On May 3, 2000 (letter dated May 1, 2000), a complaint was filed with the Department of Public Instruction by XXXXX against the Kiel Area School District. This complaint alleges a violation of special education law regarding the implementation of programs for children with disabilities.
Pursuant to 34 CFR 300.660-662 of the regulations implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and 115.762(3)(g) and 115.90(1), Wis. Stats., the Department of Public Instruction investigated this complaint. In investigating a complaint, the department reviews a district's compliance with state and federal requirements. In investigating this complaint, department staff reviewed correspondence from the parent and director of pupil services and relevant materials and pupil records from the school district. Department staff also had conversations with the parent, director of pupil services, and a teacher of the learning disabled.
APPLICABLE STATUTES AND RULES:
Section 115.76, Wisconsin Statutes
In this subchapter:
(1) "Assistive technology device" means any item, piece of equipment or product system that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.
(2) "Assistive technology service" means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition or use of an assistive technology device * * *
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(7) "Free appropriate public education" means special education and related services that are provided at public expense and under public supervision and direction, meet the standards of the department, include an appropriate preschool, elementary or secondary school education and are provided in conformity with an individualized education program.
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Section 115.77, Wisconsin Statutes
Local educational agency duties.
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(1m) A local educational agency shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the division that it does all of the following:
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(b) Makes available a free appropriate public education to children with disabilities as required by this subchapter and applicable state and federal law.
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Section 115.787, Wisconsin Statutes
Individualized education programs.
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(2) REQUIRED COMPONENTS. An individualized education program shall include all of the following:
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(b) A statement of measurable annual goals for the child, including benchmarks or short-term objectives, related to meeting the child's needs that result from the child's disability to enable the child to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum, and to meeting each of the child's other educational needs that result from the child's disability.
(c) A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child * * *
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(h) A statement of all of the following:
1. How the child's progress toward the annual goals described in par. (b) will be measured.
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Sec. 300.308 Assistive technology.
(a) Each public agency shall ensure that assistive technology devices or assistive technology services, or both, as those terms are defined in 300.5-300.6, are made available to a child with a disability if required as a part of the child's--
(1) Special education under 300.26;
(2) Related services under 300.24; or
(3) Supplementary aids and services under 300.28 and 300.550(b)(2).
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Sec. 300.342 When IEPs must be in effect.
(a) General. At the beginning of each school year, each public agency shall have an IEP in effect for each child with a disability within its jurisdiction.
(b) Implementation of IEPs. Each public agency shall ensure that--
(1) An IEP--
(i) Is in effect before special education and related services are provided to an eligible child under this part; and
(ii) Is implemented as soon as possible following the meetings described under 300.343;
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Sec. 300.346 Development, review, and revision of IEP.
(a) Development of IEP. (1) General. In developing each child's IEP, the IEP team, shall consider--
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(2) Consideration of special factors. The IEP team also shall--
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(v) Consider whether the child requires assistive technology devices and services.
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Sec. 300.347 Content of IEP.
(a) General. The IEP for each child with a disability must include--
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(2) A statement of measurable annual goals, including benchmarks or short-term objectives, related to--
(i) Meeting the child's needs that result from the child's disability to enable the child to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum (i.e., the same curriculum as for nondisabled children), or for preschool children, as appropriate, to participate in appropriate activities; and
(ii) Meeting each of the child's other educational needs that result from the child's disability;
(3) A statement of special education and related services * * *
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ADMINISTRATIVE AND JUDICIAL INTERPRETATIONS:
34 CFR Part 300, Appendix A, Questions 31 and 35.
31. Must the public agency ensure that all services specified in a child's IEP are provided?
Yes. The public agency must ensure that all services set forth in the child's IEP are provided, consistent with the child's needs as identified in the IEP.* * *
35. Must the IEP specify the amount of services or may it simply list the services to be provided?
The amount of services to be provided must be stated in the IEP, so that the level of the agency's commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members. The amount of time to be committed to each of the various services to be provided must be (1) appropriate to the specific service, and (2) stated in the IEP in a manner that is clear to all who are involved in both the development and implementation of the IEP.
FINDINGS OF FACT:
The student whose education is the subject of this complaint received special education and related services, including assistive technology services, at the Kiel High School during the 1999-2000 school year. On January 20, 2000, the district conducted a meeting to review/revise the student's IEP. The student and her parents participated in the IEP team meeting. The student's January 20, 2000, IEP requires special education programming, including study hall for 12 periods per week, adaptive physical education for one period 3 times per week, English for one period daily, and PLATO (Math program on computer) for one period daily. Although the student's IEP further indicates that related services are not needed to benefit from special education, it requires psychological services twice a week for 20 minutes each session.
The student's January 20, 2000, IEP includes a new goal and short-term objectives dealing with assistive technology services/devices for the student. The IEP requires the district to implement the student's annual goal: "(student) will increase her use and knowledge of assistive technology devices," along with implementing her short-term objectives. Her short-term objectives indicate that: "(student) will participate in training to become familiar with the Dragon Dictate and WYNN (What You Need Now) software; (student) will become familiar with Dragon Dictate software and will be able to explain how to use it to other students; (student) will become familiar with WYNN software and begin to use it to assist with completion of her academic tasks; and (student) will become familiar with a modified keyboard and use it to type information for her classes." The student's IEP also includes the following procedures for measuring her progress toward the annual goal relating to assistive technology: "charting progress, use and carryover into daily assignments and also her ability to explain how to use these devices to others (e.g., students, teacher)." The student's IEP requires that assistive technology services/devices be provided to the student, but her IEP does not specify the amount of time, including frequency/time, location, and duration to be committed to assistive technology services/devices.
On February 15, 2000, the district received the assistive technology hardware and software for the Dragon Dictate system that it had ordered for the student. The Dragon Dictate is a voice recognition system, which allows a student to read into the system to produce a document. An IEP team participant reported that the district's technology consultant emphasized to the IEP team participants that the voice dictation program requires many hours of training for the voice system to be effective. At the end of March, the district received the WYNN software that it had ordered for the student. The WYNN software provides a student with the capability to scan a reading assignment, and the system will then read the material back to the student.
On March 14, 2000, the district's technology consultant provided training to school staff on the utilization of the Dragon Dictate system, voice recognition/dictation hardware and software. On March 28, 2000, the district's technology consultant provided additional training to school staff on the utilization of the Dragon Dictate system, along with training on the WYNN software. Following this training, a teacher of the learning disabled (LD) spent many hours before and after school in becoming familiar with the Dragon Dictate or voice recognition system. In April 2000, as school staff became comfortable with the assistive technology devices, they requested the daughter utilize the new technology for some of her school assignments. The daughter chose, instead, to work on alternative school assignments that she felt did not need the utilization of assistive technology devices.
On May 3, 2000, the parent filed an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) complaint with the department alleging that the school district failed to implement her daughter's IEP goal and short-term objectives relating to assistive technology services/devices. On May 4, 2000, the district conducted an IEP team meeting to discuss the parent's allegation. At this meeting the IEP team identified specific times throughout the day that the daughter could benefit from assistive technology services/devices. In addition, the IEP team agreed that a weekly report would be sent to the parents by the LD staff, noting the daughter's weekly assistive technology work on the related annual goal and short-term objectives.
A district meets its obligation to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to a child with a disability in part by providing special education and related services, which meet the rules enforced by the department and in conformity with a proper IEP. Among the rules enforced by the department are the rules concerning the content of a child's IEP. The IEP for each child must include a statement of specific special education and related services, including assistive technology services to be provided the child. The statement of special education and related services, including assistive technology services must specify the amount of each service. The amount of time committed to each of the services must be stated in the IEP in a manner that is clear to all who are involved in both the development and implementation of the IEP. If assistive technology services are necessary for a child to benefit from special education, those services must be specified and provided consistent with the child's IEP. The IEP for a child with a disability must include a statement of measurable annual goals, including benchmarks or short-term objectives. A child's IEP also must include a statement of how the child's progress toward the annual goals will be measured. The district must implement the provisions in the IEP including the annual goals and short-term objectives.
Issue #1 deals with the allegation that the district failed to implement the student's 1999-2000 IEP goal and short-term objectives related to assistive technology services/devices. The student's January 20, 2000, IEP requires the district to provide training in specific assistive technology hardware and software, so that the student can explain how to use the assistive technology to other students and use it to complete her academic tasks. However, the student's January 20, 2000, IEP does not specify the amount of time, including frequency/time, location and duration for the provision of the assistive technology services/devices. Therefore, the district failed to provide assistive technology services/devices consistent with a proper IEP. There is a violation in regard to issue #1. However, since the filing of this complaint, the district convened an IEP team meeting, and the IEP team identified specific times throughout the school week for the student to engage in assistive technology services. The district also filed weekly assistive technology reports with the parent on May 12, 19, 25, and June 1, 2000, which explicate the assistive technology equipment that was utilized on a given day, the amount of time spent with the assistive technology task and the nature of the task. The district has, therefore, taken steps to correct this violation with regard to this child.
Issue #2 deals with the allegation that the district failed to include procedures for measuring the daughter's progress toward the annual goal relating to assistive technology. The student's January 20, 2000, IEP included procedures for measuring the student's progress toward the annual goal relating to assistive technology. Those procedures included the charting of progress, use and carryover into daily assignments, and the student's ability to explain how to use these assistive technology devices to others (e.g., students, teachers). There is no violation in regard to issue #2.
The Kiel Area School District shall, within 30 days of receipt of this report, submit to the department a corrective action plan (CAP) to ensure that the IEP of this student and the IEPs of other students provide assistive technology services/devices consistent with a proper IEP, that includes the frequency/time, location and duration of the services/devices.
The CAP shall include the activities the district will undertake to implement the directives, the personnel responsible for each activity, the date by which each activity will be completed, and the type of documentation that will be submitted to the department as evidence of completion of each activity. If a CAP requires the district to develop one or more products, the district may submit the product(s) as part of the corrective action plan. The CAP will be reviewed and the district will be informed if any revisions are required. The district will implement the CAP after it has been approved by the department.
This concludes our investigation of this complaint. This letter is not intended, and should not be construed, to cover any other issues regarding compliance with the IDEA or Chapter 115, Wisconsin Statutes, which may exist and which are not specifically discussed herein. Under the Wisconsin public records law, 19.31-19.39, Wisconsin Statutes, it may be necessary to release this document and related correspondence and records upon request.
Juanita S. Pawlisch, Ph.D., Assistant Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy