Special Services Bulletin 2015-16

Issue #2 - January 2016 - HAPPY NEW YEAR

Is that an echo I hear??

Our last issue brought information intended to share clarification on the effective start/end dates of the IEP as they relate to the actual meeting date; however, several IEPS since then have been sent over with problems. Here is a summary to remind everyone:

Case managers have one year minus one day between annual IEP meetings. Start dates, end dates, and amendment dates do not impact the requirement to have the review meeting within 364 days of the last official IEP review meeting. Please look specifically at the "Meeting Date" line in the top right portion of the front cover of the IEP when preparing to set your review meetings or when compiling your lists. Be sure to confirm if that date was the official annual review or some other kind of meeting date as well.

Do not hesitate to contact Mr. Kidd or Ms. Folkman if you have any additional questions on this critical concept for our reporting and compliance procedures.

Statewide and District Wide Testing Page Updates

Latest updates from ODE suggest that the IEP forms will not be officially revised for quite some time, which still leaves us with a Testing page that is outdated when dealing with online assessments and new graduation requirements. Formal guidance is reportedly being reviewed at present and should be posted to the ODE website within the next few weeks. Once that guidance is released, we will communicate to everyone the link and/or a summary of how we will implement the guidance.

Until that time, on Section 12 of the IEP, use the text boxes immediately below the pull-downs for the subject area tests to indicate "End of Course Online Test" for that subject area (all 3-8 and English I/II students in high school should have both Reading and Writing completed as part of the ELA testing). Use "Spr Regular 20xx" from the pull-downs on the Date of Test field, unless the student will be taking a fall test (3rd grade ELA or 1st semester Government class) during the life of the IEP. For the time being, we will not specifically list any re-take opportunities but it would be helpful if the parents of students in high school were informed that their child has that opportunity.

As for accommodations, the ELA test remains the most problematic for the IEPs being sent to Special Services. "Items read as appropriate" should NOT be used for the ELA test (Reading or Writing) areas unless it has been specifically determined that a read aloud is required for student access by the IEP team. Very limited numbers of students would normally be eligible for accommodations of this sort on the ELA tests. Guidance on making that determination may be found here. Comprehensive guidance on all accessibility features may be found on ODE's site.

PR-01 Reminders and Hints

Kudos to most everyone preparing PR-01 documents over the past few months. They are definitely improving in their quality of information and comprehensiveness. A few quick reminders/hints to consider to keep the improvement rate trending upward:

  1. Box #3 allows you to describe what happened at the meeting, including any suggestions the parent made that was incorporated into the IEP (shows collaborative nature of what we do).
  2. Box #4 should infrequently indicate that no other options were considered, as that could convey pre-determination and no chance for the parent to provide input. Instead, note such things as questions about possible services that were discussed but did not end up in the IEP or actions the district could have taken but did not after discussion (change of placement, reduction in service time, continuation of IEP without a meeting, etc.). Sharing that the parent was given the option to provide input on all steps of the IEP and that they were in agreement with all of the drafted or proposed information would be acceptable as well.
  3. Box #5 should list such things as the previous IEP, progress reports, classroom reports, group discussion, and the like rather than a generic "IEP" or "ETR" label.

Present Levels = Baseline for Goals/Objectives

Gathering baseline information about student performance allows you to inform everyone about how the student is currently able to express their knowledge and skills. It should also offer a rationale as to why you have chosen a specific goal or objective as the learning target to show improvement. Therefore, the present level should be written as a countable or measurable that you are able to repeat for the goal/objective.

"We measure what we treasure" is never more true than in IEPs. Prioritize the present levels data to focus on comprehensive skill demonstrations that incorporate several sub-skills or require prerequisite skill building in order to be mastered. That way, your decisions on the goals/objectives become automatic and obvious.

For High School Case Managers with Graduating Seniors...

Students who are intending to graduate in the spring of 2016 must still receive a full annual review IEP through March 31, 2016. The goals/objectives may be "substantially similar" to what they have been working on but the present levels and data points should all be updated.

On, or after, April 1, 2016, annual reviews for students who will be graduating are still considered annual reviews but they may be copied almost in their entirety from the existing IEP. The grade level and all dates should be changed to reflect the new timeline of the document but everything else can stay virtually the same. A statement on the front page, in the "Other Information" box, may be added to indicate that the student is on target for meeting all graduation requirements to receive a diploma and to end special education services by the end of May 2016.

Graduating seniors also are required to have a Summary of Performance document completed for them. This process should be completed in April or May for all such students, regardless of when their last annual review occurs. The SOP documents are available in the SpSrvcs software for ease of access. Try to pay particular attention to the portions clarifying the types of services/supports the student has self-identified as being most helpful, so that they have talking points to use should they pursue support in a post-graduate program of instruction.