Culturally Competent
Psychological Practice Part 2:
Responsive Pre-Referral Processes—School
Psychologists as Cultural Mediators
Samuel O. Ortiz, Ph.D.
St. John’s University
General Pre-Referral Issues
 What
is a Pre-referral Team
 Benefits of the Pre-referral Process
 Pre-referral Team Membership
 Pre-referral Flow Chart
 The Pre-referral Team
Meeting Summary
 Pre-referral Preparation
What is a Pre-referral Team?
A
School Site Team That:
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Is a function of regular education
Uses a systematic problem solving approach
Clarifies problems and concerns
Develops strategies and organizes resources
Includes the parent and student (as appropriate)
Benefits of the Pre-referral Process
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Efficient and effective resource utilization
May reduce need for other meetings
Problem solving process is viewed as positive by
parents and public
Expresses school’s concern for students
Supportive atmosphere for students to become
actively involved in helping themselves
Support team for teachers
Helps define school needs and guides curriculum
Process itself is a staff development activity
Pre-referral Team Membership
 Elementary
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Level Team Members:
Principal
Classroom Teachers
Resource Person(s)
Referring Teacher
Parents of the Student
Student (fourth grade and above, as appropriate)
Second Language Teacher/Representative
Special Education Personnel
Flow Chart: Pre-referral to Post-Assessment
PARENT
INPUT
REGULAR CLASSROOM
PARENT
INPUT
INITIAL PRE-REFERRAL
INTERVENTION
(STUDENT STUDY TEAM)
INTERVENTION SUCCESSFUL:
LEARNING PROBLEMS
RESOLVED
INTERVENTION UNSUCCESSFUL:
LEARNING PROBLEMS
CONTINUE
FOLLOW-UP PRE-REFERRAL
INTERVENTION
(STUDENT STUDY TEAM)
INTERVENTION SUCCESSFUL:
LEARNING PROBLEMS
RESOLVED
GENERAL
EDUCATION
DESIGNATED
INSTRUCTION
AND SERVICES
LESS RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT
RESOURCE
SPECIALIST
PROGRAM
PARENT
INPUT
INTERVENTION UNSUCCESSFUL:
LEARNING PROBLEMS CONTINUE REFERRAL MADE
ASSESSMENT TO DETERMINE
ELIGIBILITY FOR SPECIAL
EDUCATION
IEP TEAM DETERMINES
CHILD NOT ELIGIBLE FOR
SPECIAL EDUCATION
Integration
of RTI
Within
General
Education
Framework
PARENT
CONSENT
IEP TEAM DETERMINES
CHILD IS ELIGIBLE FOR
SPECIAL EDUCATION
PARENT
CONSENT
SPECIAL EDUCATION
PLACEMENT DECISION
PARENT
CONSENT
SPECIAL
DAY
CLASS
REGIONAL OR
NON-PUBLIC
SCHOOLS
MORE RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT
RESIDENTIAL
PLACEMENT
Pre-referral Team Meeting Summary
 Use
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of Team Meeting Summary Sheet:
Arranges seating in semi-circle manner
Provides physical focus for the group, directs
energy to the problem, not the people
Facilitates process and manages content
Facilitates concentration, eliminates repetition
Facilitates accurate recording of information
Frees participants from taking notes
Provides balanced picture of the student
Assures accountability for follow-up
Pre-referral Preparation
 Referring
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Teacher Should:
Bring student’s cumulative folder with information
regarding parent contacts, previous test data, hearing
and vision screening results
Bring recent work samples of academic performance
Be ready to discuss reasons for referral
Be ready to discuss student’s academic strengths and
weaknesses, including academic skills, classroom
behavior, peer relationships, adult relationships,
work habits, etc.
Have an idea about what assistance is desired
Other Pre-Referral Issues
 Creating
an Effective Pre-referral Process
 Pre-referral Parental Involvement
 Role of Interpreters in Meetings
 Factors Affecting Academic
Achievement
 Pre-referral Assumptions
 Pre-referral Hypotheses
Creating an Effective SST Process
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Define the function of the process and the meeting
Invite the parent and child (if appropriate)
Invite bilingual staff members (general and special ed)
Specify the role of the members
Use a systematic, problem solving approach
Document the discussion (SST Summary Sheet)
Assign responsibility for intervention follow through
Meet again and evaluate effectiveness of interventions
Pre-referral Parental Involvement
 Why
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Should the Parent be Included?
Parent knows student better than anyone else
Parent has vital information and different point of
view regarding planning an effective program
Students may behave differently at home vs. school
Parent’s presence encourages focus on strengths
Increases parental awareness of alternatives to
handling problems at home--training for everyone
Parent’s early knowledge of problem is preventive
Parent recognizes school’s concern and support for
welfare of student
Role of Interpreters in Service Delivery
Facilitating and Ensuring Effective Communication
In the context of meetings held for educational purposes, the primary role of the interpreter is to provide an accurate
interpretation of the information being presented to ensure that all participants fully and completely understand what
is being communicated to each other. The interpreter must serve as an unbiased and efficient facilitator for the
languages being spoken without appearing to take sides or attempting to mediate any interactions between the
participants. In effect, the interpreter serves as a tool that allows all people in attendance the opportunity to
participate to the fullest extent in the proceedings.
Participant 2
Participant 1
INTERPRETER
Participant 5
Participant 3
Participant 4
Lost in
Translation.
Role of Interpreters in Service Delivery
 Mediate
Cultural and Linguistic Nuances
Values
and
Beliefs
Cultural
Practices
and
Customs
EFFECTIVE
COMMUNICATION
Verbal and
Non-verbal
Expression
Behavior
and
Norms
Factors Affecting Achievement
 Cultural
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and Linguistic Differences
Current language(s) of the home and student’s
initial/primary language (L1)
Student’s total experience with L1 and L2 and
present fluency in L1 and L2
Student’s birth order/sibling influence
Parent’s fluency and level of literacy in L1 and L2
Parent’s and student’s level of acculturation,
education, and socio-economic status
Factors Affecting Achievement
 Environmental
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Factors
Attendance or experience with or frequent changes in
school setting
Years (duration) and quality of instruction in L1 and
L2 or bilingual program
Parent’s ability to support language of instruction
Cultural relevance and consistency of the curriculum
Teaching strategies, styles, attitudes, expectations
System attitude regarding dual language learners
Socialization with peers vs. isolation from peers
Factors Affecting Achievement
 Community
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Factors
General demographic diversity within the community
Parent’s role/position in the community
Match between parent/student’s culture and
surrounding community
Community’s attitude toward student’s culture or
language
Opportunity and support for expression of cultural
practices and beliefs within the community
Availability of community groups/agencies for
assistance with acculturation processes
Pre-referral Assumption
 The
learning difficulties exhibited by the
student are not attributable to a disability
but are caused primarily by some problem
in the learning environment.
Pre-referral Hypotheses
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The student has sufficient school experience and regular attendance
There is no evidence of cultural difference, environmental or
economic disadvantage
The student has received effective and appropriate instruction
The match between the teacher's teaching style and the student's
learning style has been satisfactory
The match between the school curriculum and the student's native
language, culture, and learning style has been satisfactory
The school and classroom environments are conducive to learning
The school environment does not diminish or subjugate the student's
native language or culture
There is a good relationship between the home and the school
Post-Referral Issues
 Pre-referral
to Post-referral Flow Chart
 Transition from Pre- to Post-referral
 Collaborative Alliances in
Assessment
 Linking Assessment With
Intervention
 Collaborative Program
Development
From Pre- to Post-referral
PARENT
IN P U T
R EG U LA R C LA SSR O O M
PARENT
IN P U T
IN IT IA L P R E -R E F E R R A L
IN T E R V E N T IO N
(S T U D E N T S T U D Y T E A M )
IN T E R V E N T IO N S U C C E S S F U L :
L E A R N IN G P R O B L E M S
R ESO LV ED
IN T E R V E N T IO N U N S U C C E S S F U L :
L E A R N IN G P R O B L E M S
C O N T IN U E
F O L L O W -U P P R E -R E F E R R A L
IN T E R V E N T IO N
(S T U D E N T S T U D Y T E A M )
IN T E R V E N T IO N S U C C E S S F U L :
L E A R N IN G P R O B L E M S
R ESO LV ED
IE P T E A M D E T E R M IN E S
C H IL D N O T E L IG IB L E F O R
S P E C IA L E D U C A T IO N
GENERAL
E D U C A T IO N
D E S IG N A T E D
IN S T R U C T IO N
A N D S E R V IC E S
R ESO U R C E
S P E C IA L IS T
PROGRAM
L E S S R E S T R IC T IV E E N V IR O N M E N T
PARENT
IN P U T
IN T E R V E N T IO N U N S U C C E S S F U L :
L E A R N IN G P R O B L E M S
C O N T IN U E
A S S E S S M E N T T O D E T E R M IN E
E L IG IB IL IT Y F O R S P E C IA L
E D U C A T IO N
PARENT
C O N SEN T
IE P T E A M D E T E R M IN E S
C H IL D IS E L IG IB L E F O R
S P E C IA L E D U C A T IO N
PARENT
C O N SEN T
S P E C IA L E D U C A T IO N
P L A C E M E N T D E C IS IO N
PARENT
C O N SEN T
S P E C IA L
DAY
C LA SS
R E G IO N A L O R
N O N -P U B L IC
SC H O O LS
R E S ID E N T IA L
PLACEM ENT
M O R E R E S T R IC T IV E E N V IR O N M E N T
From Pre- to Post-Referral
Analysis of pre-referral data is done to identify patterns of referral
that differentiate between the needs of teachers, the needs for
programs, and the individual needs of children
 Lack of knowledge, skills, confidence, or objectivity to teach CLD
students effectively has been eliminated as primary cause of learning
problems
 Cultural and linguistic differences as well as environmental and
economic disadvantage have been eliminated as primary causes of
learning problems
 Lack of school experience or poor attendance have been eliminated
as primary causes of learning problems

From Pre- to Post-Referral
 Parent(s) and general education teacher(s) continue as
equal partners in the problem definition and assessment
process
 Student Study Team easily reconstitutes itself into
Assessment Team
 Transdisciplinary collaboration involves all assessment
partners
 Language or languages of assessment are determined
collaboratively by Assessment Team
 Assessment Team selects appropriate tools and
techniques on the basis of pre-referral data
Collaborative Alliances
A ssessm en t & In stru ctio n
B ilin g u a l
E d u ca tio n
S p ecia l
E d u ca tio n
C O L L A B O R A T IO N
P re-referra l P ro cess
Final Thought
“Good teaching is good teaching just as
good assessment is good assessment.
Appropriate assessment of culturally
and linguistically diverse children, as
with all children, is based
fundamentally on the success and
effectiveness of the pre-referral
process.”
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Pre-referral processes and interventions