4Ensuring a Legally Defensible ARD Ensure Procedural Compliance.Ensure Adequate Parental Participation.Ensure that Pre-preparation Takes Place.Conduct Staffings if Appropriate.Develop Draft Documents.Follow the Agenda.Effectively Document the Meeting (minutes).
5Ensure Procedural Compliance. Timelines:Every student has an Annual ARD.FIE must be addressed every 3 years.Parents must be given 5 days notice of ARDEnsure that each parent is given procedural safeguardsEnsure that all members of the ARD committee are present.
6Ensure Procedural Compliance ARD MembershipLEA RepresentativeGeneral Education Teacher“of the student”Special Education TeacherAssessment ProfessionalStudent (at 14 years)ParentIn case of divorce, make sure both parents have been invited.
7Ensure Adequate Parental Participation DRAFT IEPs delivered to parents 10 days before the ARD meeting.5 Days notice of the meeting.Notice must include what will be discussed at the meeting.Can we have the ARD without the parent?In some cases, yes.
8Steps for Pre-preparing for the Meeting Gather Present Levels of PerformanceThis should be the primary information used to develop IEPs (including BIPs).These should be sent to the Diagnostician with the IEPs (5 days before the ARD).Sources:Benchmarks / STAAR ResultsCriterion Referenced TestsIEP Progress ReportsTeacher input from tests and observations
9Steps for Pre-preparing for the Meeting If in doubt, have a staffing before the ARDPresent a united voice of the district at the ARD.Creates a professional impression for parents.Important to realize however that this is not predetermination. All decisions are still made in the ARD.
10Development of Draft Documents Draft ARD documents can be made by the DiagnosticianThe more information they have ahead of time, the smoother the ARD.But again, these are not final documents. Everything is determined by the ARD committee.
11Follow an Agenda In a nutshell: Evaluation Including PLAAFPs Goals / IEPsServicesProgramming
13Effectively Document the Meeting ARD MinutesThese must be taken by somebody other than the diagnostician.Do not repeat information that is elsewhere in the ARD document.Not intended to be a word for word record of the conversation of the ARD
14Effectively Document the Meeting Who was at the meeting (Name and Title).We provided opportunities for parental involvement and cooperation.Parent notified of meeting, every opportunity that the parent has to participate in the education of their child.The committee considered every evaluation.Every evaluation is important to consider. Medical, Parent reports, Independent Evaluations
15Effectively Document the Meeting Should be the best record of what we have done.Show future readers that we have done the right thing.Administrative reasons should never be documented.All those things that shouldn’t be said….. Don’t write them down.Should serve as a record of what we promise to do in the future.
16Effectively Document the Meeting Emphasize the Four FAPE FactorsThe program is individualized based on the needs of the student.The program is administered in the least restrictive environment.The services are provided in a coordinated and collaborative manner with all stakeholders (including the parent).Positive academic and non-academic benefits are documented and demonstrated.
19Things You Should Never Hear in an ARD “We don’t have the money for that.”Says to parents that their child isn’t worth it.Cost or convenience ≠good reason to reject a requestFocus on why the service, device, or accommodation is needed.Identify what’s appropriate and pick from those.Data is needed to document educational need for the request.
20Things You Should Never Hear in an ARD “This is not fair! What about the other 22 kids in class?”IDEA is not designed to be fair – just the opposite!IDEA sets up unique rights for students with disabilities.It’s not fair for kids to have disabilitiesWe must follow the law even if it is unfair.
21Things You Should Never Hear in an ARD “What IEP? Nobody ever told me about an IEP?”Not much effort is spent to confirm services are provided.IEP & 504 plans are more difficult to implement as kids get older.HS staff may want kids to ‘self-help’ to remove responsibility from teachers.“I don’t know how he’s doing in Math, I only see him in English”.
22Things You Should Never Hear in an ARD “ED students – you can’t do nothing with them!”If their programs are planned and implemented properly, all students can obtain academic and behavioral progress.If they aren’t progressing on their IEPs, then the IEPs need to be adjusted.
23Things You Should Never Hear in an ARD “I know he’s not dyslexic, but he’s failing STAAR, so get him the dyslexia bundle.”If it doesn’t take effort or time, if it doesn’t cost anything, and if it’s not fattening, then it’s probably against the law.We keep looking for short-cuts to student performance.Throwing services at kids doesn’t get them real help.The best answer to prevent these issues is early intervention.
24Things You Should Never Hear in an ARD “We already decided that in the staffing and we’re not changing it.”By law, there can be no predetermination. The parent must have meaningful participation in the ARD process.The ARD committee must consider any request – no matter how ridiculous.
25Things You Should Never Hear in an ARD “Everybody gets four hours of homebound.”‘As a general rule’ is good, vs. ‘the rule’ which is bad.Special education is designed to provide services to generate educational benefit and progress.Hard, fast rules are problematic and are not based on law.‘We no longer do resource’ is a dangerous statement.Policy cannot deny services needed by students.
26Things You Should Never Hear in an ARD “No matter what federal law says, we expel for that. Besides, he’s SI only!”Wrong! Federal law pre-empts state law.A student who is SI only receives all discipline procedures.‘If you’re in the family, you’re in the family!’
27Things You Should Never Hear in an ARD “Don’t bring him back to school until he’s medicated.”If you’re going to do something stupid and illegal, don’t do it on paper.Parents make educational, religious, and medical decisions for a child, with the exception of abuse or neglect.School duties under IDEA are not contingent on the child being medicated.The issue is ‘meds as a solution’ vs. ‘potential side effects’.
28Things You Should Never Hear in an ARD “Does he have modifications in my classroom? They’re just a crutch. I implement only as needed.”Students need modifications to receive FAPE.Teachers are obligated by law to implement modifications as specified in the IEP.Modifications and accommodations are not optional.The phrase ‘as needed’ should never appear in an ARD document.
30SourcesEnsuring a Legally Defensible ARD Committee Meeting. (2007). Presentation by Nona Matthews from Walsh Anderson and Associates.ARD Minutes: Your Best Friend, or Your Worst Enemy (2005). Presentation by Denise Anderson from Walsh Anderson and Associates.Notes taken from the General Session at the TCASE Legal Academy on special Education Law held in Arlington on November 9, 2010, as presented by the “Two Daves”: David Hodgins with Thompson & Horton, LLP and David Richards with Richards Lindsay & Martin, LLP