IDEA Complaint Decision 14-002

On January 12, 2014, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Milwaukee Public Schools. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether, beginning in August 2013, the school district properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP).

On April 19, 2013, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the student’s IEP, develop a statement of transition services and determine continuing placement to start April 19, 2013, at the student’s eighth grade school of placement and continue on August 13, 2013, at the student’s high school placement. The student’s parent and uncle attended the IEP team meeting. The student’s parent and uncle maintain, beginning in August 2013, the student’s high school teachers did not consistently implement the student’s IEP. During the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, the student’s parent was contacted verbally and informed the special education service, specially designed instruction in writing, 25 minutes per day in the regular education classroom, could not be provided because the high school functions on a block schedule. The student instead would receive the special education service 30 minutes, 90 times during the school year. However, the student’s April 19, 2013, IEP was not revised and the student did not receive the service in the amount specified in the IEP. From August 13, 2013, to December 4, 2013, the student did not receive specially designed instruction in writing 25 minutes per day as required by the IEP.

The student’s April 19, 2013, IEP includes six supplementary aids and services provided to or on behalf of the student in regular education: extra time for assignments, shortened classroom assignments, use of a scribe or portable keyboard, student responds orally, personal organization system, and use of a four inch (golf) pencil for short writing assignments. Most of the student’s teachers reviewed the student’s IEP and provided supplementary aids and services to the student beginning the first day of attendance. However, some teachers did not review the student’s IEP at the beginning of the school year, and did not begin to provide supplementary aids and services until weeks into the first term. The use of a scribe or portable keyboard and verbal responses from the student when written responses were illegible as judged by the reader was not consistently provided by all teachers in all classes. When a scribe, portable keyboard, or computer was not available in the regular classroom, the student sometimes went to the special education resource room to access a computer or scribe. However, the student’s IEP states the student would participate full-time with nondisabled peers in regular education classes. Between August 13, 2013, and December 4, 2013, the student’s IEP was not properly implemented.

On November 20, and December 4, 2013, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the student’s IEP, develop an annual IEP, develop a statement of transition services, and determine continuing placement to start on December 4, 2013, at the student’s current high school. The student’s parent and uncle attended the IEP team meeting. The student’s special education service was revised to specially designed instruction in language arts, 30 minutes, 90 times during the school year, instruction to take place on alternating days based on block scheduling in the regular education classroom. In addition, the student was removed from his Spanish class, for work completion/writing/organization 85 minutes, 90 times during the school year in the special education resource room. The student did not receive 30 minutes of specially designed instruction in language arts on alternating days. Between December 4, 2013, and January 12, 2014, this special education service was not properly implemented.

The student’s December 4, 2013, IEP includes nine supplementary aids and services provided to or on behalf of the student in regular education: extra time for assignments/assessments, student responds orally, copy of notes, shortened classroom assignments, use of graph paper, fidgety toy, gum, daily reports, and use of a scribe or portable keyboard. Three of these supplementary aids and services: use of graph paper, fidgety toy, and gum include a statement in the conditions that they will be provided by the student. However, supplementary aids and services specified in an IEP must be provided by the school district. The IEP includes two supplementary aids and services be provided in the special education classroom: (1) access to the resource room for assignments/assessments that require a distraction free setting, and (2) access to the resource room to use a word processor, if one is not provided in the regular education setting for written assignments greater than one page. After December 4, 2013, all teachers provided extra time for assignments/assessments, provided daily reports, and had the student respond orally when required. In some classes, teachers provided the student paper copies of notes with fill in the blanks or complete notes. In some classes notes were available on the school computer system for students to read and/or print on paper. All teachers informed the student that all assignments were shortened according to the IEP. The teachers were not required to remind or inform the student to do a shorter assignment every time an assignment was given to the class. Use of a scribe or portable keyboard in the regular education classroom was not consistently provided.

The district must ensure it provides specially designed instruction, as well as supplementary aids and services as specified in the student’s IEP. By April 4, 2014, the district must conduct an IEP team meeting to determine compensatory services for the student, and by April 11, 2014, provide the department a copy of the IEP developed with the IEP team’s decision regarding compensatory services clearly documented. In addition, by April 4, 2014, the district must submit to the department a proposed corrective action plan to ensure all staff at the student’s high school are consistently providing specially designed instruction, as well as supplementary aids and services as specified in each student’s IEP, and that all staff begin providing IEP services on the first day of a student’s attendance. 

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 3/13/2014
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support

Dec/jfd

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