On May 2, 2005, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the D.C. Everest Area School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues related to the 2004-2005 school year are identified separately and addressed below.
- Whether the district properly responded to a parent's request that district staff consider a report from a private evaluation in addressing her child's educational needs.
The parent alleges the district did not properly respond to her request that district staff consider the diagnosis and recommendations written in an April 13, 2004, private evaluation report regarding meeting her child's educational needs. The parent signed a release of information for the district to receive a copy, and she verified with the evaluator's office that the report was sent to the district on April 14, 2004. The parent made verbal requests at an informal meeting on October 2, 2004, at the November 11 IEP team meeting, two times in February 2005, and at the April 12, 2005, IEP team meeting for the district to consider the diagnosis and recommendations in the evaluation report. The evaluation report was not reviewed and considered by district staff prior to the April 12 IEP team meeting. Another IEP meeting was reconvened on April 25 to consider the diagnosis and recommendations from the evaluation report for this student with an emotional behavioral disability.
When a parent provides information from an outside evaluation to a district for review, the results of the evaluation, if it meets district criteria, must be considered by the district in any decision made with respect to the provision of FAPE to the student. The district did not address the parent's request in a timely manner. However, the district did in the end consider the information provided by the parent; therefore, no additional child-specific action is required. The district must, within 30 days of receipt of this decision, submit a corrective action plan (CAP) to ensure that all special education staff understand the steps to responding to parent requests in a timely manner.
- Whether the district, during the November 11, 2004, IEP team meeting, properly considered information provided by the child's parent when determining the length of the student's school day.
The parent contends the district did not properly consider information provided by her to the November 2004 IEP team members when determining the length of her child's school day upon returning from a day treatment program. At that meeting, the parent and a private counselor requested a full time school placement upon the student's return from the treatment program. The IEP team considered the parent's request for full time attendance; however, the IEP team determined the student should transition back into the school in accordance with the original treatment program plan, under which the student would attend school beginning with three classes from November 8 until his full time placement on January 24, 2005. The district considered the parent's information at the IEP team meeting.
- Whether the district implemented the required transportation stated in the student's IEP.
The November 11, 2004, IEP states the student will receive transportation beginning November 17, 2004, through December 13, 2004. The district provided transportation from home to school, but not school to home. The parent provided transportation from school to home each day from November 17 to December 13, 2004.
The district did not provide transportation services required in the student's IEP. The district must, within 30 days of receipt of this decision, submit to the department a CAP to ensure transportation services for this student and other students in the district are provided in conformity with their IEPs and at no cost to the parents. The district must also provide reimbursement to the parent for providing transportation for her child between November 17, and December 13, 2004.
- Whether the district implemented the student's IEP by using qualified personnel.
On June 10, 2004, an IEP team meeting was held to determine the student's special education services and placement. The IEP stated the student will receive special education for all academic instruction at a day treatment program from June 10, 2004, to January 19, 2005. From the end of August to October 14, there was no special education teacher for the student. The parent withdrew her child from the day treatment program on November 5, because there was no licensed special education teacher. On November 8, the student began a partial day schedule in the district by taking three classes. On November 11, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the student's special education services.
When a district makes an educational placement for a student with a disability, it must ensure the educational placement complies with state standards. The district did not meet this requirement after the end of August. The district must, within 30 days of receipt of this decision, submit to the department a CAP to ensure that students receiving day treatment services are provided instruction that meets department standards. The district will also reconvene another IEP team meeting prior to the beginning of the school year and consider whether additional services are necessary due to the lapse in services.
- Whether the district properly determined the student's physical education (PE) needs and implemented the IEP regarding PE services.
The parent states her child's PE needs were not properly determined and the PE services were not implemented because he did not receive credit from the beginning of the school year to January 24, 2005, when he returned to full time attendance. The student did not receive regular PE services until January 24. The Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) written on April 25 indicates the student will take PE on a daily basis to make up for credit deficiency. The district followed required procedures related to the student's PE needs.
- Whether the district included on the IEP team a special education teacher with extensive and recent training and experience related to the student's known or suspected disability.
The parent alleges the district did not include a special education teacher as an IEP team member with extensive and recent training and experience related to the child's known or suspected disability. She maintains the special education teacher had no training in autism spectrum disorders. The student is a child with an emotional behavioral disability (EBD). The special education teacher assigned to the student's IEP team has a DPI license in the Emotional Behavioral Disabilities (EBD) and elementary teaching. This teacher also has had prior experience working with students at the elementary level who have autism.
When a district conducts IEP team meetings for the purpose of developing, reviewing, and revising an IEP, the team must include at least one special education teacher who has extensive and recent training and experience related to the child's suspected or known disability or, where appropriate, at least one special education provider of the child. The special education teacher who participates in the IEP team meeting should be the person who is, or will be, responsible for implementing the IEP. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the team includes a special education teacher whose training and experience are consistent with the child's needs that are related to his or her disability. If the special education teacher has a license in the child's area of disability, the teacher is generally presumed to meet the "extensive and recent training and experience" standard. Because a teacher who attended the IEP team meetings was licensed in the student's area of disability, the district complied with the extensive and recent training and experience requirement.
- Whether the district implemented the student's IEP regarding placement in accelerated learning for regular education science and history classes.
Finally, the parent maintains the district did not implement her child's IEP regarding placement in accelerated learning regular education science and history classes. The student had been in accelerated classes in prior school years, but did not maintain the grade level required by the district to continue in these classes. The 2004-2005 IEPs do not require that the student be enrolled in the accelerated learning classes for science and history. The district was not required to place the student in these classes.
This concludes our review of this complaint.
//signed CST/SJP 7/28/05
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy