On July 15, 2013, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against XXXXX. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2012-13 school year, properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP), properly responded to parent’s request for IEP team meetings, and properly responded to the parent’s concerns regarding the use of supplemental aids and services.
The student’s IEP in effect during the beginning of the 2012-13 school year provided several supplemental aids and services primarily relating to the taking of tests and quizzes. These included allowing the student to have extended time, taking them in the resource room, provision of words banks, having them broken into parts, and allowing the student to review notes immediately before administration of a test or quiz. The IEP also specified that the student could request a copy of the teacher’s notes if the student was unable to keep up with notes in class.
In January 2013, the IEP team met and the IEP was revised to include two additional supplemental aids and services. When new concepts were introduced or multistep directions were given, the student was to be given a visual representation or example as well as verbal directions. In addition, the IEP provided for the use of a 4 X 6 note card during tests and quizzes.
At the beginning of each school year, teachers are given a sheet of the relevant IEP provisions for each student, which is referred to as “IEP at a glance.” The teachers must confirm with administration that they have received and reviewed the sheet. Teachers are also given the opportunity to review the entire IEP, and when an IEP is revised during the school year, they are notified of the changes through e-mail.
There was some disagreement about what was required regarding the provisions of notes. The parent believed that this included review sheets teachers distributed in preparation for tests. However, review sheets were distributed so that during in-class review sessions students could complete them and then use them as study aids. Teachers did not prepare notes for the review sheets. Based on the student’s IEP, the district was not required to provide the student with completed review sheets.
In May 2013, the student’s IEP team met again to review the supplemental aids and services and address parent concerns. The supplemental aids and services were again revised. The changes allowed for the notes for the index cards to be e-mailed home for organization, additional items, and highlighting. The IEP specified the student would be provided with a digital recording of the in-class review sessions for additional time to review and complete the review sheets. The IEP required that large projects be broken down into smaller sections with deadlines. Finally, the IEP specified that teacher notes would be provided when the student could show that the student attempted to take 40% or more of the notes presented in class.
On May 30, 2013, the parent sent an e-mail to the superintendent stating that she only agreed with the changes allowing for the notes to be e-mailed home and the breakdown of projects. The superintendent replied that per the parent’s request the only supplemental aid for the remainder of the school year would be the use of the card. At this point in the semester, students were preparing for finals and teachers followed the IEP during the preparation and exam period. The review sessions were recorded, the student was allowed to tests in the resource room, have extended time, use an index card, and have the tests broken into parts. The student was provided with the supplemental aids and services as required in the IEP throughout the 2012-13 school year.
On December 11, 2012, the parent contacted the resource teacher to ask about what could be done to help the student to pass. During this time, the parent also requested the use of note cards on tests. The district responded by informing the parent that the resource teacher was available both before and after school to help assist the student. On January 2, 2013, the district sent an e-mail to the parent providing detailed information about the student’s grades, the supports being offered, and what strategies the student could use to help raise grades. District staff also informed the parent that they were in the process of scheduling an IEP team meeting to discuss the use of a note card during tests and quizzes. The IEP team meeting was initially scheduled for January 28, 2013, and the parent requested an earlier date. The IEP team met on January 15, 2013, and the IEP team included the use of a note card during tests and quizzes.
On March 22, 2013, in an e-mail, the parent inquired about the use of voice recognition software. District staff responded by saying that it might be helpful and they would look into it. On April 16, 2013, during a meeting, the parent again inquired about the use of voice recognition software. The parent was told district staff was still looking into it. In an e-mail dated May 6, 2013, the parent was informed that the district did have the software, but there was some difficulty making it work on the computer. During the May IEP team meeting, the use of voice recognition software was considered and included in the IEP.
On June 26, 2013, the parent sent a letter to the district requesting two IEP team meetings. The parent requested the first IEP team meeting to address concerns throughout the 2012-13 school year, and the second meeting to discuss results of an independent educational evaluation (IEE) that was to be conducted. On July 3, 2013, the district responded stating that they would schedule one IEP team meeting after the IEE was completed.
The district properly responded to the parent’s request for IEP team meetings. In December 2012, when it was determined that an IEP meeting was required to address the issue of adding a supplemental aid and service, the district scheduled a meeting. When the parent requested that it be conducted sooner, the district rescheduled the meeting for an earlier date. The district promptly responded to the parent’s request in June, and agreed to schedule an IEP team meeting to address the IEP-related issues raised by the parent. The district was not required to begin with scheduling two IEP team meetings. If more time was needed, the district would then be required to schedule another meeting. The district also generally responded to the parent’s concerns and requests throughout the school year regarding the use of supplemental aids and services. The district conducted multiple IEP team meetings, and also addressed concerns through e-mails and meetings. However, the district did not properly respond to the parent’s request in March for the consideration of assistive technology. Waiting until the May 2013 IEP team meeting was too long a delay in considering this request.
No child specific corrective action is required because the student no longer is enrolled in the school district. Within 30 days from the date of this decision, the district must submit a corrective action plan to ensure that requests for the use of assistive technology are promptly considered. 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 9/13/2013
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support