Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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The purpose of the district’s special education program procedures is to address program areas where state and federal regulations require specific local procedures or permit local discretionary choices.
The state regulations governing implementation of special education services pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004 are addressed in Chapter 392-172A WAC. These procedures do not address all of the requirements established in the regulations. District personnel who are not familiar with the regulations need to contact the special education department director (or name title of appropriate personnel) if there are questions regarding special education.  These procedures describe how the district implements its special education program.
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
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 students’ basic education funding and state special education funding.
The superintendent, in consultation with building staff, will annually determine whether to use Early Intervening Services (EIS) funding for students who have not been identified as needing special education or related services, but who need additional academic and behavioral support to succeed in a general education environment.
The district will annually report to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) the number of students receiving EIS; and the number of students who received EIS and subsequently received special education and related services under Part B of IDEA during the preceding two-year period.
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 in conformance with the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).
The district provides a continuum of services for students, regardless of the funding source. Where the district is unable to provide all or part of the special education or necessary related services, it will make arrangements through contracts with other public or non-public sources, inter-district agreements, or interagency coordination.
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 a FAPE, as permitted by the public insurance program.  However, the district will not:

  1. Require parents to sign up for or enroll in public benefits or insurance programs in order for their student to receive FAPE under Part B of the IDEA;
  2. Require parents to incur an out-of-pocket expense such as the payment of a deductible or co-pay amount incurred in filing a claim;
  3. Use a parent or student’s benefits under a public insurance programs if that use would:
    1. Decrease available lifetime coverage or any other insured benefit;
    2. Result in the family paying for services required after school hours that would otherwise be covered by the public insurance program;
    3. Increase premiums or result in discontinuation of insurance; or
    4. Risk loss of eligibility for home and community-based waivers, based on aggregate health-related expenditures.

The district may access a parent’s 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 private insurance proceeds, the district will:

  1. Obtain parent consent in accordance with Chapter 392-172A WAC each time the district wishes to access benefits for a new procedure; and
  2. 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.

Before first accessing a parent’s or student’s public benefits, for the first time and annually after the first notification, the district will provide written notification using the prior written notice provisions under WAC 392-172A-05010(3) that includes:

  1. a statement of the parental consent provisions;
  2. a statement of the “no cost” provisions;
  3. a statement that the parents may withdraw their consent to disclose personally identifiable information to the agency responsible for administering the state’s public benefits or insurance, and
  4. a statement that a parent’s withdrawal or refusal to consent does not relieve the school district of its responsibility to ensure that all required services are provided at no cost to the parents.

After providing the required notification, the district will obtain written informed consent from the parent allowing the district to disclose information from the student’s educational records to the agency responsible for administering the state’s public benefits or insurance programs. The consent will specify:

  1. The personally identifiable information that may be disclosed, such as records or information about the services that may be provided to the student;
  2. The purpose of the disclosure;
  3. The agency to which the disclosure will be made; and 
  4. That the parent understands and agrees that the public agency may access the parent’s or student’s public benefits or insurance to pay for services under the act. 

To avoid financial cost to parents who would otherwise consent to use private insurance, or public benefits if the parent would incur a cost such as a deductible or co-pay, the district may use its Part B funds to pay the cost the parents would incur.
The Co-Directors of Special Education are responsible for providing the required notices and requests for consent to parents under this section.
Parent Participation in Meetings
The district encourages parental involvement and sharing of information between district and parents to support the provision of appropriate services to its students.  As used in these procedures, the term “parent” includes biological and adoptive parents, legal guardians, persons acting in the place of a parent, such as relatives and stepparents, foster parents, persons appointed as surrogate parents, and adult students.
Parents (and as appropriate, students) will be provided the opportunity to participate in any meetings with respect to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, and provision of a FAPE, including IEP team meetings, school discipline, and truancy meetings.
When a meeting is scheduled parents will be:

  1. Notified of the meeting early enough that they will have an opportunity to attend;
  2. Notified of the availability of interpretation and translation services at no cost to the parents;
  3. Notified of the purpose, time, and location of the meeting and who will be in attendance;
  4. The parent will be notified that the district or the parent may invite others who have knowledge or special expertise of the student; and
  5. The meetings will be scheduled at a mutually agreeable time and place.

The district will take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the parent understands the proceedings of the IEP team meeting, including but not limited to, arranging for an interpreter for parents who are deaf or hard of hearing or whose native language is other than English. The district will maintain documentation of the language in which families prefer to communicate and whether a qualified interpreter for the student’s family was provided.
The staff person responsible for inviting the parents to meetings will keep documentation of the information provided and the methods used to notify the parents of the meeting.  The district may proceed with a meeting if the district is not able to convince the parent to attend.  In this case, the district will document its attempts to arrange the meeting.  This documentation will include records of telephone calls and the results, copies of correspondence sent to the parent, and/or other means used to contact the parent.
This documentation will be kept in the student’s special education file.
IEP case managers are responsible for notification using district-approved forms, arranging for interpreters, etc, for each meeting.
If the parent cannot attend a meeting but wishes to participate, the district will arrange for other means to participate.  This can include individual or conference phone calls, video, or other means of conferencing.
A meeting does not include informal or unscheduled conversations involving district personnel; conversations on issues such as teaching methodology, lesson plans, coordination of service provisions; or preparatory activities that district personnel engage in to develop a proposal or a response to a parent proposal to be discussed at a later meeting.
Identification and Referral (Child Find)

  1. Identification
    The purpose of Child Find is to locate, evaluate, and identify children with suspected disabilities in need of special education services including those who are not currently receiving special education and related services and who may be eligible for those services.  Activities are to reach:
    1. Children residing in the school district boundaries including preschool-aged children;
    2. Children attending approved, nonprofit private elementary and secondary schools located within the district boundaries.
    3. Highly mobile children (such as children experiencing homelessness, in foster care, and living in migrant conditions);
    4. Children who have a disability and may need special education services even though they are advancing from grade to grade; and
    5. Children at home or home-schooled.

The district will consult with parents and representatives of private school students to ensure its Child Find activities are comparable in approved, nonprofit private schools located within district boundaries.  These consultations will occur annually, by in-person or virtual meetings.

The district reaches students who may be eligible for special education services through: 

1.    Notification to parents of child find activities in its annual informational packet

2.    Information regarding child find on the district’s Web site;

3.    Notification to private schools located in the district’s boundaries;

4.    Posting notices regarding screening and referral on the district’s website, posted in the central office and in school buildings and physicans’ office;

5.    Notifying and coordinating with the designated Part C lead agencies;

6.    Early childhood screenings conducted by the district;

7.    Coordination with other public and private agencies and practitioners;

8.    Written information provided to district staff on referral procedures;

9.    Training teachers and administrators on referral/evaluation/identification procedures; and

10. Review of student behavior, discipline, and absentee information and information gathered from district-wide assessment activities.

When district staff have concerns that a student may have a suspected disability which could result in eligibility for special education services, they will notify the school’s multidisciplinary team.

The district’s special education department conducts early childhood screenings for ages three to five. These occur as needed at a designated school site.  When parents or others inquire about screenings, the caller will be referred to the early childhood program specialist.

The screening process involves the following:

1.    Parents are asked to provide information to assist in assessing their child; and

2.    Children are screened to assess cognitive, communication, physical, social-emotional and adaptive development.  Parents will be notified at the screening of the results and the parents will also be provided written notice of the results within ten days of the screening.  If the screening supports evaluation, obtain written consent for evaluation at the exit interview if possible, or include consent forms with the written notice notifying the parents of the results.  If the screening results indicate that the child does not need an evaluation, written notice will be sent to the parents within 10 days of the screening explaining the basis for the district’s decision not to evaluate. Evaluation occurs in accordance with evaluation procedures.

  1. Referral
    A student, whether or not enrolled in school, may be referred for a special education evaluation by parents, district staff, or other persons knowledgeable about the student. Each building principal will designate a person responsible for ensuring that district staff understands the referral process and maintain the availability of the district’s optional referral form.  Referrals are required to be in writing unless the person referring is unable to write and/or communicate orally.  A person who makes a referral orally must be provided with the optional district referral form in the requestor’s native language and offered assistance in completing the referral with the support of a qualified interpreter when needed.

    When a referral is made, the district must act within a 25 school-day timeline to make a decision about whether or not the student will receive an evaluation for eligibility for special education services.

    All certificated employees will document referrals immediately upon a referral being made to or by them.  All other staff receiving a referral from another person will notify the school psychologist.  The school psychologist (a) records the referral; (b) provides written notice of the referral to the parent, including the date the request was received; and (c) advises the building evaluation team to collect and review district data and information provided by the parent to determine whether evaluation is warranted.
    ​During the referral period the school evaluation team will collect and review existing information from all sources, including parents.  Examples may include: 

    1. Child’s history, including developmental milestones;
    2. Report cards and progress reports;
    3. Individual teacher’s or other provider information regarding the child including observations; 
    4. Assessment data;
    5. Medical information, if provided; and
    6. Other information that may be relevant to assist in determining whether the child should be evaluated.

If the review of data occurs at a meeting, the parent will be invited.  The evaluation team provides written notice to the parents of the decision regarding evaluation, whether or not the parents attend the meeting.

Recommendations regarding evaluation are forwarded to the special education department.

After the evaluation team reviews the request for evaluation and supporting data and does not suspect that the child has a disability, the district may deny the request.  In this case written notice, including the reason for the denial and the information used as the basis for the denial, must be given to the parent.

If the determination is that the child should be evaluated, the reviewers will include information about the recommended areas of evaluation, including the need for further medical evaluation of the student.  This information will assist the district in providing parents prior written notice and will assist the district in selecting appropriate evaluation group members. The evaluation team is responsible for notifying parents of the results using prior written notice. When the determination is that the child will be evaluated, parent consent for evaluation and consent for release of appropriate records will be sent with the notice.

The evaluation team will seek parental consent to conduct the evaluation without any unnecessary delay. The school district is not required to obtain consent from the biological parent if:

1.    The student is a ward of the state and does not reside with a parent;

2.    The parent cannot be located, or their rights have been terminated; or

3.    Consent for an evaluation is given by an individual appointed to represent the student.

When the parent provides consent, the district will select an evaluation group. The evaluation group is to complete the evaluation within 35 school days after the district’s receipt of parent consent, unless: 

1.    The parents and district agree in writing to extend the timeline; 

2.    The parent fails or refuses to make the student available for the evaluation; or 

3.    The student enrolls in another school district after the evaluation is begun, but before completion, and the parent and new district have an agreement for completion of the evaluation.

If a parent does not provide written, informed consent for the evaluation, notify the special education department.  District staff will make a determination as to whether it wishes to use mediation to seek agreement to evaluate or file a due process hearing to override the parent’s refusal to consent.  The district may not override a parent’s refusal to consent for an evaluation if the student is homeschooled or is unilaterally placed in a private school. If the parent does not provide written informed consent and the district does not use mediation or due process, the evaluation team will provide the parent with prior written notice informing the parent that the district cannot proceed with the evaluation to determine eligibility and is not responsible for providing special education and related services without an initial evaluation to determine eligibility.

Evaluation and Reevaluation

  1. Evaluation of Students moving from Part C to Part B and Participation in Transition Planning Conferences 
    The district will participate in transition planning conferences, arranged by the local lead agency as designee of the Part C lead agency for each student who may be eligible for preschool services.  Transition plans will be designed to promote uninterrupted provision of appropriate services to the child.
    1. The early childhood program specialist will serve as the point of contact with the family resource coordinator for timely execution of transition planning conferences that are arranged at least 90 days before the student’s third birthday by the designee of the Part C agency;
    2. Within 25 school days following the transition planning conference, a determination whether or not to evaluate the student for Part B services will be made;
    3. The district will follow the procedures for obtaining consent and conducting an initial evaluation, and provide prior written notice of the decision, if it determines that the student will be evaluated to determine eligibility for Part B services;

The district will follow the procedures for timelines and evaluation requirements for students moving from Part C to Part B. However, students turning three, who were previously determined eligible for early intervention services under Part C of IDEA, will be evaluated for initial eligibility for special education services under Part B of IDEA. The evaluation must be completed in enough time to develop an initial IEP by the date of the student’s third birthday.

  1. Evaluation Requirements
    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. All information gathered in this process is reviewed by the IEP team or other group of qualified professionals.

    The evaluation must be an individual assessment designed to determine:
    1. Whether the student is eligible for special education and any necessary related services; and,
    2. The nature and extent of special education and related services needed by the student, including information related to enabling the child to be involved in and progress in the general education curriculum.

The school psychologist will select the members of the evaluation group. Members selected must be knowledgeable about the student and the areas of suspected disabilities. Qualifications of a group member include having the appropriate professional license or certification and may include outside practitioners when necessary. When assessing for specific learning disabilities, the parent and a group of qualified professionals must be part of the group. If the student requires a medical evaluation in order to determine eligibility, the district will coordinate with the parents to arrange for the evaluation at district expense or through the use of public or private insurance if the parent consents to allow the district to use the insurance.
There are many legal requirements for conducting evaluations. Evaluation procedures or materials must be free of racial, cultural, or sexual/gender bias and they must be used for the purpose for which they are valid and reliable. Tests must be appropriate for the student’s age and stage of developmental level. Tests should be administered in the native language of the student or conducted in the mode of communication most familiar to the student. If it appears to be clearly not feasible to conduct a procedure or test in the mode of communication most frequently used by the student, the IEP team will contact the special education administrator to develop an individualized strategy for valid evaluation of the student’s skills. The inclusion of parents in this collaboration is desirable and strongly encouraged.

Specific areas to be included in the evaluation are determined by the evaluation team and other qualified professionals, as appropriate, as part of a review of existing data concerning the student. The evaluation does not rely on one source or procedure as the sole criterion for determination and should include:

1.    Review of existing data, including corresponding response to intervention (RTI) documentation;

2.    Relevant functional and developmental information;

3.    Information from parents;

4.    Information from other providers;

5.    Information related to enabling access to and progress within the general education curriculum and assisting in determining whether there is a disability and the content of the IEP;

6.    Current classroom-based evaluations, using criterion-referenced and curriculum-based methods, anecdotal records, and observations;

7.    Teacher and related service providers’ observations; and

8.    Testing and other evaluation materials, which may include medical or other evaluations when necessary.

 All current evaluation data as well as data previously reviewed by the team must be considered. Professional members of the evaluation team need to be familiar with qualifying disability definitions and criteria in federal and state rules.
This review of existing data may be in the form of a meeting of IEP team members, or may be conducted without a meeting. It includes data provided by parents, data gathered in the general education classroom, or data from state and district level assessments. The data may provide information about the student’s physical condition, social or cultural background, and adaptive behavior.
When additional assessments are necessary, the group members have the responsibility of selecting, administering, interpreting, and making judgments about evaluation methods and results, and ensuring that the tests and assessments are administered by qualified personnel in accordance with the instructions of the test producer. 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. If the IEP Team determines that no additional data are 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. The district will complete the evaluation using existing data.
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 evaluation team 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 will be informed of their dispute resolution options described in the procedural safeguards.

  1. Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
      The district continues to use the severe discrepancy approach for identifying students with a SLD.
  1. Evaluation of Transfer Students
    If a student transfers into the school district while an evaluation process is pending from the other district, the school psychologist 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, school psychologist will notify the parent and obtain the parent’s agreement to establish a new timeline.
  2. Eligibility
    The evaluation group and the parent will determine whether or not the student is eligible for special education services.
    1. 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; and
    2. Eligibility may be determined by documented professional judgment when:
      1. Properly validated tests are unavailable; or
      2. Corroborating evidence indicates that results were influenced due to measuring a disability.

The parent 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 is responsible for sending the notice.
Students remain eligible for special education services until one of four events occur:

      1.    The student is determined through a reevaluation to no longer be eligible for special                          education;
      2.    The student has met the district’s high school graduation requirements;
      3.    The student has reached age 21. A special education student whose 21st birthday occurs               after August 31, will continue to be eligible for special education and any necessary                         related services for the remainder of the school year; or
      4.    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 and recommendations to assist the student with postsecondary goals.   

  1. Evaluation Report
    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 evaluation group 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 period and will, at a minimum:
    1. Identify the disability that requires special education and related services, if a disability exists;
    2. Discuss assessments and review data supporting conclusions regarding eligibility;
    3. Include the additional information required for the specific learning disability eligibility category;
    4. Describe how the disability or disabilities affect the student’s involvement and progress in the general curriculum;
    5. 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 180 school days, and location of services;
    6. Include other information, as determined through the evaluation process and parent input;
    7. Include the additional information required for the specific learning disability eligibility category;
    8. Provide any necessary professional judgments and the facts or reasons in support of the judgments; and
    9. Be signed and dated by the evaluation group members certifying their agreement. Any group member who disagrees with the conclusions of the report will prepare a separate statement representing their own conclusion.
    10. The evaluation team 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, using district approved forms and phone conference, or video or in-person meeting. 
  1. Reevaluations
    A reevaluation of a student receiving special education or related services is conducted if academic achievement and functional performance has improved to warrant a reevaluation, if the IEP team suspects that the student may no longer be a student with a disability or if the child’s parent or teacher requests a reevaluation. A reevaluation does not occur more than once per year, unless parent and school agree otherwise. A reevaluation must occur at least once every three years, unless parent and school staff agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary. An agreement that an evaluation is unnecessary will be confirmed in writing to the parent. Evaluation team will schedule a review of this determination and notify the special education department.

    Students who turn six who met 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 ten to determine eligibility within another category.
    ​As part of any reevaluation, the IEP team members and other professionals the district determines appropriate will review existing data that includes:
    1. Evaluations and information provided by the parents;
    2. Current classroom-based assessment, local or state assessments, and classroom based observations; and
    3. Observations by other teachers and related services providers data.

 Based on this review the team will determine whether any additional data is necessary to determine:

1.    Whether the student continues to be eligible for special education and any necessary related services;
2.    The present levels of performance and educational needs; and
3.    Whether any additions or modifications to the student’s program are needed.  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 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. 
4.    If additional testing is needed: 

a.    The evaluation team will request written parental consent for reevaluation and provide prior written notice identifying the areas of assessment;

b.    If the parents do not return the signed consent form, the district will send another letter explaining the need for reevaluation and parent consent and will enclose another consent form and a copy of the prior written notice. In addition, the district will document its reasonable attempts to obtain consent such as telephone calls, emails, personal contact, and other efforts to obtain consent;

c.    If the parents do not respond to the request for consent, and the district has documented its reasonable attempts to obtain consent, the district can proceed with the reevaluation; and

d.    If the parents refuse to consent to the reevaluation, the evaluation group will notify the special education department 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.

After the reevaluation is completed, the evaluation team will both invite parents to the eligibility meeting and will provide prior written notice after the meeting of the results of the reevaluation to parents in their primary language, indicating one or more of the following:

1.    Whether the student continues to be eligible and in need of special education;

2.    Present levels of performance and educational needs of the student; and

3.    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.

This notice will occur within ten school days of the eligibility decision. The special education department evaluation team is responsible for sending the notice.

  1. Reevaluation and Graduation
    No reevaluation is required when special education eligibility terminates due to graduation from high school with a regular diploma or due to reaching the end of the school year during which the student turned 21. Instead, the district will provide prior written notice to the student and the parent prior to the end of the school year and the IEP team will provide the student with a summary of academic achievement and functional performance including recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting post-secondary goals. The special education department is responsible for assuring that the IEP team completes the summary of academic achievement and functional performance. 

Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE)
Parents of students eligible for special education, students referred for special education and determined to not be eligible, or students determined not to need an evaluation have a right to obtain an IEE at public expense, each time the district has conducted or obtained an evaluation of the student.
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 special education department. The co-directors of special education will 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. If the district denies the request to pay for an IEE, it must file for a due process hearing within 15 calendar days of the parent’s request. 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.
When a parent requests an IEE, the district must provide parents a list of district criteria and evaluators. If the school district initiates a hearing and a decision is made that the district’s evaluation is appropriate, the parent still has the right to an IEE, but not at public expense. A parent is entitled to only one IEE at public expense each time the district has conducted an evaluation with which the parent disagrees.
If the parent obtains an IEE at either public or private expense, any results of the IEE must be considered by the district if providing FAPE. The IEE may also be presented as evidence at a hearing regarding the student.
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:

  1. Licensed, credentialed, or otherwise qualified within the state of Washington or state of residence/practice to perform an evaluation in the specific professional discipline for which an independent evaluation is sought;
  2. Knowledgeable and experienced in evaluating children with similar disabilities;
  3. Geographically located within the state of Washington; and
  4. 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:

  1. Make it impossible to identify anyone within the state of Washington who holds the appropriate credentials or experience necessary to conduct the evaluation; or
  2. Require a specialized evaluator whose fee exceeds the prevailing average by more than 25%; or
  3. Include factors which would warrant an exception in order to obtain an appropriate evaluation.

Individualized Education Programs (IEP)

  1. IEP Development

The term IEP means a written statement for each student eligible for special education that is developed, reviewed, and revised in a meeting in accordance with WAC 392-172A-03095 through WAC 392-172A-03100.  The IEP reflects the implementation of instructional programs and other services for students who are eligible for special education services, based on the evaluation of student needs. 

An IEP must be in effect before initiation of special education services. The IEP must be developed within 30 calendar days after the student’s initial determination of eligibility for special services. IEPs must be updated annually, or revised more frequently if needed to adjust the program and services.

Parent consent is required before the initial provision of special education services. If a parent refuses to consent to the provision of special education services, the district may not use mediation or due process to override a parent’s refusal. When a parent refuses to provide consent the special education department will notify the parent that the district does not have a FAPE obligation to the student. The notification will be documented in the student’s file.

The district will maintain a copy of the current IEP, which is accessible to all staff members responsible for providing education, other services, or implementation of the IEP. All staff members will be informed of their responsibilities for its implementation. This includes not only teachers and other service providers, but also bus drivers, playground and lunchroom supervisors, nursing staff, and others who may be responsible for the proper implementation. The building principal is responsible for ensuring that staff members are knowledgeable about their responsibilities.

IEPs will be implemented without undue delay following IEP meetings, regardless of the payment source for special education and or related services.
Parents are members of the IEP team and will have the opportunity to participate fully. The district will make sure that the parents understand the proceedings, including arranging for an interpreter for parents who are deaf or whose native language is other than English. The district will also ensure that meeting locations are accessible. The special education department is responsible for coordinating interpreters and making arrangements for the meeting location.
The district will provide parents/guardians with a copy of the district’s Restraint, Isolation and Other Uses of Reasonable Force (Policy 3246) with each initial and annual IEP.

  1. IEP Team
    ​The IEP team includes:
    1. The parent(s) of the student;
    2. Not less than one general education teacher (or preschool teacher) of the student if the student is, or will be, participating in the general education environment. The general education teacher will, to the extent appropriate, participate in development of the student’s IEP, including determinations of: 1) appropriate positive behavioral interventions and supports for the student; and 2) supplementary aids and services, program modifications, and support for school personnel consistent with WAC 392-172A-01185 and WAC 392-172A-03110(2)(b);
    3. Not less than one special education teacher, or if appropriate, not less than one special education provider of the student;
    4. A representative of the district, who is qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education and related services, is knowledgeable about general education curriculum, and is knowledgeable about the availability of district resources;
    5. An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of the evaluation results;
    6. Any other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise about the student. These individuals may be invited by both the district and the parents, at the discretion of the person making the invitation;
    7. The student, when appropriate, or when required;
    8. Students must be invited when the purpose of the meeting includes discussion of transition needs or services;
    9. If another agency is or may be responsible for payment or provision of transition services, an agency representative will be invited, with the parent’s consent. If the agency representative cannot attend the meeting, district personnel will keep the representative informed of the meeting and obtain agency information that will assist in the service provision; and
    10. Parents will be notified of the participation of the Part C service coordinator or other designated representatives of the Part C system as specified by the state lead educational agency for Part C at the initial IEP meeting for a child previously served under Part C of IDEA.

The parent and district must agree in writing before any of the above team members are excused from all or part of a meeting. If a team member’s area of the IEP is being discussed or modified, then the parent and district must consent to their excusal; and that specific team member must provide advance written input for their part of the IEP prior to the meeting. Excusal permission is documented on the district-approved form.

Existing team members may fill more than one of these roles if they meet the criteria for the role.
Sometimes parents do not attend IEP meetings. There will also be times the parents do not agree with the IEP as proposed, and despite attempts to reach agreement on IEP content, the team does not reach agreement. If a parent attends the IEP meeting and agreement is not reached on the IEP, the team will determine whether another IEP meeting should be scheduled as soon as mutually possible, or whether there is enough information to complete the IEP. When the decision is made that the IEP will be implemented the district must send prior written notice of the decisions reached to the parent, including the date the IEP will be implemented.
When the parents do not attend the IEP meeting, despite the district’s efforts to ensure participation, or if the team does not reach agreement, it is the district’s obligation to offer an appropriate educational program:

1.    Have IEP members present sign the IEP (or document participation if any member is unwilling to sign);

2.    Send a copy to the parent, and provide the parent prior written notice that the district intends to implement the IEP; and

3.   Forward the documentation of actual or attempted contacts to the special education department for processing when parents do not attend the meeting.

When making changes to an IEP after the annual IEP meeting for a school year, the parent and the district may agree not to convene an IEP meeting for the purpose of making changes. The parent and the district must complete a written document indicating the changes and inform IEP team members and appropriate individuals of the changes.  The IEP case manager is responsible for IEP amendments. If the parent requests that the district revise the IEP to include the amendments, the IEP case manager will revise the IEP.

  1. IEP Preparation and Content
    ​IEP teams will consider the recommendations in the initial or most recent evaluation to develop the IEP. In developing each IEP, the team must consider:
    1. The strengths of the student including the academic, developmental, and functional needs of the student and the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child;
    2. 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;
    3. The language needs of the student as those needs relate to the student’s IEP, for a student with limited English proficiency;
    4. Whether Braille instruction is appropriate for a student who is blind or visually impaired;
    5. The communication needs of the student (and in the case of a student who is deaf or hard of hearing, consider the student’s language and communication needs), opportunities for direct communications with peers and professional personnel in the student’s language and communication mode; academic level; and full range of needs, including opportunity for direct instruction in the student’s language and communication mode; and
    6. Whether assistive technology devices or services are needed.

IEP content must include:

1.    The student’s present levels of academic and functional performance with a description of how the disability(ies) affect the student’s involvement and progress in the general curriculum or preschool activities;

2.    Measurable academic and functional annual goals for the student (including benchmarks or short term objectives if the student is participating in alternate assessments) that will meet the student’s needs resulting from the disability(ies) to enable involvement and progress in the general curriculum or in preschool activities, and will meet the student’s other educational needs;

3.    A statement of special education services, any necessary related services, and supplementary aids and services based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable to be provided to the student and program modifications or supports for personnel so that the student may advance towards annual goals, progress in the general curriculum, and be educated and participate with other special education students and non-disabled students, and participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities;

4.    A statement of the extent, if any, that the student will not participate with non-disabled students in general classroom, extra-curricular, and non-academic activities;

5.    A statement of any individual appropriate accommodations in the administration of state or district-wide assessments of student achievement that are needed to measure academic achievement and functional performance of the child on state assessments. If the team determines that the student will not participate in a particular assessment, the IEP will address why the student cannot participate in the regular assessment(s),  why the particular alternative assessment is appropriate for the child, and document (a) that the parents were informed that their student’s academic achievement will be measured on alternate standards, and (b) how participation in an alternate assessment may delay or otherwise affect the student from completing the requirements for a regular high school diploma;

6.    The date for the beginning of services and the anticipated frequency, location, and duration of services and modifications;

7.    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 the data collected as designated on the IEP.  The individual responsible for implementing the goal is responsible for maintaining the data used to measure progress. Information to the parents can be provided at the same time the district issues progress reports or report cards, or other agreed times as identified in the IEP.

8.   The projected beginning date for the special education and related services;

9.    With an IEP that is in effect when the child turns 16, or sooner if the IEP team determines it is appropriate, a statement of needed transition services and any interagency responsibilities or needed linkages. The transition component must include appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based on age appropriate transition and assessments related to training, education, employment, and independent living skills where appropriate;  the transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals; and a description of how the postsecondary goals and transition services align with the high school and beyond plan (HSBP);

10. 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;

11. 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-01031;

12. 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).

13. A statement regarding transfer of rights at the age of majority. The IEP case manager will provide prior written notice to the student one year prior to student turning 18 years of age; and

14. Extended school year (ESY) services. The consideration for ESY services is a team decision, based on information provided in the evaluation report and based on the individual needs of a student. ESY services are not limited by categories of disability, or limited by type amount or duration of the services. If the need for ESY services is not addressed in the IEP and ESY services may be appropriate for the student, the IEP team will typically meet by June 1 each year to address the need for ESY. Factors for the team to consider when determining the need for ESY may include, but are not limited to: 1) Evidence of regression or recoupment time based on documented evidence; or 2) A documented determination based on the professional judgment of the IEP team including consideration of the nature and severity of the student’s disability, the rate of progress, and emerging skills.

Use of isolation, restraint and restraint devices:

  1. Definitions
    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:
      1. upon his or her own person, as evidenced by threats or attempts to commit suicide or inflict physical harm on oneself;
      2. 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;
      3. upon the property of others, as evidenced by behavior that has caused substantial loss or damage to the property of others; or
      4. 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 students.
  2. 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:
    1. throwing, kicking, burning, or cutting a child;
    2. striking a child with a closed fist;
    3. shaking a child under the age of three:
    4. interfering with a child’s breathing;
    5. threatening a child with a deadly weapon; or
    6. 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. 

  1. Conditions specific to use of isolation:
    1. The isolation must be discontinued as soon as the likelihood of serious harm has dissipated;
    2. The enclosure will be ventilated, lighted, and temperature controlled from inside or outside for purposes of human occupancy.
    3. The isolation enclosure will permit continuous visual monitoring of the student from outside the enclosure.
    4. An adult responsible for supervising the student will remain in visual or auditory range of the student at all times.
    5. 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.
    6. Any staff member or other adults using isolation must be trained and currently certified by a qualified provider in the use of trauma-informed crisis intervention (including de-escalation techniques), and also trained by the district in isolation requirements, unless trained personnel are not immediately available due to the unforeseeable nature of the emergency. 
  2. Conditions specific to use of restraint and restraint devices:
    1. The use of restraint or a restraint device must be discontinued as soon as the likelihood of serious harm has dissipated;
    2. The restraint or restraint device will not interfere with the student’s breathing;
    3. Any staff member or other adults using restraint or restraint devices must be trained and currently certified by a qualified provider in the use of trauma-informed crisis intervention (including de-escalation techniques), and such restraint or restraint devices, or otherwise available in the case of an emergency unless trained personnel are not immediately available due to the unforeseeable nature of the emergency. 
    4. 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.
  3. Prohibited practices involving restraint, use of force, and discipline: 
    The following practices are prohibited with students eligible for special education services:
    1. District personnel are prohibited from using aversive interventions;
    2. 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;
    3. No student may be stimulated by contact with electric current, including, but not limited to, tasers;
    4. A student may not be denied or subjected to an unreasonable delay in the provision of food or liquid as a form of punishment;
    5. 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);
    6. A student must not be denied or subjected to an unreasonable delay in the provision of common hygiene care;
    7. A student must not be denied or subjected to an unreasonable delay in the provision of medication;
    8. 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;
    9. A student must not be forced to listen to noise or sound that the student finds painful;

   10.   A student must not be forced to smell or be sprayed in the face with a noxious or potentially            harmful substance;

   11.   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;

   12.   A student’s head must not be partially or wholly submerged in water or any other liquid;  

   13.   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;

  14.   A student must not be subjected to the use of prone (lying face-down) and supine (lying                    face-up) restraint, wall restraint, or any restraint that interferes with the student's breathing.

  1. 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 for the district’s process for documentation and reporting and the person(s) responsible.



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, 01.23