IDEA Complaint Decision 05-055

On November 16, 2005, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Oak Creek-Franklin School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2005-2006 school year:

  • Properly implemented a student’s individualized education program (IEP) regarding the lack of appropriate modifications provided in the regular education settings including remedial tutoring for reading and written language skills and assistive technology; the next step up in the “Fast Forward” program; and assistance from specific learning disabilities personnel in the area of organizational skills, strategic breaks during extended study time, complex school work, and assigned classroom tasks to boost the student’s self-esteem;
  • Whether the district properly responded to a parent’s requests, during the fall of 2005, for an IEP team meeting; and
  • Whether special education services were provided utilizing properly licensed teaching staff.

The parent alleges the district did not implement her child’s February 8, 2005 IEP regarding modifying the general education curriculum content and providing remedial tutoring for reading and written language skills instruction in regular education settings. She maintains the Alpha Smart tool was not provided to her child for all classes and for homework assignments. She also states the next step up in the “Fast Forward” program was not provided to her child and assistance was not provided by the specific learning disabilities personnel for organizational skills, strategic breaks during extended study time, complex school work sequenced into steps, and assigned classroom tasks to boost the child’s self-esteem.

The February 8 IEP states the student will receive special education services for "English, math, social studies, and science" in the "special education or regular education classrooms with special education staff present" at "4 50-minute class periods per day, 5 days per week." The IEP also indicates a "small group study skills class" is provided for a "minimum of 35 minutes per day, 5 days a week" in the "special education classroom." Based upon information provided by the special education teacher and the substitute teacher, modifications were made to classroom assignments at the student’s reading and writing instructional levels for English, math, social studies, and science for the regular education teachers to implement five days per week. There is no mention of technology including the Alpha Smart tool in the IEP; in any event, the teachers indicated the student has access to the tool during his classes. There is no mention in the IEP of the next step up in the Fast Forward program. The specific learning disabilities personnel provided assistance to the student by modifying complex class assignments and providing teacher assistance through a co-teaching model in the English, math, social studies, and science classes. Organizational skills were provided during the small group study skills class for 35 minutes per day, 5 days per week. There is no mention in the IEP of strategic breaks during extended study time or classroom tasks to boost the student’s self-esteem; however, the student was given extra time for tests or projects. The district implemented the child’s IEP regarding appropriate modifications and special education services provided in the regular education and special education classrooms.

The parent maintains the district did not properly respond to her two verbal requests for an IEP team meeting during the fall of 2005. On November 10, the parent wrote a letter to the principal stating she had verbally requested an IEP team meeting. The school psychologist stated the parent had requested an IEP team meeting on November 10, and a meeting was held on December 2 and 13. This was a reasonable amount of time to respond to and convene an IEP team meeting.

The parent states the district did not provide special education services utilizing a properly licensed teaching staff member. The special education teacher maintains a current DPI Specific Learning Disabilities license. A substitute teacher, hired from October 7 through November 28, holds a DPI Cross Categorical – Special Education license. The teachers hold an appropriate special education license issued by the department.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 2/6/06
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