Top 5 EC Records are NEVER to be left in classrooms/taken home. Having EC paperwork signed by IEP team members who were not present at a meeting is a fraudulent act. Any IEP meeting that does not have the legally required members is illegal—decisions made are null and void. EC paperwork is completed in draft form Parents are provided a copy of all forms/paperwork at time of meeting.
Special Education Laws- Effective Dates Article 9, North Carolina’s special education law – July 10, 2006 Changed 60 day statute of limitation for filing due process petition to 1 year Changed “Maximum Potential” language to “provide full educational opportunity to all children with disabilities who reside in the state” Removed “pregnant” as a disability category Required LEAs to use their State textbook funds to provide textbooks for students with disabilities and teacher editions for special education teachers
Special Education Laws- Effective Dates NC Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities – November 1, 2007 Class size requirements – July 1, 2008
New Terms for Areas of Disability Behavioral-Emotional disability is now Serious Emotional Disability Mental Disability is now Intellectual Disability (mild, moderate, severe) – previously EMD, TMD, S/PD Other Health Impairment – now included Tourette’s syndrome
Parent Includes biological, adoptive, foster parent, or individual acting in the place of a biological or adoptive parent, (i.e. grandparent, stepparent, or other relative). Therapeutic foster parent is prohibited by law from acting as the parent for educational purposes due to conflict of interest.
Transition Services Adds accountability components to the definition: Results-oriented process; Focus on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability; and Facilitate movement from school to post- secondary education or employment (Effective transitions for students with disabilities at all levels)
Referral/Reevaluations DEC 3 changes Eligibility Worksheets for each disability area New eligibility requirements are in effect for all students who begin referral or reevaluation process AFTER Nov. 1, 2007 (review of existing data, use of 2 research based interventions with progress monitoring, adverse effect on educational performance, etc.)
Consent for Evaluation LEA must obtain informed written consent from the parent before evaluating the child If parents refuse to consent for the evaluation or fail to respond to requests for consent for evaluation, LEAs may use due process to seek authority to evaluate a child
Consent for Services LEAs may NOT use due process or mediation to provide initial services if parents fail to respond or refuse to give consent for services. If parents refuse consent for services, the LEA will not be considered to have failed to provide FAPE to the child Related services are only provided to students who receive special education.
Parent Revocation of Services (2/4/09) Parents can revoke consent in writing to end child’s receipt of special education services. LEA not required to remove any references to child’s receipt of special education prior to parent revocation of consent. LEA must provide written notice to parent when stopping the special education services due to revocation of services.
Mandatory Medication Prohibition May not require a child to obtain a prescription of a controlled substance as a condition of attending school, receiving an evaluation, or receiving services under the IDEA. May still share observations of the student’s performance or behavior in the classroom or school with the parents.
No Longer Eligible Reevaluation is required before determining the child does not have a disability unless the change in eligibility is due to: Graduating with a regular high school diploma; or Reaching maximum age for eligibility (22) *** GED does not count
IEP Content General curriculum has been changed to general education curriculum; Must include a statement of present levels of academic achievement, and functional performance; and Must include measurable annual goals
IEP Content Accommodations/Assessments Requires the IEP to include a statement of any individual appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the child on statewide and district-wide assessments. Requires IEP team to consider each accommodation for general education classes and specifics regarding their implementation.
IEP Content Alternate Assessments If the IEP team determines that the child shall take an alternate assessment, there needs to be a statement of why the child cannot participate in the regular assessment and why the particular alternate assessment selected is appropriate for the child. LEAs must provide alternate assessments for any district-wide assessments
Summary of Performance Prior to the student’s graduating or exceeding the age of eligibility: LEA must provide the student with a summary of the student’s academic achievement and functional performance, including recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting postsecondary goals.
Transfers within State If a child with a disability transfers from one LEA to another in the same state within the same school year, the new LEA shall provide comparable services, in consultation with the parents, until the new LEA either adopts the previous IEP or develops a new one.
Transfers from another State For students who transfer from another state, the new LEA shall provide comparable services (**if child has a current IEP) in consultation with the parents, until the new LEA conducts a new evaluation, if necessary, and develops a new IEP. If student does not have a current IEP, student does not receive special education services until referral is completed Bottom line: No more temporary placements, all out of state transfer students are considered initial referrals until eligibility is determined.
Handbook on Parent’s Rights LEA’s are responsible for providing the Handbook to parents once a year and at: Initial referral for evaluation Upon parent request Upon receipt of the first state complaint or first due process hearing within the school year In accordance with discipline removals that constitute a change in placement Upon revision of the State Policies LEA may place a current copy of the procedural safeguards on its website
Independent Education Evaluation Parent is entitled to request one independent educational evaluation (IEE), at public expense, each time the LEA conducts an evaluation with which the parent disagrees
Transfer of Parental Rights at Age of Majority All rights transfer to the student at age 18, unless: Student is declared legally incompetent; Student designates in writing another competent adult; or Student is certified as unable to provide informed consent (two professionals based on exam or interview certify in writing).
Facilitated IEP Meetings Facilitation is a process utilizing an impartial, neutral facilitator to assist members of the IEP team in communicating effectively. Facilitation is not required by law; it is a service provided to parents and LEAs by DPI. The request may be obtained from EC Director – need at least 2 week notice
Statute of Limitations for Filing Due Process Petition North Carolina law: The one year timeline does not apply if: The parent was prevented from filing because the LEA misrepresented that it had resolved the problem; or The LEA withheld information to which the parent had a right under Part B of the IDEA
Due Process Timelines Begins on date petition is filed with LEA or parent. 10 days for LEA to send Prior Written Notice. 15 days for resolution meeting. 15 days from receipt of petition to file notice of insufficiency. 5 days for ALJ ruling on sufficiency Amended petition restarts timeline. 30 days for resolution before 45 day timeline begins Hearing completed and written decision issued within 45 days after 30 day resolution period
“Change in Placement” Defined (DEC 5a) A removal for more than 10 consecutive schools days; or A series of removals that constitute a pattern because: Total number of removals are more than 10 school days; Behavior is similar to previous incidents; and Length and proximity of the removals to one another.
Homebound Placement for Disciplinary Purposes The IEP Team must meet monthly to review the appropriateness of the homebound placement Must directly address behavior that resulted in homebound placement Must address progress to general education curriculum and IEP goals/objectives Must address steps for return to school environment.
Expedited Hearing Timelines for Disciplinary Issues Adds a provision for due process hearings to contest manifestation determination and disciplinary actions. 15 day resolution period Hearing must occur within 20 school days of the request for the hearing. The hearing officer’s written decision must be issued within 10 school days after the hearing.
Stay-Put Due process hearings to contest disciplinary actions The student remains in the discipline setting pending the hearing officer’s decision or the expiration of the removal time, whichever occurs first, unless the parent and LEA agree otherwise.
Avoiding IDEA compliance violations
Failure to notify parents of their procedural safeguards (legal rights) Do Ensure the parents have a copy of their procedural rights in their native language Meet with parents with low literacy skills to review their rights orally Don’t Assume that parents understand their legal rights
Failure to schedule an annual review or reevaluation meeting early enough to complete the process. Do: Schedule the reevaluation with adequate notice to complete and review any requested assessments Provide copies of the evaluation reports for parents and appropriate staff to review before the IEP team meeting Don’t: Wait to schedule the reevaluation or IEP annual review the week it is due.
Failure to share all relevant evaluation information with the parent. Do: Provide the parent with evaluation reports before the IEP Team meeting Have the evaluator review the results with the parent before the IEP team meeting Don’t Waste meeting time reading reports aloud. Assume parents understand the educational implications of the evaluation results.
Failure to have required school staff in attendance at the IEP Team meeting. Do: Plan ahead and have required team members present who are prepared with relevant data for decision-making Ensure that the LEA representative fulfills the legal requirements for the position Ensure data are presented from staff members who are not present, but whose content areas will be discussed or who need to provide input to determine modifications/accommodations Don’t: Falsify records by getting signatures of people who didn’t attend the meeting. Allow required members to leave during the meeting.
Failure to address behavioral interventions as part of the IEP Do Address behavior in the IEP any time the behavior interferes with the student’s learning or the learning of peers Conduct a functional behavioral assessment proactively (before regulations require) Don’t: Tie addressing behavior to an area of disability---”He is eligible as SI, so we can’t write a behavior intervention plan.”
Failure to specify only necessary modifications & accommodations that provide access to the general curriculum Do: Fully discuss the necessity for each mod/accommodation Fully describe the specific details pertaining to implementation of each Solicit recommendations from all the student’s teachers about what is needed for the student to access the general curriculum Don’t Use mod/accommodation section of the IEP as a free-for-all giveaway
Failure to make recommendations with sufficient clarity and finality Do: Discuss various options for placement, but LEA must ultimately make a formal, specific offer of placement Inform the parent of the legal analysis for eligibility, manifestation determination, ESY, etc. and explain how the facts apply to the analysis for the final decision Don’t Say services provided on an “as needed” basis Find students eligible for services on “consultative” basis (excluding related services/adapted PE)
Failure to make decisions based upon the individual needs of the child Do Make all programming decisions based upon the evaluation data and the student’s individual needs Don’t say: “We don’t have those services here” “NC doesn’t do that” “We don’t have money for that”
Failure to make clear and specific recommendations regarding LRE Do: Understand the legal analysis and case law trends. Student is entitled to be educated with nondisabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate with the necessary aids and supports. Case law: K-2 – inclusion for socialization and language development Case law Grade 3 and over – more restrictive settings based on student’s needs. Don’t say: “We only do inclusion here” “All students with that disability are served in a separate class setting”
Failure to make a decision when consensus cannot be reached. Do: Make decisions that are defensible Complete eligibility decisions and IEPs within timelines Give the parent his/her procedural safeguards and explain the options for resolving the dispute Don’t: Delay a decision when the IEP Team is at an impasse
Failure to provide adequate Prior Written Notice (DEC 5) Do: Specifically describe all elements- Change/action made or rejected Why above action was made What else was considered and rejected, and why Describe the evaluations, records, data, etc. Used to make the decision Provide notice to parent prior to initiating the change or refusing a change requested by the parents Don’t: Use general statements Send the prior written notice home in the child’s backpack (or any other paperwork!)