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IDEA Complaint Decision 13-064

On December 16, 2013, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the XXXXX School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2013-14 school year, properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) regarding meeting weekly with the school counselor and providing a safe contact, providing movement and sensory breaks, and reviewing daily goal sheets at the beginning of the school day.

The student’s IEP team met to review the student’s IEP on October 1, 2013, and added the following services to the student’s IEP, among others: school counseling for 15 minutes per week in the counselor’s room; movement and sensory breaks daily and when the student exhibits behaviors that interfere with the student’s attention or the learning of others in the therapy room or other school environments, such as the hallway or counselor’s office; and special education support for check-in and checkout daily.

Pursuant to the IEP, the district began implementing the new services on October 21, 2013. Based on staff interviews and documentation, the student met with the school counselor for 15 minutes per week in the counselor’s room, beginning the week of October 21, 2013, and until the parent withdrew the student from the district in January 2014. The school counselor was made available as a safe contact, and this was communicated to the student and staff.

The district also provided movement and sensory breaks in accordance with the IEP. Daily breaks were provided as required, and, in addition, were provided when warranted by the student’s behavioral needs. For example, on December 12, 2013, the student exhibited behavior in the classroom that interfered with his attention and the learning of others. The classroom teacher first attempted to contact the school counselor, and then attempted to contact an administrator, both of whom were unavailable at that time. The classroom teacher then contacted a special education teacher, who regularly works with the student, and both teachers determined the student should have a movement and sensory break. The special education teacher and a special education aide provided the student a movement and sensory break in a room the student uses daily for sensory breaks. Because the break coincided, in part, with the indoor recess period, the special education teacher provided the student opportunities to play a game with a student of his choice, or to play a game with the special education teacher. The student returned to the classroom approximately 10 minutes after the indoor recess period concluded, when the special education teacher determined his behavior no longer interfered with the student’s attention or the learning of others, in accordance with the student’s IEP.

The IEP also provides that staff would check-in with the student daily. The district and parent agreed this service included daily goal preparation at home by the parent and student, and staff review of the goals with the student each morning. Daily goals were completed at home, staff reviewed the goals with the student at the beginning of the school day, and staff provided the goals to the classroom teacher each day. The parent contacted the district with a concern that the morning check-in regarding goals was not occurring. Thereafter, the district began documenting the morning review of goals in writing. The district properly implemented the student’s IEP.

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

//signed CST 1/22/2014
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support