On December 7, 2005, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the De Soto Area Schools. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district properly determined the amount of special education instruction to be provided to a student during the 2005-2006 school year and properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) regarding providing weekly behavior reports to the parents.
An IEP team met in May 2005 to conduct a reevaluation of the student and to develop an IEP for the 2005-2006 school year. The team considered a functional behavioral assessment conducted by the student’s teacher and adopted a behavior intervention plan (BIP). The IEP also includes positive behavioral interventions to address student behavior which was interfering with learning. The IEP includes five annual goals addressing academic and behavior-related needs. The IEP requires that the student receive instruction in the special education room three periods of the day, with the remainder of the student’s time spent in regular education settings. The IEP includes extensive descriptions of the student’s behavior-related and academic needs, both in the evaluation materials and in present levels of educational performance. The BIP, positive behavioral interventions, and behavior-related goals address needs identified in these IEP statements. District staff report that both the intensity and frequency of the student’s behavior has improved noticeably this year. The district developed the student’s IEP based on individual needs, and the IEP team determination of the amount of special education in the IEP is reasonably supported by student-specific data.
The parents also maintain that district staff did not implement the requirement in the student’s IEP that notes regarding the student’s behavior are to be sent home weekly. They indicate that they did receive verbal behavior reports occasionally during the fall, but it was not until December when they received notes and not until early January when they began receiving weekly behavior notes. The district maintains that during the fall the teacher did periodically verbally report the student’s behavior to the parents, but it acknowledges that it was not until later in the fall that the teacher began providing the parents with weekly notes regarding behavior. The district will inform all special education staff that IEP reporting requirements are to be implemented as written and, not later than March 31, 2006, provide the department with documentation that it completed this activity.
This concludes our review of this complaint, which we will close once the discussion with staff has been completed.
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy