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IDEA Complaint Decision 08-065

On July 22, 2008, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Random Lake School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2007-2008 school year:

  • Properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) regarding the use of assistive technology services and the provision of alternate assessments;
  • Properly documented decisions regarding the use of assistive technology services; and
  • Properly ensured staff were informed of their responsibilities for implementing portions of the child’s IEP.

The student’s IEP provides supplementary aids and services, which includes proofreading/editing support for written assignments, provision of notes, and additional time for tests and quizzes. The special education teacher reviewed and proofread the student’s written assignments and provided the editing support as required by the student’s IEP. Notes were provided by classroom teachers when class notes were used, and the student was allowed to use a laptop computer or tape recorder to further assist with note taking. The student was given additional time for tests and quizzes, and the IEP does not provide for alternative assessments. The complaint states the student was not provided access to a spell checker. Under the annual goal section of the student’s IEP, it specifies that the student is to spell check written work. There are a variety of methods to spell check written work, and there is no requirement in the student’s IEP for the provision of a hand-held spell checker. However, in an attempt to resolve this complaint, the district has provided the student with a hand-held spell checker.

During the September 2007 IEP team meeting, the IEP team determined that two computer software programs would be evaluated for their effectiveness. This decision was documented in the student’s IEP, and two software programs were examined for their appropriateness and effectiveness in meeting the student’s needs. However, after evaluating these programs, staff believed these programs would not be beneficial and accessing written work without the use of assistive technology would be more appropriate in addressing the student’s needs.

Staff were also informed of their responsibilities for implementing portions of the student’s IEP. At the beginning of the school year, staff are informed of their IEP responsibilities and the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports required by the IEP. If the student’s IEP is changed during the course of the school year, staff will receive updated information. Staff reported that they received this information for the student who is the subject of this complaint. In addition, IEPs, including this student’s IEP, are accessible to pertinent staff.

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

//signed CST/SJP 9/19/08
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy