IDEA Complaint Decision 07-024

On March 14, 2007, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the School District of Reedsburg. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are identified and addressed below.

  • Did the district, during the 2006-2007 school year, properly consider the parent’s request that school counseling or psychological services be included in the child’s individualized education program (IEP)?

In October the district requested parent permission to obtain a private psychological evaluation of the student. The parent elected not to sign a release for the evaluation and had a private evaluation completed. The parent shared with the district education information from the evaluation. In a November e-mail the parent asked the district about counseling or psychological services for the student. In response, the district offered services that were available to all students for a period of time. However, the IEP team never considered whether counseling or psychological services were needed as a related service. Interviews conducted with district staff indicated that the need for counseling or psychological services was not considered or discussed during the February 27, 2007, IEP team meeting. Furthermore, there is no documentation in the IEP that they were considered and no notice was given regarding refusal to provide the services requested by the parent. The district must, within 30 days, develop a corrective action plan to ensure that school counseling or psychological services are properly considered for students with disabilities and are addressed through the IEP process when appropriate. In addition, by June 14, 2007, the district must conduct an IEP team meeting for this student to determine if school counseling or psychological services should be included in the student’s IEP as related services. The district will submit a copy of the student’s IEP to the department by June 20, 2007.

  • Did the district, during the 2006-2007 school year, properly determine the student’s educational needs relating to concrete thinking and develop required goals and services to meet those needs?

District IEP team participants and the student’s parents state the student’s concrete, hands-on learning was discussed at the May 12, 2006, and February 27, 2007, IEP team meetings. The student’s May 12 and February 27 IEPs include a statement of transition service needs, "(Student) enjoys hands-on learning and the outdoors." Both IEPs present levels of educational performance state "Enjoys hands on activities." The February 27, 2007, special factors behavior statement specifies that instruction will incorporate practical and hands-on applications. The student’s need for concrete hands-on learning was considered at IEP team meetings, and reflected in the student’s IEP.

  • Did the district, during the 2006-2007 school year, properly determine the student’s educational placement?

On May 12, 2006, an IEP team meeting was conducted to develop the student’s annual IEP and determine continuing placement. The student’s parents participated in the meeting. The student continued to be placed at a special education program outside the district. The program was considered more highly supervised and structured than what was offered at the district high school. The IEP stated that placement at the district high school was anticipated when the student met the program’s exit criteria. The student met the required exit criteria in July 2006 and the student’s parents informed the school that the student would be returning to the district high school for the 2006-2007 school year. In September 2006 the student attended the district high school including a regular education math class and special education services. When the student returned to the district high school, the district did not conduct an IEP team meeting to review and revise the student’s IEP given this change in placement, and provide the student’s parents written notice of the provision of Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for the student when the student’s placement changed from placement in an alternative education program outside the district to placement at the district high school including participation in a regular education math class.

The district must, within 30 days, develop a corrective action plan to ensure the district properly conducts an IEP team meeting to determine the educational placement or change of placement of student’s with disabilities, including providing timely notice to parents. In addition, by June 14, 2007, the district must conduct an IEP team meeting for this student to determine whether the student requires additional services as a result of not holding an IEP team meeting in September 2006. The district will submit a copy of the student’s IEP to the department by June 20, 2007.

  • Did the district, during the 2006-2007 school year, properly determine educational services to be provided to the student after February 23, 2007?

On February 23, 2007, the student was suspended one day after a physical conflict with a district staff member. Following the incident the student was kept home from school by the student’s parents based on the recommendation of a doctor. On February 27, the district conducted an IEP team meeting to review and revise the student’s IEP and determine continuing placement. The student’s parents participated in the meeting. The student’s IEP was revised and the student was placed at home or a nearby location effective February 28. The special education services are "specialized instruction and behavioral support for all subjects, two hours per day to increase as tolerated and determined via IEP team." A district must ensure that a student with a disability who cannot go to school because of medical needs receives appropriate instruction. The district promptly convened an IEP team meeting, reviewed the student’s IEP, and properly determined educational services to be provided to the student after February 23, 2007.

  • Did the district, during the 2006-2007 school year, properly report the student’s progress toward meeting annual IEP goals?

The student’s May 12, 2006, and February 27, 2007, IEPs include statements of how the student’s progress will be measured and when parents will be informed. The IEP specified that parent will be informed with report cards, IEP meetings, conferences, quarterly reports for math and language skills, and phone calls. The district further reported the student’s progress toward meeting his annual goals to the parents.

  • Did the district, during the 2006-2007 school year, properly ensure that the student’s educational aide was properly supervised?

A district must ensure that professional teaching responsibilities are carried out by, or directly supervised by, a special education teacher who is licensed by the department. Direct supervision means regular, continuing interaction between the special education teacher and teacher aide which includes time to evaluate the services provided. There must be sufficient contact between the special education teacher and the teacher aide, and between the teacher and the student to enable the teacher to diagnose educational needs, prescribe teaching and learning procedures, and evaluate the effects of teaching. Licensed district staff who worked with the student had direct daily contact with the aide and student, which enabled them to meet these requirements. The district provided training to the aide and met requirements related to his supervision.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 5/14/07
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/jfd

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