Ensuring 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).
Ensure Procedural Compliance. Timelines: –Every student has an Annual ARD. –FIE must be addressed every 3 years. –Parents must be given 5 days notice of ARD Ensure that each parent is given procedural safeguards Ensure that all members of the ARD committee are present.
Ensure Procedural Compliance ARD Membership –LEA Representative –General Education Teacher “of the student” –Special Education Teacher “of the student” –Assessment Professional –Student (at 14 years) –Parent In case of divorce, make sure both parents have been invited.
Ensure 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.
Steps for Pre-preparing for the Meeting Gather Present Levels of Performance –This 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 Results Criterion Referenced Tests IEP Progress Reports Teacher input from tests and observations
Steps for Pre-preparing for the Meeting If in doubt, have a staffing before the ARD –Present 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.
Development of Draft Documents Draft ARD documents can be made by the Diagnostician –The 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.
Follow an Agenda In a nutshell: Evaluation Including PLAAFPs Goals / IEPsServicesProgramming
Things You Should Never Hear (or say) in an ARD
Things 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 request Focus 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.
Things 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 disabilities We must follow the law even if it is unfair.
Things 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”.
Things 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.
Things 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.
Things 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.
Things 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.
Things 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!’
Things 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’.
Things 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.
Sources Ensuring 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