SPrEaD the word

SPECIAL EDITION (03.13.2020)

School Closure and Special Education Services

Good afternoon,


First, I would like to say thank you. Many of you took time out of your already jammed pack day to gather resources and information to send home with students today. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.


During your staff meetings this afternoon, your building principals shared that I would be reaching out. This afternoon Russell Johnston held a conference call for all special education administrators. The purpose of this call was to review and further explain the items outlined below; I have also included the key takeaways as they pertain to us.

  1. School closure, FAPE and compensatory services

    1. We are not providing virtual learning to our students. We are providing families with resources to maintain continuity (packets, menu options, online activities). Therefore, we are not required to provide compensatory services.

    2. Upon our return, we will be reviewing cases on an individual basis to determine if compensatory services are needed. At this time, I am already thinking of 10-15 cases that will likely require this. I will work closely with Team Chairs to make sure these Teams are convened for conversations.


  1. Individual students out of school

    1. Many families have chosen to keep students home over the last few days and may choose to continue to do so upon our return. That is their choice. We are not obligated to provide services, as this is not the same as home/hospital tutoring. In order to provide services, the family will need to provide a doctor’s note per the Home/Hospital Education guidance.


  1. IEP timelines

    1. These are determined at the federal level. More information will be coming

    2. Per the current federal guidelines, I will adjust the compliance calendar accordingly. So yes, we will have multiple meetings to reschedule. I may adjust some of our current practices so that staff, specifically related service providers, are not having to compromise service time for meetings.


  1. Virtual IEP meetings and due process hearings

    1. DESE is advising that we hold as many meetings virtually (telephone, Skype, Zoom)

    2. Over the next week, I will be communicating with IT for assistance so that we may support families.


  1. DESE and federal timelines (grants, Circuit Breaker Extraordinary Relief, etc.)

    1. This item is more for Mary and me. There wasn’t much at all shared on this as DESE still needs to work to adjust some of the deadlines. They also need some guidance from the feds because of the federal grants.


Other information:

I know you will all be continuing to support your students and families. I also understand that this will look different depending on your role. Given Russell’s big message was connections with families, it is my expectation that all of you connect with your families frequently. Whether you use email, Remind, What’s App, Class DoJo, Google Classroom, please communicate often with your families and students to check-in, provide strategies, and/or share resources.


  • Clinicians (guidance counselors, school psychologists, School Adjustment Counselors, nurses, BCBAs):

    • For those students, you see on a regular basis (per 504/IEP), please check in with the families just as frequently. For example, if you have a morning and end of day CICO, do this via email.

    • Offer to provide counseling virtually. This will go a long way.

    • Check-in with your colleagues!

    • Review/update BSPs

    • Finalize observations and evaluation reports (Be sure to upload them to Aspen!)

    • Review your calendar to map out upcoming evaluations


  • Special Education teachers:

    • please check in with general education teachers to see if they need assistance modifying activities/resources that are being shared

    • Check-in with students to ask about what they are reading, what activities they have been working on, and/or how their activities are going.

    • Offer assistance virtually

    • Offer to meet virtually

    • Finalize MCAS-Alt requirements, if applicable

    • Finalize observations and evaluation reports (Be sure to upload them to Aspen!)

    • Review and analyze data to assist in assessing students when we return

    • Review your calendar to map out upcoming evaluations


  • Related Service Providers:

    • please check in with general education and special education teachers to see if they need assistance modifying activities/resources that are being shared

    • Check-in with students and families to offer strategies and supports while at home

    • Offer assistance virtually

    • Offer to meet virtually

    • Finalize observations and evaluation reports (Be sure to upload them to Aspen!)

    • Review and analyze data to assist in assessing students when we return

    • Review your calendar to map out upcoming evaluations



All Special Education staff:

  • Watch for another ESY email from me

  • Enter grades/Update Student Portal (jr./sr. high staff)

  • Work on Draft IEPs

  • Hold virtual consults with teams to discuss and plan for individual students

  • Update or Create a Google Classroom to house some of the amazing resources you created for this closure (Then you have a way to support families when students are out due to illness)

  • Update or Create a teacher website

  • Update/modify data sheets

  • Finalize any DRAFT IEPs

  • Begin working on upcoming DRAFT IEPs


I hope you and your family stay healthy during this time.


I will be available via email. Please do not hesitate to reach out.


Take care,
Kate

New Parent Survey Responses

Families continue to return their IEP Process Parent Survey. Click here to see what they are saying!

Future Topics:

  • Development of the IEP
  • Parent Response to an IEP
  • MPS Policy and Procedures Regarding In School Observation by Parents and their Designee