Special Education Compliance and the SC Public Charter School DistrictPost-Onsite Visit April 10, 2013
Agenda • Onsite Review • Small Group Discussion • The District • The Process • Interventions • Referrals • Letters of Notification • Evaluations • IEP Development • Progress Monitoring • Summary/PWN • Special Reviews vs Annual Reviews • Reevaluations • Exiting • Transfers • The IEP Folder • Moving Forward • Denial of FAPE • Small Group Discussion • Corrective Action Plan
SCDE Onsite Follow-up • On March 6, 2013, the district received official follow-up from the SCDE regarding their onsite visit. • What was received: • Individual file feedback • Global feedback from pre-submission documents: • Student handbooks • District Policies • School-Level Procedures
SCDE Onsite Follow-up • Brief overview of the findings: • Commendations: • The SCPCSD offers choice for SWD • OEC appreciates the revised language in the SC Charter School Law re: District Responsibility • General education staff understands IDEA and special education • Offer multiple ways of conducting meetings • District professional development is articulated
SCDE Onsite Follow-Up • General Area of Concerns: • Procedural issues such as PWN and meeting notifications • Parents may be less involved with their children’s special education programs • Postsecondary transition • Large number of “special reviews” that took place prior to the onsite visit
SCDE Onsite Follow-up • Citations • 24 out of 24 IEPs cited for noncompliance • 19 out of 19 additional folders reviewed from the two schools cited for noncompliance • Additional Citations: • Certification: Services not being delivered by an appropriately certified and highly qualified teacher • Policy/Procedures: Schools didn’t have written procedures (specific to the school) and District didn’t have their procedures (monitoring/oversight) in writing
SCDE Onsite Follow-up • IEP Compliance: • Top Areas of Noncompliance • Are children with disabilities achieving at high levels? • Q55: Severity of Disability Statement in PLOP (N=9) • Q60: PLAAP (N=8) • Q62: Annual Goals Relating to Disability (N=14) • Q63: Other Annual Goals (N=11) • Q65: Progress Measured (N=8) • Q66: When Progress Reported (N=8) • Q69: Nonparticipation with Nondisabled (N=13) • Are youth with disabilities prepared for life, work and postsecondary education? • Q34: Strengths Considered (N=7)* • Q77: Meeting Notice (Transition) (N=8)* • Does the District implement IDEA to improve services and results for children with disabilities? • Q6: Parent Right to Assessment (N=7)* • Q23: PWN Completion (N=19)
SCDE Onsite Follow-up • What does the results from the previous slide tell us? Many of our IEPS lack basic IDEA compliance.
Small Group Discussion • Groups: • What are your thoughts to the results of the onsite? • Are you surprised? • What are some of the barriers you face regarding maintaining minimal compliance at your school? • Groups will be reporting out
The District • Growth: • 4 school • 7 schools • 11 schools • 13 schools • 17 schools (11,500 students) • 25 schools (13,500 students) *Projected 13/14 • From hand-holding to Authorizer
What is an Authorizer • Maintain High Standards: • Sets high standards for approving charter applicants. • Maintains high standards for the schools it oversees. • Effectively cultivates quality charter schools that meet identified educational needs. • Oversees charter schools that, over time, meet the performance standards and targets on a range of measures and metrics set forth in their charter contracts. • Closes schools that fail to meet standards and targets set forth in law and by contract
What is an Authorizer • Authorizers (referred to as “sponsors” in South Carolina regulations and statutes) are charged by law to determine which charter schools should open and which ones should close. They monitor the progress of charter schools and support accountability and achievement while protecting school autonomy. Authorizers are not accountable for the success or failure of the charter schools it sponsors. Rather, they are responsible for holding charter schools accountable for their outcomes.” • The primary role of the SCPCSD is to authorize high-quality charter schools and to monitor the operation of the schools to ensure quality outcomes. A secondary role is to support the district’s charter schools as a local education agency (LEA) and to provide limited programmatic assistance to these autonomous schools.
Other Things to Note • SC Charter School Law • LEA Status • Federal Funds Mandated Responsibilities • Subrecipient Monitoring • In the SCDE’s Eyes • Corrective Action Plans • It’s the Law . . . IDEA is a federal law.
District Corrective Action Plan • District creates and implements a district-wide monitoring plan that includes a formal compliance process and sanctions (8/15/2013). • Provide staff training on the evaluation process/IEP Compliance. • Require schools to submit monthly updates to District regarding evaluations in process • Provide tailored and specific technical assistance to individual charter schools through the creation and assignment of a regional coordinator. • Create an IEP compliance checklist that is used at the school level for peer review. • Individual Student Corrections (10/15/2013). • Develop a process to verify certification/qualifications of all service providers.
Next Year • What should you expect: • Regional Coordinator • School-Specific Tailored Support and Development • Regional TA • Accountability Rubric/Monitoring Framework
The IEP Process From Referral to Exit and all stops in-between
Before the referral • Adequate instruction in reading and math • What instruction has happened in addition to, on top of, and besides the general instruction that all children get? • How has the student responded to this additional instruction? • Progress monitoring data (CBMs, behavior tallies, anecdotal records)
Interventions by any other name smell …. • All schools’ charters say that you have some sort of intervention, student assistance, RtI process. • It’s not a special education issue; it’s part of just plain good teaching.
If the student is achieving at a low level, how do you know it’s because of a disability? • RtI gives you that info • Determine where the student is now • Set a goal for him • Monitor his progress • If he isn’t making progress (3 – 4 data points below the goal line), then make a data-driven decision
Academics • Reading, math, writing • Behavior • Behavior plan to address the issues
Child Find • Part C (BabyNet) • Parent • School official
Responsibility • If anyone at the school has reason to suspect the child may be “a child with a disability” as defined by IDEA, you have to refer even if the parent does not want you to • If anyone at the school has reason to suspect the child may be “a child with a disability” as defined by IDEA, you cannot delay the referral to put the child through an RtI process.
Do not ever say: “We can’t refer him until we’ve done RtI”
Purposes of Evaluation • To see if the child is a “child with a disability” as defined by IDEA 2004 • To gather information that will help determine child’s educational needs • To guide decision making about appropriate educational program for the child
Does the child have a disability that requires the provision of special education and related services in order for the child to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE)? • What are the child’s specific educational needs? • How does the child’s disability affect his/her academic achievement and functional outcomes? • What special education services and related services, then, would be appropriate for addressing those needs?
All areas related to the suspected disability, including (if appropriate): • health • vision • hearing • social and emotional status • general intelligence • academic performance • communicative status • motor abilities The “What” of Evaluation
Comprehensive Equals… Identifying all of the child’s special education and related services needs, whether or not commonly linked to the disability category being considered for the child: • If eligible, this information = PLAAFP • If not eligible, this information helps to determine appropriate supports needed in general education
Initial Evaluation and Eligibility Two prong test • Is this child a “child with a disability” as defined in IDEA? AND • If so, does the disability create the need for special education and related services in order for the child to access and progress in the general curriculum?
Initial Evaluation: Two-Prong Process • Does the child have a disability AND by reason thereof, • Does the child need special education and related services? • To answer these questions, the team must: • must determine present levels of academic achievement and functional performance • focus on child’s needs in general education curriculum
Consent to evaluate • Consent must be informed • Parent is told what he/she is giving consent for • What additional information/in what areas is being requested • Consent must come after the evaluation planning team determines what additional information is needed • Consent is not a “blanket” consent, but is consent to gather the information the team has determined is NEEDED/NECESSARY in order to determine eligibility
Timeline • ALL information requested by the team MUST BE gathered within 60 calendar days of receipt of the PPT • Develop a system to ensure you’re following up with all people involved in gathering the additional information • OT • PT • SLT • School psychologist • Nurse • Parent • Teachers • ……..
Questions to be answered by a reevaluation • Does the student continue to have a disability or to have an additional disability? • Does the student continue to need sped? • What are the student’s present levels of education need? • Do any changes need to be made to the IEP?
Reevaluation team reviews existing information • The IEP team schedules a reeval meeting • Same requirements as for any other meeting (Excent Notice, contacts, …) • The IEP team reviews existing information and determines what, if any, additional data are needed to determine continued eligibility and answer the other 3 reeval questions • What do we already know about the student? • Where is he currently functioning? • What services is he currently receiving? • Has anything significant changed since the last evaluation/reevaluation?
No additional data needed to answer all 4 reeval questions • PWN to propose evaluation, to notify parents that no additional information is needed to determine eligibility, and to give reasons for that decision given to the parent BEFORE these things can be done • PWN also notifies parents of their right to request an assessment
Additional data ARE needed • PWN to propose reevaluation, to describe what additional information is needed to answer all 4 reeval questions, when it will be collected (completed by…), and who will collect it given to the parent BEFORE these things can be done • Parent consent to reevaluate obtained
Once the info is gathered, the team meets to review the info and answer the 4 reeval questions • If the student is determined to continue to be eligible and to need sped services, the team reviews and revises, if necessary the existing IEP based on the data collected • PWN is given to the parent BEFORE the changes are initiated
Reevaluations • Must be completed by the due date (whether it’s the triennial date or the date set by the team for an “out of cycle” reeval) • Completed means • Existing info reviewed • Any additional info collected • Additional info reviewed • Continued eligibility determination made
Initial Evaluations and Reevaluations • The school-level special education coordinator is responsible for coordinating all initial evaluations and reevaluations and ensuring that the evaluations and reevaluations are completed within time lines • This means coordinating any outside assessments the team has requested (OT, speech, doctor’s documentation for OHI) • Staff assigned to gather additional information as part of initial evaluations and reevaluations are responsible for notifying you as soon as he/she has gathered his/her assigned information
Develop a system to ensure you’re following up with all people involved in gathering the additional information
Letter of Notification IEP meeting notifications must include the purpose, time, and location of the meeting and who will be in attendance. This is why an email asking the parent to attend a meeting doesn’t suffice (even if they attend).