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Commensurate School Day 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;

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34 code of federal regulations cfr 300 17 free appropriate public education
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.
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.
texas education code tec 25 082
Texas Education Code (TEC) §25.082

(a) A school day shall be at least seven hours each day, including intermissions and recesses.

19 texas administrative code tac 89 1075
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.

not a new concept
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.

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.
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.
Local education agencies must begin with the premise that RF students will receive the same instructional time as their nondisabled, non-RF peers.
general standard
General Standard
  • “The same
  • but never less without appropriate, individualizedjustification and documentation.”
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
Additionally, the ARD committee must revisit the issue of commensurate school day as the student’s medical and/or therapeutic issues change.
No “one-size-

fits-all” decision-making regarding RF students.

  • 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.
shortened school days are not justified based on
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
shortened school days are not justified based on continued
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


Future TETN RF Trainings

None scheduled for July

Will begin again in August.

Dates and topics to be determined soon.