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Commensurate School Day

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  1. Commensurate School Day

  2. 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §300.17 Free Appropriate Public Education FAPE means special education and related services that— • Are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge; • Meet the standards of the SEA, including the requirements of this part; • Include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the State involved; and • Are provided in conformity with an IEP that meets the requirements of §§300.320-300.324.

  3. Commensurate school day is directly linked to the goals of enabling students with disabilities to have access to and make progress in the general curriculum.

  4. Texas Education Code (TEC) §25.082 (a) A school day shall be at least seven hours each day, including intermissions and recesses.

  5. 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §89.1075 (d) Students with disabilities shall have available an instructional day commensurate with that of students without disabilities. The ARD committee shall determine the appropriate instructional setting and length of day for each student, and these shall be specified in the student’s IEP.

  6. Not a new concept-- Letter to Laffrenzen (OSEP 1988) – “[W]e conclude that, generally, students with handicaps must have the same length of school day that the SEA has established for children without handicaps.” however, this standard has significant implications for RF students in the context of equal access to educational programs and services.

  7. Loss of instructional time denies student equal access

  8. LEAs are required to implement the commensurate school day standard every day to ensure that RF students have at least the same instructional school day as their nondisabled, non-RF peers.

  9. Under certain circumstances, students with disabilities might require even more instructional time than that allotted for the traditional school day or year. These decisions must also be based on individualized justifications.

  10. Local education agencies must begin with the premise that RF students will receive the same instructional time as their nondisabled, non-RF peers.

  11. General Standard • “The same • but never less without appropriate, individualizedjustification and documentation.”

  12. What determines a commensurate school day?

  13. Must look at what constitutes the instructional day for students without disabilities of the same enrolled grade level and/or the same chronological age • Not merely the same number of minutes

  14. What opportunities does the student without disabilities have during the day that the RF student will miss if not there the same amount of time, the same hours, etc?

  15. The length of a student’s school day must be determined by the ARD committee solely based on the educational needs of the individual student.

  16. Only in unique circumstances do LEAs develop IEPs that require less than a commensurate school day. • Less than a commensurate school day would be the exception---not the rule.

  17. Any deviation from the length of the traditional school day must be accompanied by individualized, appropriate justification and documentation. • The less closely aligned an IEP is with standard instructional services for nondisabled students, the more individualized justification and documentation is needed.

  18. Any decision to shorten a school day must be evidence-based and individualized. • Specific, detailed information describing circumstances that preclude the student’s participation in a complete school day

  19. Additionally, the ARD committee must revisit the issue of commensurate school day as the student’s medical and/or therapeutic issues change.

  20. No “one-size- fits-all” decision-making regarding RF students.

  21. IMPORTANT!!! • When developing an agreement with an RF, the LEA needs to work with the RF to address and eliminate, to the extent possible, any situations/circumstances that would impact the LEA’s ability to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to RF students.

  22. Shortened school days are not justified based on… • The student’s placement in an RF (i.e., no blanket justification used for RF all students) • The RF’s schedule and services • Transportation schedules

  23. Shortened school days are not justified based on (continued)… • Administrative or staffing needs at the RF or the LEA • Behavior management practices at the RF • Any LEA policies or procedures in place that apply only to RF students

  24. Questions Fax—512-463-9560

  25. Future TETN RF Trainings None scheduled for July Will begin again in August. Dates and topics to be determined soon.