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IDEA Complaint Decision 18-045

On May 7, 2018 (form dated May 3, 2018), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX (parent) against the XXXXX (district). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2017-18 school year, properly responded to a parent’s request regarding a Velcro checklist, and properly implemented the student’s individualized education program.

Each student’s individualized education program (IEP) must include a statement of the special education, related services, supplementary aids and services, and program modifications or supports for school staff to be provided based on each student’s unique needs. IEPs must describe services so the level of the district’s commitment of resources is clear to parents and other IEP team members. The description of the amount, frequency, location, and duration of each service must be appropriate to the specific service and stated in the IEP, in a manner clear to all who are involved in both the development and the implementation of the IEP. All services must be provided as described in the IEP.

The student’s IEPs in effect at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, and as revised in the spring of 2018, included references to visual cues to enable the student to stay on task. The Velcro checklist was an example of a visual aid that the student had used successfully, but was not specifically described in the IEP. When the student finished a task, a page was removed from the Velcro checklist so the student could self-monitor daily progress. The checklist was not implemented at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. The parent asked school staff about the Velcro checklist at the February 28, 2018, IEP meeting and at the meeting school staff indicated the checklist would be put in place. However, this determination was not documented in the student’s IEP, and as of April 2018, the checklist was not being implemented. The district acknowledges the Velcro checklist was erroneously not provided to the student between the February 28 IEP team meeting and April 2018. As of April 24, 2018, the checklist was implemented and used daily until the end of the 2017-2018 school year. The district failed to properly respond to the parent’s request by not properly documenting its use in the IEP after the IEP team determined that the checklist was a necessary support for the student.

The student’s IEP required 200 minutes of adult support in the regular education classroom to help the student stay on task and complete activities. The parent understood this to mean the student would receive one-to-one support from a specific assigned staff person for 200 minutes per day. After visiting the student’s classroom, the parent observed the staff person assigned to the student assisting other students. District staff told the parent that the student’s support minutes were provided each day by a variety of school staff and not a specific one-to-one support person. At an IEP team meeting with the parent on May 11, 2018, the team revised the IEP to include a reduced amount of adult support in the regular classroom from 200 minutes to 120 minutes, and to clarify the support would be provided by a variety of district staff.

The student’s IEP also required small group instruction in reading by special education staff for 20 minutes, five times per week, and small group instruction in math by special education staff for 15 minutes, five times per week. The district acknowledged instances when each of these services were not provided as described in the student’s IEP.

Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must conduct an IEP meeting with the parent to determine whether compensatory services are required for the delayed implementation of the Velcro checklist and missed minutes of math and reading instruction. The district must send a copy of the IEP to the department within 10 days of the IEP team meeting. In addition, the district must develop a corrective action plan to ensure parent requests regarding the provision of special education services in IEPs are responded to appropriately, and that all IEPs are implemented as written.

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. This decision is final for the IDEA State Complaint process.

//signed CST 7/6/2018
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support