copies of this documentation is received by: 
    • Parent/legal guardian; AND
    • Child’s SAT working folder in the SAT Liaison Office; AND
    • APS General Education compliance officer or designee
  • The SAT may disagree with a parent request for initial evaluation ONLY IF ALL of the following apply:
      • The student is currently in the RTI process for all areas of suspected disability and/or exceptionality, including the area(s) of concern raised by the parent as part of the parent’s request for evaluation; AND
      • The student is currently receiving interventions in all areas of suspected disability and/or exceptionality, including the area(s) of concern raised by the parent as part of the parent’s request for evaluation; AND
      • It is undisputed by the SAT that the student is currently demonstrating progress appropriate for that student in all area(s) of suspected disability including all area(s) of concern raised by the parent as part of the parent’s request for evaluation; AND
      • On the date the parent requests an initial evaluation of her/his child, there already exists documented data, developed through that student’s RTI process, unequivocally demonstrating to the SAT that the student is already making appropriate progress in all area(s) of suspected disability including all area(s) of concern raised by the parent as part of the parent’s request for evaluation. 
  • In the very limited circumstances where the SAT refuses a parent’s request for initial evaluation of a student for special education eligibility, the SAT must provide to the parent within ten (10) school days a Prior Written Notice of Refusal to Evaluate containing the following information:
    • a statement that APS refuses to conduct the evaluation; AND
    • an explanation for the refusal; AND
    • a description of each evaluation, procedure, assessment, record or report the SAT used as a basis for the refusal; AND
    • a statement that, if the student is in fact a student with a disability, the parents have protection under the procedural safeguards of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the New Mexico Administrative Code; AND
    • a copy of the Procedural Safeguards published by APS; AND
    • a description of other options the SAT may have considered to support the student and how those may serve as a basis for the refusal; AND
    • a description of other factors relevant to APS’s refusal
  • The SAT chair will ensure copies of a Prior Written Notice for Refusal to Evaluate form is received by: 
    • parent/legal guardian; AND
    • child’s SAT working folder in the SAT Liaison Office; AND
    • APS General Education compliance officer or designee
  • Upon decision by SAT regarding an initial special education evaluation, the SAT chair will ensure the classroom teacher(s) are notified of SAT’s decision
  • If the SAT agrees to conduct an initial evaluation, the evaluation/testing will proceed according to state and federal law, as well as the district’s procedural directives regarding full and individual evaluation, and such evaluation/testing will occur in parallel with the SAT process at the school
Department Director:
  • Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction 
Legal Ref:
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
NM Children’s Code § 22-2C-6 NMSA 1978
Board Policy Cross Ref:
JB Equal Educational Outcomes
JR1 Student Records
Procedural Directive Cross Ref:
Special Education: Full and Individual Evaluation
Records Retention and Disposition Schedule
Forms Cross Ref: 
NSBA/NEPN Classification: JGBE
Revised: May 1995
Revised: April 1996
Revised: July 1996
Revised: June 1997
Revised: December 2002
Reviewed: July 2018