IDEA Complaint Decision 02-018

On March 15, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Oshkosh Area School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2001-2002 school year, failed to:

  • include proper statements of annual goals and short-term objectives in the individualized education program (IEP) for a child with a disability;

  • include proper statements in the child's IEP regarding the amount of related services and supplementary aids and services;

  • provide required supplementary aids and services in regular education music and physical education; and

  • regularly report to the parents the extent to which the child's progress toward her annual goals is sufficient to enable her to achieve the goals by the end of the IEP.

An IEP team met to review and revise the youth's IEP on October 11 and 31, and December 4 and 11, 2001, and April 19 and May 23, 2002. The parents contend in their letter to the department that goals and objectives for their daughter were written globally and were not specific to their child's needs. On April 22, 2002, the parent indicated, through an email to the department, that the IEP team had correctly written and completed the goals and objectives section of the youth's IEP. The special education teacher indicated during a phone interview that the district took measures through a series of IEP team meetings to write the goal and objective statements. Based on information provided by the parents and special education teacher, the department concludes that the district took steps, through six IEP team meetings, to ensure the team did write proper annual goals and short-term objective statements in the current IEP.

The parents allege that the district did not write proper statements in their child's IEP regarding the amount of related services and supplemental aids and services. The IEP being disputed states the youth will receive the following related services and supplementary aids and services: Assistive Technology (AT), Counseling, social work services in schools, LD support staff working in the Content Mastery Center (CMC), and a modification plan given to regular education teachers. The amount of time provided for each of these services was indicated as "when necessary" or "when needed or as assigned." The "when necessary" and/or "when needed or as assigned" provisions in the youth's IEP do not specify the frequency and amount of resources, and do not identify the circumstances under which a particular service will be provided; language must be written with sufficient specificity to be clear to parents, IEP team members, and responsible district staff. Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a proposed corrective action plan to the department to ensure that special education staff understand how to write, in an IEP, the frequency and amount of service provided for related services and supplemental aids and services. The district will also hold a new IEP team meeting before school begins in the fall to address this issue in this student's IEP.

The parents allege the district did not provide required supplemental aids and services in regular education music and physical education (PE) classes. The supplemental aids and services section indicates a modification plan will be given to the regular education teachers. The plan is attached to the IEP and includes a number of ways to accommodate the youth in their regular education classes. The special education teacher, during an interview, indicated the youth was provided accommodations in music class by the teacher at the onset of the IEP. He indicated the PE teacher was not informed of his responsibilities and did not implement these accommodations. Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a corrective action plan to ensure that staff understand the requirement that each teacher and provider is to be informed of his or her specific responsibilities related to the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided for the youth in accordance with their IEP.

The parents contend the district did not regularly report their child's progress in several goal areas. Specifically, they maintain the "3-week interval report is not a reporting system, not a measuring system" for the goal areas in question. The youth's IEP states that progress will be measured through "progress reports (3-week intervals), weekly home/school contact via email, memos in student planner, phone calls when necessary, and email after each occurrence." The special education teacher provided the parents with a progress report for the math goal which addressed the extent to which progress was sufficient to indicate the youth would achieve this goal by the end of the IEP. While the district notified the parents of their child's progress on the math goal, there was no evidence of progress reports for the other three goals. Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a proposed corrective action plan to the department to ensure parents receive progress reports that indicate the extent to which progress is sufficient to enable the child to achieve the goals by the end of the effective period of the IEP.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 6/6/02
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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