On October 11, 2001, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Racine Unified School District. The issue in this investigation is whether the district failed to implement the current individualized education program (IEP) of the complainants child in regard to services to be provided by regular education teachers. This is the departments decision for that complaint.
An IEP team meeting was held on June 8, 2001, and included supplementary aids, services and other supports to be provided on behalf of the complainants child. The IEP also included program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided. The complainant alleges that some provisions of the IEP have not been consistently implemented. Specifically, the complainant maintains:
- that some of her childs regular education teachers say the IEP is not stated in a manner that is understandable to them and the special education staff responsible for implementing it;
- there are instances where a regular education teacher has refused to follow the IEP in regard to allowing extended time for assignments and tests;
- there are instances where a regular education teacher has refused to follow the IEP in regard to completing progress reports which state what and when assignments are due;
- regular education teachers were not inserviced at the beginning of the school year as required by the IEP; and,
- that weekly meetings between special education teachers and regular education teachers are not taking place.
Information provided by the district to the department included copies of the childs IEPs dated June 8, 2001, and October 30, 2001, a copy of the students weekly checklist/progress report, information on the childs disability provided to staff, and the students grades for the 2000-2001 school year and the first quarter of the 2001-2002 school year. In a letter to the department dated November 8, 2001, the district explained that the October 30, 2001, IEP team meeting had been scheduled to address the complainants concerns before the complaint was submitted to the department. During this meeting regular education staff were asked if they were able to understand the current IEP and if it was clear enough to allow for implementation. None of the teachers present expressed a concern in understanding the IEP.
In regard to receiving extended time on tests and assignments, the district explained that the student was given the opportunity, but that it was not always needed, or that the student declined the additional time. The June 8, 2001, IEP states that additional time will be provided for tests and assignments, but the district understood this to mean that additional time would be offered if appropriate. IEPs must be written so that all parties understand the services to be provided. Language to clarify this issue was added at the October 30, 2001, IEP team meeting, to ensure that all parties understand the commitment of services. No further student-specific corrective action is required for this part of the issue.
The students June 8, 2001, IEP contained language relating to organizational skills but did not specify the adult support and monitoring of those skills in a manner that was clear to all parties. To correct this, the language was changed at the October 30, 2001, IEP team meeting to clarify the responsibilities of both the student and his teachers. A change was also made to clarify the description of special education services the student is to receive. No further student-specific corrective action is required for this part of the issue.
Information provided by the district also documented that on August 28, 2001, a special education teacher provided an inservice for regular education teachers concerning the childs disability as required in the IEP.
Finally, while there is no set schedule for meetings between the special education teacher and regular education teachers, the special education case manager informed the department that she communicates with the teachers at least once a week consistent with the IEP. The department has found no evidence of an error in this regard.
The district is directed to submit a corrective action plan within 30 days of the date of this decision that ensures district staff understand their responsibilities in writing IEPs that are clear and understandable to all involved. Specifically, IEPs must clearly state the special education service, related service, supplementary aids and services, and program modifications or supports for school personnel so that all parties understand the commitment of resources.
This concludes our investigation of this complaint.
//signed CST 12/13/01
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy