Referral for Texas School for the Blind Comprehensive Program (Regular School Year)

Framework (What’s Required):

Persons Responsible:

    • Campus ARD/IEP team, Manager of Services for Students with Visual Impairments


Methods (What We Do):

  • Based on evaluation, data, and documentation, the IEP/ARD Committee determines eligibility for recommendation of placement at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI). In the event that a student is placed by the ARD/IEP Committee at  TSBVI, HISD is responsible for assuring that a free appropriate public education (FAPE) is provided to the student at the TSBVI. If HISD and representatives of the TSBVI disagree to a recommendation that the student be evaluated for initial placement or continued to be placed at the TSBVI, HISD and the TSBVI may seek resolution through the mediation procedures adopted by the Texas Education Agency or through any due process hearing to which the resident school district or the TSBVI are entitled under the IDEA.

    Referral Process for Admission to TSBVI

    Referral from the local school district ARD committee is submitted to TSBVI via the manager of services for students with visual impairments.

    Upon receipt of a referral, the TSBVI Admissions Coordinator will communicate by phone with the local district representative and follow up by sending the application for admission.  This will include a request for information such as the student’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) and other important documents. 

    After receiving the student application and other documentation requested, the TSBVI Referral Committee will review all information to determine:

    1. if the student is eligible for services at TSBVI, and if so
    2. whether it appears that the student is receiving a FAPE (see section 5, below) from the local district.  

    For students who are eligible for TSBVI services and appear to need TSBVI admission in order to receive a FAPE, TSBVI will

    1. notify the district that the student will be admitted;
    2. provide an anticipated enrollment date, and
    3. provide the district with the TSBVI contact to begin a collaboration plan with the district and parent.

    If, upon review of the information provided by the district, the student appears to be:

    1. receiving a FAPE in the local school district, or
    2. not eligible for TSBVI services,

    TSBVI will collaborate with the district to ensure that all relevant referral information has been considered. After the collaboration, TSBVI will determine whether or not to admit the student and notify the district of this determination.

    Resolution of Differences.

    If a local school district does not agree with the determination of the TSBVI Referral Committee, the local school district may call the TSBVI Director of Center for School Resources for additional discussion about the referral and/or may seek resolution through the Texas Commissioner of Education and the Texas Education Agency or through any due process hearing to which the district or school is entitled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Section 1400 et seq.).[5]

    District Process Outline:

    1. Students must have been determined by HISD to be eligible for educational services as students with a visual impairment or deafblindness.
    2. Referrals for consideration for admission must be originated by HISD in collaboration with the student’s parent. TSBVI cannot accept direct parent referrals.
    3. The school is intended to serve students who require specialized or intensive educational or related services related to the visual impairment. The school is not intended to serve:
      • students whose needs are appropriately addressed in a home or hospital setting or in a residential treatment facility; or
      • students whose primary, ongoing needs are related to a severe or profound emotional, behavioral, or cognitive deficit. (TEC §30.021)
    4. The first point of contact at TSBVI is the Admissions Coordinator at 512-206-9182
    5. The Admissions Coordinator will explain the admissions process to the HISD representative.
    6. Based upon the information provided by the representative, the Admissions Coordinator will send application materials to HISD if the student meets the requirements for referral.
    7. At any point in the referral process, parents and HISD are welcome to tour the campus and meet staff members.
    8. HISD will hold an ARD/IEP Committee Meeting to request admission to TSBVI.
    9. The HISD sends the complete ARD/IEP Committee document and the application materials to the Admissions Coordinator.
    10. The Admissions Coordinator will schedule the student for consideration by the TSBVI Referral Committee. These meetings are held at least one time per month. The admissions materials must be received by TSBVI at least one week prior to the Referral Committee meeting. The Committee determines whether the student is admitted, not admitted or whether additional information is needed. An on-site visit to the local school district may be requested to obtain further information.
    11. The Admissions Coordinator will notify HISD of the decision of the Referral Committee.
    12. If HISD is not satisfied with the recommendation of the Referral Committee, it may appeal the decision to the Director of School and Student Services.
    13. If the student is admitted, the principal and program supervisors determine the program placement and tentative enrollment date for the student.
    14. The Admissions Coordinator arranges the student's enrollment date with HISD and parents.
    15. Prior to the student's arrival, an Admissions Staffing Meeting will be held. The HISD staff members and TSBVI staff members will meet to establish a shared vision of the program for the newly admitted student.
    16. Within five school days, TSBVI and HISD will hold a joint ARD/IEP Committee Meeting to determine the student's placement and develop the IEP including the plan for return of the student to HISD.
    17. TSBVI, HISD and the parents will review the student's educational placement every year at the annual ARD/IEP Committee Meeting. When the reasons for the initial referral have been met, then it is time to consider having the student return to HISD.