On February 15, 2005, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Albany School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2004-2005 school year:
- Properly responded to a parent request regarding observation of the student;
- Incorporated an individualized education program (IEP) team agreed-upon activity pertaining to in-service training into the IEP, and implemented that activity; and
- Implemented the 11 areas of the student's IEP described in the complaint letter.
On May 27, 2004, the IEP team met to review and develop the student's IEP for the following school year, which was a transition year. The parents were concerned about the transition, and the resulting potential stress, and requested that the student be observed in the beginning of the school year to determine how he was doing in his classrooms. District staff agreed to the request, but it was not incorporated in the student's IEP. A special education consultant, who was at the IEP team meeting, agreed to conduct the observation and provide the in-service training.
In the beginning of the 04-05 school year, the new special education director who had not been present at the May 2004 IEP meeting gave the student's mother two different names of consultants to conduct the observation. The special education director believed that the mother would get back to him about which consultant she would prefer. The parents believed that the district would proceed with the observation. This misunderstanding delayed the observation. The district conducted the observation on April 12, 2005, in response to this complaint.
At the May 27, 2004, meeting, the IEP team also agreed, at the parent's request, to provide a 30 minute in-service for the student's teachers. The intent was to provide the in-service after the observation so that feedback could be provided about how the student was doing, and to provide further information about the student's disabilities. This agreement was incorporated into the student's IEP and there is no specified timeframe, other than it must be completed within the duration of the IEP. The district did not provide this in-service because the observation had not been completed. The district will conduct this in-service after the observation and prior to the expiration of the IEP. Because the services were intended to address concerns about the student's transition, the observation and in-service should have been conducted earlier in the school year.
The complainant further states that eleven provisions in the IEP have not been implemented during the 2004-2005 school year. Through interviews with district staff, and review of the IEP, the department has determined that three provisions were not implemented. Tests were not consistently read aloud to the student, teacher or student notes were not consistently provided, and the student did not take breaks under the circumstances specified in the IEP. These modifications were required by the IEP. District staff stated that they provided the opportunity for notes, oral tests, and breaks, but the student used alternative note taking methods, refused to have tests read to him aloud, and did not need or sometimes refused to take breaks. If district staff believed that these modifications were not necessary or that the student was refusing them, the district should have reconvened the IEP meeting to discuss and potentially change the IEP. The other provisions specified in the complaint were complied with in accordance with the IEP. Within 30 days of receiving this decision, the district must submit a corrective action plan to the department to ensure that IEP provisions are followed, and the procedures that should be followed if staff members believe changes to the IEP are necessary.
This concludes our review of this complaint.
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy