IDEA Complaint Decision 05-057

On November 22, 2005 (letter dated November 18, 2005), the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Johnson Creek School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district:

  • Included required participants on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team which met in October 2005;
  • Properly developed an IEP that included required statements of present levels of performance, measurable annual goals and needed transition services;
  • Properly implemented an IEP regarding specific classes, modified assignments, test accommodations, study guides, lecture notes in the regular education environment, and collaboration between regular and special education staff;
  • Properly considered the concerns of the child’s parents for enhancing the education of their child;
  • Ensured that personally identifiable information from a student record was not improperly disclosed.

An IEP team meeting was held in May 2005 for the purpose of IEP review and revision, IEP development, development of a transition statement, and placement of a sixteen year old student. The parents allege that the May 2005 IEP has not been implemented as written since the beginning of the 2005-2006 school year.

On October 13, 2005, an IEP team meeting was held to discuss the parent’s concerns. The invitation and cover sheet for this IEP team meeting did not include a regular education teacher of the student, who was a required IEP team member, at this IEP team meeting.

Parents allege that the May 2005 IEP was not properly developed as it did not include statements of present levels of performance, measurable annual goals, and needed transition services. The May 2005 IEP included statements of present levels of performance, and these statements correspond to the goals and objectives, special education services, supplementary aids and services, and program modifications or supports for school personnel listed on the IEP. The May 2005 IEP contained three goals for the student related to increasing overall reading and writing skills to specific grade levels, and increasing oral language skills. Several short-term objectives supporting each goal provide additional information including measurement of progress toward the goal. The district properly developed an IEP that included statements of present levels of performance and required measurable annual goals.

A statement of the needed transition services must be developed annually, and address several areas, for a student who is sixteen years old. If the IEP team determines services are not needed in an area, a statement to that effect, and the basis upon which the determination was made, needs to be included in the IEP. The statement addressing the area of instruction listed that the student “will fulfill the requirements in order to receive a high school diploma.” The statement did not identify specific courses of study that the student needed to achieve this objective. Statements addressing other areas were listed as either the student “does not require the service at this time” or the student “is able to function on his own without this” with no further explanation of the basis of that determination. The district did not provide the required statements to properly address needed transition services.

Parents allege the district did not properly consider their concerns for enhancing the education of their child. On November 2 and continuing on November 10, 2005, IEP team meetings were held for the purpose of determining continuing eligibility for special education, developing an annual IEP including a transition statement, reviewing and revising the IEP, and determining continuing placement, including the discussion of possible changes to the current IEP, as well as parent concerns. Through interviews with district staff, as well as audio and written documentation, it was determined that the district properly considered the concerns of the child’s parents for enhancing the education of their child.

Parents allege the district did not properly implement the IEP regarding specific classes, modified assignments, test accommodations, study guides, lecture notes in the regular education environment; and collaboration between regular and special education staff. Special education services developed and listed on the May 2005 IEP included: reading fundamentals, speech/language, and Novel class. At the beginning of the school year, there were several changes in administrative, as well as special education teaching staff, and new staff were unclear as to what the “Novel class” involved. Lack of clarity in the description of special education services for those who were responsible for the implementation of the “Novel class” resulted in delays of several weeks in the implementation of the goal section of the May 2005 IEP. This has since been clarified and is now being implemented. Through interviews with administrative and teaching staff, as well as audio and written documentation, the department determines that the modified assignments, test accommodations, study guides, and lecture notes through collaboration between regular and special education staff were not consistently implemented in all general education classes since the beginning of the school year. The district has since developed and now implements a system for weekly communication and collaboration between regular and special education staff.

The parents also allege the district violated confidentiality by speaking openly about the student and family’s situation in a crowded school area where someone might overhear the conversation. The district contends staff spoke to the parents in low tones and was facing away from other people in the area. The department determines there is no evidence to support that personally identifiable information from a student record was improperly disclosed.

Within thirty days, the district must convene an IEP team meeting to clarify the description of special education services and supplementary aids and services to be provided for the second semester and to develop a statement of needed transition services. The IEP team should also consider whether any additional services need to be provided to the student for the times the IEP was not implemented at the beginning of the school year.

Within 45 days, the district must also develop, and submit to the department for approval, a corrective action plan (CAP) to address the following components: IEP team composition as well as roles and responsibilities of special and regular education teachers in the IEP team process and IEP implementation.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 1/20/06
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/tg

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