On December 7, 2004, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2004-2005 school year, implemented a student's individualized education program (IEP) regarding involvement in the general curriculum and the location where the student is to be educated.
The student transferred into the district at the beginning of the school year from another Wisconsin school district. The parent had contacted the new district in the spring of 2004 to tell staff about her child's special education needs. The child's special education teacher from the sending district met twice with the special education teacher who would be the child's teacher in the new district to discuss the student's educational needs. In late spring 2004, the student visited the school he was expected to attend in the new district. The student began attending school in the new district on the first school day. The district adopted the sending district's IEP on the fourth day of school.
The student's IEP for approximately the first five weeks of school requires special education instruction in math and reading/language arts. The location for this instruction is the resource room. The IEP provides that the student will not be involved in the general curriculum for math and reading/language arts. The IEP requires a particular kind of specialized instruction, which is to include extra reading and math instruction, instead of science and social studies. This instruction is to occur in the resource room. The parent maintains that the district did not implement the IEP regarding instruction to be provided in the resource room and regarding use of the general curriculum. The student's IEP and placement were modified later in the fall and the parent is satisfied with the current program and placement.
Unlike the sending district school, which uses traditional class periods, the school the student attended in the fall of 2004 uses block scheduling, with core classes lasting one and one half hours. For the first four weeks of school, the student attended portions of core classes for reading/language arts, math, science, and social studies instruction. The student attended these four classes each day for up to 30 minutes of each class accompanied by either the special education teacher or special education instructional aide. For the remainder of each class the student returned to the special education resource room for individual and group instruction in each of the subjects. District staff included the student in portions of core classes based on their understanding of the student's needs and interests as described by the sending district staff during discussions the previous spring. The district believed that it was providing services to the student consistent with his IEP because they were providing four hours of instruction in the resource room as specified in the IEP and were providing the specialized instruction called for in the IEP. District staff modified the regular education curriculum in each subject for use with the student, based on his learning abilities and needs. The district did provide the student with the particular kind of specialized instruction, including extra reading and math instruction required in the IEP, but only for one, one-and-one-half-hour period per day. This instruction occurred in the resource room.
The district did provide the particular kind of specialized instruction, including extra reading and math instruction, identified in the IEP and provided it in the resource room. The district modified the general curriculum for math and reading/language arts as the IEP required. However, this investigation has disclosed that the district and parent did not share a common understanding regarding the amount of instruction to be proved to the student in regular and special education environments. Because the parent is satisfied with services currently being provided to the student, no child-specific corrective action is required. The district is directed to ensure that when a student transfers into the district in the future from a district which uses traditional class periods, the parent and district staff understand the services which will be provided in the district when block scheduling will be utilized.
This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.
//signed CST 2/7/05
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy