On October 3, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Wautoma Area School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2002-2003 school year, ensured that staff responsible for implementing portions of a student's individualized education program (IEP) were informed of their responsibilities.
On March 26, 2002, an annual IEP was developed for a high school student which included specific supplemental aids, services, and supports to be provided to the student by both regular education and special education staff. The complainants contend that during the Fall 2002 parent/teacher conferences when the mother questioned teachers as to why they were not providing her son with accommodations and using the grading scale designated in his IEP some of the teachers stated they had not seen the IEP and a few said they were unaware that her son was in special education.
The district has provided written responses from each of the teachers addressing the allegations. All eight teachers stated that they were aware that the student was a special education student. The district maintains and has substantiated through interviews and with documentation that all of the student's teachers were given notices during the first week of school listing the special education students for the 2002-2003 school year. Seven of the teachers stated that they were implementing the modifications in the student's IEP. One said he did not make modifications for the student until after the parent/teacher conferences. Five of the eight teachers stated that they did not tell the mother during the parent/teacher conference that they were unaware of the student's having an IEP. Of the remaining three teachers, one recalls telling the mother that he was not familiar with the specifics of the student's IEP. Another recalls telling the mother that he did not understand the grading scale, and the remaining teacher stated she does not recall telling the parents that she was unaware of the student's IEP.
As a result of this complaint, the district identified a need to further ensure that all teachers were again made aware of the regular educators' responsibilities for implementing students' IEPs. The district held an inservice following the October 2002 staff meeting during which the general contents of an IEP were outlined, the regular educators' responsibilities were defined, and a question and answer session was provided. The father acknowledged that the district addressed the parent's concerns by taking this action. The district has also acknowledged that upon review of the student's IEP, it became apparent that the provision of services under supplemental aids and services was not clearly defined. Subsequently, the district convened an IEP meeting on October 30, 2002, to clarify the service provisions under this section including the modified grading scale for test and assignments. The IEP team, including the parents, revised this portion of the plan and the father confirmed that the revisions are satisfactory. However, he maintains that there is still some confusion regarding the modified grading scale which is being used as specified in the current IEP. The district is aware of this concern and stated that they have been and will continue meeting with the parents until this matter is resolved. The father acknowledged that the district is still working with him and his wife toward a resolution of this concern. The department concludes that the district has ensured that staff responsible for implementing portions of the student's IEP are informed of their responsibilities.
This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy