IDEA Complaint Decision 13-019

On April 10, 2013, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Madison Metropolitan School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2012-13 school year, properly developed an individualized education program (IEP) to address needs related to reading, and properly developed measurable annual goals.

Properly developed an individualized education program (IEP) for a student with a disability

The complaint primarily focuses on issues related to the student’s disability-related needs and services in the area of reading. IEP team meetings were held on March 21, 2012, May 22, 2012, June 12, 2012, and October 26, 2012.

An IEP is a written statement for a student with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised during an IEP team meeting by a properly constituted IEP team. Each student’s IEP must include a statement of the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, including how the disability affects the student’s involvement and progress in the general education curriculum; measurable annual goals designed to meet the student’s disability related needs to enable the student to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; a description of how progress toward meeting annual goals will be measured; and when periodic reports on the progress will be provided to the parent. Each student’s IEP must also include a statement of the special education, related services, supplementary aids and services, and program modifications or supports for school staff based on each student’s unique needs and an explanation of the extent, if any, to which the student will not participate with nondisabled peers in the regular class and other school activities.

The IEP in effect for the 2012-13 school year was developed on March 21, 2012. The statement of present level of academic achievement and functional performance detailed the student’s specific difficulties, successes, and needs related to reading, and the parent’s concerns related to reading. The IEP included specialized instruction and academic support for reading in the regular education environment, and supplementary aids and services related to reading. The IEP included information about the student’s present level of reading achievement and how the student’s disability affected the student’s involvement in the general education reading curriculum, and it specified special education services needed to address the student’s reading goals and needs. The district properly developed the student’s IEP at the March 21 meeting to address the student’s needs related to reading during the 2012-13 school year. 

The IEP team met on May 22, 2012, to review and revise the student’s IEP in response to parental concerns about the student’s reading needs and the parent’s request for extended school year services (ESY). ESY services are special education and related services required by the student’s IEP provided beyond the limits of the school term. A school district is required to provide ESY services to a student when the student requires such services to receive a free appropriate public education. If the IEP team decides the child requires ESY services, the team must include a description of the necessary ESY services to be provided, including the amount, frequency, and the duration of the services in the student’s IEP. The ESY services must be tailored to the unique needs of the student and cannot be based solely on the availability of services during the summer. The district is obligated to provide the ESY services consistent with the student’s IEP. The IEP team developed ESY services for reading, and included weekly consultation between the special education teacher and the parent to discuss the student’s progress. The district properly developed the student’s IEP at the May 22 IEP team meeting to address the student’s needs related to reading during the 2012-13 school year.   

The IEP team met again on June 12, 2012, to address continuing parental concerns related to reading. Pursuant to the parent’s request, the IEP team made no changes to the student’s IEP at that time. However, the IEP team on June 12 did not include a regular education teacher of the student, who was a required member of the IEP team. A required IEP team member may be excused from attending an IEP team meeting, in whole or in part, when the meeting involves a modification to, or discussion of, the member’s area of the curriculum or related services if, in writing, the parent and the district agree to the excusal, and the IEP team member submits written input into the development of the IEP prior to the meeting. The district acknowledges it did not include the required regular education teacher and did not follow the excusal provisions.

The IEP team met again on October 26, 2012, to review and revise the student’s IEP to reflect the student’s needs related to participation in assessment. The IEP team made no other changes to the student’s IEP. The district properly developed the student’s IEP at the October 26 meeting to address the student’s needs related to reading during the 2012-13 school year.  

Properly Developed Measurable Annual Goals

An IEP is a written statement for each student with a disability that includes a statement of measurable annual goals designed to meet the student’s needs that result from the student’s disability. Annual goals must be measurable, include a level of attainment, and address the student’s needs that result from the student’s disability to enable the student to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum. Annual goals also include a description of how the student’s progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured and when periodic reports on the progress the student is making toward meeting the annual goals will be provided to the parents. The IEPs in effect for 2012-13 included two annual goals related to reading. Each annual goal was measurable, addressed the student’s needs, and included when and how the parents would be informed of progress. The district properly developed measurable annual goals.

Within 30 days from the date of this decision, the district must develop a corrective action plan to ensure that IEP team meetings include the required persons or properly excused persons. All noncompliance identified above must be corrected as soon as possible, but in no case more than one year from the date of this decision. This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 5/20/2013
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support

Dec/aam

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