IDEA Complaint Decision 11-004

On January 31, 2011, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Dodgeland School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, between January 31, 2010 and January 31, 2011:

  • Properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP),
  • Properly documented IEP team decisions,
  • Properly changed the student’s placement, and
  • Improperly disclosed confidential student information.

Properly implemented the student’s individualized education program

Beginning in January 2010, the student’s IEP team had multiple meetings to discuss the transition to high school. Due to the student’s health needs, the IEP team determined the student’s school day would be reduced by 3 hours each day. Because of the shortened day, the IEP team determined the student would receive homebound instruction for academic/homework support 60 minutes, 2 times a week. The complainant states that on January 20, 2011, the student did not receive homebound services because the staff member asked the student how she wanted to do her next book report, and the complainant states this indicates a lack of communication between the staff member and the student’s case manager. The staff member who provides the homebound services regularly communicates with the special education teacher. They meet weekly and communicate by cell phone if questions arise during a session. The January 20th reference to a book report was intended to give the student the option of using a computer software program in working on the book report. The district properly provided homebound services.

The IEP requires that, when tests are given in regular education classes, the student cannot be given more than one test per day. The complainant states the student was given a final test in math and a test in Read 180 on January 19, 2011. The student’s math class, however, is a special education class, and therefore, two tests were not given in regular education classes. The IEP also specifies tests should given in a small group setting, read with extended time limits, and that word banks be provided for fill in the blank test questions. The complainant states this was not provided during the student’s math final. On January 19th, the student arrived late to class, and to accommodate this, the teacher reduced the length of the math final, as permitted by the IEP, and eliminated the portion of the test requiring a word bank. The test was given in a small group setting, the class time period was extended, and the teacher read portions of the test to the student.

The school district provides a student with a laptop for use at school and at home. The student uses the computer for writing assignments, organizing ideas, poof reading, and for copying notes from the board. The complainant states the district has not converted classroom materials to a form file for computer use. However, this is not required by the student’s IEP. The school district properly implemented the student’s IEP.

Properly documented IEP team decisions

The use of supplemental aids and services was discussed at the student’s IEP team meeting. The IEP team determined, based on the student’s needs, what supplementary aids and services were required in regular education classes to enable the student to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate. The complainant states she understood the term “general education classes” to refer to both special education and regular education classes. The term was not used in this way during the IEP team meeting discussions, and it was not the intent to use the supplemental aids and services in both environments. IEP team members believed the student required some additional support in the regular education classroom because the classes were larger and not as individualized. The IEP team properly determined what supports were necessary to assist the student in the regular education classroom and properly documented the IEP team decisions.

Properly changed the student’s placement

The complainant states the district changed the student’s placement to a full school day instead of the reduced schedule in November 2010. The student was attending school for four periods and went home at 11:30. On November 23, 2010, the four periods were extended, and the student went home at 1:40 so she could attend all four periods. On November 16, 2010, district staff notified the parents of this change. This was the only time the student’s school day was lengthened, and this isolated incidence does not constitute a change in placement.

Improperly disclosed confidential student information

In January 2011, the student’s workbook was lost, and for a few days, the student was given a former student’s workbook to use until it could be replaced. The first name of the former student was written in the workbook. The complainant states the workbook includes confidential student information about the former student. The workbook included the student’s work with a few corrections made by the teacher. This was not a disclosure of confidential student information. There is no evidence that the former student could be identified through the first name. Furthermore, the workbook was not a student record maintained by the school district. The workbook was used and kept by the student to complete homework assignments and was not something that was turned in and maintained by district staff.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.

//signed CST 3/31/11
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/pmw

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