On September 3, 2014, 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 issues covering the 2013-14 school year are addressed below.
Properly responded to the parent’s concerns about provision of speech and language services and student progress, properly considered information provided by the parent in developing the student’s individualized education program (IEP), and properly developed measurable annual goals.
An IEP is a written statement for a student with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised during an IEP team meeting. Each student’s IEP must include a statement of the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, including how the disability affects the student’s involvement and progress in the general education curriculum; measurable annual goals designed to meet the student’s disability-related needs to enable the student to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; a description of how progress toward meeting annual goals will be measured; and when periodic reports on the progress will be provided to the parent. Each student’s IEP must also include a statement of the special education, related services, supplementary aids and services, and program modifications or supports for school staff based on each student’s unique needs and an explanation of the extent, if any, to which the student will not participate with nondisabled peers in the regular class and other school activities.
On February 1, 2014, the parent contacted the district with concerns about the student’s progress in the area of speech and language. During a phone conversation on February 11, it was agreed upon by the district and parent that additional outside evaluations were needed. On March 17, the parent met with district staff and outside evaluators to discuss a neuropsychology report and evaluations in adaptive physical education, assistive technology, and speech and language. The evaluations included information about the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, and recommendations for the school staff to use in the development of the student’s IEP.
In developing a student’s IEP, the IEP team must consider the concerns of the parents and information provided by the parents. Two weeks prior to the IEP meeting, the parents provided information to the district from an outside speech and language therapist and stated concerns about the student’s progress in speech and language, increasing academic skills in the area of math and reading, and discontinuing vocational life skills training. When the IEP team met on April 8, the IEP team considered the parents’ concerns, information provided by the parents, and outside evaluations when developing the annual IEP. The statement of present level of academic achievement and functional performance detailed the student’s needs related to current performance in the areas of math, reading, adaptive physical education, and speech and language. Annual goals addressed each area. The speech and language goals were developed based on information from outside evaluations, outside speech and language therapy progress reports, a neuropsychology report, and recommendations from district and outside speech and language therapists. In addition, all the speech and language therapists who worked with the student developed the annual speech and language goals. For example, the speech and language evaluation reports stated that the student would benefit from participating in social conversations; the IEP specifically addressed this recommendation by developing an annual goal to include answering “wh” questions in a social setting and developed an additional speech and language goal based on the assistive technology evaluation. In consideration of the parent’s concerns about speech and language service, the IEP team provided additional outside speech and language for 25 minutes per week. Each annual goal was measurable, included baseline and a level of attainment, and addressed the student’s needs. The IEP included specialized instruction in reading and math, and provided supplementary aids and services including a designated space to have quizzes/tests read orally, paraprofessional support in regular education environments, an alternative grading system, modified assignments, and speech and language goals reinforced in special education and regular education environments. The district properly developed measurable annual goals, properly responded to the parent’s concerns about the provision of speech and language services and student progress, and properly considered information provided by the parent.
Properly informed the parent of the student’s progress toward annual goals.
The IEP included a description of how the student’s progress toward meeting the annual goals would be measured and how and when progress reports would be provided to the parents. The student’s IEP, in effect during the 2013-14 school year, states that progress on the annual IEP goals would be provided quarterly to parents though progress reports, report cards, and at the annual IEP meeting. Documentation provided by the district demonstrates that progress reports on each annual goal were provided as specified in the IEP. The district properly informed the parents of the student’s progress as specified in the IEP.
Properly implemented the IEP regarding addressing the speech and language annual goals and properly measured progress toward annual goals.
The IEP in effect for the 2013-14 school year includes speech and language therapy to address written and expressive language in the areas of syntax (word order), semantics (word meaning), and pragmatic (social communication) language. Speech and language therapy sessions started with selecting a conversation topic based on the student’s school day. The speech and therapy sessions included work on answering “wh” questions, sequencing time and events, staying on conversation topic, answering in complete sentences, and using pictures to produce sentences. The speech and language pathologist monitored progress of IEP goals by keeping data of correct and incorrect responses and a narrative on progress towards meeting the annual goals. The district properly implemented the IEP regarding addressing the speech and language annual goals by a licensed speech and language pathologist and properly measured progress toward annual goals.
This concludes our review of this complaint.
//signed CST 10/30/2014
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support