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Special Education Navigating New DC Policies - The DC Special

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					SPECIAL EDUCATION:
NAVIGATING NEW DC
POLICIES
The DC Special Education Co-operative
www.specialedcoop.org
OSSE Plays Catch-up
   IDEA requires that states interpret the Federal law and
    develop state policies for their LEAs. http://idea.ed.gov

   DC as the SEA, had not developed state level policies until
    recently.
   Policy making process
     Policy is issued and placed on OSSE website or the DC
      Register
     A public comment period opens (at least 30 days)
     A public hearing is scheduled
     OSSE considers comments and testimony
     OSSE revises or releases official policy

                      DC Special Education Co-operative
Navigating New DC Policies
                 Session Objectives
Participants will:
 Develop a basic understanding of new and

  proposed OSSE policies
 Understand how policies will impact their LEA

 Create an action plan for implementing new policies
  at their LEA
Guidance on Non-discrimination
   March 2009 - OSSE releases guidance for LEAs on
    prohibitions on discrimination against children with
    disabilities in the enrollment process.
   Admission must be open to all students.
   Charter schools can not “counsel students out” based on
    services that they don’t currently provide.
   LEAs should ensure that application materials do not ask
    for information that could be used to discriminate.
Guidance on Non-discrimination
Action items for LEAs:
 Review your LEA’s application

 Inform all school staff that handles the enrollment

  process of this guidance
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
 Policy Summary:
  In effect March 9, 2009

  Federal mandate through IDEA that students with disabilities (SWD)
    are educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE) (policy,p2)
  DC does poorly (when compared to other states) in including SWD
    general education classrooms. Only 21% SWD are included for
    80% or more of school day (58% nationally).
  OSSE’s definition of inclusion: “an environment in which all children,
    including those with significant disabilities, have an equal
    opportunity to receive a high quality instruction in the general
    education classroom, to the maximum extent possible, with the
    necessary supplementary aids and services the child needs to be
    successful in the general education curriculum.” (policy, p3)
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

 Impact on LEAs:
  LEAs must offer a ‘continuum of alternate placements’.

  LEA staff must be well versed in non-discriminatory
   procedures for admission of SWD
  OSSE will monitor LEAs on LRE. If LEAs are found
   noncompliant, they will be required to submit an
   Improvement Plan. Continued noncompliance may result
   in withholding of Part B funding.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

    Action Items for LEA:
       Put statement in writing to school leader

       Create a plan for allowing special educators and
        general educators time to collaborate
       Schedule PD for teachers/staff about LRE and
        inclusive practices
Child Find
Policy Summary:
 Proposed 9/1/09 (not in effect)

 IDEA requires states to have a comprehensive child find policy to identify
   children (birth to 21 years) who may have disabilities and be in need of
   special education and related services.
 IDEA is divided into Part B (children ages 3-21) and Part C (birth - 2 years).
   Under Part B, each LEA must have procedures in place to identify, locate,
   and evaluate children ages 3-21 who reside in the District and may have
   disabilities and require special education.
 These procedures should include public awareness activities and in school
   screenings.
 Child Find also pertains to students who are home-schooled or attending
   private schools. DCPS is responsible for identifying those students.
Child Find
Impact on LEAs:
 LEAs need to meet the public awareness

  requirement under this policy.
 LEAs should have a comprehensive

  screening/intervention process.
 OSSE may conduct unannounced monitoring to

  ensure LEA compliance with federal child find law.
Child Find
Action Items for LEAs:
   Review your LEA’s parent manual to see what it says about
    Child Find.
    Create a brochure that explains your Child Find procedures
   Train teachers so they are prepared to share your child find
    procedures with parents at conferences
   Put your SST process on your website
   Create a poster about your SST and put it up in your parent
    center, office, etc.
Initial Evaluation/Reevaluation Policy
 Policy Summary:
  Proposed 7/31/2009 (not in effect)

  Clarifies the steps to determining eligibility

  Establishes clear criteria for each disability

   category under IDEA (policy p. 18)
  Defines various assessment types

  Clarifies the timeline for evaluation
Initial Evaluation/Reevaluation
Impact on LEAs:
 120 day timeline is from written referral.

 If a parent fails to provide consent to evaluate the LEA does
  not violate its child find obligations as long as multiple
  attempts were made to obtain consent. Additionally, the LEA is
  not required to pursue mediation/due process if the parent
  refuses consent.
 Mental Retardation (MR) is now Intellectual Disability (ID).

 When determining eligibility under Specific Learning Disability
  (SLD), Individual LEAs may choose to use either a discrepancy
  model or scientific researched based interventions model.
Initial Evaluation/Reevaluation
 Impact on LEAs continued:
  Specific criteria for each disability category must be
   met for students to be eligible for special education
   services.
  Team members must be excused in writing from the IEP

   meeting.
  Due in part to longstanding noncompliance with
   evaluation/reevaluation timelines, OSSE is under special
   conditions by the Dept of Ed OSEP. OSSE will be
   monitoring LEAs to ensure compliance with timelines.
Initial Evaluation/Reevaluation
   Action Items for the LEA:
       Print out the policy and have it available for reference
        during meetings
        Create internal deadlines (10 days to obtain consent, 45
        days for testing)
       Become familiar with eligibility criteria and assessments
        types
       Share the eligibility criteria information with your related
        service providers and evaluators
       Go to an EasyIEP training/request TA from OSSE
Placement
Policy Summary:
 Proposed July 31, 2009 (not in effect)

 “All children, including those with significant disabilities, have an equal
   opportunity to receive high quality instruction in the general education
   classroom with the necessary supplementary aids and services” (policy, p2)
 Defines continuum to include: “general education classes, special classes,
   special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and
   institutions…” (policy, p2)
 LEA Charters must provide the full continuum. If they are unable to, they
   must notify OSSE prior to the IEP meeting. Those charters using DCPS for
   their special education LEA, must notify DCPS.
 Transportation. The policy clarifies that “transportation is a related service”
   and that “not all children with disabilities are eligible to receive [it].”
   (policy, p 5)
Placement
Impact on LEAs:
 LEAs “must” have a continuum of services.

 LEAs must do a good job of documenting the child’s need for
  a more restrictive placement.
 LEAs must have a good knowledge base for determining
  and implementing appropriate strategies (eg. conducting
  FBAs and developing BIPs).
 The policy, the way it is written, does not provide notification
  of location of placement to charters. LEAs will need to
  follow up with parents and/or OSSE to be current on this
  info.
Placement
Action Items for LEA:
   Analyze your current continuum of services.
   Plan with administrators for further development (options for self-contained
    settings, etc.)
   Attend training on FBA/BIP
   Create a plan for implementing researched-based interventions both in and
    outside of the general ed classroom
   Develop a good data management system for tracking interventions and
    student progress (for students with disabilities)
   Brief your administrative team on Federal guidelines for discipline for
    students with disabilities
Related Services
Policy Summary:
 Clarifies the provision of related services as part of the
  IEP as specified in IDEA.
 LEAs are required to provide appropriate related
  services in accordance with the IEP at no cost to the
  parent. The IEP team must determine what (if any)
  related services are needed for the student to benefit
  from special education.
 The policy defines several types of related services,
  including transportation, but is not intended to be an
  exclusive list.
Related Services
Impact on LEAs:
 Transportation is defined as a related service however, not
  all children with disabilities are eligible for transportation.
 Eligibility for related services is based on 2 criteria: 1
  student must have one of the disabilities and 2 because of
  the disability needs special education and related services.
 When determining need for related services, the IEP team
  should consider educational impact as not only academic
  achievement, but also emotional development, social
  interaction, communication, and behavior.
Related Services
Impact on LEAs continued:
 If a child has SLI, Speech language services can be to categorized
  as special education instead of a related service if the child is
  determined to need the specially designed instruction of speech
  language services.
 When a service is missed because of provider's absence, the LEA
  must make up the missed service or have a substitute provider
  available.
 If a child is absent for an extended period of time (truancy) or there
  is a pattern of repeated absences, the LEA must consult with parents
  and review the IEP to make sure the child is receiving FAPE.
 Attempted and actual provision of related services must be
  documented by the LEA.
Related Services
Action Items for LEAs:
 Review the policy with related service providers

 PD for related service providers on documenting

  and making up missed sessions
 Identify students who are missing services due to
  extended absences/truancy to determine if they
  are still receiving FAPE
Early Childhood Transition
Policy Summary:
   Proposed 9/17/2009 (not in effect)
   IDEA requires states to designate a lead agency who is responsible for
    ensuring a smooth transition from the Part C program (services for children
    with disabilities ages birth – 2 years) to preschool.
   OSSE’s DC Early Intervention Program is the lead agency for Part C and
    shoulders most of the responsibility for Early Childhood Transition, however,
    the receiving LEA maintains responsibility for providing FAPE beginning on
    the child’s 3rd birthday.
   The policy outlines the process for transitioning students with disabilities
    from Part C programs to Part B programs.
Early Childhood Transition
Impact on LEA:
   LEAs serving preschool aged children must designate an onsite staff person
    to participate in the transition activities and act as the primary contact for
    other agencies.
   The LEA’s transition coordinator’s primary responsibility is to ensure that
    eligibility for Part B services is determined and, if necessary, an IEP
    developed.
   The LEA must follow the procedures for initial eligibility and should consider
    Part C information as part of the decision.
   Eligibility should be determined before the child’s 3rd birthday and the IEP
    must be in effect by that date. (LEA must invite the Part C representative to
    the eligibility meeting)
Early Childhood Transition
Impact on LEA continued:
   Regardless of timing, the LEA must implement the existing IEP
    until a new IEP is developed.
   The LEA must collect and report data to OSSE including:
       The date the LEA was notified of children exiting part C services
       The date of transition conference
       The date of consent for evaluation
       Number of days after the child’s 3rd birthday that services began and
        reasons for delay
Early Childhood Transition
Action Items for LEAs:
 Designate an early childhood transition coordinator

 Gather background information from families for

  enrolled 3 and 4 year olds to find out if they may
  have received part C services.
Secondary Transition
Policy Summary:
 Proposed 9/23/2009 (not in effect)

 IDEA and the DCMR require LEAs to ‘adequately

  prepare students with disabilities for postsecondary
  education, vocational education, integrated
  employment, continuing and adult education, adult
  services, independent living, … community
  participation.” (policy, p1)
  Secondary Transition

Impact on LEA:
 LEAs must have staff person who fully understands transition
requirements and can assist LEA to implement
Secondary Transition
Action Items for LEAs:
 Identify a transition coordinator and make sure that

  person understands his/her responsibilities under the
  state policy
State Complaints
   IDEA mandates that the state (OSSE) adopt and implement
    procedures for investigating any complaint alleging that a public
    agency (LEA) has violated IDEA.
State Complaints
Procedure:
   Complaints can address (but are not limited to) the following areas: identification,
    evaluation, educational placement, failure to implement a Hearing Officer Decision
    (HOD) or Settlement Agreement (SA).
   The State Complaint Office (SCO) has a maximum of 60 days after the complaint is
    filed to investigate the allegation(s) and issue a written decision (policy, p4).
   Complainants must forward a copy of the complaint to the LEA “at the same time” it
    is submitted to the SCO. Complaints must address issues that are not more than one
    year old.
   If the SCO determines that an investigation will not be conducted, a copy
    notification sent to the complainant will be sent to the LEA.
   If the SCO decides to investigate, it will: send a copy of the complaint to the LEA
    and request a written response to the alleged violations (along with supporting
    documentation).
State Complaints
Procedure, continued…
   The LEA must respond within 10 days of receipt of the complaint.The LEA must sent
    a copy of the response to the complainant (as well as the parent of the student, if
    he/she is not the complainant). LEAs can request, in writing an extension if they use
    the time to resolve the complaint with the complainant.
   Early Resolution: If the parties are able to resolve the complaint within 60days after
    its submission, the SCO will close the case without issuing a decision.
   Final Decision: Within 60 days of filing the complaint, the SCO will issue and send a
    determination regarding the complaint. Within this decision, corrective action(s)
    may be ordered by the SCO. These may include, but are not limited to: requiring
    the LEA to access training and technical assistance from OSSE or another public
    agency, requiring the LEA to develop a corrective action plan. The SCO may
    continue to monitor the LEA ‘and request additional action to ensure full compliance
    with the federal and state regulations” (policy, p8).
State Complaints
Action Items for LEAs:
 Get access to the Blackman-Jones database

 Contact the state complaints office and update your

  contact information regularly
 Communicate with office staff so they know to notify
  you when the state complaint office contacts your
  school
 Analyze relationships with parents and develop a
  plan to improve communication
Additional Policies
   HODs (Hearing Officer Determination)
     Issued  in July, but has been removed from OSSE
        website


   IDEA Part C (birth through age 2 years)
       Does not impact most LEAs
Questions?
Contact the Co-op:

Julie Camerata, Executive Director
jcamerata@specialedcoop.org

Monica Lesperance
mlesperance@specialedcoop.org

				
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