On April 7, 2016 (form dated March 29, 2016), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Birchwood Public Schools. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2015-16 school year, provided required special education services to a student with a disability in accordance with the student’s individualized education program (IEP) utilizing properly licensed special education teaching staff.
Each school board must ensure every teacher, aide, or other professional staff holds a valid certificate, license, or permit issued by the department for the position for which the individual is employed before the individual engages in duties of such a position. The district must ensure professional teaching responsibilities are carried out by teachers who are licensed by the department. A special education aide’s role is limited to working under the direct supervision of a licensed special education teacher to support the lesson plans of the teacher, provide technical assistance to the teacher, help with classroom control or management, and perform other duties as assigned.
The IEP in effect for the 2015-16 school year includes special education services in the special education classroom. Beginning in September, the district assigned a DPI licensed special education teacher and two DPI licensed special education program aides to provide specially designed instruction to the student. On February 5, 2016, the student’s special education teacher retired from the district. Beginning on February 8, 2016, a new special education teacher was assigned to work with the student. The special education teacher consistently provided direct instruction to the student. The student’s IEPs included goals in math, reading, spelling, and writing. The special education teacher developed and provided specially designed instruction in all academic areas. In addition to providing instruction, the special education teacher reviewed the student’s work and developed daily lesson plans. The student’s aides worked with the student and supported the teachers throughout the school day. The special education teacher consulted with the aides each day and several times throughout the school day to explain lessons, provide and review assignments, discuss the student’s progress, and address any concerns. The district provided required special education services utilizing properly licensed teaching staff.
This concludes our review of this complaint.
//signed CST 6/2/2016
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support