The goal of the district’s special education program is to identify all children with disabilities, accurately assess their learning needs, and provide appropriate special education and related services while using resources effectively and efficiently. The district will comply with federal (IDEA, recognizing that ADA and Section 504 are generic to the basic education program) and state requirements and will work with parents as integral members of the individualized educational planning team. The following procedures are intended to help achieve that goal:
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) procedures are as follows:
- A student’s placement and educational program shall be developed and considered to be appropriate when they include special education and related services, which are specifically designed to assist the student in benefiting from specially designed instruction.
- Special education facilities, services and activities shall be assigned which are of a quality comparable to programs provided for non-disabled students.
- Special education students shall be provided transportation commensurate with that provided to other students in the district except that additional services shall be provided when a student’s disability requires such consideration.
- An equal educational opportunity shall be provided to all special education students, including access to services in regular education and to extended school year services where deemed appropriate in order for the student to benefit from special education.
The district will apply annually for Federal Part B and state special education funding to assist in the provision of special education and any necessary related services. This funding is in addition to the students’ basic education funding and state special education funding.
Services to eligible special education students age three to 21 will be provided without charge to the student. This does not include incidental fees that are normally charged to all students. Special education services will include preschool, elementary, and secondary education and are provided as described in the student’s Individual Education Program (IEP). The district provides a continuum of services for students appropriate to their IEP needs.
The superintendent or designee shall be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the district’s policies and procedures, including the review of student files and visitation to classrooms.
Students Covered by Public or Private Insurance
The district may use Medicaid or other public insurance benefits programs in which a student participates to provide or pay for services required to provide FAPE, as permitted by the public insurance program. The district may access a parent’s public or private insurance proceeds to provide FAPE to an eligible student only if the parent provides informed consent to the district. Whenever the district proposes to access the parent’s public benefits or insurance proceeds, the district shall:
- Obtain parent consent in accordance with Chapter 392-172 A WAC each time the district uses benefits for a new procedure; and
- Inform the parents that their refusal to permit the district to access their insurance does not relieve the district of its responsibility to ensure that all required services are provided at no cost to the parents.
Confidentiality of Records
The superintendent or designee is responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of all students’ records pertaining to special education. In addition, the superintendent is designated as custodian of all student records and has appointed the building principal to service as custodian of student records, which are maintained at the building level. In order to maintain the confidentiality of records without impeding the rights of parents and needs of staff, the following procedures shall be in effect. Parents or adult students shall be advised of their rights pertaining to student records at least once annually.
- The parents of a special education student, in accordance with the confidentiality of information procedures in this section, shall be afforded an opportunity to inspect and review all educational records with respect to: (a) the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the student; and (b) the provision of FAPE to the student.
- The school district shall permit parents of special education students (or adult students) to inspect and review during school business hours any education records relating to their children or ward (or the adult student), which are collected, maintained, or used by the district under this section. The district shall comply with a request promptly and before any meeting regarding an individualized education program or hearing related to the identification, evaluation, or placement of a student or the provision of FAPE and in no case more than forty-five calendar days after the request has been made.
- The right to inspect and review education records under this section includes: (a) the right to a response from the district to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of the records, (b) the right to request that the school district provide copies of the records containing the information if failure to provide those copies would effectively prevent the parent from exercising the right to inspect and review the records, and (c) the right to have a representative of the parent (or adult student) inspect and review the records.
- The district presumes that a parent has authority to inspect and review records relating to his or her child or ward unless the district has been advised that the parent does not have the authority under applicable state law governing such matters as guardianship, separation, and divorce.
- The district shall keep a record of parties obtaining access to education records collected, maintained, and used under this section (except access by parents, adult students, and authorized employees of the district) including the name of the party, the date access was given, and the purpose for which the party is authorized to use the records.
- If any education record includes information on more than one student, the parent(s) of those students (and/or adult students) shall have the right to inspect and review only the information relating to their child or ward (or themselves) or to be informed of that specific information.
- The district shall provide parents (and adult students) on request a list of the types and locations of education records collected, maintained, or used by the district.
- The district may charge a fee for copies of records, which are made for parents (or adult students) under this section if the fee does not effectively prevent the parents (or adult students) from exercising their right to inspect and review those records. The district may not charge a fee to search for or to retrieve information under this section.
- A parent of a special education student (or an adult student) who believes that information in education records collected, maintained or used under this section is inaccurate or misleading or violates the privacy or other rights of the student may request the district which maintains the information to amend the information. The district shall decide whether to amend the information in accordance with the request within a reasonable period of time after the receipt of the request. If the district decides to refuse to amend the information in accordance with the request, it shall inform the parent (or adult student) of the right to a hearing.
The district, on request, shall provide the parent (or adult student) an opportunity for a hearing to challenge information in education records to insure that it is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student. If, as a result of the hearing, the district decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student, it shall amend the information accordingly and so inform the parent (or adult student) in writing.
If, as a result of the hearing, the district decides that the information is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student, it shall inform the parent(s) (or adult student) of the right to place in the records it maintains on the student a statement commenting on the information or setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the district. Any explanation placed in the records of the student pursuant to this section shall:
a. Be maintained by the district as part of the records of the student as long as the record or contested portion is maintained by the district, and
b. Also be disclosed to any party to whom the records of the student (or the contested portion) are disclosed.
- A hearing to challenge information in education records shall be conducted according to procedures, which include the following elements:
a. The hearing shall be held within a reasonable period of time after the district has received the request;
b. The parent (or adult student) shall be given notice of the date, place, and time reasonably in advance of the hearing;
c. The hearing may be conducted by any party, including an official of the district, who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing;
d. The parent (or adult student) shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented by individuals of his or her choice at his or her own expense, including an attorney;
e. The district shall provide a written decision to the parent (or adult student) within a reasonable period of time after the conclusion of the hearing; and
f. The decision of the district shall be based solely upon the evidence presented at the hearing and include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision.
- Consent of the parent (or adult student) shall be obtained before personally identifiable information is: (a) disclosed to anyone other than officials of participating agencies collecting or using the information under this section, or (b) used for any purpose other than meeting a requirement imposed by this section. No school district shall release information from education records to participating agencies without the consent of a parent (or adult student) except in those cases in which a release of information without consent is permitted by the rules that implement the FERPA. If a parent refused to provide consent under this section, the district will use its due process hearing procedures to obtain consent.
- The district shall protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information at the collection, storage, disclosure, and destruction stages. The same privacy provisions provided to parents are extended to an adult student with consideration given to the type and severity of the student’s disability.
- The superintendent or designee will identify in writing the employees who have access to personally identifiable information. The superintendent or designee will provide training on an annual basis to those staff members collecting or using personally identifiable information regarding district policies and procedures.
- The district shall maintain, for public inspection, a current listing of the names and positions of those employees within the district who have access to personally identifiable information.
- The district shall inform parents (or adult students) when personally identifiable information collected, maintained, or used is no longer needed to provide educational services to the student. The information shall be destroyed at the request of the parent(s) (or adult student). However, a permanent record of the student’s name, address, and phone number, his or her grades, attendance record, classes attended, grade level completed, and year completed may be maintained without time limitation.
IDENTIFICATION, EVALUATION, ELIGIBILITY AND REEVALUATION
District Childfind procedures will have as their purpose the locating, identifying, and evaluating of all resident students, in accordance with applicable recordkeeping requirements from pre-evaluation through decisions regarding eligibility. Procedures will address the age range from birth through twenty-one; all severities and conditions of disability will be included; activities will include all public and private agencies and institutions, and will be ongoing; and include students currently enrolled in the public school and those not enrolled.
Procedures for implementing the Childfind policy include the following awareness and screening activities.
- A pamphlet may be developed and distributed to each parent at the time of registration.
- Information regarding Childfind on the district’s Web site.
- A notice may be placed in the local newspaper, which describes the services for special education students.
- Notification of services and coordination with other public and private agencies and practitioners.
- Presentations may be made at PTA and civic meetings throughout the school year.
- Childfind awareness notices may be distributed through local civic groups, social service agencies, or church bulletin.
- Other locally determined strategies to increase public awareness may also be developed.
- Parents of preschool children will be provided with the opportunity to have their children participate in preschool screening.
- Kindergarten and first grade student shall participate in screening activities at the beginning of the school year.
- Other locally determined options for screening may also be developed.
Teachers and administrators will receive training at the beginning of each school year to assist in the identification and referral of students with possible disabilities.
Needs assessment information collected from pre-evaluation through eligibility processes will be used to determine which students are/are not receiving special education/related services, and applied to Childfind practices.
Evaluation and Eligibility
District procedures for implementing board policy on evaluation, including determination of eligibility are as follows:
Pre-evaluation and Timelines
A written referral shall be completed when a student suspected of having a disabling condition is brought to the attention of the district superintendent or designee. A referral may be originated by or transmitted through any source, including: parents, medical personnel, district personnel, community agencies, civil authorities, district screening procedures, and other identified, interested persons knowledgeable about the student.
When the possibility of a student’s need for special education and related services has been brought to the attention of the district superintendent or designee, the superintendent or designee shall act on the referral within twenty-five school days by:
- Recording the circumstances by date, origin and reason for concern;
- Providing the student’s parent(s) (or adult student) written notice that the student has been referred because of a suspected disabling condition and that the district will determine whether or not there is good reason to believe that the student is a candidate for evaluation; and
- Reviewing the referral, collecting and examining existing school, medical and other records in the possession of the district and making a determination that there is or is not good reason that the student is a candidate for evaluation. This decision shall be in writing and set forth the date and the name of the person making the decision. The superintendent or designee shall direct a written notice to the student’s parent(s) (or adult student) that complies with the notice requirements of this section.
In the event the decision is that there is good reason to believe that the student is a candidate for evaluation, the district shall fully evaluate the student and arrive at a decision pursuant to this section within:
- Thirty-five school days (also referred to as the formal evaluation period) after the date written consent for an evaluation has been provided by the parent(s) (or adult student); or
- Thirty-five school days (also referred to as the formal evaluation period) after the date the refusal of parent(s) (or adult student) to grant consent has been overridden pursuant to a hearing (or appeal); or
- Such other time period as may be agreed to by the parent(s) (or the adult student) and school authorities. The school district must specify the reasons for extending the timeline.
The district shall request that the parent sign consent form(s) for the mutual exchange of pertinent information where such information is available between the school, other agencies, and/or professionals.
Areas of Evaluation
The purpose of the evaluation is to collect information about a student’s functional, developmental and academic skills and achievements from a variety of sources, to determine whether a student qualifies for special education and related services, and to develop an IEP. This includes information provided by the parent. The evaluation of a student shall be in all areas related to the suspected disability, including, if appropriate, health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status, and motor abilities, and the need for transition services. The evaluation procedures outlined in state eligibility criteria are to be considered minimal, required procedures. When concerns are indicated, ad judged by the evaluation team, additional or more in-depth evaluation shall be conducted.
Every student who is evaluated or reevaluated shall be evaluated according to the procedures established in this section. Before any action is taken with respect to the initial placement of a student with a disability in a program providing special education and related services, a full and individual evaluation of the student’s educational needs must be conducted in accordance with the requirements of this section. The initial evaluation of a student (except one with a suspected communication disorder) shall be made by a district selected evaluation team (i.e., a group of professionals) that is knowledgeable about the student and the area(s) of suspected disability (ies). Each member of the team shall be licensed, registered, credentialed, or certificated according to his or her professional standards in accordance with the state statutes and rules. In assessing or reassessing a student suspected of having a specific learning disability, the district shall include on the evaluation team at least the following members:
- The student’s general education teacher; or, if the student does not have a general education teacher, a general education teacher qualified to teach a student of his or her age; or, for a child of less than school age, an individual qualified to teach a child of his or her age.
- At least one person qualified to conduct individual diagnostic examinations of students, such as a school psychologist, speech language pathologist, or remedial reading teacher.
If a parent should request to attend an evaluation team meeting, he or she shall be given this opportunity. Scheduling of the evaluation team meeting shall be at the discretion of the district.
No single test instrument or single procedure shall be the sole criterion for determining a student’s eligibility or disabling condition and/or for determining the appropriate education program for the student.
Evaluation materials, procedures, and instruments used for the purpose of evaluation and placement shall be selected and administered so as not to be racially or culturally discriminatory.
All tests and other evaluation materials shall have been validated and shown reliable for the specific purpose for which they are used and shall accurately reflect whatever factors the tests purport to measure. They should be appropriate for the student’s age and developmental level. If properly validated tests are unavailable, the professional judgment of each member of the evaluation team shall determine eligibility for special education based on other evidence of the existence of a specific disability and need. This professional judgment shall be documented in a written narrative.
All tests and other evaluation materials shall be administered by qualified personnel in conformance with the instructions of the test producer. A qualified psychologist shall administer tests designed to measure intellectual functioning. Cognitive tests for developmentally delayed students other than those providing for an intelligence quotient shall be administered by a qualified psychologist or by professionals with other titles who have considerable training and experience in individual psychological or psycho-educational evaluation.
Evaluation materials, procedures, or instruments shall be provided and administered in a student’s primary language or mode of communication, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so. Tests shall be selected and administered so as to ensure that, when a test is administered to a student with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills, the test results accurately reflect the student’s aptitude or achievement level or whatever other factors the test purports to measure rather than reflecting the student’s impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills (except where those skills are the factors the test purports to measure).
In conducting evaluation activities, appropriate evaluation team members shall:
- Collect and review all available existing school, medical, and other records pertinent to the suspected disabling condition(s) of the student, including previous screening and evaluation results, relevant functional and developmental information, health reports, relevant cumulative records and recommendations of related service providers;
- Conduct current evaluation activities required by this section and in accordance with the procedures specified; and
- Collect such other data as needed to verify the results of standardized testing, including but not limited to parent and/or teacher interviews, current classroom performance data including criterion-referenced and curriculum-based methods, and information related to enabling access to and progress within the general education curriculum with, as appropriate, corresponding response to intervention (RTI) documentation. The evaluation will include whether the child perform adequately to meet the grade level standards in the general curriculum and a determination that the failure to make progress is not the result of:
- A physical, mental, emotional, cultural, or environmental factor or limited English proficiency; or
- Inadequate instruction in reading or mathematics.
All current evaluation data as well as data previously reviewed by the team must be considered. The gathering of additional data in combination with existing data must be sufficiently comprehensive to address all areas of the suspected disability and any special education needs, whether linked to the disability category or not.
Each individual actually completing an evaluation will complete and sign an evaluation report. Information used to support the evaluation but which is not incorporated into the file (e.g., review of records), shall be referenced as to date of record, location, and source person. The summaries shall specify the procedures and instruments used, the results obtained, and the apparent significance of findings as related to the student’s instructional program, including a description of the specific factors which are interfering with the student’s educational performance and the recommendations for special education and related services needed to assist the student in benefiting from his or her educational placement, including the need, if appropriate, of scheduling such services over a period of time that exceeds the regular one hundred eighty day school calendar.
If the IEP team determines that no additional data is needed, the IEP team will notify the student’s parent of that determination and the reasons for it, and inform them of their right to request additional assessments.
Each person conducting an assessment of the student will specify the procedures and instruments used and their results and the significance of findings related to the student’s instructional program, including a specification of the factors interfering with performance and the special education and related services needed.
The student’s evaluation team shall review and analyze the reports of evaluation data and any other available data in each of the areas assessed.
The evaluation team will determine who is most appropriate to develop the evaluation report reflecting the evaluation information. This will be completed before the conclusion of the evaluation time period and will, at a minimum:
- Identify the disability that cannot be accommodated by general education, and requires special education and related services, if a disability exists;
- Discuss assessments and review data supporting conclusions and regarding eligibility;
- Include the additional information required for the specific learning disability eligibility category;
- Describe how the disability or disabilities affect the student’s involvement and progress in the general curriculum;
- Make recommendations to the IEP team with respect to special education and related services needed, materials or equipment, instructional and curricular practices, student management strategies, the need for extended school year services beyond regular school program days and location of services;
- Include other pertinent information, as determined through the evaluation process and parent input;
- Provide any necessary professional judgments and the facts or reasons in support of the judgments;
- Be signed and dated by the evaluation team members certifying their agreement. Any team member who disagrees with the conclusions shall prepare a separate statement presenting his or her conclusion(s) and the reasons.
The evaluation case manager is responsible for notifying parents of the date, time and location of evaluation meetings by following the procedures in the parent participation section for inviting parents to meetings.
The evaluation team will determine whether or not the student is eligible for special education services.
- A student is not eligible if the determinant factor is lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math, based upon the state’s grade level expectations or limited English proficiency.
- Eligibility may be determined by documented professional judgment when:
- Properly validated tests are unavailable; or
- Corroborating evidence indicates that results were influenced due to measuring a disability.
The conclusions, recommendations, and the facts and/or reasons resulting in the eligibility decision shall:
- Reconcile any inconsistent or contradictory information and/or opinions evidenced in the evaluation data, if any, supporting conclusion(s) with appropriate data;
- Relate the apparent significance, as appropriate, of such factors as test measurement error or cultural, environmental, economic, and behaviors factors to the evaluation results. Where specific test results obtained in any evaluation do not appear to the evaluation team to accurately reflect a student’s expected performance, the evaluation team shall apply professional judgment to determine eligibility for special education and related services. In such event, the evaluation team shall document in a written narrative the basis for such determination, the instruments used, and the data used for a determination of eligibility
Upon the written request of the parent (or the adult student) the district shall provide the parent (or adult student) a copy of the summary analysis prior to the IEP meeting. The parent (or the adult student) may request a meeting in writing with the school district to explain the summary analysis, at which time the district must schedule such a meeting prior to the IEP meeting.
Parents and district staff are encouraged to work towards consensus, but the school district has the ultimate responsibility to determine whether the student has a disability or not. The school district will provide the parent with prior written notice of the eligibility decision, as well as a copy of the evaluation report. If the parent disagrees with the eligibility decision they need to be informed of their dispute resolution options described in the procedural safeguards.
Evaluation of Transfer Students
If a student transfers into the school district while an evaluation process is pending from the other district, the receiving school’s evaluation team is responsible for determining the status of evaluations conducted to date and making a determination as to whether the evaluation can be completed within the 35 school day timeline from the date the parent provided consent. If the determination is that additional time will be needed, the parents will be provided prior written notice of the timeline needed to complete the evaluation and the reasons for the additional time needed.
The parent or legal guardian of the student will be provided with a copy of the evaluation report and the documentation of determination of eligibility. Parents will also be provided with prior written notice of the eligibility decision within ten school days of the decision. The evaluation team case manager is responsible for sending the notice. If the decision is that the student is disabled and eligible for special education, the district shall initiate and conduct a meeting to develop an IEP and request the parent(s) participate in the IEP conference.
Students remain eligible for special education services until one of four events occur:
- The student is determined through a reevaluation to no longer be eligible for special education;
- The student has met the district’s high school graduation requirements;
- The student has reached age 21. A special education student whose 21st birthday occurs after August 31, shall continue to be eligible for special education and any necessary related services for the remainder of the school year; or
- The student no longer receives special education services based upon a parent’s written revocation of services.
When a special education student is expected to graduate prior to age 21, or when graduation is part of the transition plan, the IEP team will document a student’s progress towards achieving course credits towards graduation on the transition portion of the IEP. The district will provide prior written notice to parents and adult students that the student is expected to graduate and will no longer be eligible for special education services. The district will also provide the parents and student with a summary of academic achievement and functional performance (summary of performance) and recommendations to assist the student with postsecondary goals.
Independent Educational Evaluation
The parent(s) of a student (or the adult student) referred for special education and related services and assessed, or any disabled student eligible for special education and related services who is reevaluated, has the right to obtain an independent educational evaluation (IEE), subject to this section. The district shall provide to the parents (or adult student) on request, a list of district criteria and evaluators, and information about where an independent educational evaluation may be obtained.
For the purposes of this section:
- “Independent educational evaluation” means an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the district responsible for the education of the student in question; and
- “Public expense” means that the district either pays for the full cost of the evaluation or assures that the evaluation is otherwise provided at no cost to the parent (or to the adult student).
A parent (or adult student) has the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent (or adult student) disagrees with the evaluation results obtained by the district, as follows:
- The parent(s) (or the adult student) should provide a written or oral notice to the district superintendent or designee which:
- Indicates that the parent (or the adult student) disagrees with the district’s evaluation; and
- Requests an independent educational evaluation at public expense.
- The school district will not deny payment for an independent educational evaluation solely because the parent did not provide prior notification of his or her intent to seek an independent educational evaluation at public expense.
When parents request an IEE the district must decide within 15 calendar days whether or not it agrees to provide it. Any parent request for an independent evaluation should be immediately referred to the special education director. The director shall review the request and determine whether or not the request is warranted. If the district agrees to provide an IEE, arrangements will be made promptly.
The district shall have the opportunity to initiate and conduct a due process hearing pursuant to this section to show that its evaluation is appropriate. In this event, the district shall provide the parent(s) (or the adult student) written notice within fifteen days of the election to initiate a due process hearing. The district may request mediation as an option after filing the due process hearing. If the parents withdraw their request for an IEE, the due process hearing can be dismissed.
If the final decision of a due process hearing is that the district’s evaluation is appropriate, the parent (or adult student) still has the right to an independent educational evaluation, but not at public expense. A parent is only entitled to one IEE at public expense each time the district conducts an evaluation with which the parent disagrees.
If the district elects not to hold a due process hearing or is not upheld by the final decision of the due process hearing, the parent’s (or adult student’s) request for an independent evaluation shall be provided at public expense in accordance with the same criteria which the district uses when it initiates an evaluation including, but not limited to, the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner.
If the parent (or adult student) obtains an independent educational evaluation at private expense, the results of the evaluation:
- Shall be considered by the district and documented in any decision made with respect to the provision of special education and related services to the student if the district is providing FAPE; and
- May be presented as evidence at such hearings regarding that student as may be conducted.
If a hearing officer requests an independent educational evaluation as part of a hearing, the cost of the evaluation shall be at public expense.
The following criteria are established for the selection of an individual to conduct an IEE at public expense. These criteria are established in order to identify the knowledge, experience and qualifications of individuals selected to conduct the evaluations. Any individual selected to conduct either a district evaluation or an IEE must be:
- Licensed, credentialed or otherwise qualified within the State of Washington or state of resident/practice to perform an evaluation in the specific discipline for which an independent evaluation is sought;
- Knowledgeable and experienced in evaluating children with similar disabilities;
- Geographically located within the State of Washington; and
- Available to the district at a maximum fee, which does not exceed by more than 25% the prevailing average for similar evaluations within the State of Washington.
Exceptions to the criteria will be granted only when it can be shown that the unique circumstances of the child or the disability:
- Make it impossible to identify anyone within the State of Washington who holds the appropriate credential or experience necessary to conduct the evaluation; or
- Require a specialized evaluator whose fee exceeds the prevailing average by more than 25%; or
- Include factors which would warrant an exception in order to obtain an appropriate evaluation.
District procedures for implementing Board policy on reevaluation are as follows:
Each eligible special education student shall be reevaluated in accordance with the evaluation procedures specified in this section by an evaluation team as follows:
- At a minimum, once every three years or more frequently if conditions warrant; and
- Upon request of the student’s parent (or adult student), teacher, or IEP committee
The evaluation team shall determine whether further evaluation procedures are necessary to confirm decisions. Members of the evaluation team shall be governed by the generally recognized professional practice standards of their respective disciplines. In making such determination, the evaluation team shall document in a written narrative the basis for such determination, including any relevant data or evaluation procedures utilized.
At a reasonable time prior to conducting the reevaluation, the district shall provide written notice to parents (or adult student). Such notice for reevaluation shall include:
- The procedural safeguard requirements provided in this section and also shall be issued in compliance with the provisions of this section; and
- A statement that the parents (or adult student) have the right to submit to the evaluation team any information they deem important to the reevaluation.
The purposes of reevaluation are to determine the following:
- Whether the student is appropriately identified as disabled, requiring special education and related services;
- Whether the student continues to be eligible for special education and any necessary related services;
- Whether the program designed for the student is appropriate to meet the student’s unique needs and abilities; and
- The present levels of performance and educational needs and any additions or modifications to the student’s program are needed.
Students who turn six who meet the eligibility requirements for the disability category of “Developmentally Delayed” (DD) under the criteria for ages three to six years need not be reevaluated at age six under the criteria for six to nine years until three years after their initial evaluation was completed.
Students who were previously eligible under the category “Developmentally Delayed” must be reevaluated before age nine to determine eligibility within another category. If the evaluation team determines that another eligibility category is an appropriate category for eligibility for the student in addition to the Developmentally Delayed category, this category should be used for eligibility rather than the Developmentally Delayed category.
As part of any reevaluation, the IEP team members and other professionals the district determines appropriate will review existing data that includes:
- Evaluations and information provided by the parents;
- Current classroom-based assessment, local or state assessments, and classroom based observations; and
- Observations by other teachers and related services providers data.
Based on this review the evaluation team will determine whether to determine continuing eligibility for special education, present levels of performance and any necessary additions or modifications to the student’s program.
This review can occur with or without a meeting or through individual review. If the IEP team members and any other persons reviewing the data determine that no further testing is necessary, the district will notify the parents of this determination, using written prior notice and will inform the parents that they have the right to request assessments if they disagree with the determination that additional testing is not necessary. Parent consent is not required if the reevaluation does not require additional testing.
If additional testing is needed, the district will request written parental consent for reevaluation. If the parents do not return the signed consent form, the district shall send another letter explaining the need for reevaluation and parent consent, and will enclose another consent form and a copy of their prior written notices. If the parents do not respond to the request for consent, the district can proceed with the reevaluation. If the parents refuse to consent to the reevaluation, the evaluation team will notify the appropriate special education administrator so that the district can determine whether it will seek mediation in order to obtain consent or request a due process hearing to ask an administrative judge to override the parents’ refusal to consent.
Notice of Results
Within ten calendar days of completion of the reevaluation and based on the reevaluation results, the evaluation case manager will both invite parents to the eligibility meeting and will provide prior written notice of the results of reevaluation to parents in their primary language, indicating one or more of the following:
- Whether the student is eligible for and in need of special education;
- Present levels of performance and educational needs of the student; and
- Whether the program designed for the student is appropriate to the student’s unique needs.
- Whether any additions or modifications to the special education and related services are needed to enable the student to meet IEP annual goals and to participate, as appropriate, in the general curriculum.
The parent (or adult student) shall be notified of the above decision pursuant to the notice requirements of this section. When a determination is made that the program is inappropriate, an IEP committee meeting shall be convened. When special education services are to be discontinued, notice shall be given the parent(s) pursuant to this section.
DEVELOPMENT OF IEP AND DELIVERY OF SERVICE:
District procedures for implementing the IEP requirements consistent with Board policy are as follows:
IEP to be in effect
At the beginning of each school year, the district shall have in effect an IEP for every special education student, including those in private schools, who are receiving special education and related services from the district. An IEP must:
- Be in effect before special education and related services are provided to a student; and
- Be implemented as soon as possible following the meetings under this section.
It is expected that the IEP of a special education student will be implemented immediately following the meetings under this section. An exception to this would be when the meetings occur during the summer or a vacation period, or where there are circumstances that require a short delay (e.g., working out transportation arrangements). However, there can be no undue delay in providing special education and related services to the student.
A meeting shall be held within thirty calendar days after the date upon which a student’s evaluation is completed (and the student is determined to be eligible) for the purpose of developing the student’s IEP. The district shall initiate and conduct the meeting and shall include the following:
- A representative of the district other than the student’s teacher who is qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education and related services;
- The student’s regular classroom teacher or special education teacher or therapist (either the representative of the district or the teacher or therapist must be knowledgeable and qualified in the area of the student’s suspected disability);
- General education teacher(s) in whose class the student is enrolled.
- One or both of the parents (in the case of a nonadult student), subject to the requirements or special education regulations;
- The student if he or she is an adult student, or if transition services are discussed (and in the case of nonadult students, the student, if appropriate);
- A member of the student’s evaluation team;
- A person knowledgeable about the placement options; and
- Other individuals at the discretion of the district or the parent or the adult student.
Each district shall take steps to assure (in the case of nonadult students) that one or both parents of the student with disabilities are present at each meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate, including:
- Notifying the parent(s) of the meeting early enough to assure his other participation; and
- Scheduling the meeting at a mutually agreed upon place and time.
The notice to the parent(s) shall include the purpose, time, and location of the meeting and who will be in attendance. If the purpose is transition, the parent will be notified that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss transition and that the student is invited, and identify any other agencies that will be invited.
If a parent cannot attend, the district shall use other methods to assure participation, including individual or conference telephone calls.
A meeting may be conducted (in the case of a nonadult student) without a parent in attendance if the district is unable to convince the parents they should attend. In such a case, the district shall make a record of its attempts to arrange a mutually agreed upon time and place. The record shall contain such information as:
- Detailed records of telephone calls made or attempted and the results of those calls;
- Copies of correspondence sent to the parents and any responses received; and
- Detailed records of visits made to the parent’s home or place of employment and the results of those visits.
The district shall take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the parent (or adult student) understands the proceedings at the meeting, including arranging for an interpreter for parents (or adult students) who are deaf or whose native language is other than English.
The district shall document the parent(s)’ and other IEP participants’ presence at the IEP meeting.
Meetings consistent with this section shall be conducted by the district at least once a year for the purpose of reviewing and revising as necessary each student’s IEP. Meetings may be held more frequently.
IEP Preparation and Content
Each student’s IEP, a written document made in accordance with the requirements of this section, shall be developed on the basis of evaluation and parent input, where it is provided, and shall include:
- A statement of the student’s present levels or educational performance;
- A statement of specific annual goals including short-term instructional objectives which are stated in terms that provide for measurement of progress, expected levels of performance, and the schedules for their accomplishments;
- Whether positive behavioral interventions and supports, including a behavioral intervention plan, as defined by WAC 392-172A-01031, are needed to address the student’s behavior;
- A statement of the specific special education and related services to be provided to the student based upon the individual needs of the student, as determined through the evaluation process, and the extent to which the student will be able to participate in the regular education program, including physical education. If modifications (supplementary aids and services) to the general education program are necessary to ensure participation in that program, those modifications must be described. If the student is unable to participate in the regular physical education program, a description of the specially designed physical education to be provided to the student shall be included;
- A statement of the needed transition services including goals and objectives, based on a functional vocational evaluation and anticipated post school outcome(s) beginning no later than age sixteen and annually thereafter (and when determined appropriate for an individual student, beginning in elementary school or sooner), including, when appropriate, a statement of the interagency responsibilities or linkages (or both) before the student leaves the school setting. In the case where a participating public agency fails to provide agreed upon services, the district shall reconvene the IEP team as soon as possible to identify alternative strategies to meet transition objectives and, if necessary, revise the IEP as long as the student is eligible for services. If the IEP team determines that services are not needed in one or more of the areas specified in state regulations, the IEP must include a statement to that effect and the basis upon which the determination was made;
- The projected dates for the initiation of services and the anticipated duration of the services, including the number of school days, the number of hours per day, and the length of the school year over which such services shall be provided. In the event the IEP is the first in the district for such student and the IEP team has not made a determination as to the need for an extended school year for such student, the IEP team shall make its recommendation on the length of the school year over which such services shall be provided prior to the conclusion of the regular one hundred eighty school days.
- A statement of how the student’s progress towards goals will be measured, how the student’s parents will be regularly informed of their child’s progress towards the annual goals and whether the progress is sufficient to enable the student to achieve the goal by the end of the year. Measurement of the student’s progress will be based on data;
- Emergency Response Protocols—If determined necessary by the IEP team for the student to receive FAPE and parents provide consent. Emergency response protocols must meet the requirements stated in WAC 392-172A-02105 as outlined in School Board policy and procedure 3246, Restraint and Isolation.
- A behavioral intervention plan (BIP), if determined necessary by the IEP team for a student to receive FAPE. The BIP must meet the requirements stated in WAC 392-172A-01301;
- The procedures by which parents/guardians will be notified of the use of isolation or restraint or a restraint device on their student (see Procedure 3246).
- A statement regarding transfer or rights at the age of majority. The IEP case manager will provide prior written notice to the student one year prior to the student turning 18 years of age.
Nothing in this section relieves any participating public agency, including a state vocational rehabilitation public agency, of the responsibility to provide or pay for any transition service that the public agency would otherwise provide to special education students who meet the eligibility criteria for that public agency.
The district shall provide the parent (or the adult student) a copy of the IEP.
The district must provide special education and related services to a student with a disability in accordance with an IEP. However, Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act does not require that any district, teacher, or other person be held accountable if a student does not achieve the growth projected in the annual goals and objectives.
- Parent Notice. If a purpose of the IEP meeting is the consideration of transition services for a student, the notice must also:
a. Indicate this purpose;
b. Indicate that the district will invite the student; and
c. Identify any other public agency that will be invited to send a representative
- Participants. If a purpose for the IEP meeting is the consideration of transition services for a student, the district shall also invite:
a. The student; and
b. A representative of any other public agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services.
c. If the student does not attend, the district shall take other steps to ensure that the student’s preferences and interests are considered; and
d. If a public agency invited to send a representative to an IEP meeting does not do so, the district shall take other steps to obtain the participation of the other public agency in the planning of any transition services.
- Student participation. The district is required to invite each student to participate in his or her IEP meeting if a purpose of the meeting is the consideration of transition services for the student. For all students who are sixteen years of age or older, one of the purposes of the annual meeting will always be the planning of transition services, since transition services are a required component of the IEP for these students.
For a student younger than age sixteen, if transition services are initially discussed at a meeting that does not include the student, the district is responsible for ensuring that, before a decision about transition services for the student is made, a subsequent IEP meeting is conducted for that purpose, and the student is invited to the meeting.
IEP’s for Private School Students
1. Contracted placements. If the district contracts with an approved nonpublic or public school agency in order to provide FAPE to a special education student, the district shall:
a. Initiate and conduct a preplacement meeting prior to the student’s enrollment with appropriate personnel and the student’s parent(s) for the purpose of developing the student’s IEP. The district shall seek to ensure that a representative of the nonpublic or public school agency attends the meeting or in some other way assure participation by the nonpublic school agency. Meetings to review or revise the student’s IEP after the student has been placed shall be initiated and conducted by the nonpublic or public school agency at the discretion of the district. The district shall assure that the parent(s) (or the adult student) and the nonpublic school agency are involved in any decision concerning the student’s IEP and agree to proposed changes in the program before those changes are implemented. The responsibility for compliance with this section lies with the district.
b. Develop a written contract consistent with state standards.
2. Parental placements. If a special education student is enrolled in a parochial or other private school and receives special education or related services from the district, the district shall:
a. Initiate and conduct meetings at either the agency or parent’s request to develop, review and revise an IEP for the student, in accordance with this section; and
b. Ensure that a representative of the parochial or other private school attends each meeting. If the representative cannot attend, the district shall use other methods to ensure participation by the private school, including individual or conference telephone calls.
Students Unilaterally Enrolled in Private Nonprofit Schools by Parents
By the end of October each school year, the district shall conduct an annual count of the number of private elementary and secondary school students eligible for special education who are unilaterally enrolled by their parents in a private school located within district boundaries and who do not wish to enroll in a public school to receive special education and related services. The district special education administration shall have timely and meaningful consultation with appropriate representatives and parents of private school students and make determinations about who will receive services and what services will be provided. The purpose of the child count is to determine the proportionate amount that the district must spend on providing special education and related services to private elementary or secondary school students in the next fiscal year.
The district is required to spend a proportionate amount of federal special education Part B and Section 619 funds to provide special education and related services to private school students. In order to determine which students will receive services, what services will be provided, how and where the services will be provided, and how services provided will be evaluated, the district shall consult with appropriate representatives and parents of private school students. The special education department will notify each approved private school operating in the district seeking recommendations of persons to serve as representatives of special education private school students in consultation with the district. An initial meeting will be called by the district to establish a work plan and schedule with the private school student representatives to discuss how to identify students, which students will receive services, what services will be provided, how and where services will be provided, and how services will be evaluated.
A private school student has no individual entitlement to any service or amount of service he or she would have received if enrolled in a public school to receive FAPE. However, for each private school student receiving special education or related services, the district shall initiate and conduct meetings to develop, review, and revise a services plan describing the specific special education and related services that the district will provide. The services plan must:
- Meet IEP content requirements with respect to the services to be provided; and
- Be developed, reviewed, implemented, and revised annually consistent with the requirements for IEP review.
The district shall make every effort to include a representative from the private school at each meeting. If the private school representative is not able to attend, the district shall use other methods, including individual or conference telephone calls, to assure the representative’s participation.
Private school students may receive a different amount of services than special education students in public schools. However, the services provided to special education private school students will be provided by personnel meeting the same standards as personnel providing the services in the district.
Services to students in private schools may be provided on-site. District personnel may be made available to private schools only to the extent necessary to provide the services required, if those services are not normally provided by the private school. Services shall not include payment of private school teachers’ or other employees’ salaries, except for services performed outside regular private school hours and under public supervision and control.
Equipment and/or supplies may be placed on private school premises for the period necessary for the services plan program, but the district shall retain and exercise title and administrative control of said equipment/supplies. The district shall keep records and make an accounting assuring that said equipment/supplies is/are used solely for the services plan program. Said equipment/supplies shall be removed if necessary to avoid its/their use for other purposes or if no longer needed for the services plan program. No district funds shall be used for repairs, minor remodeling or construction of private school facilities.
The district shall provide services to students in private schools in a manner that;
- Maintains physical and administrative separation between the private and public school programs; and
- Does not benefit the private school at public expense.
Delivery of Services
The district’s procedures for implementing Board policy on the delivery of special education services are as follows:
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
The placement and provision of services to each special education student shall be in his or her LRE as follows.
Each special education student shall be placed:
- In the general educational environment with students without disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate to his or her needs, unless it can be demonstrated by the district that the nature or severity of the student’s disability is such that his or her education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily; and
- In the school in which he or she would attend if not disabled, unless his or her IEP requires some other arrangement. If some other arrangement is required, the student shall be placed in the appropriate educational program that is as close to the student’s home as is reasonably possible.
These placement provisions also apply to special education students in public or private institutions or other care facilities.
Nonacademic and Extracurricular Services
Each student with disabilities shall be provided nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities conducted by the district (e.g., meals, and recess) with students without disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the student.
Nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities may also include counseling services, athletics, transportation, health services, recreational activities, special interest groups or clubs sponsored by the district, referrals to agencies that provide assistance to individuals with disabilities, and employment of students, including both employment by the district and assistance in making outside employment available.
Continuum of Alternative Placements
A continuum of alternative placement options shall be made available as is necessary to meet the needs of the district’s special education students for special education and related services, as defined in the IEP.
The options shall include instruction in general education classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, instruction in hospitals and institutions, and instruction in other settings, and shall provide for supplementary services (such as resource room or itinerant instruction) to be provided in conjunction with general education class placement.
Specially designed instruction shall be provided as follows:
1. General education classroom: by certificated special education personnel or general certificated teachers and/or classified staff under the direct supervision of the general certificated teacher. Direct supervision involves observation at least weekly, during the time such services are being provided. Direct supervision of classified staff providing related services will occur at least monthly.
2. Special classrooms/other environments: by certificated special education personnel or classified instructional staff under the direct supervision of certificated special education personnel.
If specially designed instruction is not provided directly by certificated special education personnel, it must be designed, monitored, and evaluated by such personnel on the basis of a written plan, which is evaluated at least monthly.
Placement Considerations and Annual Review
The placement of each special education student shall be determined at least annually at a meeting conducted pursuant to this section. The selection of the appropriate placement option or options for each special education student shall be based upon:
- The student’s IEP;
- The LRE requirements;
- The option or combination of options that provides a reasonably high probability of assisting the student to attain his or her annual goals; and
- A consideration of any potentially harmful effect on the student or on the quality of services which he or she needs.
In interpreting evaluation data gathered through the evaluation and eligibility process in this section and in making placement decisions, the district shall:
- Draw upon information from a variety of sources, including aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, parental input, physical condition, social or cultural background, and adaptive behavior;
- Ensure that information obtained from all of these sources is documented and carefully considered; and
- Ensure that the placement decision is made in conformity with the LRE rules in this section.
The district shall provide written notice of a student’s proposed, initial special education placement, or of the district’s inability or refusal to make a special education placement, at the initial IEP meeting or within ten calendar days after the initial IEP meeting. The notice shall comply with the notice requirements of this section.
The written consent of the parent(s) (or adult student) shall be requested if special education placement is proposed.
The student’s proposed special education placement shall commence when either:
1. Written consent has been given by the parent(s) (or the adult student); or
2. The refusal of a student’s parent(s) (or adult student) to grant consent has been overridden by the district pursuant to a hearing (or appeal) conducted in accordance with this section.
Preschool Services, including Transition to Preschool
The district shall provide for the smooth transition of children participating in the early intervention program under Part H IDEA who are eligible for participation in preschool programs under Part B of the IDEA.
The district’s preschool services include:
- Families shall participate in the development of transitional plans;
- The district, the public agency in which the child is being served, and the family will be notified of the need for transitional planning.
- With the approval of the family, a conference between the public agency, family, and district will be conducted to arrange for smooth transition;
- The conference will occur at least ninety days before such child is eligible for the preschool program under Part B of IDEA:
- The meeting will include reviewing each child’s program options, for the period commencing on the day a child turns three running through the remainder of the school year, and establishing a transition plan; and
- If the child will participate in the district’s preschool program under Part B of IDEA at age 3, an IEP consistent with this chapter will be developed and implemented by the child’s third birthday. The district will provide the family with information on the eligibility and evaluation requirements under Part B of IDEA, including the parent’s and district’s rights regarding procedural safeguards.
Districts that provide preschool programs to nondisabled preschool children must meet the condition of FAPE to students entitled to receive special education services. When such programs are not offered, districts or other agencies may provide opportunities in other programs such as:
- Head Start;
- Providing special education services to preschool special education children in private school programs for nondisabled children; and
- Locating classes for preschool special education children in general elementary classes.
Home or hospital instruction shall be provided to special education students who are unable to attend school for an estimated period of four weeks or more because of physical disability or illness. The parent(s) of a student (or the adult student) shall request the services and provide a written statement to the district from a qualified medical practitioner that states the student will not be able to attend school for an estimated period of at least four weeks.
Home/hospital instructional services shall not be used for initial or on-going placement of otherwise eligible special education students. It shall be limited to placement as is deemed necessary to provide temporary intervention as a result of a physical disability or illness.
The district shall contract with nonpublic and public school agencies for special education and related services for special education students when the district establishes that it cannot provide an appropriate education for the student with a disability within the district, another district or public agency.
The district shall neither place a student in a nonpublic or public school agency nor award a contract to a nonpublic or public school agency until the nonpublic or public school agency has been approved by the state board of education.
In the event the district within which a student with a disability resides is unable to contract with another district or public agency, or a nonpublic or public school agency, or an appropriate state public agency, the parent (or adult student) and district may jointly petition the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee for state and federal special education funds to provide an educational program with a public agency in another state or Canada.
Contractual arrangements for an out-of-state educational program shall be approved by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee prior to the student’s placement in that program. The district shall be responsible for:
- Determining that no appropriate in-state placement option is available and for making the decision that the student should be placed in an out-of-state program;
- Determining that the out-of-state educational program is appropriately licensed or approved by that state’s authorities and that placement will result in an appropriate education for the student; and
- Contracting with the out-of-state public agency.
If a student with a disability has a FAPE available and the parents choose to place the student in a private school or facility, the District is not required by this section to pay for the student’s education at the private school or facility. However, the District shall make services available to the student as provided under this section.
Disagreements between a parent and the district regarding the availability of a program appropriate for the student, and the question of financial responsibility, are subject to the due process procedures of this section.
If placement in a public or private residential program is necessary to provide special education and related services to a student with a disability, the program, including non–medical care and room and board, must be at no cost to the parents of the student. Nothing in this section relieves an insurer or similar third party from an otherwise valid obligation to provide or to pay for services provided to a student with a disability. Nothing in this section relieves any participating public agency of the responsibility to provide or pay for any service that the public agency would otherwise provide to any special education student who meets eligibility criteria of that public agency.
The district’s procedures for implementing Board policy in the area of procedural safeguards are as follows:
Written notice in accordance with this section shall be given by the district to the parent(s) of a student (or to the adult student) a reasonable time before the district:
- Proposes to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or delivery of educational services to a student or the IEP, including goals and objectives, or the provision of special education and related services to the student; or
- Refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or delivery of educational services to a student or the IEP, including goals and objectives, or the provision of special education and related services to the student.
Parental consent must be obtained in writing (or overridden by a due process hearing) before:
- Conducting a preplacement evaluation; and
- Providing initial special education services to a special education student.
- Conducting a reevaluation if the reevaluation includes administration of additional assessments.
Parental consent is not required to review existing data as part of an evaluation or reevaluation, or to administer a test or other evaluation that is administered to all students unless consent is required by all students’ parents. The district shall not require written parental consent as a condition for receiving any other benefit, service, or activity to the parent or to the student.
If the district is unable to obtain a parent’s consent, the district may use mediation procedures to obtain a parent’s consent or request a due process hearing asking the administrative law judge to override the parent’s refusal to consent to an evaluation or reevaluation. The district may not request a due process hearing to override a parent’s refusal to consent to initial special education services. The district may not use mediation or due process procedures to override a parent’s refusal to consent to an evaluation or reevaluation if the student is homeschooled or enrolled in a private school.
Revocation of Consent
If a parent revokes consent after the district has provided special education and related services, the district will not amend the student’s education records to remove any references to the student’s receipt of special education and related services.
Upon receipt of the parent’s written notice of revocation, the district:
- Will provide prior written notice before ceasing services;
- Stop providing special education and related services after the effective date contained in the district’s prior written notice;
- Will not use mediation or the due process procedures to obtain agreement.
Discontinuation of special education and related services in response to the parent’s written revocation will not be in violation of FAPE and eliminates the district’s requirement to convene an IEP meeting or develop an IEP.
Contents of Notice
The notice required by this section shall include:
- A full explanation of all the procedural safeguards available to the parent (or the adult student) that are set forth in 34 CFR 300.500, 300.502 through 515, and 300.562 through 569;
- A description of the action proposed or refused by the district, an explanation of why the district proposes or refuses to take the action, and a description of any options the district considered and the reasons why those options were rejected;
- A description of each evaluation procedure, test, record, or report the district used as a basis for the proposal or refusal; and
- A description of any other factors relevant to the district’s proposal or refusal.
The notice shall be:
- Written in language understandable to the general public; and
- Provided in the native language of the parent (or adult student) or other mode of communication used by the parent (or adult student), unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.
If the native language or other mode of communication of the parent (or adult student) is not a written language, the district shall take steps to ensure that:
- The notice is translated orally or by other means to the parent (or the adult student) in his or her native language or other mode of communication;
- The parent (or adult student) understands the content of the notice; and
- There is written evidence that the requirements in this section have been met.
Due Process Hearings
A hearing conducted in accordance with this section may be initiated in the following cases for the purposes stated:
1. The parent(s) of a student (or an adult student) or the district may initiate a hearing to challenge or to show (as the case may be) the appropriateness of a proposal by the district to initiate or change:
a. The identification of the student;
b. The evaluation of the student;
c. The delivery of educational services to the student; or
d. The provision of special education and related services to the student pursuant to this section.
2. The parent(s) of a student (or an adult student) or the district may initiate a hearing to challenge or to show (as the case may be) the appropriateness of the district’s refusal of the parent(s) (or the adult student’s) request to initiate or change:
a. The identification of the student;
b. The evaluation of the student;
c. The delivery of educational services to the student; or
d. The provision of special education and related services to the student pursuant to this section.
3. The district may initiate a hearing to show that its evaluation of a student is appropriate if the student’s parents (or the adult student) disagrees with the evaluation results and requests an Independent Educational Evaluation at public expense.
4. A request by a student’s parent(s) (or adult student) for a hearing pursuant to this section shall:
a. Be in writing and specify the district with whom there is a disagreement;
b. Be mailed or provided directly to Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Office of Legal Services, Old Capitol Building, Olympia, Washington 98504; and
c. Explain the complaint of the parent(s) (or adult student) in general or specific terms.
5. A request by the school district for a hearing pursuant to this section shall:
a. Be in writing;
b. Be mailed or provided directly to Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Office of Legal Services, Old Capitol Building, Olympia, Washington 98504. A copy of such request, including required attachments shall be transmitted to the student’s parent(s) (or adult student); and
c. Have attached to such request a copy of the notice to parent(s) (or adult student) as required by this section. If the hearing request by the district is in response to a request for an independent educational evaluation, the district’s written request for a hearing also shall have attached a copy of the written notice to the district required by this section.
6. A notice of a hearing requested by a student’s parent(s) (or adult student) or initiated by the district pursuant to this section shall be provided by the hearing officer and shall include, but not necessarily be limited to:
a. The date, time, and place of the hearing;
b. The issues to be addressed at the hearing to the extent the issues have been identified at the time of the notice;
c. The rights, procedures, and other matters set forth in this section; and
d. The right of the parent(s) (or adult student) to seek an independent evaluation at public expense.
7. The forty-five day timeline for completing the hearing process shall begin on the day the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction receives the Public Instruction written request for a due process hearing.
Expenses and Parent Assistance
The hearing shall be conducted by and at the expense of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall provide for a court reporter’s stenographic record of all testimony and other oral hearing proceedings at the expense of the Superintendent of Public Instruction unless a court reporter’s stenographic record need not be transcribed for any purpose except as provided or required in this section.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall inform the parent(s) (or adult student) of any free or low-cost legal or other relevant services available in the area if:
- The parent (or adult student) requests the information; or
- The school district or parent (or adult student) initiates a hearing.
The hearing shall be conducted by a qualified person selected and appointed by the chief administrative law judge in the office of administrative hearings pursuant to Chapter 10-08 WAC and shall be a person who:
- Is not an employee of a public agency which is involved in the education or care of the student; and
- Does not have a personal or professional interest that would conflict with his or her objectivity in the hearing.
The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of WAC 392-101-005 unless modified by this section.
The district shall keep a list of the persons who serve as hearing officers. The list must include a statement of the qualifications of each of those persons.
Any party to a hearing under this section has the right to:
1. Be accompanied and advised by persons with special knowledge or training with respect to the problems of special education students;
2. Be advised and/or represented by an attorney;
3. Present evidence, including the opinion(s) of qualified experts, confront, cross-examine, and compel the attendance of witnesses;
4. Prohibit the introduction of any evidence at the hearing that has not been disclosed to that party or least five days before the hearing;
5. Obtain a written or electronic verbatim record of the hearing at no cost to any party to a hearing. In the event of an appeal to a court of law by the district, the district shall bear the cost of transcribing the record for appeal purposes and shall make a copy available to the other party at a cost, if any, which is no greater than the district’s cost of copying; and
6. Obtain written findings of fact, conclusions of law and judgments. The state, after deleting any personally identifiable information, shall:
a. Transmit those findings and decisions to the state advisory panel established under this section; and
b. Make those findings and decisions available to the public.
Parents who are a party to a hearing have the right to have the student who is the subject of the hearing present.
Parents (or adult students) who are a party to a hearing have the right to open the hearing to the public.
Timeline of Decision and Convenience of Hearing
Not later than forty-five days after the date of receipt of a request for a hearing:
- A final decision shall be reached based upon a preponderance of the evidence; and
- A copy of the decision consisting of the hearing officer’s finding of fact, conclusions of law, and judgment shall be mailed or provided directly to each of the parties and to the Superintendent of Public Instruction by the hearing office, together with a certification of the date of mailing and the parties to whom it was mailed.
The date of mailing or providing a decision to the parties shall be certified to on the first page of the decision by the person(s) who mails or provides the decision to the parties. The decision of the hearing officer shall be drafted in a manner which:
- Sets forth the findings of fact, conclusions of law and judgment separately, and numbers each findings of fact and conclusions; and
- Avoids the revelation of personally identifiable information that is unnecessary to reaching and understanding the decision reached. The surnames of students and their parents shall be indicated by use of their last initial and shall not be spelled out.
- A hearing officer may grant specific extensions of time beyond the period set forth in this section at the written or otherwise documented request of either party.
- Continuances may only be granted at the written order of the administrative law judge, founded on good cause and to periods of time that do not unjustifiably infringe on the right of either party to a timely decision.
- Each hearing shall be concluded at a time and place reasonably convenient to the parent(s) and student involved.
A decision made in a hearing under this section is final, unless modified or overturned by a court of law. Any party aggrieved by the findings and decision made in a hearing who does not have the right to appeal under this section has the right to bring a civil action under section 615(e)(2) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. A civil action may be filed in either state or federal court.
The district shall inform parents that in any action or proceeding under section 615 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, courts may award parents reasonable attorneys’ fees under the circumstances described in section 615(e)(4) of the Act.
During the pendency of any administrative or judicial proceeding regarding a complaint initiated under this section, unless the district and the parent(s) of the student (or adult student) agree otherwise, the student involved in the complaint shall remain in the educational placement he or she was in at the time the complaint was made.
The student, with the consent of the parent(s) (or the adult student) shall be placed in the regular school program until the completion of all such proceedings if the complaint involves an application for initial admission to the school.
During the pendency of a hearing regarding disciplinary exclusion due to bringing a firearm to school, as defined in Section 921 of Title 18 of the U.S.C., the student may receive services in an alternative educational program for up to forty-five calendar days, in accordance with an IEP.
The district shall assure that the rights of the nonadult student receiving a special education program are protected when:
- No parent can be identified;
- The district, after reasonable efforts, cannot discover the whereabouts of the parent; or
- The student is a ward of the state.
The duty of the district under this section includes the assignment of a person to act as a surrogate for the parents. This duty includes the establishment of a method:
- For determining whether a nonadult student needs a surrogate parent; and
- For assigning a surrogate parent to the student.
The district shall assure that a person selected as a surrogate:
- Has no interest that conflicts with the interests of the student he or she represents; and
- Has knowledge and skills that assure adequate representation of the student.
A person assigned as a surrogate may not be an employee of a district or other public agency which is involved in the education or care of the student; and a person who otherwise qualifies as a surrogate parent pursuant to this section is not an “employee” of the district solely because he or she is paid by the district to serve as a surrogate parent.
A surrogate parent may represent the student in all matters relating to:
- The identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the student; and
- The provision of free special education and related services to the student.
Transfer of Educational Rights to an Adult Student
When a student eligible for special education reaches the age of 18, all educational rights under Part B of the IDEA, previously exercised by the parent, transfer to the student unless the student is determined incapacitated in a guardianship proceeding or the district has appointed an educational representative for the student. When the student turns 18, the district will notify the parent and student that the educational rights have transferred to the student and the IEP case manager will send any required notices to both the parent and the adult student.
At an IEP meeting occurring one year before the student turns 18, the district will inform the parents and the student that educational rights will transfer to the student and the district will inform the student about those educational rights. This information will be documented on the IEP.
Appointment of an Educational Representative
The district may determine that a student over the age of eighteen and not legally incapacitated is unable to provide informed consent or to make educational decisions and appoint an educational representative. This determination will only be made if two separate professionals state that they conducted an examination and interviewed the student, and conclude that student is incapable of providing informed consent. The district will inform the student of the decision and appoint either the spouse, the student’s parents, another adult or surrogate educational representative to represent the student. The appointment of the educational representative will continue for one year.
The student or other adult may challenge the certification at any time. If a challenge occurs, the district will not rely on the educational representative, until the representative is recertified.
STAFF QUALIFICATIONS AND PERSONNEL DEVELOPMENT
All employees of the district funded in whole or part with state or federal excess cost funds shall be qualified as follows:
- All employees shall hold such credentials, certificates, or permits as are now or hereafter required by the state board of education for the particular position of employment and shall meet such supplemental standards as may be established by the district. Supplemental standards established by the district may exceed, but not be less than, those established by this section;
- In addition, all teachers shall possess “substantial professional training” and support personnel shall meet standards established under the educational staff associate rules of the state board of education as now or hereafter amended.
“Substantial professional training” as used in this section shall mean and be evidenced by either an appropriate special education endorsement or recommended placement upon the teaching certificate of an employee issued by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or completion of a teacher education program designed to prepare teachers of students with disabling conditions offered by an institution approved by the state board of education for teacher certification purposes. In the event the teacher does not have a certificate endorsed in special education, the teacher must hold a valid general teaching certificate and the district must determine whether the teacher has adequate preparation in special education.
Classified staff shall present evidence of either formal and/or adequate in-service training or successful experience in working with special education students
In order to provide a staff development program to improve the quality of instructional programs, and following procedures will be employed:
- Special education concerns will be identified through a staff needs assessment completed by administrators, teachers, program assistants, parents, and volunteers;
- All personnel who use restraint, restraint devices and/or isolation must be certified and annually trained in the use of such restraint, restraint devices and/or isolation;
- An in-service training schedule will be developed based upon the results of the assessment and in support of the needs identified in the state’s Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (PD) needs survey; and
- Training activities will be conducted for regular and special education staff, and staff of other agencies and organizations and private school staff providing services for special education students.
PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION AND EVALUATION
The district’s procedures for implementing its administrative responsibilities for special education, as specified in board policy, are as follows:
Full Educational Opportunity
The district’s goal is to provide to all children with disabilities, aged birth through twenty-one, a full educational opportunity.
The district shall strive to meet this goal through:
- The development of a detailed timeline for its accomplishment:
- The identification of the kind and number of facilities, personnel, and services needed to meet this goal;
- The participation and consultation with parents of children with disabilities in meeting this goal;
- The provision of, and the establishment of, priorities for providing a FAPE to all children with disabilities, first with respect to children with disabilities who are not receiving an education, and second with respect to children with disabilities with the most severe disabilities who are receiving an inadequate education;
- The provision of FAPE to first priority children, including their identification, location, and evaluation; and
- The implementation of other requirements under IDEA-B, including LRE and CSPD.
The district will administer the program consistent with all applicable statutes, regulations, program plans, and applications.
The control of funds provided to the district and title to property acquired with those funds will be in the district and the district will administer those funds and property.
The district will use fiscal control and fund accounting procedures that will ensure proper disbursement of, and accounting for, federal funds paid to the district.
None of the funds expended under the program will be used to acquire equipment (including computer software) in any instance in which such acquisition results in a direct financial benefit to any organization representing the interests of the purchasing entity or its employees or any affiliate of such an organization.
Excess Cost and Nonsupplanting
Federal special education funds will be used only for excess costs, computed in the manner required by law, which is directly attributable to the education of special education students. The excess cost requirement means that the district must spend a certain minimum amount for special education before Part B funds are used. This insures that children served by Part B funds have at least the same amount spent on them, from sources other than Part B, as do the children in the district taken as a whole.
Federal special education funds will be used to supplement and not supplant local and state funds expended for special education students. The total amount or average per capita amount of state and local school funds budgeted by the district for expenditures in the current fiscal year for the education of children with disabilities must be at least equal to the total amount or average per capita amount of State and local school funds actually expended for the education of children with disabilities in the most recent preceding fiscal year for which the information is available. Allowance may be made for:
- Decreases in enrollment of children with disabilities; and
- Unusually large amounts of funds expended for such long-term purposes as the acquisition of equipment and the construction of school facilities.
Federal special education funds will be used to provide services only to special education students who receive services supported by local and state funds which, on the whole, are comparable to services received by other such students in the district.
Information Reports and Records
The district will:
- Make reports to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and to the Secretary, United States Department of Education as may reasonably be necessary to enable those agencies each to perform their duties; and
- Maintain records and provide access to those records that those agencies decide are necessary to perform their duties.
The district shall maintain records which fully disclose the amount and disposition of the funds, the total cost of the activity for which the funds are used, the share of that cost provided from other sources, and such other records as will facilitate an effective audit.
Records to show compliance including records related to the location, evaluation and placement of special education students, and the development and implementation of IEP shall be maintained. Programmatic and fiscal information records shall be available to authorized representatives of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and federal officials for the purpose of compliance monitoring.
Records shall be maintained for seven years after the completion of the activity for which the funds are used.
The district will provide reasonable opportunities for the participation by teachers, parents, and other interested agencies, organizations, and individuals in the planning for and operation of the program; and any application, evaluation, periodic program plan or report relating to the program will be made readily available to parents and other members of the general public through the special education office and the office of the superintendent.
Transportation options for special education students shall include the following categories and shall be exercised in the following sequence:
- A scheduled school bus;
- Contracted transportation, including public transportation; and
- Other transportation arrangements, including that provided by parents. Board and room cost in lieu of transportation may be provided whenever the above stated transportation options are not feasible because of the need(s) of a student with a disability or because of the unavailability of adequate means of transportation, in accordance with rules of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The transportation of a student with a disability shall be in accordance with the rules of the Superintendent of Public Instruction governing transportation by public school districts or other public agencies.
Training and supervision of bus aides and drivers shall be the responsibility of the district superintendent or designee.
Special equipment may include lifts, wheelchair holders, restrainers, and two-way radios. All such special equipment shall comply with the specifications contained in the specifications for school buses as now or hereafter established by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Whenever reasonably possible, no student should be required to ride more than sixty minutes one-way.
The discipline of a student with a disability during his or her transportation shall be the responsibility of the transporting district.
Transportation for state residential students to and from the residential school and the sites of the educational program shall be the responsibility of the Department of Social and Health Services and each state residential school pursuant to law.
Transportation for a state residential school student, including students attending the state school for the deaf and the state school for the blind, to and from such school and the residency of such student shall be the responsibility of the district of residency only if the student’s placement was made by such district pursuant to the student’s IEP to provide FAPE in the LRE.
The district shall, to the extent possible, coordinate each of its federal projects with other activities that are in the same geographic area served by the project and that serve similar purposes and target groups. Applicable federal projects include: Head Start and Part H for Infants and Toddlers.
Construction and Comparability of Facilities
Construction of special facilities or the remodeling of present facilities in order to meet the special education and related services needs of any student with disabilities shall be provided in accordance with rules of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the state board of education which govern the construction and/or financing of district/facilities. All educational facilities required for special education students in residential school programs shall be the responsibility of the Department of Social and Health Services.
In developing plans for construction, due consideration will be given to excellence of architecture and to design and to compliance with federal standards under section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, in order to ensure that facilities constructed with the use of federal funds are accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.
If the district, in compliance with this section, operates a facility that is identifiable as being for special education students, the district shall assure that the facility and the services and activities provided therein are comparable in quality to the district’s facilities, services, and activities for students who are not disabled.
The length of the education program for special education students shall be at least as long as the education program for students who are not disabled in terms of both the number of school days in the regular school year and the average number of hours per school day. If a student with a disability cannot attend school a full school day, the reason shall be documented in his or her records and the length of school day addressed in the IEP. The program length for a student during an extended school year shall be determined through the student’s IEP.
Health or Safety
The district shall comply with any federal health or safety requirements that apply to facilities used under Part B of IDEA.
Administration of Medication
Medications may be administered to a student with a disability by district personnel subject to the state professional licensing laws and the following conditions:
- The medication shall be administered pursuant to a written order and written instruction from the student’s physician; and
- The medication shall be supplied by the student’s parent(s) (or the adult student).
The orders and instructions shall be current, obtained at least yearly, and reviewed and updated whenever there is a significant change in the student’s school activity program, in accordance with the policies adopted by the district.
Use of isolation, restraint and restraint devices:
1. Imminent: The state or condition of being likely to occur at any moment or near at hand, rather than distant or remote.
2. Isolation: Restricting a student alone within a room or any other form of enclosure, from which the student may not leave. It does not include a student’s voluntary use of a quiet space for self-calming, or temporary removal of a student from his or her regular instructional area to an unlocked area for purposes of carrying out an appropriate positive behavior intervention plan.
3. Likelihood of serious harm: A substantial risk that physical harm will be inflicted by a student:
a. upon his or her own person, as evidenced by threats or attempts to commit suicide or inflict physical harm on oneself;
b. upon another, as evidenced by behavior that has caused such harm or that places another person or persons in reasonable fear of sustaining such harm;
c. upon the property of others, as evidenced by behavior that has caused substantial loss or damage to the property of others; or
d. after the student has threatened the physical safety of another and has history of one or more violent acts.
4. Positive behavioral intervention: Strategies and instruction that can be implemented in a strategic manner in order to provide alternatives to challenging behaviors, reinforce desired behaviors, and reduce or eliminate the frequency and severity of challenging behaviors. Positive behavioral interventions include the consideration of environmental factors that may trigger challenging behaviors and teaching a student the skills to manage his or her own behavior.
5. Restraint: Physical intervention or force used to control a student, including the use of a restraint device. It does not include appropriate use of a prescribed medical, orthopedic or therapeutic device when used as intended, such as to achieve proper body position, balance or alignment or to permit a student to safely participate in activities.
6. Restraint device: A device used to assist in controlling a student, including, but not limited to, metal handcuffs, plastic ties, ankle restraints, leather cuffs, other hospital-type restraints, pepper spray, tasers, or batons. Restraint device does not mean a seat harness used to safely transport students. This definition is consistent with RCW 28A.600.485(1)(c), and is not intended to endorse or encourage the use of such devices or techniques with district sudents.
B. Practices presumed to be unreasonable when correcting or restraining any student under the age of 18:
Under RCW 9A.16.100, the following is a non-exclusive list of acts that are presumed unreasonable when correcting or restraining a child:
- throwing, kicking, burning, or cutting a child;
- striking a child with a closed fist;
- shaking a child under the age of three:
- interfering with a child’s breathing;
- threatening a child with a deadly weapon; or
- doing any other act that is likely to cause bodily harm to a student greater than transient pain or minor temporary marks.
This non-exclusive list should not be read so as to imply that another, unlisted form of correction or restraint is permissible. Whether or not an unlisted use of force or restraint is presumptively permissible depends upon a balanced consideration of all relevant state laws and regulations, and whether the use is reasonable under the totality of the circumstances.
C. Conditions specific to use of isolation:
- The isolation must be discontinued as soon as the likelihood of serious harm has dissipated;
- The enclosure will be ventilated, lighted and temperature controlled from inside or outside for purposes of human occupancy.
- The isolation enclosure will permit continuous visual monitoring of the student from outside the enclosure.
- An adult responsible for supervising the student will remain in visual or auditory range of the student at all times.
- Either the student shall be capable of releasing himself or herself from the enclosure, or the student shall continuously remain within view of an adult responsible for supervising the student.
- Any staff member or other adults using isolation must be trained and certified by a qualified provider in the use of isolation, unless trained personnel are not immediately available due to the unforeseeable nature of the emergency.
D. Conditions specific to use of restraint and restraint devices:
- The use of restraint or a restraint device must be discontinued as soon as the likelihood of serious harm has dissipated;
- The restraint or restraint device will not interfere with the student’s breathing;
- Any staff member or other adults using restraint or restraint devices must be trained and certified by a qualified provider in the use of such restraint or restraint devices, unless trained personnel are not immediately available due to the unforeseeable nature of the emergency.
- In the case of a restraint device, either the student will be capable of releasing himself or herself from the restraint device or the student shall continuously remain within view of an adult responsible for supervising the student.
E. Prohibited practices involving restraint, use of force, and discipline:
The following practices are prohibited with students eligible for special education services:
- District personnel are prohibited from using aversive interventions;
- District personnel are prohibited from physically restraining or isolating a student, except when the student’s behavior poses an imminent likelihood of serious harm as defined above;
- No student may be stimulated by contact with electric current, including, but not limited to, tasers;
- A student may not be denied or subjected to an unreasonable delay in the provision of food or liquid as a form of punishment;
- A student may not be the recipient of force or restraint that is either unreasonable under the circumstances or deemed to be an unreasonable form of corporal punishment as a matter of state law (see above, for example, for a list of practices presumed to be unreasonable when used in correcting or restraining a child);
- A student must not be denied or subjected to an unreasonable delay in the provision of common hygiene care;
- A student must not be denied or subjected to an unreasonable delay in the provision of medication;
- A student may not be excluded from his or her regular instructional or service area and isolated within a room or any other form of enclosure, except under the conditions set forth in WAC 392-172A-02110;
- A student must not be forced to listen to noise or sound that the student finds painful;
- A student must not be forced to smell or be sprayed in the face with a noxious or potentially harmful substance;
- A student must not be forced to taste or ingest a substance which is not commonly consumed or which is not commonly consumed in its existing form or concentration;
- A student’s head must not be partially or wholly submerged in water or any other liquid.
- A student must not be physically restrained or immobilized by binding or otherwise attaching the student’s limbs together or by binding or otherwise attaching any part of the student’s body to an object, except under the conditions set forth in WAC 392-172A.02110.
F. Documentation and Reporting Requirements
Districts must follow the documentation and reporting requirements for any use of isolation, restraint, or a restraint device consistent with RCW 28A.600.485 and the parental notification requirement of RCW 28A.155.210. See Policy and Procedure 3246. (District note: Insert here the district’s process for documentation and reporting and include the person(s) responsible.)
Long-Term Suspension or Expulsion
Special education students are not to be improperly excluded from school for disciplinary reasons. In order to accomplish this, the district shall comply with the following procedures:
- Prior to a disciplinary action, which constitutes a significant change of placement in a disabled student’s educational placement, IEP team will determine whether the misconduct for which the student is being excluded from school is a manifestation of the disability and/or due to an inappropriate placement.
- If the misconduct is a manifestation of the disability and/or due to an inappropriate placement, the proposed disciplinary action, resulting in a significant change of placement, may not be implemented. Instead, the district must convene an IEP meeting for the purposes of developing an appropriate program. The district has a continuing responsibility to provide special education to the student.
- If the misconduct is neither a manifestation of the disability nor due to an inappropriate placement, the proposed disciplinary action may be implemented. The district must convene an IEP meeting for the purposes of developing an alternative educational program from the student during the long-term suspension or expulsion.
- The district must provide the parents with written notice regarding the IEP team decision as to whether the misconduct for which the student is being excluded from school is a manifestation of the disability or due to an inappropriate placement.
In determining whether misconduct is a manifestation of the disability, the IEP team shall base decisions on evaluation data related to behavior which must be recent enough to afford an understanding of the student’s current behavior. A team may not make a determination that misconduct is or is not a manifestation of the disability on the basis of a student’s special education eligibility category. Determination by the IEP team shall document in a written narrative the basis for such determination, including any relevant data or evaluation procedures utilized. The district must provide the parents with written notice regarding the IEP team decision.
A significant change in placement means any suspension, in or out of school, or expulsion for disciplinary reasons which excludes a special education student from school for more than ten consecutive school days in a school year or a series of suspensions that are each of ten days or fewer which create a pattern of exclusion. Patterns of exclusion are determined on an individual basis by an IEP team, considering length of suspension, proximity of suspensions to each other, and amount of time the student is excluded. The IEP team will document this in a written narrative and provide written notice regarding their decision.
A special education student who poses an immediate and continuing danger to him or herself, other students, or school personnel or an immediate and continuing threat of substantial disruption may be expelled pursuant to WAC 180-40-295. Prior to an exclusion exceeding ten school days, the district must complete the procedures defined in special education regulations. A parent (or adult student) may request a hearing.
During the pendency of the hearing, unless the parent(s) of the student (or the adult student) agree to an alternative placement, the student involved in the complaint shall return to the educational placement he or she was in at the time of the expulsion. The district may obtain a court order (a temporary restraining order or injunction) during pendency of a hearing to extend the exclusion from school for a dangerous student beyond ten school days or to place the student in an alternative setting. An alternative educational program must be provided during any exclusion.
A student with a disability who brings a firearm, as defined in section 921 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, to school may be placed in an interim alternative educational placement for up to 45 calendar days. The placement must be developed in accordance with an IEP meeting. Prior to the expiration of the interim alternative educational placement, the district will complete the procedures defined in state special education regulations. In the event of disagreement, the parent (or adult student) may request a hearing. During the pendency of the hearing, the student must remain in the interim alternative educational placement.
The purpose of mediation is to offer both the parent and the school district an alternative to a formal due process hearing. Mediation is voluntary and requires the consent and agreements of both parties. Mediation cannot be used to deny or delay access by a parent to a due process hearing. Mediation is used to resolve disagreements concerning the identification, evaluation and delivery of educational services or provisions of a FAPE to a special education student. Mediation may be terminated by either party at any time during the process.
The primary participants are the parents, school district representatives and mediator. The process is voluntary, confidential, and informal. It is a collaborative process, conducted in a non-adversarial manner. Mediation services will be provided by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) at no cost to either party.
The district’s special education director or appropriate special education administrative staff are responsible for coordinating requests for mediation. If a parent requests mediation, notify the director and the director will respond to the parent and coordinate with OSPI’s contracted agent. Staff members are reminded that discussions that occur during the mediation process are confidential.
The district’s special education director or appropriate special education administrative staff designated by the district to attend the mediation must have authority to bind the district in any agreement reached through mediation.
Citizen’s Complaint Process
Any individual, entity, or organization may register a citizen complaint with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, in which it is alleged that a violation of applicable special education statutes and/or regulations has occurred. The Office of Superintendent of Public
Instruction shall refer the complaint to the district for action. When this occurs, the following procedures apply:
1. The superintendent or designee or the school district shall notify the employee(s) designated to monitor and coordinate the district’s compliance with special education regulations.
2. This employee(s) will investigate any complaint(s) communicated to the district by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
3. Upon completion of the investigation by the designated employee(s), the employee(s) will develop a written report, including applicable documentation, of the results of the investigation. The superintendent or designee shall respond in writing to the Superintendent of Public Instruction no later than twenty calendar days after the date of receipt of any complaint.
4. The response to the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall clearly state either:
a. That the district denies the allegations contained in the complaint and the basis for such denial; or
b. Reasonable corrective action(s) deemed necessary to correct the violation
5. The district will assist the Superintendent of Public Instruction in carrying out the responsibility for notifying the public of the citizen’s complaint process.
6. The district will take any steps necessary to complete reasonable corrective action(s) ordered by the Superintendent of Public Instruction as a result of a citizen’s complaint.
Annually, as a component of applying for funds, the district will describe procedures, including a process for parent/family involvement, for evaluating the effectiveness of programs designed to meet the educational needs of special education students and procedures for evaluating the effectiveness of IEP’s.
Highline School District 401
Approved by the Superintendent: May 1994
Revised by the Superintendent: 05.90, 02.96, 12.00, 8.10, 05.11, 06.14, 06.17