IDEA Complaint Decision 11-029

On August 12, 2011, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the West Bend School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years:

  • Properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) regarding the provision of special education;
  • Properly developed measurable annual goals; and
  • Properly responded to a parent’s request for an IEP team meeting.

The student had two IEPs in effect during the 2010-2011 school year. The first IEP, an initial IEP, was developed on November 4, 2010, and was implemented from November 12, 2010, until May 24, 2011. The second IEP was developed on April 27, 2011, and has been implemented since May 24, 2011.

Properly Implemented Individualized Education Program Regarding Special Education

Services must be stated in the IEP so that the level of the agency’s commitment of resources and the extent of removal from the regular education environment will be clear to the parents and district staff implementing the IEP. Staff responsible for implementing a student’s IEP must be aware of their specific responsibilities related to implementing the IEP and of the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided for the student in accordance with the IEP.

The student’s IEP in effect from November 12, 2010 to May 24, 2011, included monitoring of the student in his regular education classes for 15 minutes per week for the duration of the IEP and daily check-ins with the student until the end of the first semester to look over his planner and homework for 15 minutes per day. The parent states that the district did not perform monitoring or check-ins with the student in accordance with the IEP. One of the student’s special education teachers monitored the student in his regular education classes by corresponding with the student’s regular education teachers, personally visiting the regular education teachers, or both, each week. However, the district did not demonstrate that it checked in with the student daily to look over his planner and homework until the end of the semester, as required by the IEP. The district asked the student to check in with the special education teacher each day before and after school, but did not establish a schedule which ensured that this occurred.

The student’s current IEP, which has been in effect since May 24, 2011, includes specialized instruction in the student’s study hall to assist him in completing his daily work for one hour per day. The student was enrolled in a structured study hall for the remainder of the 2010-11 school year where he was provided specialized instruction in completing his daily tasks for one class hour per day. However, during the current school year, the student is not receiving any specialized instruction in a study hall for his daily work. Although the district properly implemented the student’s IEP regarding the provision of special education in the 2010-11 school year, the district failed to properly implement the IEP regarding the provision of special education in the 2011-12 school year where the student did not have a study hall. Additionally, the IEP does not reflect the student’s enrollment in three special education courses, including two courses of credit recovery and special education mathematics.

Properly Developed Measurable Annual Goals

The student has a disability in the area of other health impairment. On November 4, 2010, the IEP team developed an initial IEP. At that IEP team meeting, the parent expressed concerns that the student would not graduate on time or drop out. The IEP team documented the parent’s concerns. The IEP team also documented concerns about the student’s lack of organization and difficulty completing tasks. A student’s IEP must include a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals. The IEP team developed annual goals relating to task completion, organization, and academic achievement. The goals are measurable and address the concerns discussed by the IEP team members.

The IEP must include a description of how the student’s progress toward meeting annual goals will be measured and when periodic reports on the student’s progress will be provided to the parent. The IEP lists one or more procedures for measuring progress toward each annual goal including “monitoring” and “checking in” with the student. The timeline for periodic reporting is listed as mid-quarter for all goals. The district properly described how progress would be measured and when progress would be reported to the parent.

On April 27, 2011, the IEP team conducted the annual review of the student’s IEP. During the annual IEP team meeting, the parent expressed concern about her son’s progress toward his four annual goals. The parent’s concern was documented in the IEP and addressed by the IEP team. The IEP team noted that the student had continued difficulty with organization, task completion, and academic achievement. In conducting an annual review, the IEP team must revise the IEP, as appropriate, to address any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals, the results of any reevaluation, information about the student provided to or by the parents, and the student’s anticipated needs. The IEP team reviewed and revised the student’s annual goals relating to task completion, organization, and academic achievement in light of the student’s needs. The goals are all measurable. The IEP lists one or more procedures for measuring progress toward each annual goal, including “monitoring with teachers,” and “monitoring” with the student. The timeline for periodic reporting is listed as mid-quarter for all goals. The district properly described how progress would be measured and when progress would be reported to the parent.

Parent Request for IEP Team Meeting

A local educational agency (LEA) should grant any reasonable parent request for an IEP team meeting. If the LEA refuses to convene an IEP team meeting, the LEA must provide written notice to the parents of the refusal, including an explanation of why the agency has determined that conducting the meeting is not necessary to ensure the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to a student.

The parent requested an IEP team meeting from the district following the filing of this complaint. The district and the parent have scheduled and conducted an IEP team meeting in response to the parent’s request. The district properly responded to the parent’s request for an IEP team meeting.

Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a proposed corrective action plan to the department for approval to ensure that IEPs are implemented as written by all district staff and that the district convenes an IEP team meeting to review and revise the IEP when a student is receiving services that are not included in the student’s IEP. The district must also convene an IEP team meeting to consider compensatory services for the student for the period from the start of the 2011-2012 school year to the date of this decision, when the IEP was not fully implemented.

All noncompliance identified above must be corrected as soon as possible, but in no case more than one year from the date of this decision. This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST/SJP 10/11/2011
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/al

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