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Special Education Post-Secondary Transition

SE Newsletter (Fall 2016)

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FERPA-Notification of Rights

CHILD FIND-FERPA Annual

1. ANNUAL IEP MEETINGS

An Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is developed yearly for students identified as being eligible and exceptional. The IEP team is comprised of a parent, student (over the age of 14), Special Education Teacher, Regular Education Teacher and a LEA member.

Letters of Invitation:

  • Must be sent to parents for an IEP meeting even if the date and time have been agreed upon during a phone or face to face conversation.
  • Must be sent to students of transition age.
  • Must be sent to community agencies working with transition age students.
  • Must be sent to anyone parent requests we invite.

Letters should be sent out far enough in advance to accommodate two more attempts if no response is received from the first and within the 364 days since the last IEP. Although family participation is encouraged, the development of the IEP may not be delayed based on lack of parent participation.

2. PLANNING

The Special Education Case Manager is responsible for handling the data gathering for annual IEPs. The TORs are responsible for writing the annual IEP and meeting with the parents. The Draft IEP along with the NOREP/PWN should be sent home for parental review prior to the IEP meeting. Parents can then review the document and be prepared to discuss necessary changes.

If parents do not show up for the scheduled meeting (3 prior notices/attempts made), the final copy of the IEP, including the NOREP/PWN (if necessary) and the Procedural Safeguards, will be sent by mail for parental review.

Under no circumstances should the IEP go without annual review within 364 days following the last IEP.

3. TEAM PARTICIPANTS

  • A Special Education teacher.
  • General Education teachers are required members of all IEP meetings. They can give their input at the beginning of the meeting and then be excused if the parent is in agreement. A representative must be present and any other team members may attend or they may contribute written input to the meeting with parent permission.
  • An LEA must always be present.
  • Related Service Providers (i.e., speech therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, transition coordinator, Personal Care Assistants) should be contributing members of the IEP team.
  • Parents are encouraged to bring others to the IEP meeting.  Those persons should have knowledge of the student and contribute to the development of the IEP.
  • Student are encouraged to attend if over the age of 14 years.

4. TIMELINES

  • IEP meetings must be held within 30 calendar days after an evaluation or a re-evaluation.
  • If the parent is not present and the IEP is sent home by mail, the implementation date should be listed as 10 school days after the IEP.
  • If a NOREP/PWN is not returned within 10 days after being sent home, the IEP is implemented as written.
  • An IEP meeting must be held within 10 days for the completion of a Functional Behavioral Assessment.
  • A review/revision IEP meeting must take place within 2 weeks of the issuance of a Progress Monitoring Report indicating a lack of any progress.

5. AREAS ADDRESSED WITHIN THE IEP

The need for:

  • Speech Services
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Mobility Specialists
  • Assistive Technology
  • Transition Services
  • Special Education Assistants
  • Personal Care Assistants
  • Extended School Year
  • Agency Involvement
  • Medical Support: Address medical supports needed for regular school attendance.
  • Specialized Transportation.
  • Adaptations for Test Taking
  • Specially Designed Instruction
  • Special Educators partner with General Educators so that the provisions of specially designed instruction meet the needs of the Special Education student in the General Ed classroom.  SE teachers assist in modifying instruction but are not primarily responsible for these modifications.  Since all teachers are trained and expected to differentiate instruction for all students, the adaptations and accommodations are done by the classroom teacher.
  • Special Designed Instruction includes adaptations and accommodations for any need, including behavioral, vision, deaf/hard of hearing, etc.

6. PROGRESS MONITORING

Progress monitoring is required as described in the IEP but minimally on a quarterly basis. If a student has not made progress toward his/her annual IEP goals, an IEP meeting must occur to review and possibly revise the IEP to assist that student in making progress.  Content Teachers (Regular and Special Ed) will report on all Academic Goals (in their content area) through the use of probes and by recording outcomes in Google Docs.  All Teachers will report on Behavioral Goals in Google Docs.  In co-teaching settings the recording teacher will report on academic and behavioral goals.

Progress Monitoring is used to provide data on student performance, to guide instructional decisions and to measure and report progress toward goals. This analysis of student data suggests changes in instructional grouping, instructional strategies, motivation systems, etc. These changes are documented in the IEP by the SE Case Manager.

7. S.T.A.R.T. TEAM

This team focuses on the needs of students of transition age. This is a collaborative effort with community agencies including Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), Stairways, and Erie County Case Management (ECCM), and other local agency providers. Starting with those students closest to graduation and Intellectually Disabled, the team focuses on community and school supports to enhance movement to adult life.

Special Ed staff requires the gathering of specific information in the week prior to the three times a year meetings to provide the community team with the most recent information about each student. The support of the principals is essential to the accurate, smooth identification of needs and delivery of services.

8. GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

As a student nears graduation, the final gathering of information occurs. IEP Prep Worksheets are disseminated to current teachers.  This information is placed in the final IEP document, the Summary of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (SAAFP). The SAAFP should be developed when a student earns 20 credits.  Additionally, this document includes recommendations for the graduating student as he/she moves into adult life.

Prior to graduation, the parent/guardian must sign an Exit NOREP/PWN exiting this student from Special Education services due to graduation by either completion of IEP goals or by completion of CSE graduation requirements. This document is essential since completion via either path does not exit a student from Special Education services. In the absence of this document, a parent could require us to continue the education of this child even following graduation.

9. DISCIPLINE

  • Prior to the removal of an Intellectually Disabled student for a disciplinary reason or a change in placement of any SE student for disciplinary reasons, the team must conduct a Manifestation Determination that addresses whether the behavior in question was caused by or had a direct and substantial relationship to the student’s disability. Students may not be disciplined by suspension, AEP or considered for expulsion for any behavior that is a direct result of his/her handicapping condition with the exception of drugs, weapons or serious bodily injury.
  • A NOREP/PWN must be issued for any removal of an Intellectually Disabled student and FAPE must be delivered.
  • In School Suspension conditions must include continuous monitoring of those students and does not count toward any OSS days.
  • SE students who are not Intellectually Disabled can be removed for up to 10 school days for violations of the student code of conduct as their non-disabled peers.
  • Upon reaching the 10th school day (total short-term removal), an IEP team must convene, to secure a Permission to Re-Evaluation (PTRE) and subsequent Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA) and potential Positive Behavior Support Plan (PBSP) or review/revise an existing PBSP. After the 10th total day, educational services must be provided.
  • Physical Restraints don’t require prior parental consent. Parents must be notified and an IEP meeting is required within 10 school days unless parents waive this requirement. All restraints of a child with a disability must be reported on PA State reporting system (RISC), even restraints by school security or school police. The building principal/assistant principal should notify the SE Director via email within 24 hours of any restraint and complete the necessary paperwork.
  • To assure the seamless reporting of any OSS event, an email will be sent to the Transition Coordinator within 24 hours of the action.

10. SPECIAL EDUCATION RECORDS

  • Every Teacher of Record (TOR) should maintain a Special Education file for each SE student on his/her TOR list. That file will be under lock at all times. No SE file should be left on the teacher desk unattended. Only one SE file should be removed at a time for updating. That file can contain the current IEP and any records pertaining to that student. At no time can an Evaluation Report or ReEvaluation Report be in the classroom file.
  • Each school building maintains a School Special Education file on each Special Education student enrolled in that building.  The Building Administrative Assistant should assure that this file is locked at all times and should maintain a sign out log for any file removed indicating the date of removal, the person who is in possession of the file and when the file was returned. No file should be removed overnight. Withdrawn students’ folders should be removed to a “Dead File” drawer at the end of each SY, and it is the responsibility of the TOR to return to the SE Director any original copies in that file and shred all copies.
  • The District maintains a District Special Education file for all Special Education students enrolled in CSE. All original copies are maintained in this file.
  • Parents have the right to review all records for their child with the exception of “teacher notes”.
  • Parents have the right to review their child’s file.  Requests should be made to the principal and an administrator or staff member is to sit with them as they review the file.
  • All requests for records must be forwarded to the SE Director. All record requests are processed through the SE office. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS.
  • All files must have a sign in sheet that must be used for each entry into the file indicating date, position and reason for the entry.

12. INITIAL EVALUATION PROCESS

If a teacher, principal, or Building Educational Support Team (BEST) refers a regular education student for an evaluation, the following process will be followed:

  • A “Pre-Referral Questionnaire” form must be completed.   The school psychologist will review the questionnaire with the staff member(s) that completed it to determine if all necessary interventions have been utilized prior to the request for an evaluation. Based on this meeting, the school psychologist will decide whether to proceed with the evaluation or suggest additional interventions OR issue a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) removing the student from a “thought to be exceptional” status.
  • If the school psychologist is proceeding with the evaluation, he/she will schedule a meeting with the parent to notify them of the school’s request and explain the evaluation process.  If the parent agrees, they will be provided with a “Permission to Evaluate” consent form and will be given a copy of the “Procedural Safeguards Notice”.  Once the Special Education Director receives the “Permission to Evaluate” consent form, the student is now “Thought to be Exceptional” and an office email notice will be sent to the site principal.
  • Parents will complete student social/developmental history form, parent/guardian transition survey, behavior/adaptive behavior scale checklists (as necessary) and when applicable any “Releases of Information” for agencies that you may need to request information from during the evaluation process.

If a parent requests an evaluation, the following process will be followed:

  • Once the parent has submitted to the school principal a written letter requesting an evaluation with a specific explanation for the request, the parent will be asked to complete a parent referral questionnaire.
  • If the parent verbally requests an evaluation, the school principal will notify the school psychologist who will in turn send a “Permission to Evaluate” request form to the parent within 10 calendar days of the verbal notification.
  • After receiving the “Permission to Evaluate” request form or the written request, the school psychologist will send the parent/guardian (in a reasonable amount of time) a “Permission to Evaluate” consent form, a copy of “Procedural Safeguards Notice”, and additional input forms necessary for the MDT evaluation process.
  • The school psychologist will notify the Special Education Director and principal once the permission is received since now this student is “Thought to be Exceptional”.
  • Parents will be asked to complete student social/developmental history form, parent/guardian transition survey form, any behavior/adaptive behavior scale checklists and sign any “Releases of Information” consent forms for agencies that may need to be requested from for information during the evaluation process.

When completing an initial evaluation, whether initiated by the parent or school, information from the school will be obtained using the following process:

  • A memo will be sent to the student’s teachers with a teacher questionnaire form requesting information from the teacher. All teachers will be given the teacher input form, educational strengths and weaknesses, as well as requests for grades and any additional diagnostic assessment scores and behavior related information on file. A memo and medical questionnaire will be given to the school nurse. The school psychologist will keep a copy of these memos.
  • If teachers are required to complete any additional checklists (ie. Adaptive Behavior Scales, Behavior Assessment Scales for Children – Second Education), they should be included with the questionnaires.
  • Once the initial evaluation is completed within 60 calendar days from the date of “Parent Permission”, a draft will be sent to the parent with a letter with a scheduled date for the MDT meeting. (If the school psychologist has not had contact with the parent and are not guaranteed that the address on file is correct, he/she will send the draft certified mail.) The original draft will be placed in the district file, with copies of the letter and proof of certified mail, as well as permission to evaluate, any pre-referral questionnaires, teacher report forms, parent report forms, behavior scales, etc.  A copy of the draft will be placed in the SE school file as well.
  • Once the MDT meeting has been held and the draft has been modified and signed, the drafts on file will be shredded and the original final initial evaluation will be placed in the district file with all the forms used to write the evaluation (including “Permission to Evaluate” consent form and letters from the parent).  Copies of the Initial Evaluation Report will be placed in the school file and given/mailed to the parent. Documentation of when and how all copies were provided to the parent will be kept.  The school psychologist personal notes will be destroyed and will not be included with the packet, per IU policy.  The school file only needs copies of any letters sent and the initial ER, not any paperwork used to write the report.
  • Notification will be provided to the Special Education Director immediately of determination of eligibility so that all necessary IEP/NOREP’s may be completed in a timely manner (30 calendar days of the ER date).

13. REEVALUATION PROCESS

When a student is due for a routine reevaluation the following process will be followed:

  • The MDT team (parent, teachers, school psychologist, and related service providers) will determine whether the student may be eligible for an “Agreement to Waive Reevaluation” form or requires a Routine Reevaluation.

If a student is eligible for a waiver:

  • The LEA will confer with members of the IEP team to determine if everyone is in agreement.
  • If the parent agrees, they will be asked to sign the waiver, prior to the review date of the current ER.
  • The original “Agreement to Waive Reevaluation” form will be put in the District file, a copy in the school file and a copy given to the parent.
  • The original ER date will continue to be the date of the most recent ER, but on the database (IEPWriter) the date of the “Agreement to Waive Reevaluation” form will be noted.

If a Routine Reevaluation (RR) is necessary, as determined by the MDT re-evaluation team (teachers, parents, school psychologist) the following must be done:

  • A letter will be sent to the parent notifying them that CSE will be conducting an Reevaluation Report (RR).  Included in the letter will be a parent/guardian input form, a parent/guardian transition form (done in past 12 months), any scales that must be completed (ie. Adaptive Behavior Scales, etc.)  A copy of this letter will be placed in the district file & school file.  Included is a self-addressed stamped envelope for the parents to return the information requested.
  • A memo will be sent to the student’s teachers with a teacher input form requesting information from the teacher. The School Psychologist will gather all assessment materials (Summative, Benchmark, Diagnostic, and Formative) information, as well as report cards and any additional test scores on file. A memo and medical input form will be given to the school nurse.  If the student receives any related services (i.e., Speech/Language, OT, PT), an input form will be sent to the service provider.  A copy of the memo will be kept and also given to the Special Education Director.
  • If teachers are required to complete any additional checklists (i.e. Adaptive Behavior Scales, etc.), they will be included with the input forms.
  • Once the RR is completed, a draft will be sent to the parent with a Draft letter.  If the school psychologist has not had contact with the parent and is not guaranteed that the address on file is correct, draft will be sent certified mail.  The original draft will be placed in the district file, with copies of the letter and proof of certified mail, as well as teacher report forms, parent report forms, behavior scales, etc.  A copy of the draft will be placed in the Special Education school file as well.
  • Once the draft has been modified and signed (which will be stipulated in the Draft letter sent to the parent for review of RR), the drafts on file will be shredded and the final original RR will be placed in the district file with all the forms used to write the RR also including all letters and memos sent.  Copies will be placed in the school file and when applicable sent/given to the parent.  Documentation of when and how all copies were provided to the parent will be retained.

The above process will be followed even when more information is needed.  When completing an “Additional Data is Needed” Reevaluation, all paperwork will be distributed as above.  The paperwork used will be from the PHCSE Reevaluation Packet.  An MDT to review all test results with the parent will be completed.  If the MDT and IEP occur at the same time, the TOR will provide the parent with a Ten Day Waiver.  All paperwork will be filed the same as above.  The “Permission to Reevaluate” consent form will be in the district file attached with the final RR and all documentation used for writing the report.  Personal notes will be destroyed and will not to be included with the packet per IU policy.  The entire Reevaluation process will be completed and the RR dated prior to the review date.

14. Parent Revocation of Consent for Special Education Programs and Services

A parent may revoke consent for his/her child’s receipt of special education services after the parents’ child was initially provided special education and related services using the following procedure:

  • Parent must submit a signed, dated, written request revoking consent for special education programs and services.
  • The district must issue prior written notice (NOREP/PWN) within 10 calendar days.
  • The parents are informed that all special education programs and services will cease on the 11th day from the receipt of the parents’ revocation letter.
  • After a student reaches the age of majority (21 in Pennsylvania), the student will be able to remove himself/herself from special education programs and services, following the procedures described above.
  • It is inappropriate for staff to suggest or encourage a parent to revoke consent.

Any questions regarding the processes outlined above must be forwarded to Christopher Fortin, Director of Pupil Services/School Psychologist