Fulton School District
~Special Education Department News~
*Updates and Informational Reminders*
We are currently conducting 49 initial evaluations and reevaluations. Our total special education count as of the end of October 2015 is 298 students.
We have conducted and completed 43 initial evaluations and reevaluations this school year.
How long does it take to do an evaluation? How come she's not done testing yet? Doesn't it only take a week or two?
We have 60 calendar days to conduct evaluations once written parental consent is received. During that 60 day window if there are school holidays, professional development days, or if the child is absent those are considered, by DESE, to be acceptable extensions to the timeline. Therefore, it is possible that the evaluation will take longer than 60 days.
Once the testing is complete the data has to be compiled and interpreted, a draft evaluation report written, and then the challenge of scheduling the eligibility meeting with the required participates has to occur all within timelines.
If the student is found eligible for special education services we have 30 days to schedule and hold an IEP meeting. There are no acceptable extensions to this timeline. When scheduling allows, the eligibility meeting and the IEP meeting can be held on the same day. For initial IEPs, special education services cannot start until we receive signed parental consent for initial services.
From that point, I, as District Process Coordinator, am required to conduct a compliance review to ensure our paperwork meets State and Federal regulations implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and ensure that a copy of the evaluation report and IEP are provided to the parents within 20 days of the date of the meeting.
What & When signatures are required?
Regular Annual IEP Meeting: At the beginning of an IEP meeting, all participants are asked to sign the Signature Sheet. The signature simply means you were present (in attendance) at the meeting, not that you are agreeing to anything.
Initial Evaluation: A parent’s signature is always required in order to conduct an initial evaluation with or without assessment.
Reevaluation: A parent’s signature is always required in order to conduct a reevaluation with assessment.
Initial Eligibility or Continued Eligibility Meeting for the eligibility category of Specific Learning Disability (SLD): After going through all assessments and the decision is made the student meets criteria for SLD, you must check the box of agree or disagree on the Signature Sheet. This is SLD only.
Agreement by Teacher: All is good and no further action taken.
Agreement by Parent: All is good and no further action taken.
Disagreement by Teacher: If a teacher disagrees with the eligibility determination, they must submit to the special education case manager a written statement as to why they disagree. Again, this action is only required for SLD. The statement of disagreement is then attached to the Evaluation Report and included in the student’s special education file.
Disagreement by Parent: If a parent disagrees with the eligibility determination, this gives the parent certain procedural rights under IDEA. The parent would have the right to obtain an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at no cost to them by an outside evaluator in the areas that the District already evaluated or the parent could file Due Process with the Administrative Hearing Commission.
Initial Services: A parent’s signature is always required in order to begin initial special education services.
Change in IEP Goals, Services, or Placement: If goals are added or deleted, service minutes change, or placement changes during an IEP meeting, a parent’s signature is required in order to begin the implementation of the change(s) immediately. If a signature is obtain (Waiver of 10 Days for the Initiation of Action), the change in services begins at that time. If a signature is not obtained, the District must wait 10 days to implement the changes. The 10 day waiting period enables parents to do two things (1) request another IEP meeting to revisit the proposed change(s) or (2) file Due Process to prevent the change(s) from occurring.
Several paraprofessionals participated in a PD on effective on communication strategies in October. They had to use positive supportive language to solve a problem while trying to deal with obstacles placed in their path (i.e. loss of a modality).
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Mr. Fisher, paraprofessional at Bush elementary, exploring a sensory device during a recent paraprofessional PD on sensory diets
Upcoming Meetings and Professional Development Opportunities
Process 101 / Refresher Training
Monday, November 23rd 3:45-5:00
Topic: Interpreting evaluation data and writing basis of determinations.
Local Area Special Education Administrators (LASE) meeting
Thursday, December 10th from 11:15-3:00 in Montgomery City
Karrie Millard and Julie Ann Bower will be attending
Paraprofessional PD opportunity
Topic: Tough Kids Tool box
Friday, December 18th from 8-11am in Room 202 at FHS
Special Education Department Meeting
FEC / Elementary Topic: Sensory Diets presented by Julie Ann Bower and Ashley Gravemann
MS / HS Topic: TBD presented by Karrie Millard and Katy Anderson
Friday, December 18th from 1-3pm in Room 202 at FHS