Child Study Team

Mr. Greg Cesare

Supervisor of Child Study Team/School Social Worker/Grade 3-5 Case Manager

856-783-6261 x831

Who are the members of the Child Study Team?

The members of the Child Study Team as determined by the New Jersey Department of Education are a school psychologist, a learning disabilities, teacher consultant, and a school social worker.

What are the responsibilities of the school psychologist?

The school psychologist has expertise in determining a child’s level of cognitive and conceptual development. In addition the psychologist is concerned with the emotional status of the student, and how both internal and external factors may affect behavior and performance in school. The school psychologist works with both general education and special education teachers to maximize a student’s potential.

What are the responsibilities of the learning disabilities teacher consultant?

The learning consultant (LDT-C) is trained to determine the learning styles of students, to determine specific achievement levels in a variety of content areas, and to recommend specific teaching methods and strategies that may benefit a student. This professional is generally called upon to model specific strategies and methods that may benefit students.

What are the responsibilities of the school social worker?

The expertise of the social worker lies in assessing the student relative to the family, the school, and the community. This professional generally gathers information concerning the student’s health, family, and school history as it pertains to the student’s current school functioning. The social worker is also the professional responsible for coordinating community resources on behalf of students and their families.

Who are the Child Study Team Members?

Greg Cesare, Supervisor of CST/School Social Worker
856-783-6261 Ext. 831;
Laura Henkel, CST Secretary
856-783-6261 Ext. 812;
Regina M. Valinski, School Psychologist & Case Manager for Students PK-2nd
856-783-6261 Ext. 833; 
Sandra Robinson, Learning Consultant & Case Manager for Middle School Students 6-8
856-783-6261 Ext. 832;


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:

1. PARENTS: 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 IR& S 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.

3. ADMINISTRATORS or OUTSIDE AGENCIES: The Principal or other building administrator or an individual from an outside agency (Early Intervention, 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 anIdentification 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.

If a student is eligible does that mean he or she will be in a special education class?
Absolutely not. Before a student receives services an Individual Education Program must be developed and agreed to. In Somerdale the majority of students eligible for special education services receive those services within general education classrooms and programs.



What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy is a related service, which is designed to help students within a school setting who are showing an educational related difficulty, which impairs his/her ability to function in the school environment. Occupational Therapists use purposeful activity to facilitate a student’s active participation in the areas of self-care, academic and /or vocational pursuits, as well as play and leisure activities. Using direct and indirect services, as well as assistive technology and environmental modifications, school occupational therapists collaborate with parents, teachers, and other educational staff to help implement a child’s program. The goal of services is to assist a student to function well within the school setting.

Who provides Occupational Therapy services in Somerdale?
The district currently contracts with 1 Occupational Therapist on a part time basis.

What is Physical Therapy?
Physical Therapy is a related service, which is designed to help students access their school environment and participate safely and to the best of their ability in their academic curriculum. School physical therapists address functional limitations such as difficulties with mobility, transitions or gross motor skills, as well as interventions that address impairments that contribute to those functional limitations such as posture, balance, strength, and coordination. Difficulties in these areas must impact upon student participation in their educational program and environment.

Who provides Physical Therapy services in Somerdale?
The district contracts with Gloucester County Special Services for a Physical Therapist on a need only basis.


What are Speech and Language Services ?

The development of age-appropriate speech and language skills is essential to the learning process and to a student’s social, emotional, and academic growth. Students must be able to comprehend language, express their thoughts and opinions, interact effectively and efficiently with peers and adults, and produce speech which others can easily understand.

The Somerdale School District provides speech and language services to students ages 3-21 who demonstrate a need to improve their speech and language skills in articulation, language, fluency, or voice disorder in order to achieve academic success.

How are students referred for speech and language services?
Students can be referred for speech and language services by their parents or their classroom teachers if they are concerned about a student’s speech and language proficiency as part of a Child Study Team Evaluation or in isolation. The goal of these services is to help students develop the speech and language skills necessary for positive interpersonal relationships and academic success.