On April 28, 2016, the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Racine Unified School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2015-16 school year, properly implemented the individualized education program (IEP) for a student with a disability.
The school district must provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to each student with a disability by developing a program that meets the student’s unique needs, documenting that program in the IEP, and implementing the program articulated in the IEP. Services in the IEP must be clearly described, including an appropriate description of the frequency and amount of each service, so the level of the district’s commitment of resources is clear and can be understood by all involved in developing and implementing the IEP.
On June 2, 2015, an IEP team meeting was held to develop an annual IEP, transition plan, and determine placement. The IEP developed was to continue into the 2015-16 school year when the student would begin attending a district high school. The IEP included specially designed instruction in science, social studies, and English one period each per day, and specially designed math instruction two periods per day. The IEP specified that the specially designed instruction was to be provided in the general education classrooms. The IEP also included as a related service, school social work services five minutes, one time per week in the general education setting. Several supplementary aids and services were also provided such as use of a behavior sheet, testing in an area with minimal distraction, tests read when not testing for reading, and extra time to complete projects. All services in the IEP included clear descriptions of frequency and amount. The district acknowledges that on September 1, 2015, the first day of school for the 2015-16 school year, the student was placed in regular education classes without the special education services required by the student’s IEP. On September 18, and 19, 2015, the student’s daily schedule was adjusted. However, not all IEP services were provided following the schedule adjustments. A review of records and district staff interviews indicate the student did not receive specialized instruction in math or English. Although the student’s history and science classes were team taught by general education and special education teachers, there is also no indication that the student received specialized instruction in these areas. Supplementary aids and services were also not consistently provided. Some staff were not aware the student had an IEP.
On October 28, 2015, a second IEP team meeting was conducted to review and revise the student’s IEP and determine continuing placement. The revised IEP included specially designed instruction in math (107 minutes five times per week), literacy skills (103 minutes eight times per week), social studies instruction (50 minutes five times per week), and science instruction (50 minutes five times per week). The specialized instruction was to be provided in the regular education environment. On December 14, and 15, 2015, the student’s daily schedule was adjusted again. A review of records and district staff interviews indicate the student did not receive specially designed instruction in literacy skills or social studies. Although the student’s history and science classes were team taught by general education and special education teachers there is also no indication that specially designed instruction was provided. On January 19, 2016, the student’s daily schedule was adjusted again and the student began to receive all special education services as required by the IEP. The student’s IEP was not properly implemented between September 1, 2015, and January 19, 2016.
On January 22, 2016, a third IEP team meeting was conducted to review and revise the student’s IEP, and determine continuing placement. All services in the October 28 IEP continued, and the IEP team added several supplementary aids and services that did not include any description of the frequency and amount for each service.
In addition, at the January 22 IEP team meeting, the IEP team determined the student’s IEP was not implemented during the first semester and added compensatory education services of 180 minutes per week in the general education setting.. The compensatory services addressed the failure to provide special education services between September 1, 2015, and January 19, 2016. The compensatory services are described as “MW 2:40-3:55 to focus on Algebra/Literacy Skills (Retake Test/Projects) Current grades will remain as is and will change as improvement occurs. Comp services will extend through second semester if needed.” It is unclear what and when the additional 30 minutes of compensatory services per week would be provided.
On February 3, 2016, a fourth IEP team meeting was conducted to review and revise the student’s IEP and determine continuing placement. The supplementary aids and services listed again did not include any description of the frequency and amount for each service. While compensatory services were determined, there is no evidence the services were delivered and/if the student retook test/projects leading to a decision to change the student’s first semester grades.
Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must review and revise if needed the current corrective action plan (CAP), approved May 16, 2016, to ensure IEPs are fully implemented. The CAP must also include training on the requirement to include clear descriptions of the amount and frequency of all services in IEPs. Before September 1, 2016, the district must reconvene the IEP team to ensure the descriptions of amount and frequency for all services are clear to IEP team members and staff responsible for implementation. The IEP team must also determine if the compensatory services already determined were provided, and if additional compensatory services are required. Within 10 days of conducting the IEP team meeting the district must provide the department a copy of the revised IEP, with documentation of the decision regarding compensatory services.
All noncompliance identified above must be corrected as soon as possible, but in no case more than one year from the date of this decision. This concludes our review of this complaint.
//signed CST 6/27/2016
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support