IDEA Complaint Decision 03-019

On March 24, 2003, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Madison Metropolitan School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2002-2003 school year, implemented the student's individualized education program (IEP) regarding measuring student progress; addressing three short-term objectives for three goals; providing audiology and assistive technology services as related services; providing community experience transition services; providing supplemental aids and services of an interpreter, textbooks for the home, central locker location; and providing special education support for organizational, writing, and assistive technology needs. Although the complaint was filed by the parent, she requested that the department interview the child's grandmother rather than herself.

The 2002-2003 IEP includes annual goals for the three need areas of study and organizational skills, self-advocacy, and post secondary transitional skills. Each annual goal includes at least two short-term objectives or benchmarks as well as criteria for evaluation. The initial IEP was developed on August 9, 2002, with IEP review dates of February 22, 2003, and April 2, 2003. The IEP indicates for each goal how progress toward that goal is to be measured, as well as how and how often the student's progress would be reported to the parent. Based on documents provided by the district and interviews with district staff, the department concludes that the district reported progress to the parent according to what was stated on the IEP.

The parent alleges that one short-term objective related to each of three different goals was not implemented. Specifically, the parent originally alleged that no file was provided, as required in the objective, and there was no consistency in addressing the first goal. The district maintains that the case manager did provide binders and folders and spent time with the student on this task. The case manager also provided an assignment notebook to assist in the organizational skills. This is no longer an issue of concern.

The parent alleges that regarding the second goal, there was no charting of progress and there was no process developed for assignments and assistance. The district maintains that charts were completed weekly by every teacher making comments regarding their observations. The case manager states that these charts were mailed home each week. The district also maintains that a three-tier process for assignments was developed, including access to support for specific subjects in the resource room, as well as access to the library and the case manager for assistance. The district states that the student made frequent use of both the resource room and library and that the process has worked well for the student. The grandparent now agrees that the process of access has been provided but wishes to have a more active support system for requesting assistance not just access.

The parent alleged that she had no knowledge of anecdotal logs that were used to measure progress and that there was no contact with a Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) counselor related to the post secondary transition goal. The district maintains that comments on this issue were made on the weekly charts mentioned above. The DVR contact was not scheduled to meet with the student until April or May of 2003. The case manager also sent emails, at least once weekly, to the family in addition to the charts that contained information from the anecdotal logs. The grandparent now agrees that these issues have been resolved to the family's satisfaction.

The parent alleges that audiology services and assistive technology services listed on the IEP had not been provided. The district maintains that the audiology services were provided by the audiologist. The district further maintains that assistive technology services were provided to the student as follows: the student had access to a computer, a scanner, and modifications made to the computer for Spanish. In addition, the district provided a computerized graphic organizer for use by the student at home. The grandparent indicates that the quick pen scanner has not been available but a translator has been available. The grandparent acknowledges that follow through for the provision of technology has occurred and is confident that it will resume again next school year.

The parent alleges that the district did not provide supplemental aids and services listed on the IEP; specifically, the district did not provide a sign language interpreter for all tests, a set of class textbooks for the home (only Spanish was provided), and that the locker was not centrally located according to the student. The district maintains that the interpreter goes to all classes and tests and that math and Spanish books were provided for home use. Textbooks were not provided for English and child development as those classes did not have a textbook. The locker is located off the Commons area on the F-wing and close to the entrance. The grandparent now agrees that the sign language interpreter is being provided and is available for all tests. Neither the parent nor the grandparent has actually seen the location of the locker.

The parent alleges that special education support has not been provided for the scheduled amounts of time. The district held an IEP meeting on April 2, 2003, where many of the issues raised in the complaint were discussed by the IEP team. This has resulted in the addition of thirty minutes of organizational skills training twice per week by a special education teacher. The grandparent agrees that tools needed in the organizational area are now being provided.

The district disputes the allegation that the case manager assistance is sporadic and ineffective. The district maintains that the student is accessing general education classes with the supports as outlined in the IEP. The district also provides the student with access to tutors after school four days per week by providing transportation services for the student. The grandparent acknowledges that this is being provided.

The district has provided ample opportunities for open communication between the family and the district to discuss areas of concern through daily emails, weekly charts mailed home and being responsive to all requests for reviews of the IEP throughout the school year. The district has increased services as a result of the IEP team meetings. The department concludes that the district implemented the IEP provisions reviewed in this investigation.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.

//signed 5/23/03
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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