IDEA Complaint Decision 02-050

On August 20, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the West Bend School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2000-2001 school year:

  • included required participants in an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting for a child with a disability held in May 2002;
  • ensured that staff responsible for implementing portions of the child's IEP were informed of their specific responsibilities and the specific accommodations, modifications and supports to be provided to the child;
  • implemented the child's IEP requiring additional time to complete tests; and
  • informed the parent of the child's progress toward his annual goals and the extent to which that progress is sufficient to enable him to achieve the goals by the end of the year, as required by the IEP.

On May 9, 2002, an IEP meeting was held for the purpose of developing an annual IEP for the student who is the subject of this complaint. The mother contends that three of the student's regular 8th grade teachers who would be responsible for implementing portions of the IEP, left the meeting before it concluded. After the three teachers left, the remaining participants (the mother, the Learning Disability teacher, and the Local Educational Agency representative) continued to work on a draft IEP. At this time, the mother expressed her displeasure with not having the 8th grade teachers present for the entire meeting. This district responded by scheduling another IEP meeting for May 23, 2002, which the three 8th grade teachers attended and the IEP was completed. The regular education teacher(s) of a child with a disability, as member of the IEP team, are required to participate in the development, review, and revision of the child's IEP to the extent appropriate.

The department concludes that the district included the required participants in the IEP team meetings held on May 9, 2002, and May 23, 2002.

The mother alleges that, during the 2001-2002 school year, not all of her son's 7th grade teachers were aware of his disability and the accommodations he was entitled to. Specifically, she alleges that his Art teacher stated during a phone conversation that she knew nothing about the student's diagnosis, his IEP, or his accommodations, and that on two occasions his French teacher did not allow him extended time for tests. The district maintains and has submitted materials to substantiate that in August 2001, each of the student's 7th grade teachers who would have the student enrolled in their respective classes were given copies of information about the student, including a list of accommodations to be used with him, confidential information regarding his disability, and its impact on him along with an attached memorandum which included a directive to each teacher to "review it before the students are placed in your classes. IEP's are legal documents that must be followed."

During telephone interviews, staff acknowledged that they had received copies of each of these documents. Additionally, the Art teacher stated that she was not sure when she received the information or whether or not she ever had a conversation with the mother in which she denied knowledge of the student's IEP or his disability. The French teacher stated that he was fully aware of the student's need for accommodations and that extended time was consistently given to the student for all test and assignments in accordance with his IEP. In response to the mother's request for a meeting regarding these incidents and other concerns, the district scheduled an informational meeting for February 15, 2002, with all of the student's regular and special education teachers, including the French and Art teachers, the principal, the guidance counselor, the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder consultant, and the school psychologist to address the educational needs and programming for the student. During the meeting, there was a discussion of modifications and strategies for working with the student. Following the meeting, a copy of the student's complete IEP was routed to each of the participants including the Art and French teachers. The department concludes that the district has ensured that staff responsible for implementing portions of the child's IEP were informed of their specific responsibilities and the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports to be provided to the student and that the district implemented the child's IEP requiring additional time to complete tests.

The mother contends that on November 13, 2001, she received a copy of a progress report on her son's IEP benchmarks but that she did not receive any additional reports about progress toward goals for the remainder of the school year. The student's IEP for the 2001-2002 school year states that progress will be measured through teacher observations and will be reported to parents through individualized progress reports, all-school progress reports, report cards, phone calls, and email. The district maintains that there were numerous communications with the mother in the form of parent-teacher conferences, after school discussions, phone calls, and emails from several staff members throughout the school year. During a telephone interview, the student's special education teacher stated that she believed she sent three or four progress reports but she did not keep copies and was not certain reports had actually been sent. The mother verified that the conferences, phone calls and conversations, and email communications took place, but that progress toward goals was not discussed at these times.

The district is required to report to parents the student's progress toward annual goals and the extent to which that progress is sufficient to enable the student to achieve the goals by the end of the effective period of the IEP, at least as often as parents are informed of their nondisabled children's progress. The department, in its review of all the materials submitted by the district, determines that the district did not fulfill this requirement. The district will, within 30 days of receipt of this decision, submit to the department a plan to ensure that parents of children with disabilities receive reports of their child's progress toward annual goals, and the extent to which that progress is sufficient to enable children to achieve goals, consistent with the requirements of their IEPs.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 11/15/02
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/dht
For questions about this information, contact Patricia Williams (608) 267-3720