IDEA Complaint Decision 09-003

On January 28, 2009, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Appleton Area School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district from January 28, 2008 through January 28, 2009:

  • Provided a copy of the student’s individualized education program (IEP) to the parent in a timely manner;
  • Properly provided the parent with reports on the student’s progress toward meeting the annual goals;
  • Properly responded to the parent’s concerns regarding behavior;
  • Properly responded to the parent’s concerns regarding student progress toward annual goals and involvement in general education environment; and
  • Implemented the student’s IEP regarding consultation with regular education staff and provision of texts and folders.

A school district must give a copy of the child’s IEP to the parents with the notice of placement, and it must be provided prior to the date of implementation. On May 28, 2008, the student’s IEP team met to conduct an annual review and revision and to determine continuing placement. The revisions to the IEP were incorporated, and a copy was mailed to the parent within two weeks after the meeting. The projected implementation date was not until September 4, 2008. The district provided a copy of the IEP in a timely manner.

The student’s IEPs in effect from January 28, 2008 through May 21, 2008, specify the parent will receive quarterly reports on the student’s progress toward meeting the annual goals. Consequently, during the second half of the 2007-2008 school year, the parent should have received two reports regarding progress on each of the three goals. The IEP does not require a written report, and the school district may provide the reports verbally at meetings, by telephone, or at teacher/parent conferences. District staff contacted the parent in March and April regarding progress on the three goals. On May 12, 2008, district staff met with the parent to discuss progress on each of the three goals and to discuss the student’s transition to high school the following year.

The IEP in effect for the 2008-2009 school year likewise provides for quarterly reports. In October, in response to parent concerns, district staff contacted the parent and reported progress on each of the goals. After the January 29th meeting, district staff began providing the parent with weekly emails regarding the student’s progress on the annual goals. Consequently, the IEP requirement was followed also for the 2008-2009 school year.

In May 2008, the IEP team met to conduct an annual review of the IEP and review the behavior intervention plan (BIP). During this meeting, the IEP team reviewed the student’s progress regarding both the general curriculum and the annual goals. The parent’s concerns and input were also considered. Based on the review and input, the goals were modified, and one goal was added regarding compliance with directions. A BIP continued to be provided. The student began attending a high school in the district for the 2008-2009 school year.

In the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, the student was successful in maintaining organization and completing assignments. Staff at the new school were not aware of the student’s BIP, and, consequently, her BIP was not implemented. In October 2008, the student’s grades and motivation began to deteriorate. On October 30, 2008, the parent expressed concerns to school staff regarding the student’s grades and missing assignments, and in mid-December 2008, the parent requested the IEP team be reconvened after Christmas. An IEP team meeting was not scheduled until January 29, 2009. At this meeting, the IEP team reviewed the student’s progress and developed another BIP. District staff is continuing to monitor the effectiveness of the new BIP, staff is contacted daily regarding the student’s progress, and the parent is given a weekly report.

The district did properly respond to the parent’s concerns regarding behavior and progress toward the annual goals and the general education environment in the Spring of 2008. However, during the 2008-2009 school year, the BIP was not implemented during the first half of the school year, and the department determines the delay between the parent’s request for an IEP team meeting and the meeting was too long, particularly given the evident difficulties the student was experiencing.

Finally, the student’s IEP for the 2008-2009 school year require an extra set of textbooks to be provided at home and in the resource room. The IEP further provides for consultation with regular education staff regarding the BIP and assignment completion. The IEP does not require use of folders. Rather, this is suggested as a possible organization strategy in the discussion of present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. During the first half of the 2008-2009 school year, district staff acknowledges an extra set of textbooks was not provided for the student’s home, and although consultation regularly occurred, it was not regarding the BIP. These provisions are now being implemented.

The district must, within 30 days from the date of this decision, develop a corrective action plan to ensure IEPs are implemented when a student transfers to high school, and IEP teams are reconvened in a timely manner. The district must also conduct an IEP team meeting to determine whether additional services are required because of the failure to implement the student’s BIP and provide textbooks during the first half of the 2008-2009 school year.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 3/26/09
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/pmw

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