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IDEA 2004 The Special Education Process. Purpose Introduction. Purpose. To review the entire special education process – from child find to implementation of special education – highlighting changes to IDEA 2004 To introduce new forms and formats for compliance with IDEA 2004.

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  • To review the entire special education process – from child find to implementation of special education – highlighting changes to IDEA 2004
  • To introduce new forms and formats for compliance with IDEA 2004
understanding this presentation
Understanding This Presentation


New content

BOLD New language

  • IDEA 2004 – PL 108-446
    • Signed by President Bush on December 3, 2004
    • Goes into effect on July 1, 2005
      • Provisions regarding highly qualified personnel went into effect upon signing of the law
    • Provides federal funding for provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE)
    • Outlines due process provisions to ensure FAPE

FAPE in the LRE:

  • Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
    • Special education and related services
    • Provided at public expense
    • To eligible students
    • In conformity with an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
  • Least restrictive environment (LRE)
    • Students eligible for special education will be educated to the maximum extent appropriate with students who are not disabled
child find

Child Find

Annual Notice

Child Find Activities

Equitable Participation

annual notice
Annual Notice
  • School districts and charter schools must provide annual notice to the public that includes:
    • A description of special education services and programs available
    • The purpose, time and location of screening activities provided
    • How to request a screening or evaluation
    • The procedural safeguards and confidentiality rights of parents
child find1
Child Find

School District/Charter School Responsibilities:

  • All students eligible for special education who need special education and related services must be:
    • Identified
    • Located
    • Evaluated
  • This includes:
    • Homeless children
    • Wards of the state
    • Private school students
  • A practical method to determine which children eligible for special education are receiving services must be developed and implemented
equitable participation
Equitable Participation



  • Intermediate Units (IUs) shall consult with private school representatives and representatives of parents of such children during the design and development of special education and related services for:
    • Child find process
    • Determination of proportionate amount of federal funds
    • How the consultation process will operate throughout the year
    • How, where, and by whom services will be provided
  • If the IU disagrees, the IU shall provide a written explanation of reasons to the private school



Early Intervening Services

screening school districts
Screening – School Districts
  • Each SD must establish and implement a comprehensive system of screening to accomplish the following:
    • Identify and provide initial screening prior to referral
    • Provide peer support for teachers and other school personnel to assist in working with students in the general education curriculum
    • Conduct hearing and vision screening
    • Identify students who may need to be referred for MDE
  • Process shall include:
    • Curriculum-based or performance based assessments
    • Observation
    • Intervention
    • Student response to intervention
    • Determination whether difficulties are due to lack of instruction or Limited English Proficiency
    • Determination whether student’s needs exceed functional ability of regular education program
    • Activities to gain parent involvement
screening charter schools
Screening – Charter Schools
  • Charter Schools must have systematic screening activities that lead to:
    • Identification
    • Location
    • Evaluation
  • These activities apply to children eligible for special education enrolled in the charter school
early intervening services
Early Intervening Services


  • Permits school districts to use up to 15% of the Part B grant for “early intervening” as follows:
    • To develop and implement coordinated early intervening services for students K through 12 who are not identified as disabled but need “additional academic and behavioral support to succeed in a general education environment”
    • Emphasis is on K through 3
early intervening activities
Early Intervening Activities


  • Local Education Agencies (LEAs) may carry out activities that include:
    • Professional development for teachers and other school staff to enable them to deliver scientifically based academic instruction and behavioral interventions, including scientifically based literacy instruction and, where appropriate, instruction in the use of adaptive and instructional software
    • Providing educational and behavioral evaluations, services and supports, including scientifically based literacy instruction
  • Early intervening services can not be used to delay the referral process for evaluation for special education
early intervening reporting
Early Intervening Reporting


  • LEAs that develop and maintain coordinated early intervening services shall annually report to the SEA
    • Number of students served
    • Number of students served who were later determined to be eligible for special education and related services
early intervening disproportionality
Early Intervening Disproportionality


  • When there is significant disproportionality of children eligible for special education or placed in particular educational settings, LEA is required to :
    • Reserve the maximum amount of funds to provide comprehensive coordinated services to serve children in the LEA, particularly those children in the overidentified groups
    • Publicly report on the revision of policies, practices and procedures to identify children eligible for special education


Referral Process

Permission to Evaluate

  • A request for an evaluation for referral to special education may be made by:
    • Parent(s) of a child
    • LEA
    • SEA
    • Other state agency
  • Parents have the right to:
    • Review screening records
    • Meet with school personnel to discuss the referral
    • Disagree with the referral
  • LEA gathers information to use on the Permission to Evaluate
permission to evaluate
Permission to Evaluate

Initial Evaluation--Consent

  • Consent for the initial evaluation must be obtained from the parent
  • Parental consent for the evaluation is not to be construed as consent for services

Initial Evaluation-- Absence of Consent

  • If the parent does not give consent for the evaluation or does not respond to a request for an initial evaluation, the LEA may pursue permission through due process procedures
permission to evaluate1
Permission to Evaluate


Consent for Wards of the State –

“Make reasonable efforts to obtain the informed consent from the parent of the child for an initial evaluation”


  • Ward of the state (as defined by state law):
    • Foster child
    • Ward of the State
    • Child in the custody of a public child welfare agency
    • Does not include a foster child whose foster parent meets the definition of “parent.”
permission to evaluate2
Permission to Evaluate


  • Timeline to complete evaluation –
    • School Districts: Within 60 school days from receiving permission
    • Charter Schools: Within 60 calendar days from receiving permission
  • Exceptions to timeline –
    • Child moves to new LEA after initiation of evaluation
      • Must make sufficient progress toward prompt completion
      • Parent and new LEA agree to a specific time for completion
    • Parent repeatedly fails or refuses to produce child for evaluation
permission to evaluate3
Permission to Evaluate


Clarification: Screening versus Evaluation

  • “Screenings by teacher or specialist to determine appropriate instructional strategies for curriculum implementation shall not be considered to be an evaluation for eligibility for special education and related services.”
  • Parental permission not required for screenings
permission to evaluate4
Permission to Evaluate


Clarification - Medication

  • SEA and LEA personnel are prohibited from requiring a child to obtain a prescription as a condition for attending school, receiving an evaluation or receiving services
permission to evaluate form
Permission to Evaluate Form


  • Let’s take a look at the new Permission to Evaluate form


Evaluation Team

Evaluation Process

Evaluation Report


Upon completion of the assessments:

  • A team of qualified professionals and parent(s) determines eligibility
    • Is child identified as a child with a disability?
      • Meets criteria of one of the disability categories
      • Needs specially designed instruction
  • What are the child’s educational needs
  • Evaluation report with determination of eligibility is given to parent(s)

In conducting the evaluation, the LEA shall:

  • Use a variety of assessment tools, including information from the parent
  • Not use a single measure as the sole criterion for determining eligibility
  • Use technically sound instruments

Assessments used are:

  • Not discriminatory or racially biased
  • Administered in “the language and form most likely to yield accurate academic, developmental and functional information; unless it is not feasible to provide or administer”
  • Valid, reliable, given by trained personnel
  • Able to assess child in all areas of suspected disability and to provide relevant information

If a child transfers during the academic year, schools coordinate to ensure prompt completion of full evaluation


A child is not a child with a disability if the presenting problem is caused by:

  • Lack of instruction in reading – including in the essential components of reading instruction
  • Lack of instruction in math
  • Limited English proficiency

New Criteria for Specific Learning Disabilities

  • The team is not required to take into consideration severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skill, reading comprehension, mathematical calculation, or mathematical reasoning
  • The team may use a process that determines if the child responds to scientific, research-based interventions as part of the evaluation

Additional Requirements for Evaluations and Reevaluations

The IEP team must:

  • Review existing data including local or state assessments and classroom-based observations for all students
  • Identify if additional data is needed to determine educational needs of child; determine present academic achievement, and related developmental needs. The team collects data to complete the evaluation.


  • Reevaluation will not occur more than once a year, unless parent and LEA agree otherwise
  • Reevaluation will occur at least every three years, unless the parent and the LEA agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary
  • Requirements of PARC Consent Decree still apply; students with mental retardation are to be reevaluated at least every two years

Reevaluation begins with a review of existing evaluation data by the IEP team

  • Evaluations and information from parents
  • Local, state assessments, classroom based observations
  • Observations by teachers and related service providers

Based on review of data, there are two possible outcomes:

1. IEP team will identify that additional data are needed to determine:

  • If the child is a child with a disability
  • Educational needs of child
  • Present levels of academic achievement and related developmental needs
  • Whether child needs special education and related services
  • Whether any additions or modifications are needed

At this point, issue a Permission to Reevaluate form and start the necessary assessments


Based on review of data, two possible outcomes (cont.):

  • IEP team determines that additional data are not needed, which means the LEA:
    • Shall notify the child’s parents
      • Reason for that determination
      • Parents’ right to request assessment
    • Shall not be required to conduct an assessment unless requested by parents
permission to reevaluate form
Permission to Reevaluate form
  • Let’s look at the new Permission to Reevaluate form



Reevaluation Before Change in Eligibility

  • In general, the LEA shall evaluate before determining the child is no longer a child with a disability

Exceptions – Evaluation not necessary before termination of eligibility due to

    • graduation with a regular secondary diploma
    • exceeding age eligibility for FAPE under state law


Summary of Performance –

Students who are no longer eligible due to graduation or exceeding age requirements shall be provided with:

  • A summary of academic achievement and functional performance
  • Recommendations to assist child in meeting postsecondary goals
summary of performance
Summary of Performance
  • Let’s look at the new Summary of Performance form


Initial Placements

In the Absence of Consent For Services – LEA cannot use due process procedures to place students in special education

If parent refuses the receipt of special education and related services or fails to respond

- LEA not in violation for not providing FAPE

- LEA not required to convene IEP meeting or develop IEP

evaluation report reevaluation report
Evaluation Report Reevaluation Report


  • Let’s take a look at the new

Evaluation Report


Reevaluation Report

individualized education program iep

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Invitation to Participate in the IEP Team Meeting or Other Meeting/Parent Options

IEP Team

IEP Process

IEP Format

invitation to participate in iep team meeting other meeting
Invitation to Participate in IEP Team Meeting/Other Meeting
  • Purpose of Meeting
  • Reasonable attempts to get parent participation (document attempts)
  • Accommodations offered
invitation to student
Invitation to Student
  • Student must be invited to the IEP meeting for transition planning
  • Documentation is


invitation to initial preschool iep meeting
Invitation to Initial Preschool IEP Meeting


In the case of a child who was previously served under Part C, an invitation to the initial IEP meeting shall, at the request of the parent, be sent to the Part C service coordinator or other representatives of the Part C system to assist with the smooth transition of services

iep team members
IEP Team Members
  • Parents
  • One regular education teacher, if child is or may be participating in the regular education environment
  • One special education teacher
  • LEA representative
  • Someone who can interpret the results (role may be filled by another IEP team member)
  • Others (e.g., community agencies)
  • Student, when appropriate
iep team attendance
IEP Team Attendance


  • If IEP team member’s area of expertise is not being discussed/modified, the team member need not attend if parent and LEA agree in writing
  • If an IEP team member's area of expertise is being discussed/modified, IEP team member may be excused if parent and LEA agree in writing and if member’s written input submitted to parents prior to the meeting
iep team meeting
IEP Team Meeting

IEP Team:

  • Reviews Evaluation Report (ER)
  • Develops the IEP, including transition planning when appropriate

For Reevaluation, IEP Team reviews effectiveness of current IEP

Progress monitoring necessary to determine effectiveness of instruction

iep development
IEP Development


  • Parents and LEA may agree not to convene an IEP meeting to make changes to IEP after the annual meeting
    • Instead may develop a written document to modify current IEP
    • Upon request parent receives revised copy of IEP
  • Parents and LEA may agree to use alternative means of meeting, such as videoconferences and conference calls
iep transfer students
IEP: Transfer Students


  • Transfer within state
    • LEA must implement current IEP until LEA adopts current IEP or develops new IEP (not new in PA)
  • Transfer from outside state
    • LEA must implement comparable services until LEA conducts evaluation, if necessary, and develops new IEP
  • To facilitate transition, sending and receiving schools take reasonable steps to send/obtain child’s records
iep format
IEP Format
  • Developed within 30 calendar days after Evaluation Report
  • Reviewed annually
  • Implemented as soon as possible or within 10 school days
timelines remember these
Timelines– Remember these?
  • Completion of evaluation?
    • Within ___________days of consent (districts)
    • Within ___________days of consent (charter schools)
  • From completion of evaluation to IEP meeting?
    • Within 30 _____________ days
  • Evaluation Report issued to parents?
    • At least ___ school days prior to IEP meeting (districts)
timelines remember these1
Timelines– Remember these?

4. From IEP meeting to implementation?

    • ____ ________ _______________ (charter schools)
    • Within _________________ days (districts)
  • IEP reviewed?
    • At least _____________
  • Completion of evaluation
    • Within 60 school days of consent (districts)
    • Within 60 calendar days of consent (charter schools)
  • Evaluation Report issued to parents
    • At least 10 school days prior to IEP meeting (districts)
  • From completion of evaluation to IEP meeting
    • Within 30 calendar days
  • From IEP meeting to implementation
    • ASAP (charter schools)
    • Within 10 school days (districts)
  • Review of IEP
    • At least annually
iep format short term objectives benchmarks
IEP Format: Short Term Objectives/Benchmarks


  • Short-term objectives only required for children eligible for special education who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate standards
    • PDE has developed draft alternate standards that are going through public comment period prior to being submitted to State Board for approval June 2005
  • Services provided are based on peer-reviewed research to extent practicable
iep format postsecondary transition
IEP Format: Postsecondary Transition
  • Transition planning may begin at any age for a student eligible for special education
  • Postsecondary transition planning (including courses of study) must begin with IEP in effect at age 16
    • Courses of study at age 14 no longer required
  • IEP must contain postsecondary goals related to training, education, employment and, where appropriate, independent living skills
multi year iep demonstration
Multi-Year IEP Demonstration


  • Purpose: provide opportunity for long-term planning
  • Comprehensive, not to exceed 3 years, designed to coincide with natural transition points
  • USDE Secretary may approve up to 15 states’ proposals
  • USDE Secretary must submit report in 2 years
iep format1
IEP Format


  • Demographics
  • Revision dates
  • Team signatures
  • Procedural Safeguards Notice documentation
iep format2
IEP Format
  • Special Considerations the IEP Team Must Consider Before Developing the IEP
    • Blind, behavior, LEP, communication needs, etc.
  • Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance
  • Participation in State and Local Assessments
iep format3
IEP Format

IV. Student’s Transition Services

  • Desired Post-School Outcomes
  • Postsecondary goals related to training, education, employment and, where appropriate, independent living skills
  • To be results-oriented, focused on improving academic and functional achievement of child

V. Goals and Objectives *

  • Report on progress of annual goals

*Short term objectives required only for those students who take the alternate assessment aligned to alternate standards

iep format4
IEP Format

VI. Special Education / Related services

  • Program modifications and SDI
  • Related services
  • Supports for School Personnel
  • Extended School Year

VII. Educational Placement

  • Type of service, type of support
iep format5
IEP Format

VIII. Penn Data - Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

  • Number of hours per week child receives special education services
  • Percentage of time the student is literally “outside” the regular education classroom for special education, including name of school building or location where services are provided
  • No correlation to type of service (i.e., itinerant, resource room, part-time, full-time)
notice of recommended educational placement norep

Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP)


When Provided

Parent Options

norep purpose
NOREP: Purpose

The NOREP summarizes recommendations or proposed changes to the educational program and/or assignment.

norep when provided
NOREP: When Provided

The NOREP must be issued to parents when the LEA proposes or refuses to initiate a change in the

  • Identification
  • Evaluation
  • Educational placement of the child
  • Provision of FAPE
norep change


NOREP Change

Request for a due process hearing triggers a Resolution Session

  • Convened within 15 days of receiving notice of the parents’ due process complaint
  • Provides an opportunity to resolve the complaint
  • May be waived if both parties agree in writing or if they agree to use mediation
norep parent options
NOREP: Parent Options
  • Parent approves
    • IEP implemented within 10 days
  • Parent does not approve, can request
    • Meeting with school personnel
    • Pre-hearing conference within

10 school days (Not Charter Schools)

    • Mediation
    • Due process hearing
  • Parent or LEA may waive right to pre-hearing conference or mediation and go right to hearing
norep parent options1
NOREP: Parent Options
  • Meeting to discuss recommendation
  • Pre-hearing Conference
norep parent options2
NOREP: Parent Options

Mediation services:

  • Mediation is available throughout the Commonwealth at Commonwealth expense and can occur at any time
  • When a due process complaint is resolved through mediation, the parties must execute a legally binding written agreement describing the resolution
  • The agreement also states that all discussions are confidential and may not be used as evidence in hearing or civil proceeding.
norep parent options due process hearing
NOREP: Parent Options Due Process Hearing
  • conducted locally
  • presided over by a hearing officer
  • Held if LEA did not resolve the due process complaint in the resolution session to the satisfaction of parents within 30 days of the receipt of the complaint.
norep parent options due process hearing timelines
NOREP: Parent Options Due Process Hearing Timelines
  • Resolution Session-scheduled within 15 days of request for a due process hearing.
  • 30 days to resolve complaint to parents’ satisfaction from the request
  • If complaint is not resolved at any time during those 30 days, due process hearing timelines kick in:
    • Hearing held within 30 days
    • Decision within 45 days
norep parent options due process hearing cont d
NOREP: Parent Options – Due Process Hearing (cont’d)
  • At least 5 business days before the hearing, each party must disclose all evaluations and recommendations to be used
  • Failure to disclose information may result in barring the information
norep parent options due process hearing appeal
NOREP: Parent Options Due Process Hearing Appeal
  • The decision of the hearing officer may be appealed in PA to a panel of 3 appellate hearing officers
  • The appellate decision must be made within 30 calendar days after a request for review
  • Give two specific examples of when you would issue a NOREP:
    • __________________________________
    • ___________________________________
  • Give one example of when you do NOT need to issue a NOREP:
    • __________________________________
procedural safeguards notice psn

Procedural Safeguards Notice (PSN)


When Provided


procedural safeguards notice psn purpose
Procedural Safeguards Notice (PSN) :Purpose

The Procedural Safeguards Notice outlines rights and safeguards to be followed according to state and federal regulations in providing a free appropriate public education.

procedural safeguards notice when provided
Procedural Safeguards Notice: When Provided
  • LEA is obligated to give copy of procedural safeguards 1 time per year, except also given upon:
    • Notice of disciplinary change of placement
    • Initial referral or parent request for evaluation
    • Parent request
    • First occurrence of filing for a due process complaint
procedural safeguards notice changes
Procedural Safeguards Notice:Changes
  • Thirteen sections
  • Many sections are bulleted rather than in paragraph form for easier understanding
  • More user-friendly, certain areas clarified such as:
    • Child’s status during administrative proceedings
    • Rights regarding discipline and suspension section (more explanation)
    • Consumer complaint alleging an LEA failure to implement a due process decision is resolved by BSE, not hearing officer
procedural safeguards notice changes cont
Procedural Safeguards Notice:Changes (cont.)
  • All IDEA ’04 changes incorporated including:
    • PSN only once a year with exceptions
    • Due process hearing request challenge information
    • 2 year statute of limitations on due process hearings
    • Resolution Session explained
    • Serious bodily injury defined
    • Interim alternative education setting changed to 45 school days.
    • Need for surrogate parent for homeless youth without a parent or guardian.
  • Dispute Resolution Request Form is the actual electronic form that can be mailed or faxed.


Effective Instruction

Progress Monitoring

effective instruction and progress monitoring
Effective Instruction and Progress Monitoring

Utilize “Principles of Effective Instruction” including:

  • Active engagement
  • Careful scaffolding of instruction
  • Strategic instruction
  • Explicit instruction
  • Teaching sameness within and across subjects

Monitor Progress:

  • Frequently
  • To adjust instruction or materials when progress is not adequate
  • When appropriate, adjust IEP goals


Change of Placement

Disciplinary Removals

Serious Bodily Injury

Manifestation Determination

Authority of Hearing Officer

disciplinary change of placement
Disciplinary Change of Placement

Defined as removals of

  • More than 10 school days for violation of a code of student conduct
  • Up to 45schooldays for offenses involving (including students with mental retardation)
    • Weapons
    • Drugs
    • Serious bodily injury

PA Change of Placement (under Chapter 14)

  • More than 10 consecutive school days
  • More than 15 cumulative schools days
  • Any removal for a student with MR

Additional Authority of School Personnel: Serious Bodily Injury


  • Unilateral removal to interim alternative educational setting

for drugs, weapons, serious bodily injury violations, whether or not a manifestation of child’s disability, can be for up to 45 school days

  • Serious Bodily Injury involves
    • a substantial risk of death
    • extreme physical pain
    • protracted and obvious disfigurement
    • protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty (18 U.S.C. §1365(h)(3))
disciplinary change of placement removal procedures
Disciplinary Change of Placement: Removal Procedures

LEA is required to implement specific procedures for removals of

    • More than 10 school days (when behavior is not a manifestation of the disability) or
    • Up to 45 school days for drugs/weapons/serious bodily injury (whether behavior is or is not a manifestation of the disability)
  • Parent notification with PSN
    • On date of decision to take disciplinary action
  • Provision of FAPE
    • Can be in interim alternative educational setting (IAES)
  • Functional Behavioral Assessment/Behavior Intervention Plan (FBA/BIP)
    • Designed to address the behavior violation so it does not recur
  • Manifestation determination
manifestation determination
Manifestation Determination
  • Conducted by LEA, parent, and relevant members of the IEP team as determined by parent and LEA
  • Purpose: To determine if conduct was a manifestation of child's disability (different focus)
  • IDEA ‘04 situations to consider in determining relationship of the conduct to the disability
    • The conduct in question was caused by or had a direct and substantial relationship to the disability
    • The conduct in question was the direct result of the LEA’s failure to implement the IEP
  • If either situation above is applicable, conduct is determined to be a manifestation of the disability
manifestation determination1
Manifestation Determination

If conduct is a manifestation of the child’s disability, the IEP team must

  • Conduct FBA and implement a BIP if no prior FBA
  • Review prior BIP and modify as necessary
  • Return child to previous placement unless
    • Parent and LEA agree to change of placement as part of the modification of the BIP
    • Situation involved weapons, drugs, serious bodily injury
authority of hearing officer
Authority of Hearing Officer
  • Hearing allowed when
    • Parent disagrees with placement decision or manifestation determination OR
    • LEA believes substantial likelihood of injury in current placement
  • Hearing officer
    • Hears and makes determination on parent or LEA appeal
    • May order a change in placement that may include:
      • Returning student to previous placement
      • Ordering change to appropriate interim alternative educational setting for no more than 45 school days if determined that maintaining current placement likely to result in injury to child/others
placement during appeals for due process
Placement During Appeals for Due Process


  • Appeals hearing is expedited and must
    • Occur within 20 school days of the date the hearing is requested
    • Result in a determination within 10 school days after the hearing
  • Placement continues in interim alternative educational setting pending hearing officer decision or until expiration of time period of removal (no more than 45 school days)
not yet eligible
Not Yet Eligible

An LEA is considered to HAVE KNOWLEDGE that a child is a child eligible for special education if:

  • The parent has expressed concern in writingto supervisory or administrative personnel that the child is in need of special education
  • The parent has requested an evaluation
  • The teacher or other school personnel has expressed specific concerns about a pattern of behavior to the special education director or other supervisory personnel
not yet eligible1
Not Yet Eligible
  • If the LEA has knowledge, the child not yet determined to be eligible for special education may assert the same protections as an eligible student
    • If evaluation is requested, must be expedited
  • If an LEA has NO knowledge that a child is a child eligible for special education, an LEA may follow the same disciplinary measures as for children without disabilities who engage in similar behaviors
discipline let s review
Discipline--Let’s Review
  • The new standard for conducting a manifestation determination requires a decision about if the conduct was caused by or had a __________ and ___________ relationship to the disability OR was a direct result of the LEA’s ____________ to implement the IEP.
  • An FBA must be conducted when the conduct is determined to be a __________ of the child’s disability.
  • A student may be placed in an interim alternative educational setting for not more than ___ ____________ days for violations that involve drugs, weapons or _________ __________ __________.
statute of limitations for due process complaints
Statute of Limitations for Due Process Complaints


  • Two years after the date the parent or public agency knew or should have known of the alleged action
  • Requirement does not apply if:
    • LEA misrepresented that problem was resolved
    • LEA withheld information from parent
award of attorneys fees
Award of Attorneys’ Fees


The court may award reasonable attorneys’ fees

  • Against the attorney of a parent who
    • Files a complaint that is frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation
    • Continued to litigate after the litigation clearly became frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation
  • Against the attorney of a parent or against the parent if parent’s complaint was presented to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase cost of litigation
additional provisions
Additional Provisions


Electronic Mail

  • Parent of a child with a disability may elect to receive required notices by an electronic mail communication, if the LEA makes this option available

Separate Complaint

  • Nothing stops a parent from filing a separate due process complaint on a different issue

even if he/she has already filed a complaint.

highly qualified personnel
Highly Qualified Personnel
  • The SEA must establish and maintain qualifications to ensure that personnel are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained, including that personnel have the content knowledge and skills to serve children with disabilities
highly qualified


Highly Qualified
  • The SEA must have qualifications for related services personnel and paraprofessionals that:
    • Are consistent with state-approved or state-recognized certification, licensing, registration or other comparable requirements that apply to the professional discipline
    • Ensure that such personnel who deliver services in their discipline or profession meet the above requirements and have not had certification or licensure waived
highly qualified1
Highly Qualified


  • Each person employed as a special education teacher in the state who teaches elementary, middle, or secondary school must be highly qualified by the deadline established by ESEA (June 30, 2006)
  • State shall adopt a policy to take measurable steps to recruit, hire, train, and retain highly qualified personnel
  • There is no right of action on behalf of an individual student for the failure of the SEA or LEA staff person to be highly qualified, but a complaint can be filed with the SEA (parents cannot sue)
surrogate parents
Surrogate Parents
  • For a child who is a ward of the state, judge overseeing child’s care may appoint an employee of SEA, LEA or other agency not involved in the education or care of the child
  • “Parent”- Expanded definition
    • A natural, adoptive or foster parent (unless foster parent prohibited by State as serving as parent)
    • Guardian (but not the State if child is a ward of the state)
    • An individual acting in the place of a natural or adoptive parent with whom the child lives, or an individual who is legally responsible for the child’s welfare (includes grandparent, stepparent or other relative)
    • An individual assigned to be a surrogate parent
surrogate parents1
Surrogate Parents


  • LEA must appoint a surrogate for unaccompanied homeless youth
    • “Homeless children and youths” – individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence
  • LEA must appoint surrogate within 30 days after determination of need
new funding formula
New Funding Formula


  • Establishes 6 year path to reach 40% goal, however…
  • The USDE estimate 2005-06 Federal grant only provides a 2-3% increase for PA Local Education Agencies (LEAs)
  • States may use up to 10% of state-level activities funds to establish “risk pools” to reimburse school districts for “high-need; low-incidence, catastrophic or extraordinary aid” (PA has a state “Contingency Fund”)
state performance plans
State Performance Plans


  • Each state shall:
    • Have a performance plan for evaluating efforts to implement IDEA and how to improve implementation
      • By 12/3/05
      • Reviewed every 6 years
    • Establish measurable and rigorous targets for the indicators established under priority areas
    • Collect valid and reliable information as needed to report to the USDE Secretary annually on the priority areas
  • Each state must have quantifiable indicators that are used to monitor the priority areas:
    • Provision of FAPE
    • Child find, effective monitoring, due process resolutionsessions, mediation, and a system of transition services
    • Disproportionate representation of racial and ethnic groups
  • Activities of states need to focus on improving educational results and functional outcomes for all children with disabilities
  • Federal government monitors states based upon state performance plans
  • SEA monitors LEAs based upon the state performance plan
state performance report
State Performance Report


  • The USDE Secretary shall annually review the state performance report
  • The USDE Secretary shall determine if the state:
    • Meets the requirements and purposes
    • Needs assistance in implementing the requirements of this part
    • Needs intervention in implementing the requirements
    • Needs substantial intervention in implementing the requirements
  • IDEA 2004 prohibits federal mandate, direction, or control of:
    • Instructional content
    • Academic achievement standards and assessments
    • Curriculum
    • Program of instruction


model forms
Model Forms
  • Model forms from Federal government are expected by the date of final regulations:
    • Model IEP
    • Model IFSP
    • Model procedural safeguards notice
    • Model prior written notice


implementation idea 2004
Implementation - IDEA 2004
  • December 3, 2004 – Definition of “highly qualified teacher” for purposes of special education becomes effective
  • Spring 2005- Anticipate proposal re: PA Bridge Certificate
  • June 2005 - Due process updates
    • Review of pre-hearing requirements
    • Review and revise Hearing Officer Handbook
    • Discussions with parents and parent advocacy groups
  • July 1, 2005 –
    • All changes presented are to be implemented except for new evaluation timeline allowing 60 school days (for school districts)
    • Existing obligations under PARC to students with mental retardation remain
implementation idea 20041
Implementation - IDEA 2004
  • May 2005 – Anticipate proposed federal regulations
  • July 1, 2005 – PDE to have issued new forms and formats
  • December 2005 – Anticipate final federal regulations
  • December 2005 – OSEP to have developed model forms by adoption of final regulations
  • January 2006 – Anticipate RFP for paperwork reduction and IEP pilot
  • June 2006 - Chapters 14 and 711 revisions

Child Find




Permission to Evaluate/Reevaluate

Evaluation Report

Reevaluation Report

Summary of Student



IEP Format

NOREP/Procedural Safeguards Notice



Additional Changes

Timelines for IDEA 2004 Implementation


The Special Education Process

  • P.L. 108-446 and “One Pagers” posted at
    • Go to Regulations and Forms
    • Then to IDEA 2004
  • This presentation and other related materials available on PaTTAN website at

  • Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report available for a fee at http://www.pennyhill.comOrder No.: RL32716