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Spotlight On Practice: Sacramento Office 520 Capitol Mall Suite 400 Sacramento California 95814 Tel: 916.443.0000 Fax: 916.443.0030 *Our newest location:

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Presentation on theme: "Spotlight On Practice: Sacramento Office 520 Capitol Mall Suite 400 Sacramento California 95814 Tel: 916.443.0000 Fax: 916.443.0030 *Our newest location:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Spotlight On Practice: Sacramento Office 520 Capitol Mall Suite 400 Sacramento California Tel: Fax: *Our newest location: IEP NOTES

2 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 2 Overview Legal Overview Legal Requirements for Writing IEPs Documenting Parent Agreement/Disagreement Best Practices when Writing IEP Meeting Notes

3 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 3 Introduction Purpose The this presentation is to learn to write,, and helpful IEP meeting The purpose of this presentation is to learn to write legally compliant, succinct, and helpful IEP team meeting notes

4 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 4 Introduction The Balance Enough writing – shows complianceEnough writing – shows compliance Too much writing – & compromisesToo much writing – complicates & compromises

5 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 5 Legal Overview A free appropriate public education (FAPE) is comprised of substantive and procedural components

6 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 6 Legal Overview What is written on an IEP is typically considered a procedural component of FAPE

7 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 7 Legal Overview Most IEP forms provide for all required elements … So why IEP Notes?

8 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 8 Legal Overview IEP notes are mandated when they add required content too complicated for the form IEP notes are helpful where they document compliance with mandatory procedures … that’s why! cont.

9 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 9 Legal Overview Statutes and Regulations Procedural violations can amount to a loss of FAPE Case Law In Union v. Smith, the court ruled that the IDEA requires a formal, written offer to create a clear record cont.

10 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 10 Legal Requirements For Writing IEPS

11 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 11 Legal Requirements For Writing IEPs Members Not Present If a required IEP team member is not present and has not been properly excused from attending, then the district is committing a procedural violation

12 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 12 Practice Pointer Attach the written excusal agreement to the IEP

13 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 13 Legal Requirements For Writing IEPs Meeting Without Parents Only if the district is unable to convince the parents that they should attend Record the district’s attempts to arrange a mutually agreed upon time and place Typically, districts document this information in the student’s file and not in the IEP meeting comments

14 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 14 Practice Pointer If the district makes a final effort to reach the parents immediately before and/or during the IEP meeting, describe in detail the district’s efforts to convince the parent to attend the IEP meeting in the meeting notes

15 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 15 Legal Requirements For Writing IEPs When Parents Leave Meeting If the student’s parent wants to leave the IEP meeting before it is completed, encourage the parent to stay If the parent refuses to do so, the IEP team may continue to meet but document  Efforts to persuade parent to stay  Note time parent left

16 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 16 Legal Requirements For Writing IEPs Eligibility Document - Which eligibility categories were considered Why or why not student found eligible in each category considered

17 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 17 Legal Requirements For Writing IEPs Assessment Reports and IEEs For each evaluation, including IEEs, document: that the IEP team reviewed and discussed the report, and whether the IEP team members agreed or disagreed with the report

18 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 18 Legal Requirements For Writing IEPs IEE Recommendations For an IEE - Must consider but need not agree with, or implement If the IEP team does agree with the IEE and/or implement its recommendations, it does not obligate the school district to pay for the IEE

19 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 19 Legal Requirements For Writing IEPs Goal Progress Goal progress is generally recorded on the annual goal page, periodic progress reports and/or report cards

20 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 20 Legal Requirements For Writing IEPs Placement Reflect which placement options were considered. Do not make multiple placement offers If the IEP placement offer is not complete, correct this offer by sending a clarifying letter to the parent

21 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 21 Legal Requirements For Writing IEPs Services Indicate the start and end date of services, frequency, duration and location If the IEP form does not fully describe the services, do so in the notes

22 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 22 Legal Requirements For Writing IEPs Stay Put Clarify in the comments: If the IEP team wants to identify what a student’s stay put placement is or is not Agreement to provide placement and/or services for a limited amount of time

23 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 23 What is NOT or MAY NOT be Required to be Included in IEP Meeting Comments

24 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 24 Legal Requirements For Writing IEPs Methodology If a particular methodology is not necessary for a student to receive a FAPE, then it does not need to be addressed in the IEP vs. If methodology is an essential part of the student’s program, it does need to be discussed and incorporated in the student’s IEP

25 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 25 Legal Requirements For Writing IEPs Qualifications of Providers School districts are not required to document in the IEP the particular qualifications of teachers and School districts are not required to document in the IEP the particular qualifications of teachers and staff vs. Document the qualifications of teachers and/or staff where necessary to demonstrate the IEP meets the unique needs of the student

26 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 26 Legal Requirements For Writing IEPs Redundant Information Do not include in the IEP meeting comments information found in another portion of the IEP vs. Writing more detailed comments in order to show compliance with the procedural requirements (such as parent participation, the IEP was not predetermined and prior written notice), OR When the matter is contentious and/or may become a potential due process case

27 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 27 Documenting Parent Agreement/Disagreement

28 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 28 Documenting Parent Agreement/Disagreement Parent Signature Parent shows necessary informed consent for: –Initial assessments –Reassessments –Initial provision of special education and related services –Subsequent IEPs

29 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 29 Practice Pointer If a parent refuses to consent to the IEP, document in the IEP meeting comments the reason for the refusal if stated and any attempts made to address the parent’s concerns

30 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 30 Documenting Parent Agreement/Disagreement Prior Written Notice Prior written notice required: When District proposes to change the program; or If Parent revokes consent, in writing, to child’s continued receipt of special education and related service; or On IEP; or On a separate notice ~See Appendix

31 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 31 Documenting Parent Agreement/Disagreement Disagreement Document the parent’s disagreement: Attach the parent’s written disagreement to the IEP document (either written during or after the IEP meeting); and/or Write the parent’s disagreement into the IEP meeting comments

32 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 32 Practice Pointer Even if the parent refuses to sign IEP, the district should ask the parent to sign the IEP to indicate attendance at the meeting, but not agreement

33 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 33 Best Practices When Writing IEP Meeting Comments

34 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 34 Best Practices Selecting the Scribe IEP team member, an employee and selected by the school district The school district’s attorney or parent should NOT write the IEP meeting comments The scribe should not also be the facilitator of the meeting

35 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 35 Best Practices Role of Scribe Generally  State which topics were discussed and whether the IEP team reached consensus as to each topic Elaborate on services/placement offer if form inadequate

36 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 36 Best Practices Contemporaneous & Non-inflammatory Write notes contemporaneously with what is stated during the meeting Avoid using inflammatory or accusatory language that may aggravate what already may be a contentious situation

37 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 37 Best Practices Documenting IEP Participation Include an IEP team member’s recommendations, questions, consent and disagreement Document IEP team member participation or lack thereof

38 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 38 Best Practices Documenting Non-Participation Document the school district’s efforts to encourage participation –Especially important when the school district is trying to include a parent in the IEP discussion but he/she is reluctant to do so

39 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 39 Best Practices Documenting Non-Participation For example: The student’s 5 th grade teacher reported that Mike was making progress in Science. When asked if his mother and attorney agreed, the student’s attorney replied, “No comment.” cont.

40 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 40 Best Practices Following Up Identifying parking lot, follow-up and implementation issues Ensure that items are followed up as promised

41 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 41 Best Practices CASEMIS codes If the CASEMIS codes do not provide sufficient detail concerning the school district’s offer and/or may not be easily understood by a parent, the IEP meeting comments should clarify the codes

42 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 42 Best Practices Proofread IEP Meeting Comments Proofread the IEP meeting comments Ensure what is written is consistent with the other portions of the IEP

43 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 43 Best Practices Disagreements over Comments If the team members do not agree with the comments, the district representative decides if the comments should be changed If the parent is the only one disagreeing with the IEP meeting comments, add the parent’s perspective or suggest that parent attach a dissent to the comments

44 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 44 Best Practices Difficult IEP Meetings When a due process hearing is either pending or inevitable, take copious notes of what was said during the meeting

45 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 45 Practice Pointer Don’t say… "The program you are requesting for your child is too expensive." "We do not have enough RSP teachers so kids at your son’s school only get 1 hour a week of RSP support." "Your son’s teacher said Chuck will never be welcomed back in his classroom."

46 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 46 Best Practices Settlement Issues Best practice is not to discuss settlement issues during an IEP team meetingBest practice is not to discuss settlement issues during an IEP team meeting If the IEP is pursuant to an agreement, write the needed language in advance

47 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP 47 Conclusion The Rule of Three 1.Use notes where necessary to provide required IEP content 2.Use notes to document compliance with IEP procedures 3.Stay factual & non- inflammatory

48 Thank you!

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