Know Your Rights!
You have the right to bring an advocate or
advisor to meetings (advise school ahead
of time of person you will bring)
 You have the right to record meetings
(advise school ahead of time of your
intent to do so)
 You have the right to refuse to sign an IEP
you disagree with

Understand the Situation
Understand what is possible for the school
to do
 Understand what is reasonable for the
school to do
 You win more flies with honey than with
vinegar!

Present Level of Performance
(PLOP)

Also called the “Present Level of Academic
Achievement”
– 20 U.S.C. § 1414 (IDEA)
– 34 C.F.R. § 300.320
PLOP

Must include a statement of the child’s
present levels of academic achievement
and functional performance, including:
– How the child’s disability affects their
performance in the standard curriculum
– For preschoolers, how the child’s disability
affects their participation in appropriate
activities
PLOP (cont.)
Includes both academic achievement and
functional performance
 This is different for each child, meaning
that evaluations and decisions must be
done on a case-by-case basis
 Focus is on describing how the child’s
disability affects his or her ability to learn

How is PLOP Determined?
The IEP Team looks at standardized test
scores, professional evaluations, and
observations of parents and educators
 Parent input is essential!

– You have the right to draft your own PLOP
statement and have it attached to the IEP
Goals of the PLOP
Describe the child’s areas of strength and
of weakness
 Determine what holds the child back and
what helps the child learn
 Describe how the child’s disability affects
his or her ability to learn

Examples of PLOP Statements

Kari’s difficulty in organizing materials and
information affects her ability to complete
assignments independently and compose written
essays.
Examples of PLOP Statements

Dayton prefers to play in isolation and
becomes upset (e.g., cries and hits
others) when another student comes too
close. As a result his peer interactions at
playtime are limited.
Examples of PLOP Statements

Joey follows basic written directions in
community settings (e.g., vending
machines and work schedules). He is able
to travel in his wheelchair for short
distances in school, but needs adult
assistance to travel in the community. He
can read simple sentences but does not
generalize his reading skills to functional
activities (e.g., reading a menu in a
restaurant).
Sources:
Sample PLOP statements taken from New
York Vocational and Educational Services
for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID)
website
 http://www.vesid.nysed.gov/specialed/pu
blications/policy/iep/presentlevels.htm

Individualized Education Program
ABCs of IEPs
• Accountability
• Baselines
• Clarity
ACCOUNTABILITY
1. CURRENT IEP
REVIEWING REQUIRED
ACCOUNTABILITY
2. EACH OBJECTIVE
ORGANIZATION NEEDED
ACCOUNTABILITY
3. PROGRESS REPORTS
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
ACCOUNTABILITY
1. CURRENT IEP
2. EACH OBJECTIVE
3. PROGRESS REPORTS
BASELINES
Where is your child NOW?
CLARITY
One interpretation, no
explanation needed
ABCs of IEPs
BAD EXAMPLE
By June 2010 Tammy will add and subtract
whole numbers up to fifteen with and
without the use of a calculator with 80%
accuracy
ABCs of IEPs
BAD EXAMPLE
By June 2010 Tammy will tell time to
the half hour using an analog and
digital clock with 80% accuracy
ABCs of IEPs
BAD EXAMPLE
Todd will independently read a 2.25 level text with 80%
accuracy using picture-cueing, initial and ending
sound, and chunking strategies to decode unknown
words by December 2009. He will use reading on, rereading, and context clues strategies. Todd will also
decode the 2.25 level text using sight-word knowledge
for frequently used sight words in Kindergarten, first
and second grade as determined by the Dolch word
lists of high frequency sight words by grade level.
ABCs of IEPs
Todd will independently read a 2.25 level text with 80%
accuracy using picture-cueing, initial and ending
sound, and chunking strategies to decode unknown
words by December 2009. He will use reading on, rereading, and context clues strategies. Todd will also
decode the 2.25 level text using sight-word knowledge
for frequently used sight words in Kindergarten, first
and second grade as determined by the Dolch word
lists of high frequency sight words by grade level.
ABCs of IEPs
BAD EXAMPLE
By December 2009, Todd will use strategies to
follow classroom routines and meet classroom
expectations in 4 out of 5 instances. He will
follow three step directions given to him by his
teacher. He will demonstrate behavior that
causes peers and teachers to react in a positive
manner to him. Todd will accept consequences
and direction from adults
ABCs of IEPs
GOOD EXAMPLE
By December 2009, Todd will raise his hand before
asking a question in class 4 out of 5 instances.
ABCs of IEPs
GOOD EXAMPLE
By December 2009, Todd will refrain from hitting,
pinching or yelling at peers and teachers in 4
out of 5 instances.
ABCs of IEPs
Tammy will write three sentences with correct grammar,
punctuation and capitalization four out of five trials
– By November 2009, Tammy will write one sentence with
correct grammar, punctuation and capitalization four out of
five trials
– By January 2010, Tammy will write two sentences with
correct grammar, punctuation and capitalization four out of
five trials
– By March 2010, Tammy will write three sentences with
correct grammar, punctuation and capitalization four out of
five trials
ABCs of IEPs
• Accountability
• Current IEP
• Each Objective
• Progress Reports
• Baselines
• Where is your child NOW?
• Clarity
• One interpretation, no explanation needed
Accommodations, Modifications
and Services in your child’s IEP
What is the difference between
Accommodations and
Modifications?
Accommodations
• Accommodations are designed to allow a
student to complete the same assignment or test
as other students, but with a change in the
timing, formatting, setting, scheduling, response
and/or presentation. Accommodations do not
change the educational content.
• Example of an Accommodation: A student who
is blind taking a mainstream test in Braille, and a
student with Dyslexia being given extra time on
a test.
Modifications
• Modifications alter the educational
content to address the unique needs of the
child that result from the child's disability.
• Example of a Modification: Requiring a 2
page report from the student instead of the
4 page assignment required of his/her
peers
The Main Difference
• Accommodations help your child to
receive the mainstream curriculum.
• Modifications allow your child to receive an
especially tailored education that meets
his/her individual needs and skill levels.
What does IDEA say about
accommodations and
modifications?
• IDEA Appendix A says, "The Act requires the
IEP team to determine, and the public agency to
provide, the accommodations, modifications,
supports, and supplementary aids and services,
needed by each child with a disability to
successfully be involved in and progress in the
general curriculum achieve the goals of the IEP,
and successfully demonstrate his or her
competencies in State and district-wide
assessments."
IDEA also says…
• Each teacher and provider must be
informed of: The specific
accommodations, modifications, and
supports that must be provided for the
child in accordance with the IEP.
• The teacher/provider must know what
provisions have been decided upon in
order to utilize them effectively.
Stipulations of Accommodations
and Modifications
• The IEP team must determine the accommodations and
modifications needed for a child with disabilities in order to
achieve the IEP goals.
• Accommodations and modifications should be specifically
included in the body of the IEP.
• All accommodations and modifications specified by the IEP
must be provided by the public agency (the child’s school).
• Each teacher and provider for the disabled child must be
informed of and understand the accommodations and
modifications chosen in order to use them effectively.
Types of Accommodations
•
Curriculum adaptations alter or enhance the way the student is taught the
same material:
– Ex- English as a second language (ESL), remedial reading
•
Lesson accommodations alter the method of instruction to fit the child’s
style of learning:
– Ex: Use of visual aids in instruction, allowing students to tape record lessons
•
Environmental Accommodations allow the IEP team to ensure that the
student is learning in the least restrictive environment:
– Ex- Providing preferential seating, increasing distance between desks.
•
Modified Assignments alter the assignment given to the student but not
the academic content.
– Ex- Giving a student extra time to complete a task.
•
Modified Testing Procedures change the way that the student is
evaluated but not the academic standards.
– Ex- Allowing a student to take an oral exam rather than a written exam.
•
Physical/Heath Accommodations
– Ex- Giving a student extra time to transition between classes.
What are “related services?”
• Related services are any supplemental
services that are necessary in order for a child
with a disability to benefit from special education
• Related services include the early identification
and assessment of disabling conditions in
children
• Related services include consultations, in which
the therapist would directly communicate with
the child’s teachers and IEP team about what
the child needs and what progress she/he has
made.
Related Services, contd.
• Children do not attend school in order to receive related
services, they receive related services in order to
participate fully in school. This means that schools must
provided services if and only if those services are
necessary for the child to receive an appropriate
education.
• The IEP team (including the parents) is responsible for
evaluating if and which related services are necessary in
order for the child to receive a free appropriate public
education (FAPE).
• No related service is automatically included or denied
from your child’s IEP due to his/her disability, because
each IEP team must determine what is needed for each
individual child.
Types of Related Services
• Related services include, but are not limited to:
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
Psychological services
Physical and occupational therapy
Recreation, such as therapeutic recreation
Speech-language pathology and audiology
Counseling services
Rehabilitative services
Medical services that are used for diagnostic and
evaluation purposes only
Make it specific
• If the IEP team determines that a related service is
necessary in order for the child to benefit from
special education, the team members must also
include goals, objectives and measurable ways to
evaluate the child’s progress in that service
• The IEP team must specify what measures will be
used to monitor the student’s progress in that
service.
• ALWAYS compare the services in the current IEP
to the services in the proposed IEP.
– As the parent, you need to understand where your child
has made progress and what your child needs now.
Put an AMOUNT on Everything!
• It is important that in the IEP you specify the
AMOUNT of services the child will receive. For
example, you should not just say that “the child
will work on hand-eye coordination through
physical therapy” but instead “the child will work
on hand-eye coordination through three 20
minute sessions of physical therapy each week
of the school year.
– Remember that even if you child misses a service
session due to a field trip or a shortened school day,
the school must still provide that service for the time
missed.
Related Service in Action
• Example: The IEP team determined that
Alexandra, a child diagnosed with
Pervasive Development Disorder, needs
speech therapy in order to improve her
oral communication skills
Related Services in Action
– PLOP: Currently Alexandra only uses an
average of 3 words per sentence, refers to
herself in the 3rd person, does not use
personal pronouns, and calls her teachers
“teacher” rather than addressing them by their
names.
– Goal: By the end of the 2009-2010 school
year, Alexandra will be able to verbalize her
needs through full sentences. She will use
personal pronouns and address others by
their names.
Related Services in Action
– Objectives:
• Through speech therapy Alexandra will learn to use an
average of 7 words at a time in sentences in order to better
express her needs. She will use at least 7 words in
sentences 7 out of 10 documented times.
• The speech therapist will teach Alexandra how to use
pronouns including “me,” “my,” “I,” “you” and “your.” She will
use personal pronouns when appropriate 8 out of 10
documented attempts.
• The speech therapists will use pictures and verbal markers to
teach Alexandra the names of her teachers. She will refer to
her teachers by name 7 out of 10 documented attempts.
– In order to meet these objectives, Alexandra will
receive speech therapy for 30 minute sessions 3
times every week of the academic year.
SOLs and Alternative Testing
Statutory Requirements

VA Requirement


All students with disabilities must participate in the
assessment section of Virginia’s accountability system
No Child Left Behind

All students must participate in annual reading and
math assessments while in grades 3-8 and once in
high school
Testing Options




Standards of Learning (SOL)
Virginia Grade Level Assessment (VGLA)
Virginia Substitute Evaluation Program (VSEP)
Virginia Alternative Assessment Program
(VAAP)
Testing Options

SOL with or without accommodations

when is this assessment option appropriate?
1. If the student has the ability to demonstrate his or her
knowledge in a multiple choice format and
 2. If the student is working on a grade level SOL


However, the IEP team can decide to use the SOL simply to
determine the level of progress
Testing Options

VGLA

When is this assessment option appropriate?
1. If the student is in grades 3-8 and
 2. The student has an IEP and
 3. The student is unable to demonstrate knowledge on a
multiple choice format test as a result of his or her
disability and
 4. The student is able to demonstrate his or her
knowledge in a format other than multiple choice

Testing Options

VSEP

When is this assessment option appropriate?
1. If the student has an IEP and
 2. Is in grades 9-12 and
 3. Is enrolled in a course with a year end SOL or is
pursuing a modified standard diploma and
 4. Is unable to demonstrate knowledge in a multiple
choice test format due to his or her disability

Testing Options

VAAP

When is this assessment option appropriate?
1. If the student has an IEP and
 2. Significant cognitive disabilities and
 3. Requires intensive and frequent individualized
instruction and
 4. Is not working towards obtaining an advanced,
standard, or modified standard diploma
 5. Is unable to demonstrate knowledge in a multiple
choice format

Assessment Formats

SOL


VGLA / VSEP / VAAP


multiple choice test
Collection of student work samples used to demonstrate the
students level of performance on every grade level SOL for
which they have received instruction
VAAP


only work samples for math and reading are required
The Virginia Department of Education STRONGLY
RECOMMENDS sending work samples for every course the
student is enrolled in that has an SOL
Participation Decisions



The IEP team decides which test the student
will take
All students must be considered for
participation in the general SOL first
If the IEP team determines the student will take
an alternate assessment the team must document
the reasoning for this decision
Irrelevant reasons for deeming a
particular assessment inappropriate




The student’s disability
The student is performing below grade level
The student’s behavior prohibits him from
taking the test with a group
The student has not mastered all the curriculum
that are covered on grades 3-8 SOL assessment
Participation Decisions

If the IEP team determines that the student will
not be tested at all, the reasoning for this
decision, the consequences of non participation,
and a description of how the student will be
assessed must be explained to the parents
Consequences of non-participation


The student may not have a chance to
experience the SOL assessment before taking
the test needed for high school graduation
If the decision not to participate is made by the
parent or student it will be considered refusal to
participate
Testing Accommodations


Testing accommodations should be the same as
those the student uses during regular classroom
assessments
Accommodations based solely on their
ability to enhance performance are
inappropriate
Testing Accommodations

PARENTS...... you need to ask the IEP team
what accommodations are available for SOLs
and other testing
Types of Accommodations




Timing
Setting
Presentation
Response
Types of Accommodations

Timing
test given at a certain time of day
 breaks given during the test

Types of Accommodations

Setting
Preferential seating
 Individual testing
 Special lighting
 Test given in a non school setting such as in a
hospital

Types of Accommodations

Presentation
Reading directions aloud to the student
 Clarifying directions
 Audio tape version of test items
 Markers to maintain place

Types of Accommodations

Response
Mark in the test booklet
 Respond verbally
 Word Processor
 Spell check
 Tape recorder
 Use calculator with function greater than those
typically supplied

Examples
Example 1
Sean is a 7th grade student. He has difficulty
bubbling in standardized tests because of his
disability. During regular classroom assessments
Sean uses a word processor rather than bubbling
in his answers on multiple choice tests.
Example 1

Which assessment is appropriate for Sean?
Example 1


SOL with response accommodations
Sean is able to take multiple choice tests, as long
as he is has a word processor to document his
answers.
Example 2

Nicole is an 11th grade student. She has an IEP
and is pursuing a modified standard diploma.
She is unable to demonstrate her knowledge in
multiple choice format.
Example 2

Which assessment is appropriate for Nicole?
Example 2


VSEP
Nicole is a high school student with an IEP. She
is pursuing a modified standard diploma. She is
able to demonstrate her knowledge in a form
other than multiple choice
Example 3
Marcus is a 4th grade student. He is working on
grade level. He becomes distracted when taking
examinations around a large group of students.
He is able to demonstrate his knowledge in
multiple choice format but needs to have the
test presented on audio tape.
Example 3

Which assessment is appropriate for Marcus?
Example 3




SOL with accommodations
A student may have more than one
accommodation
Marcus needs both presentation and setting
accommodations
He will need the test presented in audio tape
form and needs to take the test individually,
away from a large group of students
Extended School Year Services
Extended School Year Services

Essential Question:

Whether the benefits the child gained during the
regular school year will be significantly jeopardized if
the student does not receive ESY
Statutory Requirements

IDEA





The school can’t limit extended school year services to a
particular disability
The school can’t limit the type, amount, or duration of those
services
The school must make individualized determinations of the
number of days, weeks, and hours per day that each student
will receive ESY
ESY not required to be provided all day, everyday!
The school must make adjustments in cases where the child’s
needs can’t be met by an existing summer program
Purpose of ESY
It is designed to maintain the child’s
mastery of critical skills
 ESY should focus on specific critical skills
where regression may occur if there is a long
break in instruction
 It is not meant to be continuation of all the
previous years IEP goals

Factors the IEP team considers
when determining eligibility

Regression (child likely to lose skills)




Recoupment (child will not be able to recover these
skills in timely fashion)
Degrees of progress toward IEP
Emerging skills


A showing of actual regression is not required for a child to
be eligible for ESY
Will a long break cause problems for child who is learning
a critical skill such as reading
Nature/severity of the disability
Examples
Example 1

Joseph is a 12 year old student with a
communication disability. By the end of the
school year he is developing his ability to
verbally communicate. At the end of the last
school year Joseph was making similar progress
in his verbal communication skills. It has taken
him a whole school year to regain his progress.
Joseph’s parents are interested in ESY services.
Example 1

What will the IEP team consider when
determining whether Joseph will receive ESY?
Example 1

Regression

Joseph lost his progress in his communication
abilities over the summer break in the past, so it is
likely that regression will occur again if he does not
receive ESY
Example 1

Recoupment

Based on the fact that it took Joseph a whole school
year to regain the level of progress that he lost over
the summer break last year, it is likely that
recoupment will be difficult for him again if he does
not receive ESY
Example 1

Emerging skills

Joseph is making a breakthrough in his verbal
communication abilities. Communication skills are
critical.
Example 1

Will Joseph receive ESY?
Example 1

Maybe

In Joseph’s case the fact that he has made a
breakthrough in the critical skill of communication and
has experienced recoupment/regression issues in the
past works in favor of the IEP team deciding ESY is
appropriate
Remember.....the IEP team does not have to grant ESY
because some of the factors relevant to eligibility
decisions are present. Also, the team does not have to
find that all of the factors considered are present in a
given case in order to grant ESY

Example 2

Sheila is a 16 year old student. She has Asperger’s
syndrome, which is a mild form of autism. It is
characterized by problems with social interaction and
mild language and cognitive disabilities. Sheila has never
had problems with academics as a result of her
disability. By the end of the school year, Sheila is
making significant progress towards her social
interaction IEP goals. Sheila’s parents would like her to
receive ESY to maintain her progress in her social
interaction abilities.
Example 2

What will the IEP team consider when
determining whether Sheila will receive ESY?
Example 2

Degrees of progress towards IEP goals

Sheila is making progress towards her social
interaction IEP goal
Example 2

Emerging skills

Sheila is making progress in the area of social
interaction. The IEP team may consider social
interaction ability a critical skill since is necessary to
function in the real world.
Example 2

Nature of the disability

Sheila’s disability is characterized by problems with
social interaction
Example 2

Will Sheila receive ESY?
Example 2



Maybe
Academically Sheila does not seem to need ESY.
She has not had any previous experience with
recoupment/regression issues and she is not
severely disabled.
Sheila’s area of need is social interaction. She is
making significant progress in that area and ESY
may be necessary for her to maintain that
progress over the summer.
Remember


The IEP team does not have find that a student
is eligible for ESY just because some of the
factors relevant to determining eligibility are
present
ESY is determined on an individual basis!
Procedural Safeguards

20 U.S.C. § 1415 establishes procedural
safeguards to make sure each child
receives a FAPE.
Parents Have a Right To…
Examine all records relating to the child
 Participate in meetings regarding the
identification, evaluation, and educational
placement of the child
 Obtain an independent educational
evaluation of their child

Your Right to Notice

A parent is entitled to Prior Written Notice
(PWN) when the local education agency:
– Proposes to initiate or change
– Refuses to initiate or change
…That relates to a child’s identification,
evaluation, or education placement, or that
child’s FAPE.
Other Rights You Have As a Parent

Mediation
– Can address any disagreement

Presenting a Complaint
– Concern is whether the law is being violated

Due Process Hearing
But First!

Before you resort to these more formal
mechanisms, try to resolve the situation
“in-house” with the school
Mediation

This is where a neutral third party who is
trained as a mediator helps to resolve the
dispute.
– Confidential
– Enforceable in court
– Low cost
Mediation (cont.)
The state must bear the cost of mediation,
including that of meetings
 Meetings must be scheduled in a timely
manner and in a location convenient to all
parties

Mediation (cont.)

A Local Education Authority must have
procedures for mediation that are:
– Voluntary for all parties
– Not used to deny or delay a parent’s rights
– Conducted by a qualified and impartial
mediator
Mediation

If successful, a written agreement must
be formed that states the agreement and:
– States that all discussions occurring during
mediation are confidential and cannot be used
in a Due Process Hearing or civil suit
– Is signed by the parent and the LEA
– Is enforceable in the appropriate state and
federal courts
Presenting a Complaint
A parent has the right to present a complaint
relating to the identification, evaluation, or
educational placement of their child
 The complaint must allege a violation that
occurred no more than two years before the
parent or agency should have known about it

– Exception if one party misrepresented or withheld
information
Complaints (cont.)
This is a written request for investigation
that you file with the Office of Dispute
Resolution and Administrative Services.
 It alleges that the school division has
violated state or federal laws (or
regulations) regarding special education

Complaints (cont.)
An ODRAS investigator will create a
“Letter of Findings” describing how the
school is (or is not) violating the law
 If a violation is found, the investigator will
issue a “Corrective Action Plan” for the
school to follow

Complaints (cont.)

If you disagree with the findings of the
ODRAS investigator, you may file an
appeal within 30 business days of the
issuing of the Letter of Finding
– Must allege either that new information has
become available or that the finding was
based on an error of fact or law
Due Process Hearings
Must provide notice to the other party
 A parent’s rights:

– To be accompanied by and advised by a
lawyer or someone with knowledge or training
of special education for children
– To present evidence and examine witnesses
– To receive a written or electronic transcript of
the hearing
The Resolution Session

Once a school division has received notice
of your request for a hearing, it has 30
days to try and resolve the dispute before
the hearing
– Resolution session must be scheduled within
15 days
– Includes parents and members of IEP team

By agreement, can use mediation instead
Due Process Hearings (cont.)

If a resolution is reached at the
preliminary meeting, a Written Settlement
Agreement must be created
– Either party may void the agreement within
three business days of its execution

Unless resolved to parents’ satisfaction
within 30 days of the notification, a Due
Process Hearing may occur
Due Process Hearing (cont.)

Each party must disclose all evaluations
and recommendations intended to be used
at the hearing
– Must be done at least 5 business days before
the hearing

Any evaluation or recommendation not
disclosed cannot be used at the hearing
unless the other party agrees
After Notice is Received…

The school division has to do five things:
– Inform parents of right to mediation
– Inform parents of availability of free or lowcost legal and other services
– Provide a procedural safeguards notice to
parents (unless this has already been done)
– Find a hearing officer within 5 business days
of receiving notice of Due Process hearing
– Schedule a resolution session within 15
calendar days of receiving notice
Due Process Hearing (cont.)
The focus of the hearing is on whether the child
received a FAPE
 A decision must also address:

– Whether the school gave the parents proper notice of
procedural safeguards
– Whether the child has a disability
– Whether the child needs special education or services
– Whether the school is providing FAPE to the child
Due Process Hearing – Appeal
The hearing officer’s decision is due within 45
calendar days of the request for a hearing or 45
days after the resolution period
 If you are unhappy with the decision reached at
the Due Process Hearing, you have a right to
appeal the decision to the Virginia Department
of Education

– Must allege either that new information has become
available or that the finding was based on an error of
fact or law
Right to Bring a Civil Action

If a parent is not satisfied by the result of
the Due Process Hearing or their child’s
placement, (s)he may file suit.
– Must be filed within 90 business days of the
decision of the hearing officer under IDEA
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Understanding Objectives - William & Mary Law School