SPED - Quick Reference for Principals

Special Education
A Reference for Law Related
A Dysart Quick Reference for Principals
How did we get here? A quick overview
Statutes ● legislation created by federal and state legislatures
o federal law controls IDEA is federal law
Regulations ● allow a statute to be implemented and are created by administrative
agencies (such as the State Department of Education)
o Arizona’s interpretation of IDEA
Case law ● is the written court decision that results from a lawsuit.
o there are both federal and state court decisions
o driving force of most of our legal decisions
Education Laws
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
● a civil rights law
o all about accommodations - equal access
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
● a civil rights act, enacted after Section 504 act
o not providing accommodations = discrimination
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)
● the most recent reauthurization of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act (ESEA)
o Teachers of student with special needs must be highly qualified
Education Laws - continued
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
● the education of public school children and youth experiencing
o part of NCLB
o schools must ensure homeless students have access to education
Focus on Children with Disabilities
Primary Eligibility
● In Arizona, the categories of disability for children age 3 through 21 are:
Autism (A)
Developmental Delay (DD)
Emotional Disability (ED)
Hearing Impairment (HI)
Intellectual Disability (MIID, MOID, SID)
Multiple Disabilities (MD)
Multiple Disabilities with Severe Sensory Impairment (MDSSI)
Orthopedic Impairment (OI)
Other Health Impairment (OHI)
Preschool Severe Delay (PSD)
Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
Speech and Language Impairment (SLI)
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Visual Impairment (VI)
The FAPE Mandate
Any child found eligible with any of the above disabilities are entitled to a
FAPE at the public's expense.
● FAPE is provided through an IEP developed by a team that includes the
o A parent must be given the opportunity to meaningfully participate in
the special education process.
Child Find
The IDEA obligates schools to locate, identify and evaluate all children
with disabilities.
● Dysart has 3 primary methods for Child Find
o preschool screenings
o 45 day screeners
o RtI process
Evaluation - special education
2 types of special education evaluations
● Initial evaluations
o follow a Review of Existing Data (RED)
o 60 day timeline
 in AZ - can extend 30 days with parental consent
 timeline begins the date the written request by parents or school
o Consent
 initiated by the school or parent
 Prior Written Notice (PWN) must be given to parent prior to
if parents refuse consent - process is halted
Evaluation - special education cont.
● Re-evaluations
o required every 3 years for children identified
o follow a Review of Existing Data (RED)
o 60 day timeline
 in AZ - can extend 30 days with parental consent
 timeline begins following informed consent for testing
o Consent
 Prior Written Notice (PWN) must be given to parent prior to
● if parents refuse consent - process continues after
reasonable measure to include parents
Dysart Process for Evaluation - RED
A multidisciplinary (MET) team must conduct a Review of Existing Data
(RED) prior to or in conjunction with any request for evaluation.
Student may be referred to the (MET) team by:
● RtI team - child find process
● Parents written request for testing
● 504 team
● IEP team for re-evaluation
Dysart Process for Evaluation - RED
Review of existing data must include:
o Current information provided by the student's parent(s)
o Current classroom-based assessments
o Teacher and related service provider observations
o Formal assessments such as state and district-wide assessments
RED team determines if:
o Additional data are needed
 Issue PWN
 Obtain parent’s informed consent
 Conduct assessments as said in PWN
o Additional data are NOT needed
 Issue PWN
 Inform parents of right to request IEE
 Proceed to eligibility determination
Dysart Process for Evaluation - MET
Met team will report and interpret eligibility considerations:
● Upon review of all data the team will determine:
o The present levels PLAAFP
o The child's educational needs
o Additions or changes to the special education and related services
o Are determinant factor is based on educational disadvantage
o Are determinant factor is based on limited English proficiency
Dysart Process for Evaluation - MET
After completing a review of all evaluation data the MET team will
● Whether the child has a disability
● Whether the disability adversely affects the child's progress in the general
● Whether the child needs special education and related services
Following the MET - if found eligible - the child is referred to the IEP team
Key Roles in the Evaluation Process
Primary evaluator organizes the MET meeting
● contacts parents and sends home meeting notice
● facilitates the RED/MET meeting
● interprets the results of all evaluations conducted
● manages timelines
Primary evaluators include:
● school psychologist
● speech langauge pathologist
Key Roles in the Evaluation Process
Required participants for RED/MET meeting
● primary evaluator
● parent
● special educator
● general educator
● LEA representative o School Administrator
o SPED lead teacher
o Psychologist
● related service provider (if there are areas of concern)
Independent Education Evaluation (IEE)
Parents have the right to disagree with the MET evaluation results.
If parents disagree they are granted the right to an IEE.
● IEE’s
o are conducted by an outside independent, qualified evaluator
o are paid for by the school district
o are interpreted by the MET team NOT the outside evaluator
Dysart process for an IEE
IEE requests are handled in the ESS office
● Parents must request an IEE in writing stating the specific evaluation
results they are in disagreement with
● Parents make select a qualified outside evaluator
● ESS office issues a purchase order
● Parents make an appointment with outside evaluator for evaluations
● Outside evaluator sends all evaluation results to the ESS office
● ESS office provides a copy to the school MET team
● Primary evaluator organizes a MET meeting to interpret the results of the
● MET interpretations are final
The Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
The IEP is written by an IEP team to ensure a child
receives a FAPE. The IEP is a binding contract that
describes the child’s educational plan and must be
followed without fail. When an IEP is not followed the
school denies a child with a disability a FAPE.
The IEP team
The IEP team is a group of individuals charged with developing,
reviewing, and revising the IEP and is required to consist of the following
● The child - when appropriate (required after age 14)
● The child’s parent
● General education teacher
● Special education teacher
● LEA representative
● Qualified person to interpret results
● Related service providers (when services are outlined on the IEP)
● The parent can invite outside agencies or persons knowledgeable about
the child and/or the IEP process
Dysart Process for the IEP Team
The following roles must be present at the IEP meeting:
● The child’s parent
● General education teacher
● Special education teacher/Service Coordinator
● LEA representative
● Qualified person to interpret results
● Related service providers (when services are outlined on the IEP)
● The child - when appropriate (required after age 14)
Parents may bring outside agencies or advocates
Dysart Process for the IEP Team
If the parents invite an Educational Advocate:
● The IEP team must have present:
o the Lead Special Education teacher OR
o the ESS Coordinator OR
o the ESS Director
If the parents invite Legal Council:
● The IEP team must have present:
o the ESS Director AND
o District Legal Council
Key Roles in the IEP Team
● Service Coordinator (special education teacher)
o Contact the parents
o Coordinate the IEP meeting
 provide a meeting notice with meeting purpose
o Facilitate the IEP meeting
o Facilitate the writing of the IEP
 ensure that all providers input all relevant components
 ensure that data is present justifying all supports and services
o Coordinate training for IEP components
o Provide copies of the IEP to all relevant parties
o Has knowledge of specially designed instructional strategies
Key Roles in the IEP Team - cont.
● General Education teacher
o Has knowledge of the general curriculum
o Has knowledge of instructional strategies for all
o Provides data regarding child’s progress in the general curriculum
o Provides team with expectation of the general curriculum
o Provides data on accommodations in the general curriculum
● LEA representative
o Is approved by the district to discuss the availability of resources
o Is knowledgeable of the general curriculum standards
o Is knowledgeable of specially designed instruction
IEP Team Meetings
Schools are responsible for initiating and conducting
meetings for the purpose of developing, reviewing, and
revising the IEPs of children with disabilities.
Dysart Process for IEP Meeting
The following must be completed by the Service Coordinator:
● Meeting Notice
o Must be sent to parents at least 10 days prior to the IEP meeting
 Must contain the meeting purpose
 Must include the roles of the meeting participants
● Draft IEP
o Must be sent to the parents at least 10 days prior to the IEP meeting
 Must be marked at draft
 Must have parental input
● Prior Written Notice
o Must be given to parents prior to the start of IEP services
Dysart Expectation - IEP components
The IEP must have the following components:
o Data to support child’s strengths and needs in each area
PLAAFP data drives measurable goals:
o Addresses the educational needs described in the PLAAFP
o Goal data must address how progress data will be collected
Goals drive service minutes
Statement of specially designed instruction
Explanation of the extent of time the child will participate with non disabled peer
Clearly defined accommodations
Beginning at age 16 - measurable postsecondary goals
o must be supported by a transition plan
Dysart Expectation - IEP considerations
The following special factors must also be considered:
● Child’s behavior
● ELL or Limited English proficient
o Must consider language needs
● Children who are hearing impaired
o Must consider use of sign language or interpreters
● Children who are visually impaired
o Must consider use of Braille
● Assistive technology needs
● Extended School Year
● Transportation
Dysart Expectation-Transportation STR
The Student Transportation Request (STR) is designed to ensure
communication between schools and the transportation department.
● STR must be completed for:
o Students who require transportation as a related service on their IEP
o Students who are eligible under the McKinney-Vento act
o Students who require transportation as part of their 504 plan
o Students who may have specialized transportation due to a legal
STR’s must be completed by the IEP team defining the reason for
specialized transportation prior to any transportation being routed
Delivery of Services
Specially Designed Instruction
● Meets the unique needs of the child
o adapting appropriately
● Uses specific methodology or delivery of instruction to address said needs
o MUST ensure access to the general curriculum
Related Services
● Assist the child in benefiting from special education services
Speech, OT, PT
Counseling/Psychological services
Audiology services
interpreting services
Orientation and Mobility
Dysart - Specially Designed Instruction
Students will be guaranteed specially designed instruction and research
based instructional practices
● Structured Teaching Classroom Models
o Discrete Trial Training (DTT)
o Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
o TEAACH/PECS communication systems
o Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports (PBIS)
● Supplemental Materials
o General Education intervention kits
o Read 180/System 44
o Reading Mastery/Corrective Reading
o Wilson Reading
Delivery of Services - cont.
● Ensures the child to access and demonstrate learning
● Do NOT substantially change the instructional level, the content or the
performance criteria
● Substantially change the instructional level, the content and the
performance criteria
● Addresses functional abilities of the child
Least Restrictive Environment:
The IDEA’s Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) provision requires that, to the
maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in
public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children
who are not disabled.
Additional rules regarding placement require that children with disabilities be
educated as close to home as possible, and in the same school he or she
would attend if not disabled, unless the IEP specifies some other arrangement.
In a situation where a child will not participate fully with peers without
disabilities, the IEP must include an explanation of why and to what extent.
The law requires schools to ensure that there is a "continuum of alternative
placements" available to meet the needs of students with disabilities who
cannot be educated in the general education classroom for part or all of the
school day. The continuum must be designed to ensure that there is an
appropriate setting for each child with a disability, based on the child’s specific
needs, and includes general education classes, special education classes,
special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals or institutions.
Dysart - LRE and Continuum
The LRE will be determined by the IEP team with the following:
● Each child will have his/her day “mapped” to ensure general education
considerations to the maximum extent possible
● Clear explanation of student needs
o communication needs
o sensory needs
o behavioral needs
LRE off campus or in private day
o ESS coordinator must be present
o LRE is a team decision
o Location of LRE is determined by the ESS Director
Implementing the IEP
IEPs should be implemented as soon as possible following the IEP meeting at
which the IEP is developed. An IEP must be in effect before a school can
provide special education and related services. Schools must ensure that IEPs
are accessible to each regular education teacher, special education teacher,
related service provider, or other service provider who is responsible for
implementing that IEP, and that each of those individuals is informed of his or
her specific responsibilities related to the implementation of the IEP. Moreover,
all relevant school personnel must be informed of the specific accommodations,
modifications, and supports that must be provided to each child in accordance
with his or her IEP.
Prior Written Notice
The IDEA requires school districts to provide parents with a written
notice of services or actions that will take place prior to implementation.
In Arizona this is called a Prior Written Notice.
This is the “legal notepad” for the IEP/MET teams.
What to Include in the PWN
A PWN must include the following:
● a description of the action proposed or refused by the school;
● an explanation of why the school proposes or refuses to take the action;
● a description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report
the agency used as a basis for the proposed or refused action;
● a statement that the parents of a child with a disability have protection
under the procedural safeguards provided in the IDEA
● a description of other options considered by the IEP team and the reason
why those options were rejected
● a description of other factors that are relevant to the school’s proposal or
When to Write a PWN
The PWN is the “legal notepad” requested by Judges and ADE officials;
therefore, PWN must be well written after the following actions:
● Initial identification
● Any formal meeting
o Progress
o LRE/Continuum placement meetings
o Disciplinary actions
When in doubt PWN it out!!
Dispute Resolution
The IDEA and its implementing regulations mandate that states make
available formal processes for families of children with disabilities age 3
through 21 and public schools to resolve special education-related
disputes. State Educational Agencies (SEA) are required to offer
mediation, a due process hearing system, and a state administrative
complaint system.
This is the area where the ESS Director spends all of her time.
Dispute Resolution
● Part of parental safeguards
● Informal process
o Dysart includes Legal Counsel on all mediations
● Only Parent and Adult students can request mediation
o Parents can bring Legal Counsel
o Advocates cannot attend mediation unless agree to by the
● ADE provides trained mediator
● Successful mediation results in a written agreement
Dispute Resolution
Due Process Hearing
● Part of parental safeguards
● A formal hearing
o Dysart includes Legal Counsel in Due Process Hearings
● Only Parent and Adult students can request mediation
o Parents can bring Legal Counsel
o Advocates cannot attend mediation unless agree to by the Judge
● An Administrative Law Judge decides the outcome of the complaint
Dispute Resolution
State Administrative Complaint System
● NOT part of parents procedural safeguards
● Part of the state regulations that implement IDEA
● Has 60 to issue a letter of findings
o can only determine if the district is in or out of compliance
● Issues corrective action regarding compliance issues
● Cannot dictate IEP decisions or change outcomes

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