On May 20, 2019, the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX (complainant) against the XXXXX (district). This is the department’s decision regarding the complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2018-2019 school year, properly developed and implemented the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability, and properly provided the student’s parents periodic reports on the student’s progress toward meeting annual goals.
An IEP team must develop a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals designed to enable the student to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum and meet each of the student’s other educational needs that result from the student’s disability (34 CFR 300.320[a][i]). The district must provide special education services to enable the student to advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals and to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum (34 CFR 300.320[a]). Each district must ensure that the student’s IEP is accessible to each regular education teacher, special education teacher, related services provider, and any other service provider who is responsible for its implementation, and they are informed of their specific responsibilities (34 CFR 300.323[d]). Periodic reports on the progress the student is making toward meeting the annual IEP goals must be provided to parents as specified in the IEP (34 CFR 300.320[a][ii]).
The student’s IEP, dated September 27, 2018, states the student has a history of below-average reading scores on assessments. During the IEP team meeting, the parent expressed concern about the student’s reading skills. The IEP team found the student’s disability affects the student’s reading performance and identified the need for the student to increase reading skills. The IEP team included a reading goal to increase the use of audio recordings while reading passages as a tool for increasing comprehension. A written log of audio recording usage would be used to measure the student’s progress towards the reading goal with progress reports provided to parents each trimester. The IEP includes various supplementary aids and services such as, materials provided to parents one week prior to assessments for study at home, copies of lecture notes, and audio recordings of required readings when longer than three pages; consultation between the special education and general education staff 10 minutes per week; and one 68-minute period of specially designed instruction per day with 20 minutes in reading, 20 minutes in math, and 28 minutes in study strategies.
In April and May 2019, the district conducted an internal investigation related to the issues in this complaint. The district acknowledges the student’s IEP did not include a goal and specially designed instruction to address the student’s below average reading scores. Including a goal to increase the use of audio recordings did not address the skills the student needed to improve reading scores. The district further acknowledges supplementary aids and services were not being provided, regular education staff were not informed of their specific responsibilities related to implementation and monitoring the student’s progress, and reports on the progress the student is making toward meeting the annual IEP goals were not provided each trimester to the student’s parents, as required by the student’s IEP. The district did not properly develop and implement the student’s IEP.
In response to the district’s internal investigation, the IEP team, including a reading specialist, met on May 8, 2019, to review and revise the student’s IEP. The IEP was revised with current academic and functional performance data, including an explanation of and comparison to grade-level standards and expectations. The reading goal was revised to increase reading vocabulary and comprehension. Specially designed instruction in reading was increased to 40 minutes daily, with 20 minutes focused on vocabulary development and 20 minutes on reading comprehension; 20 minutes of specially designed instruction in writing skills; and a separate 67-minute period of specially designed instruction using general education content area reading materials. Consultation between special education and general education staff was increased to 15 minutes weekly, and the methods of communication were specified. General educators received a copy of the student’s “confidential student profile” listing academic needs, goals, accommodations, and modifications.
In response to this complaint, the district has agreed to a neuropsychological evaluation to further explore the student’s needs relative to short-term memory, reading, and writing; an assessment and intervention of the student by the district’s reading specialist; training and coaching of the student’s special education case manager by the district’s reading specialist; assistive technology for accessing content area reading; and tutoring services for the next four years. When the neuropsychological evaluation is completed, the IEP team will reconvene to review the results of the evaluation and revise the IEP as appropriate. The district has also undertaken steps to ensure the issues are addressed districtwide. The district must submit to the department a copy of the student’s revised IEP within 15 days of the IEP team meeting to discuss the results of the neuropsychological evaluation. No further corrective action is required.
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 BVH 7/11/2019
Barbara Van Haren, PhD
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support