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IDEA Complaint Decision 06-048

On October 23, 2006, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the School District of Tomorrow River. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2005-2006 school year:

  • Properly responded to a parent’s request to include additional participants in developing the student’s individualized education program (IEP);
  • Properly responded to the parent’s request that positive behavioral intervention be included in the student’s IEP;
  • Included measurable annual goals in the student’s IEP;
  • Provided the parent with reports of the student’s progress toward meeting annual goals as required in the IEP;
  • Timely provided the parent with a copy of the student’s IEP developed in November 2005 and included services agreed upon during the meeting in the IEP sent to the parent; and
  • Implemented the student’s IEP regarding the provision of math.

Properly responded to a parent’s request to include additional participants
In an e-mail dated January 23, 2006, the parent requested an IEP meeting and that an autism consultant be present at the meeting. District staff responded to the email the next day stating that they had agreed upon quarterly collaborative meetings and that one of the meetings would be an IEP meeting. Staff suggested that the IEP meeting be held prior to the start of the 2006-2007 school year. In a letter dated February 27, 2006, staff further stated that they would be happy to review the IEP as quickly as possible and requested that a mediator be involved, and the parent did not object. In April and June 2006, district staff and the parents met with the mediator on two different occasions and an autism consultant participated in these meetings. The first meeting was not held until April because of the availability of the mediator.

Throughout the 2005-2006 school year the district conducted multiple meetings. Although there was a delay between the January 23rd request and the meetings in April and June, the district did respond promptly to the request and proposed an approach and schedule to accommodate it. The delay in this case was not unreasonable given the complexity of the case, the parents’ desire to include an autism consultant, and the use of the mediator to assist in resolving the issues. Furthermore, the autism consultant was contacted and provided input prior to the quarterly meetings.

Properly responded to the parent’s request that positive behavioral intervention be included
The student’s IEP for the 2005-2006 school year indicates that the student’s behavior is a special factor and that his school performance can sometimes be affected by symptoms of anxiety. The parents’ concerns and input is also described in the IEP noting that the student is less likely to "become stuck" if he is able to articulate needs and feelings, and that he has trouble with organization and time management. An annual goal addresses planning and time management skills, and another goal involves the development of collaborative problem solving. In addition, supports for the student include time management reminders, quiet/low distraction, rest time, and extended time to complete work.

In the complaint, the parent states that positive behavioral interventions were requested to address tardiness. However, time management reminders are noted in the IEP. Furthermore, school staff provided support by determining that the student generally had difficulty with tardiness after the lunch period, and then providing verbal reminders to the student at the end of lunch. Flexibility was also provided in how detentions were served. Staff noted that this resulted in a decrease in tardiness. School staff properly responded to the parent’s concerns regarding tardiness.

Include measurable annual goals in the student’s IEP
There are four annual goals in the student’s IEP relating to planning and time management skills, problem solving, math and transition. These goals read in conjunction with the short term objectives provide a percentage or specific completion requirement, which are measurable.

Provide parent with reports of student progress as required in the IEP
The student’s IEP provides that parents will be advised at least quarterly of progress through written communication. Progress was reviewed during the quarterly meetings and a written summary of the meeting was provided to the parents. Progress was also documented in the student’s IEP under the IEP team review section.

Timely provided the parent with a copy of the student’s IEP developed in November 2005 and included agreed upon services in the IEP
The first IEP meeting was held on November 1, 2005; another meeting was necessary to complete the review and revision. The IEP was again reviewed and revised on November 13, 2005, but there continued to be disagreement and the district and parent agreed to pursue mediation. A mediation meeting was held on December 9, 2005, and a copy of the November 13th IEP was provided and reviewed at that time.

With regard to whether agreed upon services were included, during the 2005-2006 school there were multiple meetings between the parent and district staff, including IEP team meetings, quarterly meetings, and mediation sessions. Many suggestions made by the parent were incorporated into the November 2006 IEP. The parent did request that the special education teacher contact the student’s regular education teachers at least twice a week regarding the student’s progress, which was not incorporated by the IEP team into the student’s IEP. However, as part of the student’s IEP, the special education teacher had daily meetings with the student to discuss progress. As a result of this requirement, the special education teacher regularly contacted the regular education teachers.

Implemented student’s IEP regarding provision of math
The student’s IEP states that math is to be provided during the first semester and when scheduled during the IEP school year. The amount described is for 45 minutes per day. Furthermore, the student’s IEP contains an annual goal that the student would pass algebra with 75% accuracy. Finally, the IEP states that the student may withdraw from courses without penalty of failure based upon agreement of the IEP team.

The student withdrew from math before the end of the first semester with the agreement of the IEP team. District staff attempted to find a math program that they thought would be a "good fit" and that would capture the student’s interest. At the April 12th quarterly meeting a computerized program was agreed upon. The student was enrolled in the program on April 21st, but the materials did not arrive until May 25th. Because the material did not arrive until May, the student and staff decided to wait until next fall to begin the program. The student’s IEP permitted this withdrawal, and although the district attempted to provide a computerized math program during the fourth quarter, this was not required by the IEP.

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

//signed 3/27/07
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy