Students with Disabilities . Robert Compton, Ph.D. Director of Federal Programs and School Safety. Special Education . IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act For students with IEPs (individualized education plan) Federally mandated Things you need to know:
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Students with Disabilities Robert Compton, Ph.D. Director of Federal Programs and School Safety
Special Education • IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act • For students with IEPs (individualized education plan) • Federally mandated • Things you need to know: • Provide accommodations/modifications • Progress monitoring annual goals • Implement positive behavioral interventions and supports • Attend IEP meetings (see next slide)
The Regular Educator at the IEP Meeting • IDEA requires that at least one regular education teacher of the child be represented on the team “if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment.” • The regular education teacher knows the curriculum for a child’s grade level and what children in regular education classes are typically expected to do. If the child is going to be educated in the regular education environment for any part of the school day, then the child’s regular education teacher may talk at the IEP meeting about what the child will be taught and expected to learn. This information can contribute directly to making decisions about what types of supplementary aids and services the child may need to be successful in that setting. These supports and services might include: • adapting the curriculum, • providing reading materials written at a lower reading level, • using graphics along with written materials, or • providing the child with a child assistant. • The regular education teacher may also tell the rest of the team what he or she needs to help the child understand the general curriculum and achieve the goals listed in the IEP.
Accommodations vs Modifications • Accommodations are basically physical or environmental changes, generally referred to as good teaching strategies • In other words, leveling the playing field • i.e. preferred seating • Extra time • Oral administration • A modification is a change in the course, standard, test preparation, location, timing, scheduling, expectations, student response and/or other attribute which provide access for a student with a disability to participate in a course, standard or test, which does fundamentally alter or lower the standard or expectation of the course, standard or test. • i.e. • Testing only on core concepts (Columbus sailed across an vs Columbus sailed with 3 boats. What were the names of the boats?) • Using specialized curriculum that simplifies vocabulary
Document, Document, Document . . . You must find a way to document the provision of accommodations. If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen.
IDEA and Child Find As you teacher you are required by IDEA to “refer a child for special education” if you have any reason to believe that the child has a disability and is in need of specialized instruction.” Referrals go to your school’s special education coordinator Parents have a right to refer too. If they ever mention that their child “needs an IEP” or “needs an evaluation” or “has ADD” or “is visually impaired” you MUST send this information over to your school’s special education coordinator. Put this in writing to protect yourself.
What is Section 504? • The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly referred to as “Section 504,” is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination against persons on the basis of their disability by institutions that receive federal assistance. • Section 504’s purpose is, among other things, to assure that students with disabilities have educational opportunities and benefits equal to those provided to non-disabled students. • If a student is covered by Section 504, South Carolina Public Charter School District Schools must provide protection and accommodations as are necessary to ensure that the eligible student has equal access to services, programs or activities offered by our schools.
Section 504 is NOTSpecial Education IDEA • Student must have a disability that falls into a defined qualifying area and adversely affect educational performance • Must need specially designed instruction • Requires a comprehensive evaluations, including screenings, psycho-educational evaluations and intervention data • Criteria of exclusion/narrow eligibility • Works well with RTI • Defined IEP team members • Parent consent required • Strict and specific timelines Section 504 • Student must have* physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a life function. • Prevents discrimination, insures equal access with accommodations and services • Requires relevant information from a variety of sources • Broadened eligibility • Does not work well with RTI • Decision by group of “knowledgeable persons”. • Parent consent recommended • “Reasonable” timelines
Section 504 • Here is what you need to know: • Students can be eligible for Section 504 but not need an accommodation plan • Students can be eligible for Section 504 and need an accommodation plan • You would be responsible for providing the accommodations
Confidentiality/FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) Confidentiality
A Legal Protection of Privacy A child’s educational records often contain private personal information about the child and the family
Confidentiality of Records Educational records contain a plethora of personally identifiable and confidential information.
FERPA (Confidentiality) • Family Education Rights and Privacy Act • Key Legal Terms • “Need to Know” • those with “legitimate educational interest” This is considered to be those who act in the student’s educational interest, including faculty, administrators, clerical and professional employees, and other persons who manage student record information. • “Personally Identifiable Information” • anything that identifies a specific child. • Example: If there is only one blond boy in the school and you say, “that blond kid in my class did this,” you have violated the FERPA. • “Educational Record” • Must be connected in some way to personally identifiable information and must be shared with another school district employee or placed in an filing system owned by the district. Beware, even sometimes, personal notes may be subpoenaed.
Viewing Student Records • Must have a need to know in order to view student records • The superintendent cannot look at student files unless he or she has a need to know, even though they are the highest ranking official of the district. • When in doubt, don’t! • It’s okay to ask for help and support.
Sharing Student Records • Use the “need to know” standard • Some people do not need permission • Examples of people who do not need permission: • School Districts in which a student is seeking to enroll. • Biological parents • Adoptive parents • Legal guardian • Individual acting as a parent in the absence of a natural parent or guardian • DSS, when reporting abuse or neglect. • Some people need written permission • Examples of people who do need permission: • Outside private agencies • Family members not meeting the definition of a parent. • Physicians • When in doubt, don’t!
FERPA Examples • Casual conversation in the teacher’s lounge, hall, etc. • Sharing with your friends or family members • Sharing with the student’s friends or non-guardian family members • Can’t talk to grandma, aunt, etc. unless they are acting as the custodial parent or guardian
If you wouldn’t tell the parent to his/her face, DO NOT put it in an email.