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IDEA Complaint Decision 06-033

On July 3, 2006, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Kenosha Unified School District. The complaint relates to the 2005-2006 school year when the parent and student resided in Wisconsin. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district:

  • Properly referred a student to determine eligibility for special education services;
  • Properly notified the parent of individualized education program (IEP) team meetings;
  • In developing the student’s IEP, properly considered continuing placement in honors math;
  • Ensured that staff were informed of their specific responsibilities for implementing the student’s IEP; and
  • Implemented the student’s IEP regarding written instructions for the student and progress reporting for the parents.

While attending elementary school in the district the student was recognized as having an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and had a district attention deficit education plan (ADEP). The student did not require special education services in elementary school. In the fall of 2005 the student enrolled at a district middle school. The student’s mother informed school staff that the student was learning disabled and ADHD, and had a district ADEP. She provided the school social worker a copy of an independent evaluation completed at the parent’s request.

On October 3, 2005, middle school staff met with the student’s mother and developed a district ADEP. The ADEP included provisions for the student to receive oral directions in class supported by written instructions and weekly progress sheets to be provided to the student and his parents. Some of the student’s teachers did not consistently provide these two interventions between October 3, 2005 and January 23, 2006. However during this time period the student was not identified as a student with a disability and did not have an IEP requiring these two interventions.

On December 20, 2005, a student intervention team meeting was held. The student’s mother attended the meeting with a colleague. The meeting was held regarding concerns for the student’s academic performance in reading, reading comprehension, written language, work habits/work completion, and the student’s mother’s involvement. The student received a failing grade first term in his content literature class and continued to have academic struggles in the class. A special education referral was completed for the suspected disability areas of learning disabilities and other health impaired. On December 21, 2005, the student’s mother signed permission for additional testing. The district properly referred the student to determine eligibility for special education services.

A district must notify parents of the purpose, time, and location of IEP team meetings and who is expected to attend. On December 20, 2005, the student’s parents were provided notice of an IEP team meeting to be held January 9, 2006. On January 9, 2006, an IEP team meeting was held to determine eligibility for special education, develop an initial IEP, and determine initial placement. The student’s parents participated in the meeting. In addition to the regular education teacher of the child who was listed on the December 20 notice, three more regular education teachers of the child attended the meeting. Although the parent did not ask the additional teachers to leave the meeting, the parent was not provided an amended notice of who would attend the meeting. The district did not meet their responsibility to notify the student’s parents of who would be in attendance at the January 9 IEP team meeting. In addition, the student’s parents believe that on the afternoon of January 23 they were notified by phone that an IEP team meeting had been scheduled for January 24. However, no IEP team meeting was held on January 24. On February 3, 2006, an IEP team meeting was held. The meeting was scheduled by phone. However, the district does not have a notice for the February 3 IEP team meeting or other record documenting that parents were properly notified. The district did not properly notify the parents of IEP team meetings held on January 9 and February 3, 2006.

On January 9 the IEP team determined the student met the criteria for learning disabilities and other health impaired and was eligible for special education. The IEP team did not have time to complete the IEP for the student. On January 23 the principal informed the student’s parents the student would be assigned to a new team of teachers. The decision to assign the student to a new team of teachers, which did not include an honors math class, was an administrative decision not completed through the IEP team process. On February 3, the IEP team determined the student would be included with his regular education peers for all classes and extra curricular activities. The team discussed the student’s above average math calculation skills and current honors math class placement. The team considered a number of ways to continue the student’s placement in honors math class with the student’s original math teacher. The team decided that the new math teacher would adjust his math lessons for the student to provide extra honors level assignments. However, the IEP team did not document a decision about the student’s honors math class placement in the IEP. The decision was not documented because it is not special education and is not required to be documented in the IEP. The February 3 IEP team properly considered the student’s continuing placement in honors math.

Districts must ensure that regular education teachers, special education teachers, related services providers, and other service providers have access to the child’s IEP and are informed of the specific responsibilities related to implementing the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided to the child in accordance with the IEP. This requirement is critical to ensuring that the IEP is appropriately and effectively implemented. The student’s special education teacher informed all the student’s regular education teachers of their specific responsibilities for implementing the student’s IEP and met with teachers on a weekly or daily basis.

The student’s IEP includes the following supplemental aids and services: "assignment notebook, modifies written assignment length, provide written explanations for homework assignments, daily or weekly progress reports, additional time for processing information." Although written instructions and progress reporting for the parents were not provided consistently between October 3, 2005, and January 23, 2006, before the student was identified as a student with a disability, after the parent gave consent for placement on February 3, 2006, the services were provided by the student’s teachers and the IEP was implemented.

The district must, within 30 days, develop a corrective action plan to ensure that parents are properly notified of individualized education program team meetings.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 8/23/06
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy