Welcome New Special Education Coordinators August 1, 2012
Agenda • Introductions • SC Charter School Law/Role of the Authorizer • Special Education and your Charter • Coordinator Responsibilities • The DropBox • The Child Find Process • Referrals • Evaluations • Reevaluations • IEPs and General Compliance • Linkage throughout • Transfers • Working with Excent • Data Reporting • IDEA Funds • Support from the SC Public Charter School District • Resources
Introduction: Returning Schools MLD Higher Learning Academy
Welcome and Introductions • Robert Compton • Director of Student Services • Beckie Davis • Coordinator of Psychological Services • Zenobia Ealy • Special Education Data Manager • VamshiRudrapati (Mr. V) • Coordinator of Student Services Office of Student Services
District Office • Wayne Brazell • Superintendent • Carol Revell • Administrative Assistant • Courtney Mills • District Testing Coordinator • Gifted and Talented • Clay Eaton • Public Relations • Paula Gray • Human Resources • Traci Bryant-Riches • School Developer • William James • Technology • Tasha Robinson • Finance
What Requirements Apply to ALL Charter Schools? • Charter Schools are required to comply with IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), the Americans with Disabilities Amendments (ADAA), and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
SC Code Ann. § 59-40-40 (4) The sponsor of a charter school is the charter school’s Local Education Agency (LEA - aka “school district”) and a charter school is a school within that LEA. The sponsor retains responsibility for special education and shall ensure that students enrolled in its charter schools are served in a manner consistent with LEA obligations under applicable federal, state, and local law.
SC Code Ann. § 59-40-50 (B) A charter school must: • adhere to the same health, safety, civil rights, and disability rights requirements as are applied to public schools operating in the same school district or, in the case of the South Carolina Public Charter School District or a public or independent institution of higher learning sponsor, the local school district in which the charter school is located; 7) admit all children eligible to attend public school to a charter school . . . .
What does this mean under IDEA? • Every “eligible child” under IDEA is entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) through the services of his/her IEP. • Charter schools are expected to provide a continuum of services and placement options. • Not a FULL continuum in every school, but a continuum.
What does this mean under IDEA? • Access to ALL of the individualized services must begin on the first day of school. • There is no such thing as a “waiver” the parent signs to allow a denial of FAPE (lessen required services because the school does not offer that particular service there). • IEP teams must make individual determinations for each student based on the student’s needs (data).
What does this mean under IDEA? • For transfer students, services must begin immediately (based on the transfer IEP and consultation with the parents) • Charter schools must meet the Child Find requirement of IDEA which extends to any child who the parents or school staff suspects of needing special education and related services.
What does this mean under IDEA? • Charter Schools must adhere to the timelines set by IDEA, the SC Department of Education, and by the district. • 60 calendar days to complete an evaluation • 15 school days to determine eligibility • 30 calendar days for the development and implementation of the IEP • 30 calendar days from the transfer into the district to holding an IEP meeting • Annual review of the IEPs happen at least once every 365 days. • Reevaluations are conducted at least once every three years • And numerous other statutory requirements
What does this mean under IDEA? • Charter schools are expected to use the State’s approved data management/IEP software, Excent. • Charter schools are expected to keep copies of all special education files. Federal auditing requirements necessitate the availability of education records for identified students for 5 years after they exit from special education services.
What does this mean under IDEA? • Charter schools are expected to meet the data reporting requirements of the SC Department of Education’s Office of Exceptional Children. • Charter schools are expected to spend their IDEA funds in a manner consistent with State and Federal Laws and within the parameters of their district-approved budget.
What does this mean under IDEA? • Each charter school assigns one person as its special education coordinator. This person needs to have knowledge and understanding of IDEA. • We generally communicate and disseminate special education-related information through this person.
Special Education and Your Charter • Every one of our charters state: • INSERT NAME OF SCHOOL HERE will comply with all state and federal regulations regarding serving students with disables. • With this being said,here are some things your charter cannot say/do: • We only provide “inclusive support.” • We only provide non-modified instruction. • We cannot serve students with intellectual disabilities. • We don’t offer “certificates of attendance.”
Special Education and Your Charter • Federal Law requires that the district provides a full continuum of services and placement options. • The SC Public Charter School District requires that each school provides a continuum of services and placement options. • We’ll discuss the “full continuum” requirement in detail later.
Coordinator Responsibilities • Coordinating all referrals for special education evaluations (Child Find responsibilities) • Arranging all Evaluation/Reevaluation Planning and Eligibility meetings • Coordinating the gathering of additional information (if any) determined to be needed by the Eval/Reeval team • Ensuring all deadlines are met • Ensuring all documentation is attached in Excent
Coordinator responsibilities • Ensuring that special education services are provided, not only in accordance with the philosophy of your charter, but also in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations
The DropBox • Currently we use a free online service to share files with the school. • This is not a “secured” folder, so we refrain from putting child specific (personally identifiable) information in here. • Two Options: • Drag and Drop • Through the web (www.dropbox.com)
Referrals The referral packet contains information required by state and federal regulations to help an evaluation team determine eligibility for special education services. • Information on eligibility requirements can be found at http://www.ed.sc.gov/agency/programs-services/173/StateRegulationsandPolicy.cfm Standards for Evaluation and Eligibility Determination (SEED)
Referrals All referrals (even for “speech-only” evaluations) have to contain this same information and are handled the same way. • The SLT plays the same role Beckie does in evaluation planning/eligibility meetings
Evaluation/Reevaluation Meetings • Evaluations, regardless of the suspected problem or issue, MUST be comprehensive and address all of the child’s educational needs. • This does not mean the team has to “test” in every area.
Based on the referral information, you may decide that your SLT needs to attend the evaluation planning meeting rather than Beckie • Be careful, however, that you do not go into the process doing a “speech-only” evaluation, then determine 2 months later that the child needs a reevaluation because there are other educational needs
Remember The evaluation must be sufficiently comprehensive so as to identify all of the child’s special education and related services needs, whether or not commonly linked to the disability category
PLEASE NOTE The Evaluation-Reevaluation and Eligibility Determination Report is required for ALL initial evaluations and ALL reevaluations regardless of the student’s disability category (and yes, this means even “Speech-only” students)
Section I • This section describes EXISTING information that the team reviews at the initial evaluation- reevaluation meeting. • This is information that is already known and available to the team, NOT information that needs to be gathered. • If a section does not apply to the evaluation-reevaluation, delete it rather than leaving it blank. • There are sections that MUST be completed for all evaluations-reevaluations; there are other sections that apply to specific students depending on their needs, areas of suspected disability, or services.
Section I Boxes Required for ALL Initial Evaluations • Academic Achievement • Adaptive Behavior • Social/Emotional/ Behavior • Motor • Transition/Vocational (if the child is already or will be 13 during the school year) • Reason for Referral • Summary of Research-Based … • Developmental History • English Language Proficiency • Vision and Hearing • Cognitive Processing
If there are no concerns in an area, a simple statement similar to the one below will be fine: • “No concerns were noted in this area; no additional information was requested.”
Reason for Referral and Educational Background examples: • This evaluation was requested by the parent due to concerns with child’s difficulties in reading. • This evaluation was requested by school staff due to concerns about the child’s ability to master grade-level concepts in math. • Answer the questions: “Why was this student referred for a special education evaluation?” and “What makes you think this child needs special education services?”
Summary of Research-based… • Describe interventions attempted and response to those interventions • Describe accommodations being provided and response to those accommodations • Include any additional tutoring, instruction, or assistance Answer the question, “How have you tried to address the concerns noted in reason for referral other than through your usual curriculum and instruction and how has the student responded?”
Demographics • Summarize pertinent information from the developmental history concerning the child’s developmental milestones, significant accidents or illnesses, what he likes to do at home,… Conclude with a statement saying “Additional information in this area was/was not requested.” • English Language Proficiency • Indicate whether English is or is not the child’s native language. “English is/is not the child’s native language; additional information was/was not requested by the team”
Vision and Hearing • If the developmental history addresses these issues, include that information with a statement that says “No concerns were noted at the child’s most recent doctor’s visit. Information indicates the child has functional vision/hearing; no additional information was requested.” • Functional vision and hearing checklists • Speech/Language/Communication • List any concerns or lack of concerns and need for additional information in this area • Cognitive Processing • List any concerns or lack of concerns and need for additional information in this area • If you included a previous psych report in the referral packet, Beckie will summarize this information
Academic Achievement • Summarize current grades, test scores (PASS, MAP, LEAP), and indicate the need for additional information • Include information about any functional performance difficulties (attention, work completion, organization,…) • Adaptive Behavior • List any concerns or lack of concerns and need for additional information in this area • Social/Emotional/Behavioral • List any concerns or lack of concerns and need for additional information in this area
Motor • List any concerns or lack of concerns and need for additional information in this area • Transition • If the child is already 13 or will be 13 years old during the school year, the team will have to gather information about the child’s interests and preferences as part of the evaluation process in order to address any present level of performance needs if the child is eligible for services.
Section II • The team decides that no additional information is needed to determine eligibility for special education services; the team is able to use the existing information listed in Section I to determine eligibility (everything the team needs to determine eligibility already exists) • In order to say this, you must have all required information as described in the SEED • Proceed to Section VI
Section II • The team determines additional information is needed to determine eligibility • Proceed to Section III
Section III (only if additional information is needed) • Place an X next to each area in which additional information is needed • List personnel responsible for collecting the information such as: • Parent • School staff • Guidance counselor • School Psychologist • SLT • You can delete Transition if the student is below age 13