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HATBORO HORSHAM SCHOOL DISTRICT SPECIAL EDUCATION PRACTICE POINTERS PRESENTED BY GRACE M. DEON, ESQUIRE (215)345-7000.

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Presentation on theme: "HATBORO HORSHAM SCHOOL DISTRICT SPECIAL EDUCATION PRACTICE POINTERS PRESENTED BY GRACE M. DEON, ESQUIRE (215)345-7000."— Presentation transcript:

1 HATBORO HORSHAM SCHOOL DISTRICT SPECIAL EDUCATION PRACTICE POINTERS PRESENTED BY GRACE M. DEON, ESQUIRE (215)

2 ROADMAP Timeline Violations Child Find / Evaluation Violations IEP Drafting Issues IEP Implementation Issues Placement Issues Support Staff

3 Timeline Violations Child Find / Evaluation Violations IEP Drafting Issues IEP Implementation Issues Placement Issues Support Staff ROADMAP

4 Timelines To Keep In Mind Evaluation within sixty (60) calendar days after receipt of parental permission Hold IEP meeting or develop an IEP within thirty (30) days after the Evaluation Report (ER) concludes that there is a need for special education services Lack of staff during summer vacations is not an excuse. Timely re-evaluation Every three (3) years for most exceptionalities Every two years (2) for mentally retarded students

5 Timelines To Keep In Mind Make Extended School Year determination prior to February 28 th. Plan by March 31 st. Failing to keep track of the number of disciplinary exclusions Failing to request a due process hearing, out of deference to a parent’s wishes for the student, rather than implementing an educationally appropriate program for a child

6 Timeline Violations Child Find / Evaluation Violations IEP Drafting Issues IEP Implementation Issues Placement Issues Support Staff ROADMAP

7 Child Find / Evaluation Violations Failure to request an evaluation when a behavioral or academic problem suggests that an evaluation should be conducted to determine the cause and whether the student is in need of special education Failure to request a due process hearing when parents refuse an evaluation request Failure to locate and identify students in private schools Failure to publish appropriate notices advising parents of their rights

8 Child Find / Evaluation Violations Failure to provide procedural rights notices to parents Failure to conduct an individualized evaluation by taking into account the unique learning problems of each child and tailoring the testing to the child Failure to conduct an evaluation when discipline issues continue Failure to include the required team members in the evaluation process Failure to conduct a functional behavioral assessment where behaviors are impeding educational progress

9 Failure to consider the curriculum of the school district and the student’s ability to successfully progress in the curriculum Failure to utilize outside experts and consultants Failure to delineate educational needs in the Evaluation Report and to make recommendations for programming Failure to rule out other possible causes for lack of educational success Child Find / Evaluation Violations

10 Failure to invite students to the IEP meetings and document the notice Failure to call a meeting of the IEP for manifestation determinations. prior to or immediately after imposition of a period of suspension but before an expulsion occurs Failure to comply with the regulations governing the discipline of students with disabilities Child Find / Evaluation Violations

11 Timeline Violations Child Find / Evaluation Violations IEP Drafting Issues IEP Implementation Issues Placement Issues Support Staff ROADMAP

12 IEP Drafting Issues Lack of specificity of goals, objectives, methods of evaluation and progress reporting methods is the most common issue raised by parents at due process hearings Failure to have a regular education teacher or another individual involved in the delivery of the student’s program present for an IEP meeting Failure to have specific present education levels based on the ER information Failure to address each area of the child’s needs in the IEP as delineated in either the ER or Present Education Levels Section of the IEP

13 IEP Drafting Issues Failing to draft an annual goal that is actually attainable or which might reasonably be attainable within one year Failing to draft annual goals and/or short term objectives that are measurable. (i.e., Joan will reach level two on the District’s Language Arts rubric) Failing to specify how the progress will be measured and reported to parents Failing to tie the goals and objectives into the general regular education curriculum

14 IEP Drafting Issues Failing to include a specific behavior plan as part of the IEP where appropriate but using general classroom management systems to address the behaviors Failing to include the results of a functional behavioral assessment in the behavior plan and ways to address the problems identified in the assessment The absence of supports for school personnel if warranted; especially for education of regular education staff members Failing to develop a transition and/or graduation plan for students over 14 Identifying a “labeled” class setting rather than identifying what percentage of the student’s day will be with regular education peers

15 IEP Drafting Issues Failing to specify the amount of related services and whether the services are delivered in individual, small group or large group settings or merely supportive Failing to specify the accommodations and modifications that will be made not only in the special education setting but in the regular education setting as well Failing to specify why a less restrictive environment is or is not appropriate Failing to explore different methodologies Stating “We don’t do that here.”

16 ROADMAP Timeline Violations Child Find / Evaluation Violations IEP Issues IEP Implementation Issues Placement Issues Support Staff

17 Implementation Issues Failing to provide each teacher with a copy of the IEP Failing to meet with all staff members either individually or as a group to discuss the components of a student’s IEP Failing to prepare and send home the progress reports Failure/refusal of the regular education teachers to implement the accommodations, modifications and specially designed instruction in their classrooms

18 Implementation Issues Failure/refusal of the regular education teacher to modify their instructional strategies, curriculum or methodologies to accommodate the student’s disability Failure to meet as a team to revise and review the IEP when the student is not meeting IEP objectives Failure to keep the data required by the IEP Violating the regulations governing the imposition of discipline

19 IEPs – It’s Your Job Regular education teachers Willfully fail to implement IEP or 504 Plan Risk personal liability, including money damages. Regular ed. history teacher ordered to pay $15,000 to parents of a student with learning disabilities due to the teacher’s refusal to provide oral testing as required by the IEP. Doe v. Withers, 20 IDELR 422 (W. Va. Cir. Ct. 1993)

20 IEPs – It’s Your Job Reasons staff do not comply with / implement IEPs “It’s not fair to my other students.” “I don’t have time.” “He doesn’t want my help anyway.” “I didn’t sign on for this!” “I don’t get paid enough for this!” “The parents are the real problem.” “He’s just lazy.” “No one told me I was supposed to do anything.” “I’m ready to retire anyway.” “I think this law is stupid.”

21 Implementing IEPs: Staff Speech Any communication between staff may be exhibit Parents may also review under FERPA If you wouldn’t say it to a parent’s face – DON’T SAY IT IN WRITING!!!! Moderation in all things Self-serving when possible Inform appropriate District employee before informing Parent

22 Implementing IEPs: What not to “say” On SDI: Teacher to Principal: “SDI – why so many?” On IEP goal data, attendance: “I do not have dates when I specifically gave instruction on his goals…. I did not keep track of when he came in. This has never been an issue in the X years I have been here. As for physical evidence?? I will ask the teachers. I have 22 kids that go in and out of my room all day and I do not keep attendance. … These are not the answers you want to here [sic], but they are the truth.”

23 Implementing IEPs: What not to “say” On behavior: Teacher to Parent: “I think Student is really calling out for some help and attention and Student doesn’t know how else to proceed… Student’s behavior is extremely worrisome to me… Student should probably be seen by private psychiatrist as soon as Mother can make an appointment.”

24 ROADMAP Timeline Violations Child Find / Evaluation Violations IEP Drafting Issues IEP Implementation Issues Placement Issues Support Staff

25 Inclusion “Each public agency must ensure that to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities... Are edcuated with children who are nondisabled.” 34 C.F.R. Section Can education in the regular classroom, with the use of supplementary aids and services, be achieved satisfactorily? Oberti v. Board of Education, 995 F.2d 1204 (3d Cir. 1993)

26 Placement Issues Failure to meet Least Restrictive Environment requirements Failure to evaluate alternative modifications and accommodations that could be made to the curriculum, teaching methods, group settings and program to enable the child to participate in regular education Failure to have the continuum of placement option available to students Failure to train staff in alternative teaching methods Placing a student based on “labeling”

27 Placement Issues District has not exhausted all possible accommodations, modifications, assistive technology, staff development, behavioral options before recommending removal of student to more restrictive placement District has failed to document the accommodations and modifications that have been tried with the student District has failed to consider the length of daily transportation trips District has failed to properly implement a Chapter 15/Section 504 Service Agreement

28 ROADMAP Timeline Violations Child Find / Evaluation Violations IEP Drafting Issues IEP Implementation Issues Placement Issues Support Staff

29 Obtain clarification when needed Communication is key Follow hierarchy Confidentiality

30 ROADMAP Timeline Violations Child Find / Evaluation Violations IEP Drafting Issues IEP Implementation Issues Placement Issues Support Staff GRACE M. DEON, ESQUIRE (215)


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