​​​ Special Education Services > FAQs ​-

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The primary federal law that applies to public education of students with disabilities is the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The IDEA requires the creation of special education programs to eligible students and the provision of free appropriate public education (FAPE) to them through the development of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Another significant federal law that you need to keep in mind is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). This law prevents discrimination solely on the basis of disability and requires school administrators to ensure that students identified as disabled (both under IDEA or Section 504 only) are provided an equal opportunity to participate in all school and school-sponsored programs and activities.

Also relevant is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects the confidentiality of personally identifiable information contained in student education records.

Administrators10/6/2014 9:01 AMWhat federal laws do I need to be aware of that apply to students with disabilities in school?

Mediation is an impartial and voluntary process that brings together parties that have a dispute concerning any matter arising under 34 CFR part 300 (the Part B of the IDEA (Part B) regulations) to have confidential discussions with a qualified and impartial individual. The goal of mediation is for the parties to resolve the dispute and execute a legally binding written agreement reflecting that resolution. Mediation may not be used to deny or delay a parent’s right to a hearing on the parent’s due process complaint, or to deny any other rights afforded under Part B. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(1) and (8).

Dispute Resolutions10/10/2014 10:34 AMWhat is mediation?

Yes. Students must take the assessment that corresponds to the standards being taught. If the

student is being taught extended standards, they take the AAA. Students taught general education

standards take the general education assessments for their grade of enrollment.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:26 AMDoes a student working on extended standards have to take the Alabama Alternate

Intervention strategies are required for students referred for a suspected language disability but may be waived for students suspected of having articulation, voice, or fluency problems.

Intervention Strategies11/3/2014 2:39 PMDo intervention strategies in the regular education classroom apply to students referred for speech or language impairments?

 

Yes. Carry-over monies would be counted and explained in the budget details explanation (pages 3 and 5 only), but not in the proportionate share calculation.

Proportionate Share11/4/2014 9:37 AMDo we count carry-over money?

Act 106 and the Alabama Administrative Code (AAC) set out Alabama’s requirements for educating students identified as gifted.  

Gifted11/5/2014 7:19 AMWhat laws do I need to be aware of that apply to gifted students?

​There are two models of program services for gifted students in   Alabama. Both models must follow the Alabama Administrative Code (AAC). However, the identification of students is what defines the program.  

  • Gifted Program identifies students using the Alabama State Departmnet of Education (SDE) Gifted Eligbility Determination Form and requires a gifted certified specialist to facilitate services.
  • Enrichment Program identifies gifted students plus an additional talent pool using a state-approved, multiple criteria eligiblity matrix and requires a gifted certified specialist to facilitate services.

An Enrichment Program should not be confused with the term enrichment, which is any supplemental activity that is above and beyond the core curriculum standards offered in any classroom and may be administered or faciliated by any certified teacher or mentor.

Gifted11/5/2014 11:20 AMWhat is the difference between enrichment and gifted?

The timeline starts when the public agency receives a signed consent for initial evaluation from the parent.

Referral11/5/2014 10:03 AMIf a public agency receives a referral without intervention strategies in the regular education classroom does the timeline start?

Not necessarily. If there are checks on the ECEC section of the Referral for Evaluation, the IEP Team should carefully consider whether these factors, rather than a learning deficit, inhibit the learning process. If the IEP Team determines that it does, then the checked areas may be a disqualifying factor for special education services.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMIf there is one check on the Referral for Evaluation, Environmental Cultural, and/or Economic Concerns Checklist (ECEC) section, does that disqualify the student for special education services?

Yes. SES recommends an IEP Team meeting even if the public agency is considering asking the parent to agree that a three-year reevaluation is not necessary.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:25 PMMust an IEP Team meeting be held for every student who is due for a reevaluation?

LEAs are required to develop and implement procedures to ensure that all children within

their jurisdiction birth through 21 regardless of the severity of their disability, and who

need special education and related services are located, identified, and evaluated.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:49 AMWhat is a Local Education Agency’s (LEA) "Child Find" responsibility for students’ birth to three?

There are two choices in team selection for making eligibility decisions. If the choice is the Eligibility Committee, it must be comprised of a group of qualified professionals including the parent. This will necessitate an additional meeting by the IEP Team to develop the IEP for an eligible student. If the IEP Team is used to determine eligibility and the student is determined eligible, that team may also develop the IEP at the same meeting if the Notice of Proposed Meeting/Consent for Agency Participation informed the parent this might take place by checking it as a purpose of the meeting or if the parent is in attendance and in agreement to move forward. All purposes of the meeting must be documented.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:00 AMWho makes the eligibility decision?

Intervention strategies for the child should be comprehensively reviewed by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team to evaluate the following: techniques used to implement, adapt, and monitor multiple interventions; specific behavior(s) and skill(s) targeted for intervention; measures of the effectiveness of the interventions, and the child’s response to the interventions.  The IEP Team should review all available data, such as observations, interviews, learning history, grades, work samples, and state assessment data.  Available data should be used to identify what additional data, if any, are needed to evaluate the child.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:17 AMAfter intervention strategies have been implemented in the regular education class, how can that information best be linked to the reason for referral and selection of the most appropriate assessment measures?
OSEP4/1/2016 8:34 AMLink to Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Q and A documents
Private School11/1/2016 2:23 PMHow can I view a printable version of the Private School FAQ?
IEP12/16/2016 8:02 AMTo view the printable version of the Standards Based IEP FAQ click here:

Yes. Act 106 and the Alabama Administrative Code (AAC) set out Alabama’s requirements for educating students with disabilities and reflect Alabama’s

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requirements for ensuring that the requirements of the IDEA are met. Generally, the AAC contains the same requirements as the IDEA for ensuring the provision of FAPE.

Administrators10/6/2014 9:02 AMAre there Alabama laws that apply too?

States have successfully used mediation as an informal mechanism to resolve disputes between parents and public agencies, even though they were not required to offer mediation prior to 1997. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act,2 originally enacted into law in 1975, contained no requirement for States to offer mediation. In a comment to the initial regulations implementing Part B of the Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA) published in 1977, the former Department of Health, Education, and Welfare acknowledged that many States pointed to the success of using mediation as an intervening step prior to conducting a formal due process hearing. The comment indicated that States may wish to suggest that mediation be used to resolve disputes with parents, provided that it was not mandatory and did not operate to deny or delay a parent’s right to a due process hearing. 45 CFR §121a.506 and Comment (1977).3 Based on States’ success in using mediation for more than two decades, Congress included a specific provision in the IDEA Amendments of 1997, Public Law (Pub. L.) 105-17. Under section 615(e) of the IDEA, as amended in 1997, States were required to establish mediation procedures to resolve disputes between parents and public agencies, at a minimum, whenever a due process hearing was requested. In

the 2004 Amendments to the IDEA, Congress broadened this provision to require States to have procedures to offer mediation to resolve disputes concerning any matter arising under Part B of the IDEA, including matters arising prior to the filing of a due process complaint.

Dispute Resolutions10/10/2014 10:35 AMCan OSEP provide a historical context for the mediation provisions in the IDEA statute and regulations?

For Kindergarten through twelfth grade, IEP goals are required in the content areas of reading,

math, science, social studies, and language arts.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:27 AMWhat academic IEP goals are required for students working on extended standards?

Identified areas of academic need;

In addition to academic goals, any other areas of need (e.g., behavior, communication, study skills, time management, social skills, affective skills, motivation); and Transition goals for students age 16, or younger if appropriate.

IEP12/16/2016 7:53 AMWhat academic goals are required for students with disabilities?

Please remember in order to qualify for special education a student must need specially designed instruction.

Specially designed instruction means adapting, as appropriate, to the needs of an eligible child under these rules, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction:

(i) To address the unique needs of the child that result from the child's disability; and

(ii) To ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that the child can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children.

Most students with disabilities will require instruction in prerequisite academics and therefore need standards-based academic goals. Obviously students identified with emotional disability, orthopedic impairment or other health impairment, who are dually diagnosed with Specific Learning Disability, Intellectual Disability, etc., would need standards-based academic goals.

In some rare cases there may be students whose disability adversely affects their educational performance, not due to their academic achievement level, but rather due to emotional/behavioral, orthopedic, or medical issues that interfere with progress in the general education curriculum. Academic goals based on course of study standards may not be necessary for students who test on grade level. Instead goals might be focused on behavior, motivation, completing assignments, social interactions, communication, etc.

IEP11/3/2014 2:28 PMWhat academic goals are required for students who are struggling in school, but who are not below grade level academically (e.g., students identified with emotional disability, orthopedic impairment or other health impairment)?

Progress monitoring does not include initial articulation, voice, or fluency referrals but does include language referrals since children referred for suspected language problems must participate in RtI.

Intervention Strategies11/3/2014 2:40 PMIs progress monitoring in the regular education classroom required for students referred for a speech or language impairment?

 

As you know preschool children earn both Section 611 funds (ages 3-21) and Section 619 funds (ages 3-5), so we need to calculate the number of 3-5 year olds in each calculation.

Proportionate Share11/4/2014 9:37 AMHow do we differentiate the school vs. preschool ages 3-5 when it is being asked for in both areas?

​Yes. Each school system has a state approved Local Education Agency (LEA) Plan for Gifted that outlines gifted processes and services.

Gifted11/5/2014 7:19 AMAre there other guidelines that set requirements for gifted education programs?

Yes, intervention strategies may be waived for a child who has severe problems that require immediate attention.

Waiver of intervention strategies is addressed in the AAC at 290-8-9.01(4). Remember, however, that the IEP Team (not one member) makes the decision regarding the need to evaluate the student. If the IEP Team believes there is reason to suspect a disability and the situation is one included in the waiver statement, the IEP Team may proceed without intervention strategies. SES does encourage LEAs to provide the interventions during the evaluation process so that there is data to rule out the lack of appropriate instruction in reading and math.

Referral11/5/2014 10:03 AMIf the parent insists that interventions be waived due to the serious nature of his/her child’s problems, can the referral be accepted without intervention strategies?

Any and all areas checked on the ECEC Checklist are worthy of consideration. No single area or number is required in order to indicate that there is a problem or to identify a child with a disability. Any checked area should assist the IEP Team with the decision to evaluate or not. And, if the decision is to evaluate, the areas noted may assist the IEP Team in choosing assessment instruments.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMOn the ECEC Checklist, how many items must be checked and in how many areas before saying that the disability is related to environment, culture, or economic concerns?

The AAC outlines the required minimum evaluative components and eligibility criteria for each disability area. These criteria must be met at initial eligibility as well as at each three-year reevaluation to determine continued eligibility.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMWhat are the criteria for continued eligibility?

Yes, you may also use this funding source for professional development for teachers and

other school staff to enable such personnel to deliver services.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:48 AMMay we provide educational and behavioral evaluations, services, and supports, including scientifically based literacy instruction as part of Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS)?

The only way a student may receive services during the evaluation process is if he/she is an out-of-state transfer student and the LEA is implementing the previous IEP until eligibility in Alabama has been determined.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:00 AMCan a student receive special education services during the evaluation process while the system is waiting to determine eligibility?

No.  The timeline for completion of evaluations began when the public education agency received the consent from the parent to evaluate.  The eligibility process would already be in progress when the new area(s) of difficulty was discovered.  Therefore, the child would not return to PST for additional interventions.  If the child is eligible to receive special education services, the other areas of weakness can be addressed when the IEP is developed.

Assessment11/19/2014 10:40 AMIf a child receives interventions for reading from the Problem Solving Team (PST) but other areas of deficiency are identified during the assessment, does a child have to return to the PST to receive additional interventions for the other newly identified

As used in the regulations, consultation is a mandatory process that involves discussions between the LEA, private school representatives, and representatives of parents of parentally placed private school children with disabilities on key issues relating to the equitable participation of eligible private school children with disabilities in Federally funded special education and related services. (See more on the provision of equitable services in Parts C and D of these questions and answers.) Each LEA (or, if appropriate, an SEA) must consult, in a timely and meaningful way, with private school representatives and representatives of parents of parentally placed private school children with disabilities during the design and development of special education and related services for parentally placed private school children. Effective consultation provides a genuine opportunity for all parties to express their views and to have those views considered by the LEA before the LEA makes any decision that has an impact on services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities. Timeliness is critical to effective consultation and requires collaboration between the LEA and private school officials in developing a timeline and selecting dates for consultation. Successful consultation establishes positive and productive working relationships that make planning easier and ensure that the services provided meet the needs of eligible parentally placed private school children with disabilities.

A unilateral offer of services by an LEA with no opportunity for discussion is not adequate consultation, as such an offer does not meet the basic requirements of the consultation process. Only after discussing key issues relating to the provision of special education and related services with all representatives may the LEA make its final decisions with respect to the services to be provided to eligible private school children with disabilities.

Private School11/1/2016 2:24 PMWhat is consultation?

Apart from specifying certain topics that must be addressed during consultation, the regulations offer LEAs and private schools a great deal of flexibility in conducting the consultation process. However, in accordance with 34 CFR §300.134, discussion between public school and private school officials must address--

  • The child find process and how parentally placed private school children suspected of having a disability can participate equitably, including how parents, teachers, and private school officials will be informed of the process;
  • The determination of the proportionate share of Federal funds available to serve parentally placed private school children with disabilities, including the determination of how the proportionate share of those funds was calculated;
  • How the consultation process among representatives of the agency, the private schools, and the parents of parentally placed private school children will take place, including how the process will operate throughout the school year to ensure that parentally placed private school children with disabilities identified through the child find process can meaningfully participate in special education and related services;
  • How, where, and by whom special education and related services will be provided, including a discussion of types of services--including direct services and alternate service-delivery mechanisms, as well as how the services will be apportioned if funds are insufficient to serve all children--and how and when decisions regarding services will be made; and
  • How, if the LEA representatives disagree with the views of the private school officials on the provision of services or the types of services whether provided directly or through a contract, the LEA will provide to the private school officials a written explanation of the reasons why the LEA chose not to adopt the recommendations of the private school officials.
Private School4/14/2015 1:44 PMWhat must the consultation process include?

No. Required special education services that are included in a student’s IEP are to be provided by the school district at no cost to the parent. However, this does not preclude the school district from charging incidental participation fees that are normally charged to a student without a disability or to his/her parents as part of the general education program.

Administrators10/6/2014 11:20 AMCan parents be charged for special education services?

Although mediation cannot guarantee specific results, States’ experience in using mediation has demonstrated a number of benefits. Mediation can be a less expensive and less time-consuming method of dispute resolution between parents and local educational agencies (LEAs), or, as appropriate, State educational agencies (SEAs) or other public agencies. Mediation may result in lower financial and emotional costs compared to due process hearings. Assistance to States for the Education of Children with Disabilities and Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities, Final Regulations, Analysis of Comments and Changes, 64 FR 12406, 12611 (Mar. 12, 1999).4 Because mediation is voluntary and the parties have the flexibility to devise their own remedies, mediation also may result in written agreements where parties have an increased commitment to, and ownership of, the agreement. Some parties report mediation as enabling them to have more control over the process and decision-making. Additionally, because both parties have been involved in developing the mediation agreement, remedies can be individually tailored and contain workable solutions.

Mediation may also be helpful in resolving State complaints under 34 CFR §§300.151-300.153, thus avoiding the need for the SEA to issue a written decision on the complaint. A State’s minimum State complaint procedures must provide an opportunity for a parent who has filed a State complaint and the public agency to voluntarily engage in mediation consistent with 34 CFR §300.506. 34 CFR §300.152(a)(3)(ii).

Dispute Resolutions10/10/2014 10:36 AMWhat are the benefits of mediation?

No. Students who take the regular state assessment and who are following the general education

Course of Study must have goals for the academic content areas the IEP Team has identified as

areas of need.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:27 AMAre goals in all five content areas also required for students who take regular state

The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) recommends IEP Teams start with the student's grade level of enrollment, consider the standards from the grade level of enrollment, and standards from one or two grades back.

**PLEASE NOTE:

Simultaneous to considering the standards for the grade level and up to one or two grades back, it is strongly suggested the Local Education Agency (LEA) offer a reading and/or mathematics intervention program for students who are substantially below grade level.

**PLEASE NOTE ALSO:

It is problematic when there is an entire class, school and/or LEA where all students have goals based only on grade-level standards. IEP Teams are required to consider students' needs when developing IEPs. Ignoring the fact that a student is performing on a much lower grade level and developing goals strictly for the grade level of enrollment does not meet the requirement for providing a free appropriate public education and places the LEA in a very vulnerable litigious situation.

IEP11/3/2014 2:28 PMWhat grade level should be used for developing academic IEP goal(s)?
No. The student has already been determined eligible for special education services and is, therefore, eligible for any service that the IEP Team determines is required after appropriate evaluations have been completed (Process Chart 3). The IEP Team may determine that the reevaluation process (Process Chart 2) would be appropriate to determine if a different disability area more accurately represents the difficulties the child is experiencing.
Intervention Strategies11/3/2014 2:41 PMIf a student is SLI for articulation only and is experiencing academic difficulties, does he/she need to go through the PST and interventions before doing further testing?

 

Yes. You will use the October 1, 2012 Child Count and the IDEA Fund Allocations for FY2013-2014 to complete your calculation and expenditures for the current fiscal year.

Proportionate Share11/4/2014 9:37 AMWe were using current year allocation and child count, do we have to change our calculation and expenditures for FY13?

​According to the Alabama Administrative Code (AAC), " Intellectually gifted children and youth are those who perform or who have demonstrated the potential to perform at high levels in academic or creative fields when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment. These children and youth require services not ordinarily provided by the regular school program. Children and youth possessing these abilities can be found in all populations, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor." Creativity, in this defintiion, refers to problem-solving abilities.

Gifted11/5/2014 7:24 AMDefine "gifted."

A parent of a child or a public agency may initiate a request for an initial evaluation to determine if the child is a child with a disability.

Referral11/5/2014 10:03 AMWho can make a referral?

The total score on at least one adaptive behavior scale must be at least two standard deviations below the mean (70 or below).

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMWhat if adaptive behavior scale scores that come from home and school are very high scores when determining eligibility for an intellectual disability (ID)?

Parental consent is not required prior to the IEP Team convening to review existing data and to determine what additional data, if any, is necessary. Parents must be given the opportunity to attend the IEP Team meeting to determine what additional data is needed. If the IEP Team determines that additional data are needed in order to determine continued eligibility, parental consent must be obtained. If the parents do not respond to a request for consent to reevaluation, the public agency may proceed after reasonable efforts (at least two attempts) have been made and documented. SES suggests these two attempts be documented on the eligibility report under record review.

Parental consent is not necessary if additional data that needs to be obtained is for teacher and related service provider observations, ongoing classroom evaluations, or the administration of or review of the results of adapted or modified assessments that are administered to all children in a class, grade, or school.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMIs parental consent required for reevaluation?

Letters from a doctor are valuable information but the doctor does not determine eligibility

for special education services. Public agencies must conduct the required evaluations in

the Alabama Administrative Code (AAC) and the child must meet the criteria in the AAC

to be eligible for special education services. Doctors make medical diagnosis. A medical

diagnosis alone does not automatically constitute eligibility for special education services.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:48 AMWhy does the public agency need to evaluate my child after two letters from our doctor?

The IEP Team determines what evaluations the student will receive; however, at a minimum, the required evaluative components outlined in the AAC must be administered.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:00 AMHow many assessments must be available to determine eligibility?

General principles to use when planning an initial evaluation are: (a) review existing data, such as school records, work samples, classroom behavior, state assessment data, information from teachers and parents, and referral intervention strategies to identify what additional data, if any, are needed; (b) ensure the assessment includes a comprehensive and individual evaluation of educational needs; and (c) confirm the evaluation is comprehensive enough to identify all of the child’s needs, whether or not commonly linked to an area of disability.  When assessing only in the area of a suspected disability, such as reading or math, clear evidence must be present to indicate that the child is progressing in all other areas at the appropriate age and grade level.  For example, this may be a consideration for a child who makes D’s and F’s in reading and A’s and B’s in all other subjects.

Assessment11/19/2014 10:41 AMWhat are some discussion points for determining what areas to evaluate for an initial evaluation?  Should a comprehensive achievement test that covers several or all disability areas be administered or must a test be administered only in the areas of susp

When timely and meaningful consultation has occurred, the LEA must maintain documentation that the consultation has occurred, including a written affirmation signed by the representatives of the participating private schools, as required by 34 CFR §300.135. Some have asked if signing an attendance sheet at a meeting is all that is needed to document adequately that timely and meaningful consultation has occurred. Though these attendance sheets provide an accounting of who has attended meetings, the sheets themselves do not provide evidence that ongoing consultation has occurred. Therefore, the written affirmation signed by the representatives of the participating private schools should reflect that those officials have indeed participated in timely and meaningful consultation that has continued throughout the school year. If the representatives do not provide the affirmation within a reasonable period of time, the LEA must forward the documentation of the consultation process to the SEA.

Private School4/14/2015 1:47 PMWhat records on consultation must an LEA maintain?

Yes. An appropriate program of instructional and related services must be provided for a student with a disability regardless of the cost. Lack of funding is not an acceptable excuse for failing to provide services that meet the individual needs of the student with a disability.

Administrators10/6/2014 11:21 AMIf the program for a student with a disability costs much more than a program for a student without a disability, must it be provided?

Parties to mediation are parents5 of a child with a disability, as defined in 34 CFR §300.30 and the LEA, or, as appropriate, a State agency in accordance with 34 CFR §300.228, the SEA, or other public agencies6 that have responsibility for the education of children with disabilities. 34 CFR §300.506. Unlike State complaints, which can be filed by an organization or individual other than the child’s parents, the IDEA contemplates that mediation must be made available only to parents and public agencies to resolve disputes involving any matter under 34 CFR part 300, including matters arising prior to the filing of a due process complaint. While the IDEA does not require that mediation be made available to non-parents, there is nothing in the IDEA that would prohibit a State from making mediation available to resolve disputes between public agencies, organizations, or individuals other than the child’s parent regarding matters arising under the IDEA and its implementing regulations. 34 CFR §300.152(a)(3)(ii) and (b)(1)(ii); see also Assistance to States for the Education of Children with Disabilities and Preschool Grants for Children with Disabilities, Final Regulations, Analysis of Comments and Changes, 71 FR 46540, 46604 (Aug. 14, 2006).7

Dispute Resolutions10/10/2014 10:37 AMWho are the parties to mediation? Can States offer mediation to individuals and organizations other than parents?

No. A goal is not required for each extended standard. The IEP Team decides how to address the

student’s needs and how many goals to write. There must be goals for each content area, but

there is no requirement for one goal for each extended standard.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:28 AMIs one goal for each extended standard required?

Educators are encouraged to use the Alabama Curriculum Guides to prepare students for study of the grade level and course content standards through the teaching of prerequisite and enabling skills necessary for learning each content standard. The curriculum guides can be used to assist students in learning content in smaller increments, catching up on content they may have missed in previous years, and/or reviewing content related to grade-level academic standards. (The Alabama Curriculum Guides can be accessed at: http://alex.state.al.us/specialed/curriculum.html)

**PLEASE NOTE:

Supplementary Aids and Services must be considered for all students with disabilities. Supplementary Aids and Services are crucial, in particular, for general education curriculum participation. They include accommodations that consist of aids, services, and other supports that are provided in general education classes or other education-related settings to enable a student with a disability to be educated with nondisabled students to the maximum extent appropriate in accordance with their least restrictive environment. For students with disabilities, accommodations are provided during instruction and assessments to help promote equal access to grade-level content.  

IEP11/3/2014 2:29 PMHow can students be supported in general education classrooms?
Remember that intervention strategies in the regular education classroom may be waived for parent referrals. The IEP Team must meet to act on parent referrals in the summer. If the IEP Team believes that more information is needed, the interventions can be implemented when school begins. Otherwise, the public agency proceeds with the evaluation. The public agency must document the decision in the student folder in STISETS.
Intervention Strategies11/3/2014 2:44 PMHow do you handle summer referrals by parents?

Yes. Please use the October 1, 2012 Child Count and the FY2014 IDEA Funds Allocations to complete the proportionate share calculation and expenditure documentation.

Proportionate Share11/4/2014 9:38 AMOur LEA holds its annual private school meeting each summer. The number of children being served in the private school for the previous year is used for the proportionate share calculation. After looking at the draft document, the child count number shoul

​Gifted students have unique learning needs that require special education services, or interventions, in order for these students to reach their potential. Frequently, gifted students do not achieve high grades, high scores on standardized tests, and may have discipline issues.

Gifted11/5/2014 7:27 AMWhy is gifted part of special education?

A referral may be made in several different ways, some of which include the following:

• A referral may be made over the phone, whereby, the public agency would be responsible for completing a Referral for Evaluation.

• A referral may be received through the mail. When this occurs, the public agency should call the referring person and complete a Referral for Evaluation.

• A referral may be made during a personal conference. When this occurs, public agency personnel should complete a Referral for Evaluation.

• A Referral for Evaluation may be submitted by school personnel, e.g., classroom teacher, guidance counselor, bus driver, etc.

• A public agency must obtain information and complete a written referral for any parent who is unable to complete a written referral.

Referral11/5/2014 10:04 AMWhat are the avenues for making a referral for an evaluation?

The public agency may try a home visit, parent-teacher conference, telephone interview or other mutually agreed upon arrangements. The public agency must make two attempts to have the parent complete the home version of the adaptive behavior scale within 60 days of receiving parental consent for initial evaluation and document such attempts on the eligibility report. However, the absence of a home version of the adaptive behavior scale must not delay the evaluation determination timeline. If a home version of the adaptive behavior scale is not obtained, a second school version must be completed.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMWhat option does a public agency have when a parent does not attend the meeting to complete the parent interview for the adaptive behavior assessment and the public agency did make two attempts to get the parent to attend?

Yes. A new eligibility report must be completed each time the student is reevaluated for continued eligibility.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMIs it necessary to complete a new eligibility report when the IEP Team determines that additional data are needed in order to determine that a student continues to have a disability and continues to be in need of special education?

No, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team may choose whether to evaluate or

not based on the information included in the referral.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:48 AMWhen a parent refers a child for testing, is the public agency obligated to evaluate the child?

When determining whether a child has a specific learning disability, a public agency will not be required to take into consideration whether a child has a severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement. A public agency may use a process based on the child’s response to scientific, research-based intervention (RtI). A public agency may use other alternative research-based procedures for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability. Refer to the AAC, 290-8-9.03(10) for all the requirements.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMWhat are the requirements for the eligibility determination of students suspected of having a specific learning disability?

Based on the data gathered, the IEP Team decides which area(s) may be assessed on the Notice and Consent for Initial Evaluation form or must be assessed on the Notice and Consent for Reevaluation form.  For example, if the IEP Team decides the child needs an intellectual assessment, "Intellectual" is checked on the form.  The school psychologist/psychometrist reviews the data provided by the IEP Team and determines which instrument(s) is the most appropriate to reflect the child's ability.  The IEP Team may make recommendations to the school psychologist/psychometrist for specific assessments to be administered but it is not advisable.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:20 AMDoes the IEP Team decide on the specific assessment instruments that may/must be administered by the school psychologist/psychometrist?

There are a number of ways to carry out the consultation process. As such, the Department does not endorse any specific consultation model. Examples of consultation practices that have proven to work for LEAs include establishing a private school working group to serve as the vehicle for ongoing consultation.  In selecting members for this group, LEAs may contact larger private school organizations such as the Catholic Schools Office in the local diocese or the Board of Jewish Education for the region. Groups such as these can help facilitate communication between their member schools and the LEAs in which they are located. Also, establishing a timeline for consultation can help ensure that timely and meaningful consultation occurs throughout the school year. The timeline can include meeting dates and times as well as topics to be discussed. 

In addition, in February, 2008 the Office of Non-Public Education published a booklet entitled The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):  Provisions Related to Children With Disabilities Enrolled by Their Parents in Private Schools, which explains the provisions related to, and benefits available to, children with disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in private schools when a free appropriate public education (FAPE) is not at issue.  A copy of this booklet can be found at:

http://www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/speced/privateschools/index.html.

Private School4/14/2015 1:44 PMHow can the consultation process be carried out effectively?  Are there any consultation models available?

No. Under the IDEA, the concept of "zero reject" applies. This means that all students with disabilities, no matter how severe, are entitled to a free appropriate public education. No student is too severe to be unable to learn or benefit from educational services. If a student’s needs are determined by his/her IEP Team to be beyond what the school district can provide, the IEP Team is still required to propose a program to meet the student’s needs no matter how intensive or costly. This might include placement in a private school or even a residential treatment program.

Administrators10/6/2014 11:21 AMCan a disability ever be so severe that the student is beyond the scope of educational responsibility?

A mediator is a qualified and impartial individual who facilitates confidential discussions to achieve a resolution of the dispute that is mutually agreeable to the parties. The requirement that the mediator is qualified means that the individual is trained in effective mediation techniques and knowledgeable in laws and regulations relating to the provision of special education and related services. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(1)(iii) and (b)(3)(i). The impartiality requirement means that an individual who serves as a mediator may not be an employee of the SEA or the LEA that is involved in the education or care of

the child and must not have a personal or professional interest that conflicts with the person’s objectivity. 34 CFR §300.506(c)(1).

Dispute Resolutions10/10/2014 10:37 AMWhat is a mediator?

The IEP must include goals, special education and related services identified for the duration of

the IEP. If the IEP covers two grades, the extended standards for both grades would be included.

Remember that all students must be taught grade-level extended standards.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:29 AMIf an IEP spans two grades, should standards from both grades be cited?

The number of goals for all students must be based on individual need.

The IEP Team must make certain the number and variety of goals provides the student a free appropriate public education.

IEP11/3/2014 2:29 PMHow many goals are needed for each student?

This rule may be waived for a child who has severe problems that require immediate attention, for three- and four-year-olds, for five-year-olds who have not been in kindergarten, for children with articulation, voice, or fluency problems only, for children with a medical diagnosis of traumatic brain injury, and for a child who has been referred by his or her parents. AAC 290-8-9.01(4).

Intervention Strategies11/3/2014 2:44 PMCan children who have less than eight weeks of interventions be referred for special education services?

 

We have added a NO Private School’s Assurance form for you to complete and submit to us for documentation of no private schools in your LEA’s jurisdiction. We will use the Assurance form for this year’s documentation. We will need to collect this information annually as private schools may be part of your LEA next year.

Proportionate Share11/4/2014 9:38 AMOur LEA does not have any private schools in our zone, do I have to provide any completed forms?

​Gifted students may be gifted in one domain or subject area, such as math or science, in all subjects, and/or in creativivity, or problem-solving. In their area(s) of giftedness, students must have accelerated pacing, depth, complexity, creative expression, and  emphasis on affective needs.  Affective needs include asynchronous development, overexciteablitilites, intensities, intellectual peer relationships, perfectionism, social-emotional needs, autonomous learning, and executive skills.

Gifted11/5/2014 11:13 AMWhat are the unique learning needs of gifted students?

This is a public agency decision. SES suggests that each school have someone who is knowledgeable about the referral process.

Referral11/5/2014 3:53 PMIf a parent makes a referral directly to an individual school via telephone, mail, and/or conference, is the local school personnel allowed to refer the parent elsewhere? For example: may a public agency representative direct the referring person to the s

Yes. The home version may be sent home if it is mutually agreed upon by both the parent or guardian and the public agency and if the scale does not require a face-to-face interview. If a home version of the adapted behavior scale is not completed after two documented attempts, a second school version of the adapted behavior scale must be completed.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMCan we send the adaptive behavior scale home to be completed?

Yes, as of May 19, 2011, a new eligibility report must be completed each time a student is reevaluated for continued eligibility.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMIs it necessary to complete a new eligibility report if the IEP Team determines no additional data are needed in order to make an eligibility decision?

Yes. Special Education Services (SES) encourages implementation of intervention

strategies in the general education program during the evaluation process when a parent

requests an evaluation

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:47 AMShould intervention strategies and evaluations occur concurrently when a parent makes a referral?

For children who are transitioning from Part C (Early Intervention) to Part B (preschool programs), the public agency is required to make FAPE available to each eligible child residing in its jurisdiction no later than the child’s third birthday and have an IEP implemented by that date. If the child’s third birthday occurs during the summer months, the child’s IEP Team will determine when special education services will begin. The public agency must participate in a transition planning conference arranged by the Early Intervention (EI) service provider in order to experience a smooth and effective transition to preschool programs in a timely manner.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMWhen must children with disabilities who become three years old be served?

Yes.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires a full individual evaluation for each child being considered for special education and related services.  Therefore, all required data for the area of referral must be collected prior to making the decision for eligibility.  Much of the other required data should be collected before the intelligence and achievement tests are administered.  For example, the work samples, ECEC checklist, etc., should be reviewed prior to determining the most appropriate intelligence and achievement tests to administer.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:21 AMWhen intelligence and achievement tests are administered first, and there is no severe discrepancy, must the other evaluation criteria, such as behavior rating scales, work samples, Environmental, Cultural, and/or Economic Concerns (ECEC) checklist, data

Under 34 CFR §300.131, the LEA where the private school is located is responsible for conducting child find for parentally placed private school children. The child find requirements for parentally placed children make clear that the LEA, after timely and meaningful consultation with private school representatives, must conduct a thorough and complete child find process to determine the number of parentally placed children with disabilities attending private schools located in the LEA. (Under the prior provisions of the IDEA, the responsibility to conduct child find for parentally placed private school children rested with the LEA in which the children resided.)

Private School4/14/2015 1:43 PMWhich LEA is responsible for conducting child find for parentally placed private school children?

The IDEA provides that all eligible "children with disabilities" ages 3-21 are provided a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The IDEA also provides significant procedural safeguards to them and their parents.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:20 AMWho does the IDEA cover as far as services?

The mediation process offers an opportunity for parents and public agencies to resolve disputes about any matter under 34 CFR part 300, including matters arising prior to the filing of a due process complaint. 34 CFR §300.506(a). This includes matters regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a child with a disability, or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to a child with a disability, as well as any other matters arising under 34 CFR part 300 that may not be the subject of a due process complaint. An example of a matter that cannot be the subject of a due process complaint but that can be the subject of mediation is a dispute regarding the alleged failure of a particular SEA or LEA employee to be highly qualified. 34 CFR §300.18(f); see also Question C-1 in Questions and Answers on Highly Qualified Teachers Serving Children with Disabilities, January 2007.

Dispute Resolutions10/10/2014 10:38 AMWhat are the types of issues that can be the subject of mediation?

If the extended standards relate to each other, it could be appropriate to combine two standards

into one goal. For example, a goal that addresses reading in the content area of science could be

developed in such a way to include both reading skills and science content in the same goal. It

would not, however, make sense to put multiple standards into one goal if the standards don’t

relate to each other in some way, other than being from the same subject area.

Although related extended standards may be combined for IEP goals and for instruction, each

standard is assessed separately on the AAA. Therefore, for state assessments, evidence must be

gathered on each standard in all content areas being tested according to the student’s grade of

enrollment.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:29 AMIs it okay to combine two standards into one goal?

Strengths, Needs and How the Student's Disability Affects Performance in the General Education Curriculum (for Preschool Children, How the Disability Affects the Child's Participation in Age Appropriate Activities) are the three components that are required in the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance.

Strengths and Needs must be individualized. For academic goals, Strengths and Needs must be based on data related to the standards. This might be things the student can and cannot do in relation to the standard being considered for the goal; or things from past standards that relate to the standard being considered for the goal the student can and cannot do. Strengths and Needs are specific to each goal and are not typically repeated in more than one Present Level.

How the Student's Disability Affects Performance in the General Education Curriculum is based on characteristics of the student that are a result of his or her disability (e.g., difficulty with comprehension, slow reading rate, difficulty memorizing facts, poor generalization of skills, poor organization of notes and other written materials, impulsivity, low attention span). How the Student's Disability Affects Performance in the General Education Curriculum might be repeated in more than one Present Level depending on the nature of the standards being addressed.

**PLEASE NOTE:

IEP Teams must know the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance in order to determine where the student can reasonably be expected to perform within 12 months.

IEP11/3/2014 2:30 PMWhat should be included in the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance?
The requirement of intervention strategies may be waived for a child who has severe problems that require immediate attention. AAC, Chapter 290-8-9-.01(4).
Intervention Strategies11/3/2014 2:45 PMHow long should interventions be implemented for those students who need immediate help? (Example: severe behavior problems)

 

As indicated on page 1 of the PS document, you must include all students 3-21 who are parentally-placed in a private school that meets the definition of an elementary school or secondary school in Alabama, that have been determined eligible to receive services as per the AAC regardless as to whether or not you are providing services to the child.

Proportionate Share11/4/2014 9:39 AMAre K-12 students being served by our LEA for special services and enrolled at a Private School in our LEA the ones to count for proportionate share funding?

​No. All children do have abilities and can excel. However, the brains of gifted students work differently than normal students. In their area(s) of giftedness, these students must learn at a faster pace and have depth and complexity in content and activities. Otherwise, this information will be mislearned or students will underachieve.

Gifted11/5/2014 11:14 AMAre all children gifted?

No. The 60 calendar day timeline begins when the public agency receives parental consent for the initial evaluation.

Referral11/5/2014 3:54 PMWhen a school-based secretary receives a telephone call from a parent wishing to have his/her child tested for special education services, does this mean that the referral has officially been received and the 60 calendar day timeline begins?

No. The criteria for both measures are at least two standard deviations below the mean, usually 70 or below.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMIs it true that both the IQ score and adaptive behavior score must be 65 when determining eligibility for an intellectual disability?

If the IEP Team makes two attempts to get parental consent and the parent does not respond, the IEP Team may proceed with the reevaluation, as long as the IEP Team notifies the parent of the decision. If the IEP Team gets a "no" from the parent, the IEP Team has the following options:

• The IEP Team may reconsider whether or not the additional data are absolutely necessary in order to make a decision regarding continued eligibility.

• The IEP Team may request that the parent participate in a conference to discuss his or her decision.

• The public agency may ask for mediation from the ALSDE or the agency may initiate a due process hearing in order to have an impartial hearing officer to order a reevaluation to be administered over the parents' objections. The public agency does not violate its child find obligations or evaluation obligations if it does not pursue mediation and/or a due process hearing.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMWhat happens if the IEP Team is unable to get parental consent to conduct a three-year reevaluation?

Yes. The guidance from SES since 2001 has been that the two processes occur

simultaneously.

Alabama Administrative Code11/6/2014 11:39 AMCan a school initiated referral run concurrently with Problem Solving Team (PST)

If a parent referral is made for a preschool child who is older than 30 months, the public agency has 60 calendar days from receipt of parental consent to complete the initial evaluation. The public agency has 30 calendar days from completion of the evaluation to determine eligibility and 30 calendar days from eligibility determination to complete the IEP process. The timeline begins once the public agency receives consent from the parent for the initial evaluation. This may mean the services begin after age three.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMWhen do services begin if a parent referral is made for a child who is older than 30 months?

No.  The evaluation process should be planned by the IEP Team prior to testing with the goal of being comprehensive enough to identify all of the child’s needs whether or not commonly linked to a disability area.  In addition, the evaluation plan should be based on an extensive review of existing data prior to identifying what additional data, if any, are needed.  Since the assessment is planned carefully in advance, an IEP Team typically should NOT continue to search for a discrepancy.

Assessment11/19/2014 10:43 AMWhen a specific learning disability is suspected, should the examiner “search for a discrepancy?”  For example, after giving the first achievement test and finding that no score is low enough for a severe discrepancy, should additional tests be administer

Under 34 CFR §300.131, the LEA is responsible for locating, identifying, and evaluating all children with disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in private, including religious, elementary schools, as defined in 34 CFR §300.13, and secondary schools, as defined in 34 CFR §300.36, located in the LEA. The LEA, in conducting child find for parentally placed private school children with disabilities, must undertake activities similar to activities undertaken for the agency's public school children. The child find process must be completed in a time period comparable to that for students attending public schools in the LEA. The LEA where the private elementary or secondary school is located has a number of options as to how it meets its child find responsibilities. For example, the LEA may assume the responsibility itself, contract with another public agency (including the public agency where the child resides), or make other arrangements by contracting with a third party to conduct child find activities.

Child find is an ongoing process. Therefore, if a child who enters a private school without having been previously identified as a child with a disability is suspected of having a disability during the school year, the LEA where the private school is located is responsible for ensuring such a child is identified, located, and evaluated. In addition, it is possible that a child who was previously evaluated and determined not eligible for special education and related services by another LEA, may in fact be determined eligible for special education and related services at a later time through the child find process conducted by the LEA where the private school is located.

Private School4/14/2015 11:24 AMWhat are the LEA’s responsibilities for identifying children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools?


 

In Alabama, a student may be eligible for special education services if he/she has one of the following disabilities that adversely affect

7

educational performance and the student needs special education (specially designed instruction) and related services:

a. Autism (AUT).

b. Deaf-Blindness.

c. Developmental Delay (DD).

d. Emotional Disability (ED).

e. Hearing Impairment (HI).

f. Intellectual Disability (ID).

g. Multiple Disabilities (MD).

h. Orthopedic Impairment (OI).

i. Other Health Impairment (OHI).

j. Specific Learning Disability (SLD).

k. Speech or Language Impairment (SLI).

l. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

m. Visual Impairment (VI).

The AAC sets forth the detailed criteria for eligibility for each category, and the criteria must be met in order for a student to be considered a "child with a disability."

Administrators10/9/2014 11:44 AMDefine a “child with a disability.” What exceptionalities or disabilities are currently included under the IDEA?

The Department provided the following pertinent explanation in Question L-1 in Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Placed by Their Parents in Private Schools, April 2011:

As provided in 34 CFR §300.140(b), a parent of a child enrolled by that parent in a private school has the right to file a due process complaint [and use the mediation procedures in 34 CFR §300.506] regarding the child find requirements in 34 CFR §300.131, including the requirements in 34 CFR §§300.300 through 300.311. The due process provisions in section 615 of the Act and 34 CFR §§300.504 through 300.519 of the regulations [which include the mediation procedures in 34 CFR §300.506], do not apply to issues regarding the provision of services to any particular parentally-placed private school child with disabilities whom an LEA has agreed to serve because there is no individual right to services for such children under the IDEA. 34 CFR §300.140(a).

Disputes that arise about equitable services are, however, properly subject to the State complaint procedures in 34 CFR §§300.151 through 300.153 [described in Section B of this Q&A document]. As provided in 34 CFR §300.140(c), a parent may file a signed written complaint in accordance with the State complaint procedures alleging that an SEA or LEA has failed to meet the private school requirements, such as failure to properly conduct the consultation process.

Under the State complaint procedures, when a parent files a State complaint regarding the private school requirements or the child find requirements in 34 CFR §300.131, including the requirements in 34 CFR §§300.300-300.311, the SEA must give the parent an opportunity to voluntarily engage in mediation consistent with 34 CFR §300.506. 34 CFR §300.152(a)(3)(ii).

In addition, under 34 CFR §300.148 and Supreme Court case law, where FAPE is at issue, parents of a parentally-placed private school child with a disability may utilize the due process procedures, including mediation, if seeking reimbursement for the private school placement based on a denial of FAPE.

Dispute Resolutions10/10/2014 10:38 AMUnder what circumstances does the IDEA require that mediation be made available to parents of parentally-placed private school children with disabilities8?

No. Each Present Level must address the student’s current strengths and needs as they relate to

the goal under development and the extended standards being considered by the IEP Team.

Some strengths and/or needs may relate to more than one goal, therefore Present Levels may

have some common information, but should not be the same from goal to goal.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:29 AMCan the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance be the same

Who, Time Frame, Conditions, Behavior, and Criterion are the five components that are required in IEP goals.

**PLEASE NOTE:

Copying and pasting standards into the goal is not individualized and places the LEA in a very vulnerable litigious situation. In order for academic goals to be individualized, the present level and the goal must reflect specific information from the standards that the student can or cannot do. For instance course of study standard M. 4.26: Draw points, lines, line segments, rays, angles (right, acute, obtuse), and perpendicular and parallel lines. Identify these in two-dimensional figures, requires the student to do multiple things. The present level might say the student: (a) can do curriculum guide objectives M. 4.26.4: model shapes in the world by building shapes from components; and M. 4.26.3: recognize one-dimensional points, lines, and line segments; (b) cannot do curriculum guide objectives M. 4.26.1: define points, lines, line segments, rays, right angle, acute angle, obtuse angle, perpendicular lines and parallel lines; or M.4.26.2: define two-dimensional figure; and (c) has memory and attention problems. The goal will include the Who, Time Frame, Conditions, Behavior, and Criterion for the parts the student cannot do; M. 4.26.1: define points, lines, line segments, rays, right angle, acute angle, obtuse angle, perpendicular lines and parallel lines; and M.4.26.2: define two-dimensional figure. (This student is receiving instruction in third and fourth grade prerequisite skills through the curriculum guide objectives. In addition, this student would likely be in a math intervention program).

IEP11/3/2014 2:30 PMWhat should be included in IEP goals?
Yes, school personnel are strongly encouraged to discuss the options with parents on a case-by-case basis. However, keep in mind that the interventions may be waived for a parent referral per the AAC 290-8-9-.01(4). In addition, SES recommends intervention strategies be provided during the evaluation process if a determination is made to proceed with an initial evaluation.
Intervention Strategies11/3/2014 2:45 PMWhen a parent contacts school personnel about concerns or a referral for a child, can the public agency talk to the parent about intervention strategies before an actual referral?

 

Yes. We want to make sure that everyone understands the Child Find responsibilities that you have for private schools located within your LEA’s jurisdiction. Are there any children who attend private schools that have been determined eligible for services and the parent of the child refused services (FAPE or equitable services)? If so, then

you will need to count those students in the calculation and complete the required documentation.

Proportionate Share11/20/2014 9:25 AMI do have private schools in my LEA, but no special education students identified as attending. I scheduled the consultation meeting, sent notices by certified mail, and received return receipts and private school administrators did not attend. Do I need

​A student may be referred if they are enrolled in the public school system and are at least 6 years of age. Referral requests may be submitted at any time.

Gifted11/5/2014 7:45 AMWhen can a student be referred for gifted services?

No. A public agency must act upon all referrals in a timely manner once received. Children transitioning from EI must be evaluated and if eligible, must have an IEP implemented on the child’s third birthday.

Referral11/5/2014 3:54 PMMay a public agency wait until a child's third birthday to act upon a referral? Example: A public agency receives a referral on a 30-month-old child. Would the public agency wait until the child is three years of age before acting on the referral?

Even though intervention strategies are being implemented, the evaluations outlined in the AAC are the required minimum evaluative components. Screeners and short (or brief) forms are not sufficient to determine eligibility. Screeners only indicate what areas need to be evaluated further.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMIf a parent demands that a student be evaluated, do you have to do the battery of formal assessments including an IQ test, or can you use informal screeners (e.g., Slosson, K-BIT) and achievement tests (i.e. WRAT, PIAT) while gathering information?

The reevaluation for continued eligibility process should be initiated. The IEP Team must convene to consider existing data and determine what additional data, if any, are needed to determine whether the student continues to have a disability and continues to be in need of special education and related services. A new eligibility report must be completed.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMWhat evaluation procedures are required for a student who is suspected of no longer having a disability?

Yes, the IEP Team or Eligibility Committee may use the observation that was conducted

prior to the referral if the observation was conducted during routine classroom instruction

and monitoring of the child’s performance, and if the IEP Team or Eligibility Committee

(which ever determines eligibility) decides to use that one as the required observation.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:47 AMCan an observation conducted prior to the referral for evaluation be used as the required observation for determining eligibility for Specific Learning Disability (SLD)?

No. Spelling is not one of the areas listed in the criteria for SLD.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMCan a student be eligible in the area of spelling for a specific learning disability?

When considering the need for special education services, the IEP Team must rule out, environmental, language, cultural, and/or economic concerns that would impact on the student's learning and therefore exclude him from being identified as a student with a disability.  The IEP Team needs to carefully review all available data prior to making a decision about the use of any assessment instrument(s).  Grades, work samples, learning history, observations, state assessment data and other pertinent information should be reviewed carefully.  If the IEP Team decides testing is appropriate, assessments must be administered in the child's native language that do not discriminate and/or show false positives.  The IEP Team should also consider the use of interpreters and alternate form tests, such as Spanish versions.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:22 AMIs it appropriate to use traditional measures for children who are English Language Learners (ELL) and who have not passed the English Proficiency Test?

No. The IDEA and its implementing regulations in 34 CFR §§300.301–300.311 establish requirements with which LEAs  must comply when conducting an initial evaluation to determine if a child qualifies as a child with a disability under Part B; these requirements do not apply to private schools. IDEA requires States to adopt criteria for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability, as defined in 34 CFR §300.8(c)(10), and these criteria must permit, among other things, the use of a process based on the child's response to scientific, research-based intervention (known as RTI). 34 CFR §300.307(a)(2). Thus, although IDEA permits the use of RTI in evaluating children suspected of having learning disabilities, it does not require LEAs to use RTI. Even if a State's criteria permit LEAs to use RTI in evaluating children suspected of having learning disabilities, IDEA does not require an LEA to use RTI for parentally placed children attending private schools located in its jurisdiction. It would be inconsistent with the IDEA evaluation provisions in 34 CFR §§ 300.301-300.311 for an LEA to delay the initial evaluation because a private school has not implemented an RTI process with a child suspected of having learning disabilities and has not reported the results of that process to the LEA.

Private School4/14/2015 11:25 AMMay an LEA require a private school to implement a response to intervention (RTI) process before evaluating parentally placed private school children?

Gifted services are funded by the state, not federal funds. Gifted is not one of the disability areas recognized under the IDEA.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:54 AMWhy is it not mandated that special education funds be expended to provide adequate services for gifted students?

The Part B regulations prohibit a public agency from using mediation to seek to override: (1) a parent’s failure to respond to a request for, or refusal to consent to, the initial provision of special education and related services (34 CFR §300.300(b)(3)(i)); (2) a parent’s revocation of consent for the continued provision of special education and related services to his or her child (34 CFR §300.300(b)(4)(ii));9 or (3) a parent’s refusal to consent, or failure to respond to a request to provide consent, to an initial evaluation or reevaluation of a child who is home schooled or parentally-placed in a private school at parental expense (34 CFR §300.300(d)(4)(i)). Similarly, if parental rights transfer to a student who has reached the age of majority under State law, the public agency also may not use mediation to resolve disputes with students in these three circumstances. 34 CFR §300.520.10

Dispute Resolutions10/10/2014 10:39 AMUnder what circumstances do the Part B regulations prevent public agencies from using mediation?

Academic goals for AAA students must be based on the Alabama Extended Standards. Students

taking the AAA must be taught grade-level extended standards regardless of whether their LRE

is the general education class or a special education class. It is permissible, however, for AAA

students who are included in general education classes to have academic goals based on extended

standards along with other academic content identified by the IEP Team.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:30 AMIf a AAA student is included in general education classes for science should the IEP be
Benchmarks are not required by the Alabama State Department of Education for students working toward Alabama Course of Study Standards (or Essentials Course Objectives).
IEP11/3/2014 2:31 PMWhich students are required to have benchmarks?
This section may include any relevant information such as independent evaluation results, medical reports, observations, etc. Any information supporting the need for referral would be appropriate.
Intervention Strategies11/3/2014 2:46 PMWhat types of information should be included in the “Parent Information” section of the Referral for Evaluation form?

A private school is considered to be a private school if it meets the definition of an elementary school or secondary school in Alabama.

Proportionate Share11/4/2014 9:42 AMCould you please give the definition of a private school? How can I tell what school(s) in my district meet the definition of a private school?

​For each student referred, information is gathered in the areas of Aptitude, Characteristics, and Performance.  The information is entered on a matrix where points are assigned according to established criteria.  The total number of points earned determines if the student qualifies for gifted services.

Gifted11/5/2014 7:47 AMHow are gifted students identified?

The referral becomes official on the date it is received via phone, mail, conference, or when a written referral form is submitted to any education personnel (e.g., secretary, guidance counselor, principal, etc.).

Referral11/5/2014 3:54 PMWhen does a referral for an evaluation become official?

Yes. The UNIT is a nontraditional intelligence test that may be used for any disability area, if determined appropriate. Remember, the IQ score is just one part of an evaluation.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMCan the UNIT be used to help determine eligibility for an intellectual disability or for a specific learning disability?

Process 2, reevaluation for continued eligibility, must be followed. When an IEP Team determines that a student no longer has a disability, an eligibility report must be completed with all existing data, as well as any updated and/or additional data. A copy of the eligibility report must be provided to the parents. The public agency must complete all sections of the eligibility report including a description of other options considered and the information used to make the decision. The eligibility report must document all required minimum evaluative components.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMWhat documentation is required when an IEP Team determines that a student no longer has a disability?

Yes, if the observation meets the specific criteria in the AAC for the suspected area(s) of

disability.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:47 AMMay we use the observation conducted prior to consent for initial evaluation as the required observation for other disability areas if that disability area requires an observation?

If a student does not meet the eligibility criteria for intellectual disability or any other disability area outlined in the AAC, the student must be determined ineligible for special education services.

Ineligibility for special education does not automatically qualify a student for protection under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Even though the parent is a member of the IEP Team, the school system is ultimately responsible for determining whether a student is eligible for special education services and/or protection from discrimination under Section 504. The parent may refuse services but the parent does not get to choose between IDEA or Section 504. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has stated that it is impermissible for a student’s parents to refuse to accept IDEA services and require the district to develop an IEP under Section 504. OCR states a rejection of the services offered under IDEA amounts to a rejection of services offered under Section 504. (Letter to McKethan, 25 IDLER 295 [OCR, 1996]).

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMIf a student receives an extremely low IQ score (52), but a high adaptive behavior score (85-93), and in addition, the parent does not want special education services, but instead insists on a Section 504 plan, what do you suggest?

The use of a nonverbal intelligence test and a traditional achievement test to calculate severe discrepancy is not appropriate in most cases.  For example, if a nonverbal intelligence test was selected due to the child's limited English skills, then a Standard English achievement test probably would not be appropriate either.  Another issue for consideration is the extreme cultural differences between some children and the cultural content of some intelligence tests.  The nontraditional test may be selected because of the child's background rather than the issue of English language skills.  It is important to keep in mind that the nonverbal test may be most valid after considering the exclusion of primary conditions such as environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.  Most importantly, if at all possible the decision to use a nontraditional test should be made prior to the initiation of testing.

Assessment11/19/2014 10:44 AMWhen the IEP Team decides to use a nontraditional or nonverbal intelligence test, due to language issues with English Language Learners (ELL) and uses a traditional achievement test should the two instruments be used to calculate a severe discrepancy for

The Department recognizes that there could be times when parents request that their parentally placed child be evaluated by different LEAs if the child is attending a private school that is not in the LEA in which the child resides. For example, because most States generally assign the responsibility for making FAPE available to the LEA in which the child’s parents reside, and because that could be an LEA that is different from the LEA in which the child’s private school is located, parents could ask two different LEAs to evaluate their child for different purposes at the same time. The Department, however, does not encourage this practice. Note that a new requirement in 34 CFR §300.622(b)(3) requires parental consent for the release of information between LEAs about parentally placed private school children. Therefore, as a practical matter, one LEA may not know that a parent also requested an evaluation from another LEA. However, the Department does not believe that the child's best interests would be served if parents request evaluations of their child by the resident LEA and the LEA where the private school is located, even though these evaluations are conducted for different purposes. Subjecting a child to repeated testing by separate LEAs in close proximity of time may not be the most effective or desirable way to ensure that the evaluations are meaningful measures of whether a child has a disability, or of obtaining an appropriate assessment of the child's educational needs. Although the Department discourages parents from requesting evaluations from two LEAs, if the parent chooses to request evaluations from the LEA responsible for providing the child FAPE and from another LEA that is responsible for considering the child for the provision of equitable services, both LEAs are required to conduct an evaluation.

Private School4/14/2015 11:27 AMIs it possible for a parent to request evaluations from the LEA where the private school is located as well as the district where the child resides?
In Alabama, school districts must de
velop and implement procedures that
ensure that all students with disabiliti
es in their jurisdiction, ages 3-21, who
need special education and related se
rvices are identified, located, and
evaluated through child find. If a student
is determined eligible, he/she must
be offered FAPE until age 21.
Administrators10/24/2014 11:01 AMWhat is the current mandated age range for special education services?

The goal of mediation and due process hearings under the IDEA is the same – to achieve resolution of the disputed issues. Both processes generally involve the same parties – parents and public agencies – but as noted in Question A-4, States have the option of making mediation available to parties other than parents. The mediator, in the case of mediation, and the hearing officer, in the case of a due process hearing, must be a qualified and impartial individual. Aside from these similarities, there are important differences.

Due process hearing procedures are more formal, and generally the parent and the public agency may be represented by attorneys. The parties also may choose to be accompanied and advised at a due process hearing by an individual who has special knowledge or training with respect to the problems of children with disabilities. However, whether individuals may be represented by non-attorneys at due process hearings is determined by State law. 34 CFR §300.512(a)(1). In contrast, the IDEA is silent on the presence of lawyers or advocates at mediation. For more discussion of who may accompany a party to a mediation session, see Question A-12.

As noted in Question A-6, the issues that can be the subject of mediation are generally broader than the issues that can be raised in a due process complaint requesting a due process hearing.11

In mediation, the parties help set the ground rules and identify their potential remedies, and the process must be voluntary at every phase. In contrast, the due process procedures impose specific requirements on the parties and the failure to adhere to such requirements generally has negative consequences. 34 CFR §§300.507-300.508 (due process complaints) and 300.510 (resolution process).12

In mediation, the mediator acts as a facilitator and does not pass judgment on specific issues, but the parties may choose to execute a legally binding written agreement. In a due process hearing, the hearing officer is required to render a final decision that contains findings of fact and decisions that would generally include specific remedies. The hearing officer must render a decision in accordance with 34 CFR §300.513(a), including determining whether a child received FAPE.13

While mediation is less formal than a due process hearing, all discussions that occur in mediation, including the negotiation discussions, and discussions involving any settlement positions of parties in a mediation session, are confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil proceeding. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(8). The IDEA is silent as to whether the mediation agreement itself must be kept confidential. However, under 34 CFR §300.506(b)(6)(i), a legally binding mediation agreement must include a statement that all discussions that occurred during the mediation process will remain confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil proceeding. Regardless of whether the parties enter into a legally binding agreement, all discussions that occurred during the mediation also must be kept confidential. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(8). In contrast, the parent has the right to have the due process hearing open to the public. 34 CFR §300.512(c)(2). Also, the public agency, after deleting any personally identifiable information, must transmit the due process hearing findings and decisions to the State advisory panel and make those findings and decisions available to the public. 34 CFR §§300.513(d) and 300.514(c).

Dispute Resolutions10/10/2014 10:40 AMWhat are some similarities and differences between mediation and due process hearings?

The IEP Team should use the Alabama Course of Study for the student’s grade of enrollment and

develop goals based on the content, but at a lower level of complexity.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:30 AMHow do you write IEP goals for language arts and social studies since there are no extended

An intervention is an educational program, product, practice, or policy aimed at improving student outcomes (www.ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc). Depending on a child's age and challenges, interventions are available to focus on specific areas of need.

Instruction for grade level standards (and prerequisite skills one or two years back) is required by No Child Left Behind and is a given. LEAs can and should use interventions to try and bridge the achievement gap for students who are substantially below grade level.

Both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) require that schools use programs, curricula, and practices based on "scientifically-based research" "to the extent practicable." This means that whenever possible, the educational interventions being used must be strongly supported by evidence from well-conducted research studies (National Parent Technical Assistance Center, 2011).

Teachers need to be armed with "evidence-based" programs, products, practices and policies that have been proven effective in improving outcomes for students with disabilities.

There are numerous reading and mathematics interventions for elementary age students with disabilities. Evidence- based reading and mathematics interventions for middle school and high school students are becoming increasingly more available.

Having more than one intervention available for each grade cluster is not required, but it does allow for the intervention to be determined on a case by case basis and allows teachers to switch to something else if what is tried initially does not yield results.

It is important to keep in mind decisions related to the need for an intervention and which intervention to use must be made on a case by case basis. There will be a wide range of needs, in particular when students get to high school. One 17 year old high school student with a disability may need instruction for grade-level standards (or Essentials Course Objectives); an intervention (e.g., Language!, Read 180, or TransMath); and transition services. While another 17 year old high school student with a disability may need instruction in grade-level standards (or Essentials Course Objectives); and an increased amount of transition services.

IEP11/3/2014 2:33 PMWhat are interventions and why are they strongly suggested for students who are performing substantially below grade level on general education standards?
No. The AAC does not allow for shortening the length of time for intervention strategies.
Intervention Strategies11/3/2014 2:47 PMCan interventions be done for four weeks if the school is on the block schedule?

Pages 3 and 5 explain how the Proportionate Share calculation amount (Item F. on pages 2 and 4) will be spent on parentally- placed students within your LEA. Determinations as to how funds will be spent and dollar amounts for those expenditures are determined during the "meaningful consultation" meeting held with the private schools within the LEA’s jurisdiction.

Proportionate Share11/4/2014 9:42 AMOn the PS document pages 3 and 5, I am very unsure of how to determine the dollar amounts for the items listed. Is this something that I need to complete or do I only need to complete pages 2 and 4?

A student may be referred for consideration for gifted services by teachers, counselors, administrators, parents or guardians, peers, self, and other individuals with knowledge of the student’s abilities.

Gifted11/5/2014 11:21 AMWho can refer a child for gifted services?

The public agency has 60 calendar days to complete the initial evaluation. Day one of the timeline is the day the public agency receives a signed Notice and Consent for Initial Evaluation form from the parent. The initial evaluation must be completed on or before day 60. SES uses the field Final Completion Date of All Evaluations to determine if the timeline was met. The public agency has 30 calendar days from the completion of the initial evaluation to determine eligibility. The public agency has 30 calendar days from eligibility determination to develop an IEP.

Referral11/5/2014 3:55 PMWhen does the 60 calendar day timeline begin?

The IEP Team makes the decision as to the specific assessment instruments which follow the evaluation criteria in the AAC. All five domains must be evaluated using a standardized, norm-referenced instrument(s). The IEP Team may choose to use a different instrument for each domain if a single instrument is not available. For students, ages 7-8, the IEP Team may have to use separate tests for each domain or consider another disability area.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMWhat assessment instruments may be used to determine eligibility for Developmental Delay for older students since many developmental scales do not go beyond age seven?

The following forms are required for the reevaluation process:

Notice of Proposed Meeting/ Consent for Agency Participation

This notice invites the parents to attend the IEP Team meeting. Indicate on the form that the purpose of the meeting is to determine if additional data are needed and, if appropriate, to determine continued eligibility.

Notice of IEP Team’s Decision Regarding Reevaluation

This notice informs parents of the IEP Team's decision regarding the need for additional data to determine continued eligibility.

Notice and Consent for Reevaluation (if appropriate)

This notice documents the parent’s consent for reevaluation or two attempts to obtain the parent’s consent is documented on the form.

Notice and Eligibility Decision Regarding Special Education Services

This form documents the IEP Team's or Eligibility Committee’s decision regarding continued eligibility. This form must be completed each time the student is reevaluated for continued eligibility.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMWhat forms are required for the reevaluation process?

Yes. It is a required evaluation as of July 19, 2007.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:47 AMIs an IEP Team required to conduct an adaptive behavior evaluation on all referrals of children suspected of having SLD to rule out Mental Retardation (MR) at an initial evaluation and reevaluation(s)?

Yes, a child may be determined eligible under the category of DD at age three. A child identified with a developmental delay must be reevaluated prior to his or her ninth birthday to determine continued eligibility for special education services.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMMay a student at any age up to nine years old be considered for eligibility in the area of Developmental Delay?

No.  A verbal-performance split at an initial evaluation, even one that is large enough to be extremely rare or statistically and clinically significant according to the test author, would be useful information, but insufficient evidence by itself to decide to use a nontraditional or nonverbal test.  Assessment instruments selected should be those that are best suited for the individual child and should provide the IEP Team with the most accurate information.  The decision to administer another cognitive ability test depends on whether or not the information obtained will provide new data that was not known from the administration of a previous assessment.

Assessment11/20/2014 9:18 AMIf a comprehensive traditional intelligence test is administered at initial evaluation, and the verbal score is higher than the performance score or the performance score is higher than the verbal score, must a nontraditional test be used at reevaluation?

The LEA where a child attends private school is responsible for ensuring equitable participation. If a parentally placed private school child also resides in that LEA, then the LEA would be responsible for making FAPE available to the child, unless the parent makes clear his or her intent to keep the child enrolled in the private elementary or secondary school located in the LEA. If a parentally placed private school child resides in a different LEA, the district in which the private elementary or secondary school is located is not responsible for making FAPE available to that child, but the LEA of the child's residence would be responsible for making FAPE available to that child.

If a determination is made through the child find process by the LEA where the private school is located that a child needs special education and related services and a parent makes clear his or her intent to keep the child enrolled in the private elementary or secondary school located in another LEA, the LEA where the child resides is not required to make FAPE available to the child. However, if the parents choose to accept the offer of FAPE and enroll the child in a public school, then the LEA where the child resides is obligated to make FAPE available to the child.

Private School4/14/2015 11:29 AMDoes the LEA where the private school is located have an obligation to make an offer of a free appropriate public education (FAPE)?

Students with disabilities are eligible to receive FAPE and services up to age 21 or until such time as the student earns a Alabama High School diploma, whichever occurs first.

Administrators10/24/2014 11:02 AMCan all students be limited to 12 years of services, or must services be provided up to age 21 to those with disabilities?

The IDEA does not specifically address the timing of the mediation process. However, mediation is intended to facilitate prompt resolution of disputes between parents and public agencies at the local level and decrease the use of more costly and divisive due process proceedings and civil litigation. 64 FR 12611 (March 12, 1999). Therefore, a State’s procedures governing mediation must ensure that: (1) the mediation process is not used to deny or delay a parent’s right to a hearing on the parent’s due process complaint, or to deny any other rights afforded under Part B of the IDEA; and (2) each session in the mediation process is scheduled in a timely manner. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(1)(ii) and (5). The length of the mediation process depends on a number of factors, including the type and complexity of issues presented, the availability of the parties, and the willingness of the parties to

cooperate. Also, the length of the mediation process will depend on the individual techniques used by the mediator. Unless the parties agree to an extension, the use of mediation may not affect the 30-day resolution period timeline or the 45-day due process hearing timeline established in 34 CFR §§300.510 and 300.515. Likewise, the use of mediation may not affect the 60-day State complaint resolution time limit established in 34 CFR §300.152(a) unless the parties agree to an extension. 34 CFR §300.152(b)(1)(ii).

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:12 AMHow long does the mediation process take?

It is most efficient to blend functional skills with academic skills. In other words, functional

skills can be taught to some students along with academic skills. Some functional skills,

however, will need to be taught separately. Students should have opportunities to practice

functional skills during academic instruction.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:30 AMHow are functional skills addressed in the IEP?

This should be an individual decision based on the content and the student's individual needs.

The IEP Team must consider how each unmastered skill impacts the student's progress in the general education curriculum when deciding goals from year to year. Needs that have the greatest impact on progress should be considered for further development through standards instruction and/or an intervention.

Progress is monitored by the Case Manager and reported to the parent(s). Lack of progress during an IEP implementation phase or from year to year should always be reported to the IEP Team and addressed by adjusting/adding services, adjusting/adding accommodations, or as a last resort, rethinking the goals.

IEP11/3/2014 2:33 PMHow should mastery for students with disabilities be addressed?

No, intervention strategies may be waived for this age group and for five-year-olds who have not been in kindergarten. See AAC290-8-9.01(4).

Intervention Strategies11/3/2014 2:48 PMAre intervention strategies required for three- and four-year-olds?

​Services for gifted students may vary between school systems. The Local Education Agency (LEA) Plan for Gifted outlines the services provided. Generally, services provided are:

  • Grades K-2-Consultative-Gifted specialists consult with classroom teachers to provide differentiated activities, lessons, or stations.
  • Grades 3-5/6-Pull-out Classes-Gifted specialists work with gifted students in a resource room for 3-5 hours per week through concept-based curriculum which incorporates, problem-based and service learning.
  • Grades 6/7-8-Pull-out, advanced classes, electives- this varies from school system to school system. Most systems provide services through advanced classes or advanced classes and electives.
  • Grades 9-12-Advanced classes, electives, counseling services for college and career preparation.  Advanced classes may include but are not limited to dual enrollment, International Baccalaureate (IB), Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), etc.

 

Gifted11/5/2014 11:20 AMWhat services are available to gifted students?

No, not a specific timeline, however, it should be acted on in a timely manner.

Referral11/5/2014 3:55 PMAfter the public agency receives a referral, is there a timeline between the receipt and the acceptance of the referral?

No. The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale is a standardized, norm-referenced measure of adaptive behavior skills only. The social, motor, and communication scores are subtests that comprise adaptive behavior on this instrument.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMMay the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale be used as a multi-domain instrument to evaluate motor, communication, social, and adaptive skills?

The Notice and Eligibility Decision Regarding Special Education Services is sufficient if all sections are completed accurately. This form is a notice and, therefore, meets the notice requirements, including other options considered, etc.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMDo we have to send the Notice and Eligibility Decision Regarding Special Education Services and the Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services every time we make an eligibility determination?

The public agency has 60 calendar days from the date the public agency receives a parent’s

signed consent to conduct and complete an initial evaluation.

Alabama Administrative Code11/6/2014 11:41 AMWhen does the 60-day timeline start?

Yes. However, the IEP Team may want to consider another area of disability since the student can no longer be eligible for DD at age nine. A student determined eligible for DD at age eight would have to go through the reevaluation process prior to the ninth birthday to determine eligibility for another area of disability in special education.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMMay a student who is eight years old be determined eligible for Developmental Delay as an initial eligibility decision and/or as a reevaluation decision?

Generally, a full-scale score is considered to be the best estimate of intellectual ability for the typical child.  However, splits between verbal, performance and nonverbal scores for children suspected of having a disability provide some evidence that the overall full-scale score may not be a good indicator of the child’s intellectual potential and additional testing may be indicated.  Some instruments have subtests that discriminate against a child with a disability.  For instance, a child with language deficits might be at a disadvantage if his intellectual ability is measured with a test that places heavy emphasis on verbal skills.  Many of the newer test instruments provide more than one total or full-scale score in a particular area.  Refer to the author’s manual to determine when and how certain scores should be used, for example performance measures are not the same as nonverbal measures because they measure different skills.  Matching the proper test with the child’s area of strength will usually result in a valid score acceptable for determining eligibility.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:25 AMWhen the split between verbal and performance scores is statistically significant or rare on tests of intellectual ability, is the full-scale score meaningless, or invalid, for determining eligibility?

An accurate count of the number of eligible private school children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private schools located in the LEA is needed to calculate the proportionate share of Part B funds that the LEA must expend annually for services for parentally placed private school children with disabilities.

Private School4/14/2015 11:57 AMWhy is it important to identify the number of parentally placed private school children with disabilities located in the LEA where the private school is located?

To answer this series of questions, we need to examine the definition of "parent" under the IDEA. For purposes of the IDEA rights and activities, "parent" is defined as follows:

(1) A biological or adoptive parent of a student;

(2) A foster parent, unless state law, regulations, or contractual obligations with a state or local entity prohibit a foster parent from acting as a parent;

(3) A guardian generally authorized to act as the student’s parent or authorized to make educational decisions for the student (but not the state if the student is a ward of the state);

(4) An individual acting in the place of a biological or adoptive parent (including a grandparent, stepparent, or other relative) with whom the student lives or an individual who is legally responsible for the student’s welfare; or,

(5) A surrogate parent who has been appointed for the student.

When the biological or adoptive parent is attempting to act as the parent for purposes of the IDEA rights and activities but there are others who also meet the definition and want to act as "parent," the law presumes that the biological or adoptive parent is the parent unless the biological or adoptive parent does not have legal authority to make educational decisions for the student.

If a judicial decree or order identifies a specific person or persons listed above to act as the "parent" of a student or to make educational decisions on behalf of the student, then that person or persons is deemed to be the "parent" for purposes of the IDEA.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:39 PMWho are “parents” under the IDEA? What about those who are divorced or have joint custody? When there is only one parent with custody, is that the only “parent” for purposes of IDEA protections?

The IDEA provides that each session in the mediation process must be held in a location that is convenient to the parties to the dispute. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(5). OSEP encourages the parties to work together to determine a convenient location for a mediation session that is acceptable to both parties. If the parties are comfortable with the location of the mediation session, it is more likely that they will work cooperatively to achieve a resolution of their dispute.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:15 AMDoes the IDEA address where mediation sessions are held?

Yes. IDEA requires benchmarks or short term objectives for students who take alternate

assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards. This means students who take the

AAA will have benchmarks for their IEP goals.

Benchmarks indicate the interim steps a student will take to reach an annual goal. They also

serve as a measurement gauge to monitor a student’s progress and determine if the child is

making sufficient progress towards attaining an annual goal (NICHY, Building the Legacy:

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 2004).

Benchmarks for AAA students describe (a) intermediate steps that the student will take to reach

the goal and/or (b) smaller steps of progress the student is expected to make toward the goal

within specified segments of the year.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:31 AMAre benchmarks required for students who take the AAA?

It depends on where the IEP Team pulls the information. If the child is in the sixth grade and the IEP Team uses prerequisites for a Grade 6 standard from the Curriculum Guide (which would be skills from Grade 5 and/or Grade 4) the references will be sixth-grade Curriculum Guide references. If the IEP Team uses information from fifth grade of the Curriculum Guide, the references will be fifth-grade Curriculum Guide references. If the IEP Team does the backwards map (which would be extra work since that is what is in the Curriculum Guide) there might be references from Grade 6 Course of Study standards, Grade 5 Course of Study standards, and/or Grade 4 Course of Study standards.

IEP11/3/2014 2:35 PMShould the standard the student is working toward or the lower grade-level standard (if a lower grade-level standard has been chosen) be cited when referencing the standard in the goal?

No. Referrals are to be received and acted upon year round by the public agency.

Referral11/5/2014 3:55 PMMay the public agency stop receiving referrals for special education evaluations in the spring?

Yes, if the consent was from another public agency in Alabama.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMIf you get consent for evaluation from a parent in one public agency and the student moves to another public agency, is the consent still in effect?

No. Reevaluations must be conducted at least every three years to determine continued eligibility. Three years from the signature date of the last eligibility report is the date by which each three-year reevaluation must be completed.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMDo the same timelines apply to reevaluations as initial referrals?

No. The aforementioned circumstances are not justification for failing to meet the 60-day timeline.

Alabama Administrative Code11/19/2014 1:45 PMOur school system contracts with a psychometrist who has limited availability to test students during the summer. Since public agencies may not limit referrals by the number per year or the time of year that referrals are accepted without a deadline, I ex

No. However, any member stating that the report does not reflect his or her conclusions must submit a separate statement presenting his or her conclusions.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMRegarding eligibility determination, does the IEP Team/Eligibility Committee decision have to be unanimous?

Yes.  If a scoring program or test manual for an intelligence test and the companion achievement test, such as the WISC-IV/WISC-V and the WIAT-III or WJ-III Tests of Cognitive Abilities and WJ-III NU Tests of Achievement, the predicted achievement values reported by the test authors may be used instead of the SDE predicted achievement tables.  It is important to note that the intelligence test must be matched to calculate predictive achievement values.

Assessment11/19/2014 10:46 AMWhen using scoring programs or test manuals for intelligence and/or achievement tests, predicted achievement values are sometimes reported.  The values reported in scoring programs or test manuals do not always match the discrepancy tables provided by the

The regulations in 34 CFR §300.132(c) require the LEA to maintain in its records and provide to the SEA the number of parentally placed private school children evaluated, the number of parentally placed private school children determined to be children with disabilities under Part B of the IDEA, and the number of children who are provided equitable services.

Private School4/14/2015 11:57 AMWhat specific child count information must the LEA maintain and report to the SEA?

A parent who is not the custodial parent does not lose his/her IDEA rights. As long as the noncustodial parent is a "biological parent" and there is no court order specifying someone else to be the "parent" for educational purposes, the noncustodial parent has the same right as the custodial parent to participate in meetings, receive important notices, etc., under the IDEA. So, if a noncustodial parent wants to be included by the school as a "parent" for purposes of IDEA rights, the school must include that parent, unless there is some sort of court order/decree that specifies otherwise.

9

There is no obligation on the part of the school to "seek out" noncustodial parents. If they wish to be involved non-custodial parents must make themselves known to the school.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:43 PMSo, in the case of divorced parents, does the noncustodial parent have any IDEA rights, such as the right to participate in the child’s education and to attend IEP meetings?

The IDEA does not address who may accompany a party at the mediation session. Because successful mediation often requires that both parties understand and feel satisfied with the plan for conducting a mediation session, it is a best practice to discuss and disclose who, if anyone, will be accompanying the party at the mediation session prior to that session. Because mediation is voluntary on the part of the parties, either party has the right not to participate for any reason, including if the party objects to the person the other party wishes to bring to the mediation session. This could include a party’s objection to the attendance of an attorney representing either the parent or the public agency. For example, if the parent wishes to bring an attorney to the mediation session and the LEA objects, the parent may choose not to participate.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:16 AMWho may participate in, or attend, the mediation session? May parents or public agencies bring their attorneys to mediation sessions and, if so, under what circumstances?

No. Complexity 3 is the same as the extended standard. Always begin by considering

complexity 3. If the student is unable to work at complexity 3, consider complexity 2, then 1.

Complexity 4 should be considered for any student who has achieved complexity 3 or above.

The extended standards were developed at four levels of complexity to provide all

students the opportunity to progress toward state standards while beginning at each

student’s present level of performance. The IEP Team should discuss the student’s strengths and

needs in relation to the extended standards for each subject and base the level of complexity on

the student’s present level of performance.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:31 AMDo all students have to attempt the extended standards at complexity 3?

Yes, a student may be twice exceptional (2e) if they have a disability area identified and are identified gifted. Sometimes the disbability masks the giftedness, and sometimes the giftedness masks the disability.

Gifted3/31/2015 6:48 AMCan a student be gifted and disabled?

Yes. The public agency must receive a referral from a parent when submitted. Once submitted, an IEP Team meeting is scheduled to discuss the referral. The parent is a member of the IEP Team and must be invited to participate in this meeting. The IEP Team reviews the referral and existing data and determines if there is a need for an evaluation.

Referral11/5/2014 3:56 PMMust the public agency receive a referral from a parent when there is no clear evidence of a problem?

The referral-to-placement process continues in the summer. The public agency may need to make arrangements to have personnel available during the summer months to serve on IEP Teams and Eligibility Committees in the event referrals are received during the summer and consent to begin the evaluation process is received from the parent.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMDo evaluations have to be conducted in the summer?

The date the Eligibility Committee or IEP Team met to determine that the student was no longer eligible for special education services.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMIn the “student no longer eligible for services” date field in STISETS, what date will go in that box?

The vision or hearing problem must be corrected prior to proceeding with evaluations that

rely on visual or auditory acuity.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:45 AMIf a child fails a vision and/or hearing screening and we exhaust all avenues to get it corrected may we proceed with evaluations if it is going to go over the 60-day timeline?

Eligibility determination is a team decision. Any member in disagreement may sign in the appropriate place on the eligibility report and attach a dissenting statement.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMWhat is the process if there is dissension among the IEP Team/Eligibility Committee members regarding eligibility determination?

 

At the beginning of each school year, each public agency must have in effect, for eachstudent with a disability within its jurisdiction, an IEP.

•A meeting to develop an IEP for a student is conducted within 30 days of a determinationthat the student needs special education and related services; and

•As soon as possible following development of the IEP, special education and relatedservices are made available to the student in accordance with the student’s IEP. The IEPmay be developed at the same meeting at which eligibility is determined, as long as priorwritten notice was provided.

•For a child transitioning from early intervention, an IEP must be developed andimplemented on the child’s third birthday.

IEP11/10/2014 11:05 AMWhen must an IEP be in effect for a student with a disability?

Examiner qualifications are described in test manuals and may vary from one test to another.  The IEP Team should refer to the examiner qualifications for each specific test and match the qualifications with the examiner whether it is a paraprofessional or a teacher in the regular classroom.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:27 AMShould paraprofessionals administer achievement tests?

The LEA where the private elementary school or secondary school is located is responsible for conducting reevaluations of children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in the private elementary schools and secondary schools located in the LEA.  Under 34 CFR §300.303, an LEA must ensure that a reevaluation of each child with a disability is conducted if (1) the LEA determines that the child’s educational or related services needs, in light of the child’s academic achievement and functional performance, warrant a reevaluation; or (2) the child’s parent or teacher requests a reevaluation.  A reevaluation may occur not more than once a year, unless the parent and LEA agree otherwise; and must occur at least once every three years, unless the parent and LEA agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary.

Private School4/14/2015 1:42 PMWhat are the LEA’s responsibilities for reevaluations of parentally placed children?

Individuals "acting in place of" the biological or adoptive parent may be treated as the parent under the IDEA if there is no known biological or adoptive parent who wishes to act as the parent, and the student lives with that relative, and/or parental rights have been removed from the biological parent/s. Thus, it is legally acceptable for the school to deal with the relative as a "parent," unless and until a biological or adoptive parent appears and wants to assume the role of parent under the IDEA.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:47 PMWhat if the only “parent” the school has dealt with is the student’s grandmother or other relative?

The IDEA does not address whether the child who is the subject of the mediation can attend the mediation session; therefore, a parent may choose to have his or her child present for all or part of the mediation session. The age and maturity of the child should be considered in determining the appropriateness of having the child attend the mediation with his or her parent. For some youth with disabilities, observing and even participating in

the mediation may be a self-empowering experience where they can learn to advocate for themselves. Also, if a State provides that all rights accorded to parents under the IDEA transfer to the student who has reached the age of majority consistent with 34 CFR §300.520, then the right to participate in mediation would also transfer to the student.

 

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:16 AMMay a child with a disability who is the subject of the mediation process attend the mediation session with his or her parent?

Yes. The extended standards are the course of study for students with significant cognitive

disabilities and are required each year from Kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:31 AMNo. Complexity 3 is the same as the extended standard. Always begin by considering

​According to the Alabama Administrative Code, "

Student will not be required to make up missed class work."

Gifted11/5/2014 11:24 AMWhat if my gifted child misses classwork in the general education classroom while attending gifted pull-out class?

If the IEP Team determines that the student does not need to be evaluated for special education services, the Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services form must be used to document the IEP Team’s decision not to accept the referral for evaluation and a copy must be given to the parent and student (age 19 and older).

Referral11/5/2014 3:56 PMWhat happens if the IEP Team determines that the referral is not substantiated?

It is not the responsibility of the parent to obtain follow-up evaluations from hearing or eye specialists. It is the responsibility of the public agency to schedule, arrange, and secure any necessary follow-up.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMHow long may the public agency wait for the parent to obtain a follow-up evaluation on a vision or hearing screening failure?

No. All required evaluation data used to determine eligibility status must be documented as well as any existing data collected since the last reevaluation that current data to documents the student continues to remain eligible. Remember, at reevaluation time you are documenting that the student continues to be eligible, not that he or she was eligible three years ago.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMIf no additional data are needed for continued eligibility, do we just put the old data on a new eligibility form and sign and date it?

Yes. The public agency may also call upon nonprofit organizations that may help a student

in need of eyewear.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:45 AMIs the public agency responsible for purchasing eyewear to correct vision problems prior to continuing testing for eligibility if the parent/guardian has not taken action to correct vision problems?

If the parent makes the request to remove the child from special education, the LEA must obtain a signed Notice of Revocation of Consent for Continued Provision of Special Education and Related Services and provide notice to the parent before ceasing services.

If a teacher makes the request for a student to be exited from special education, the request must be forwarded to the IEP Team for resolution. The IEP Team/Eligibility Committee must meet to consider eligibility or ineligibility for special education by following Process Chart 2. If it is determined that the student is no longer eligible for special education services, an eligibility report is completed and the student is exited from special education. However, if the IEP Team/Eligibility Committee finds that the student continues to be eligible for special education services, the student continues to receive special education and related services.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMHow does the LEA respond when a parent or teacher requests that a student be removed from special education?

The public agency must ensure that the IEP Team for each child with a disability includes the following:

a)The parents of a child with disability.

b)Not less than one regular education teacher of the child if the child is, or may be,participating in the regular education environment. The regular education teachermust, to the extent appropriate, participate in the development, review, and revision ofthe child’s IEP, including assisting in the determination of appropriate positivebehavioral interventions and supports and other strategies for the child and thedetermination of supplementary aids and services program modifications, andsupports for school personnel.

c)Not less than one special education teacher of the child, or where appropriate, not lessthan one special education provider of the child.

d)A representative of the public agency who:

1.Is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instructionto meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.

2.Is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum.

3.Is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency. Thepublic agency may designate an LEA member of the IEP Team to also serve as thepublic agency representative, if the criteria for serving as a public agencyrepresentative are met.

4.Has the authority to commit agency resources and be able to ensure that IEPservices will be provided.

e)An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results,who may be a member of the team described in sections (b) through (d) above.

f)At the discretion of the parent or the agency, other individuals who have knowledge orspecial expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel, asappropriate. The determination of the knowledge or special expertise of any individualis made by the party who invites the individual to be a member of the IEP Team.

g)Whenever appropriate, the student with a disability.

h)Secondary Transition Services Participants. In addition to the participants specified in(a) through (f) above, if a purpose of the meeting is the consideration of thepostsecondary goals for the child and the transition services needed to assist the childin reaching those goals, the public agency must invite the child and, with the consentof the parents or a child who has reached the age of majority, a representative of anyother agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transitionservices. If the child does not attend the IEP Team meeting, the public agency must

take other steps to ensure that the child’s preferences and interests are considered.

i) Early Intervention Representatives. In the case of a child who was previously served under Part C/Early Intervention (EI), an invitation to the initial IEP Team meeting must, at the request of the parent, be sent to the EI service coordinator or other representatives in the EI system to assist with the smooth transition of services.

IEP11/10/2014 11:06 AMWho are the required members of an IEP Team?

Relevant factors in making decisions about the need for a new intelligence test(s) and/or achievement test(s) at reevaluation include stability of previous tests, consideration of evaluation data in other areas, for example general behavior, behavior in the classroom and other environmental impact of economic concerns and social factors.  General questions that should be used by the IEP Team when planning the reevaluation include: (a) After a comprehensive review of existing data, what additional data, if any, are needed? (b) Does this student continue to have a disability requiring special education? (c) Is the child's current IEP and special education program effective? (d) What, if any, changes in instruction, placement, etc., are needed to help the child attain appropriate goals and participate in the regular education class.  Review of existing data include assessment results from school records, previous evaluations, and ongoing observations and data collection, for example initial evaluation data, classroom assessment data, continuous curriculum-based evaluations, assessment data and changes in circumstances.

Assessment11/19/2014 10:47 AMWhat are discussion points for determining if a new intelligence test(s) and/or achievement tests(s) needs to be administered when a child is reevaluated in the area of Intellectual Disability (ID), Specific Learning Disability (SLD), and/or Emotional Dis

The child find provision in 34 CFR §300.111 addresses the responsibility of a State to conduct child find for all children with disabilities residing in the State, including children with disabilities attending private schools.  It ensures that all children with disabilities residing in the State are identified, located, and evaluated.  Section 300.111, which applies to States, is much broader in scope than §300.131. 

The child find provision in 34 CFR §300.131 addresses the responsibility of the LEA where the private school is located to conduct child find for all children with disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in private, including religious, elementary schools and secondary schools located in the LEA.  This provision addresses which children enrolled in private elementary schools and secondary schools by their parents are eligible to receive services under the IDEA.   

Private School4/14/2015 11:58 AMWhat is the difference between child find under 34 CFR §§300.111 and 300.131?

When the rights of the biological or adoptive parents have been terminated and the student is placed in a foster home, the foster parent can act as the parent under the IDEA. However, if there is a known biological or adoptive parent whose rights have not been terminated who is still involved in the student’s life who wants to assert his/her parent rights and be treated as the parent under the IDEA, the school must work with the biological parent as the "parent" under the IDEA, even if the student lives with the foster parent and the foster parent knows the student better. The presumption under the law is that when a biological or adoptive parent that wishes to participate as the "parent" under the IDEA, that biological or adoptive parent maintains the IDEA rights.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:49 PMWhat about a foster parent? Can the foster parent be the “parent” under IDEA?

As noted previously, the IDEA and its implementing regulations do not allow a public agency to require a parent to participate in mediation because mediation is voluntary. However, a public agency may establish procedures to offer parents and schools that choose not to use the mediation process an opportunity to meet, at a time and location convenient to the parents, with a disinterested third party: (1) who is under contract with an appropriate alternative dispute resolution entity, or a parent training and information center or community parent resource center in the State established under section 671 or 672 of the IDEA; and (2) who would explain the benefits of, and encourage the use of, the mediation process to the parents. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(2). Public agencies that choose to establish these procedures must make clear to parents and schools that they have the opportunity to participate in the meeting with the disinterested third party, but that their participation is voluntary. The disinterested third party would explain the benefits of mediation, including that it is voluntary, and if successful, could result in the resolution of the dispute without the need to use more formal, costly, and adversarial due process proceedings.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:17 AMWhat options are available if a parent declines a public agency’s request to engage in mediation?

After twelfth grade, when students stay in school to age 21, the IEP Team determines the reading

and math content that can be used to address the student’s transition from high school to adult

life. This selected reading and math content might be from the extended standards or it might be

content not included in the extended standards. The IEP Team addresses reading and math

content in the context of preparing the student for adult life and the post school outcomes of

work and/or independent living.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:32 AMWhat is the required academic content for students with significant cognitive disabilities

​Yes. Each school system is required to have state approved acceleration procedures.

Gifted11/5/2014 11:27 AMCan a student be subject or grade accelerated in Alabama?

Yes. It is a requirement that the public agency keep documentation on all students who are referred for an evaluation for special education, even if it was determined by the IEP Team that an evaluation was not necessary at that time. The public agency should keep the original referral form and a copy of the Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services form to document the process.

Referral11/5/2014 3:56 PMMust the public agency keep documentation on a student who is not going to be evaluated?

The public agency will be overdue with the timeline. An exception is when the parent repeatedly fails or refuses to produce the student for the evaluation. Follow-up evaluations must be completed when a student fails a vision or hearing screening. Every effort must be made to complete all evaluations within the 60-day timeline. If there are delays, the actions taken to obtain evaluation, should be documented in the student's record. Use the Annotate process in STISETS for this documentation.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMWhat if a failure in vision and/or hearing screening causes the evaluation process to exceed the 60 calendar day timeline?

No, not automatically. It may be necessary to review the IEP and make changes based on continued eligibility. The IEP Team decides if the IEP needs to be reviewed. If changes need to be made, the IEP Team should go to the process with the current IEP to make changes.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMAfter the eligibility meeting is held for continued eligibility, must the IEP be reviewed?

The public agency, if the parent does not agree to assist.

Alabama Administrative Code11/6/2014 11:41 AMWho is responsible for transporting the student to and from the eye care professional?

Yes, transition services are not required if the incarcerated individual’s eligibility for services will end, because of his or her age, prior to his/her release from prison based on consideration of his or her sentence and eligibility for early release.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMAre there eligibility exceptions to the transition requirements for incarcerated students in adult prisons?

A member of the IEP Team is not required to attend an IEP Team meeting, in whole or in part, if the parent of a student with a disability or student (age 19 or older) and the public agency agree, in writing, that the attendance of the member is not necessary because the member’s area of the curriculum or related services is not being modified or discussed at the meeting.

A member of the IEP Team may be excused from attending an IEP Team meeting, in whole or in part, when the meeting involves a modification to or discussion of the member’s area of the curriculum or related services, if the parent, or student (age 19 or older), and the public agency consent to the excusal in writing; and the member submits, in writing to the parent or student (age 19 or older) and the IEP Team, input into the development of the IEP prior to obtaining consent for the excusal of the IEP Team member.

IEP11/10/2014 11:07 AMMust those invited to the IEP Team meeting be present for the entire IEP meeting?

No.  If the IEP Team determines that no additional data are needed to make a decision about the child’s status, then a new test would not be needed even though a revised version of the test is available.  If the IEP Team determines that additional data are needed because the child’s status may be different, or the IEP Team is not sure of the status, the revised version of the test is appropriate since it will have the most up-to-date norms. 

Assessment11/14/2014 10:29 AMIf a particular test is administered to a child, and a revised version of the test is available at the next reevaluation, must the revised test be administered simply because there is a new version of the test available?

No.  There is a distinction under the IDEA between the obligation to conduct child find activities, including individual evaluations, for parentally placed private school children with disabilities, and the obligation to use an amount of funds equal to a proportionate amount of an LEA’s subgrant to provide special education and related services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities.  The obligation to conduct child find, including individual evaluations, exists independently from the obligation to provide equitable services.  The costs of child find activities, such as evaluations, may not be considered in determining whether the LEA has spent an appropriate amount on providing special education and related services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities.  See 34 CFR §300.131(d).

Private School4/14/2015 11:59 AMMay amounts expended for child find, including individual evaluations, be deducted from the required amount of Federal funds to be expended on services for parentally placed private school children with disabilities?

A DHR caseworker is NOT a "parent" for purposes of the IDEA. DHR is a state agency and its representatives may not serve or sign as "parents" under the IDEA.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:05 PMWhat about the situation where a Department of Human Resources (DHR) caseworker wants to sign as the consenting parent for evaluations and special education services?

Yes. Under 34 CFR §300.704(b)(3)(ii), some portion of the funds the SEA reserves for other State-level activities must be used to establish and implement the mediation process required by section 615(e) of the IDEA and 34 CFR §300.506, including providing for the costs of mediators and support personnel. This can also include the recruitment and training of mediators.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:18 AMMay a State use IDEA funds for recruitment and training of mediators?

Most students, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, take the Alabama

Direct Assessment of Writing.

If the IEP Team determines a student with a significant cognitive disability is unable to

participate in the Alabama Direct Assessment of Writing, the writing portion of the

Brigance Inventory of Early Development (i.e., the Yellow Brigance) is used as an

alternate.

The OWLS Written Expression (WE) Scale or the Test of Written Language (TOWL) may be

used in rare instances as an alternate for students with disabilities who are unable to participate in

the Alabama Direct Assessment of Writing for reasons other than having a significant cognitive

disability.

The Yellow Brigance is the only alternate writing assessment appropriate for measuring the prewriting

skills of students with significant cognitive disabilities who are unable to take the regular

state assessment.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:32 AMWhat alternate assessment is used in place of the Alabama Direct Assessment of Writing?

​Yes.  Giftedness can mask learning problems or disabilities.

Gifted11/5/2014 11:39 AMCan a gifted student who is struggling in a content area be referred to the Problem-Solving Team or for Special Education?

There are no plans to add the two items to STISETS. The forms are designed to be used in situations where computer access may not be available (i.e., daycare centers) or where it would be awkward to use a computer (i.e., during a parent interview).

Referral11/5/2014 3:57 PMWill the Natural Environment Observation/ELPP Documentation and Family Focus Interview/ELPP Documentation be added to STISETS?

If the items are necessary to complete the required evaluations and for the student to receive FAPE, then it is the responsibility of the public agency to ensure that corrective measures are provided. When corrective measures (i.e., glasses, hearing aids, or other appropriate remediation) are indicated, these must be provided before any further evaluations are attempted to ensure valid results. The cost for any evaluations and/or corrective measures becomes the responsibility of the public agency. The public agency may contact other local agencies for assistance in providing glasses/hearing aids (Children's Rehabilitation Services, Lion's Club, etc.).

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMDoes the public agency have the responsibility to obtain hearing aids or glasses that are recommended by a specialist?

It is an IEP Team decision. The reevaluation process must be completed. The IEP Team may use existing data to dismiss the student. Current data must be included on the eligibility report to support the decision.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMIf a child is aging out of Developmental Delay (DD), is it required that we do further testing to determine that the student is no longer eligible or can we use DIBELS scores and grades to make the determination that he/she is no longer eligible?

Only vision and hearing screening results may be used for eligibility purposes. Other

screenings may be reported as information on the eligibility report, but are not considered

an evaluation for eligibility for special education and related services. Bottom line: a

screening test cannot take the place of a required evaluation.

Alabama Administrative Code11/6/2014 11:42 AMMay we use screening results for eligibility evaluation purposes?

Multiple Disabilities means concomitant impairments (such as intellectual disability-blindness, or intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMIs it true that the Multiple Disabilities exceptionality is intended only for children who have severe and profound disabilities or can it mean merely those who qualify for two or more disability areas?

No. Only the required public agency IEP Team members must have written consent to be excused from the IEP Team meeting. The required public agency IEP Team members are as follows:

• Not less than one regular education teacher of the student (if the student is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment).

• Not less than one special education teacher of the student, or where appropriate, not less than one special education provider of the student.

• A representative of the public agency who-

Is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities; Is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum; Is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency; has the authority to commit agency resources and be able to ensure that IEP services will be provided.

A public agency may designate a public agency member of the IEP Team to also serve as the agency representative, if the above criteria are satisfied.

• An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results, who may already be one of the above mentioned IEP Team members. The IEP Team is encouraged to seek input from service providers who do not attend. Each public agency must ensure the student’s IEP is accessible to each service provider who is responsible for its implementation and is informed of his or her specific responsibilities related to the implementation of the student’s IEP; and, the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided for the student in accordance with the IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 11:08 AMIf service providers such as Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Physical Therapists (PTs) cannot attend the IEP Team meeting, do they have to get consent in writing to be excused from IEP Team meetings?

No. A current age-appropriate measure is not required at reevaluation if the child is no longer within the age range from a previous administration.  In other words, the primary factor for the IEP Team to consider is the need for current data but not based on the fact that the child is now out of the age range.  The IEP Team should review all relevant information and existing data, including but not limited to: other tests administered in the years following initial evaluation; continuous academic performance data; school records; work samples; classroom behavior; state assessment data; and information from teachers and parents to identify what additional data, if any, are needed.  If the IEP Team determines that no additional data are needed to make a decision about the child’s status, then a more current test/rating scale would not be needed even if the child is out of the age range from the previous evaluation.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:30 AMIf a test or rating scale (achievement, intellectual, or behavior) with an age range of 5-12 years was administered to a child at age 11 and the child is age 14 at the three-year evaluation, must a new test or rating scale be administered?

No.  The LEA where private elementary schools and secondary schools are located must identify and evaluate all children enrolled in those schools who are suspected of having a disability as defined under 34 CFR §300.8.  LEAs may not exclude children suspected of having certain disabilities, such as those with specific learning disabilities, from their child find activities.  The Department recommends that LEAs consult with officials from private elementary schools and secondary schools on how best to implement the State’s evaluation criteria for identifying children with specific learning disabilities enrolled in private schools by their parents.

Private School4/14/2015 1:41 PMIn conducting the individual evaluations of children suspected of having disabilities who are enrolled in private schools by their parents, may an LEA exclude children suspected of having certain disabilities, such as those with specific learning disabili

The parent is allowed to invite anyone to an IEP meeting to participate. However, since there is still a biological parent "on the scene" and the school is aware of this, anything that requires parental consent will have to be presented to the biological or adoptive parent. For example, if

the

district wants to conduct an evaluation, the mother’s boyfriend cannot consent. While the boyfriend may participate in meetings, etc., he is not the "parent," and the school will need to get the parent to consent to the evaluation, placement, etc.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:58 PMWhat if the biological parent wants to send someone to an IEP meeting in his/her place, such as a boyfriend who lives with the mother?

The IDEA provides that the State must bear the cost of the mediation process required under section 615(e) of the IDEA and 34 CFR §300.506, including the fee charged by the mediator and the costs of meetings described in 34 CFR §300.506(b)(2) to discuss the benefits of the mediation process. Therefore, States may not require their LEAs to use Part B funds to pay the costs of mediation. 71 FR 46624 (August 14, 2006). In addition, the IDEA does not allow States that choose to make mediation available to parties other

than parents or offer mediation on matters not addressed in the IDEA to use IDEA funds for those activities.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:19 AMWho pays for the mediation process?

Any student that qualifies for services under the IDEA is entitled to assistive technology if it is

needed to assist the student in benefiting from special education.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:33 AMMay students working on extended standards use assistive technology?

​No. Gifted is not one of the disability areas recognized under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). 

Gifted3/31/2015 6:44 AMIs an identified gifted student afforded all the same rights as an identified IDEA special education student?

No. If an evaluation is necessary for an out-of-state transfer it is an initial evaluation. An evaluation for an out-of-state student will be documented in the Referral Process. If an evaluation is necessary for in-state transfer for students who are already IDEA eligible, it is a reevaluation. An evaluation for in-state transfers will be documented in the Reevaluation Process.

Referral11/5/2014 3:58 PMWill STISETS have special transfer forms for out-of-state students in the transfer process?

Not necessarily. It would not be necessary to administer further evaluations for vision or hearing unless the IEP Team determines that conditions warrant a more current evaluation. The results of vision and hearing screenings and any follow-up must be documented on the eligibility report.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMAt the three-year reevaluation, is a vision and hearing screening required?

LEAs have been discouraged from indicating secondary disability areas on the eligibility report since 1997. However, if the LEA where you work has persisted in adding secondary disability areas and SLI was actually indicated on the eligibility form as a secondary disability area, you must exit through the eligibility process. If SLI services were added through the IEP process and not as a secondary disability area, you must exit through the IEP process.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMCan secondary SLI be discontinued in the profile page without a new eligibility form?

If the student is in Grades K-12, an observation in a structured (academic) environment and

an observation in an unstructured (nonacademic) environment are required. If the student

is a preschooler, an observation in a natural setting is required.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:45 AMPlease explain what observation(s) are required for a student suspected of having an Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Yes, a new eligibility report must be completed each time the student is reevaluated for continued eligibility.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMDo we need to do a new eligibility report if we need to add something?

Any representative of the public agency who:

• Is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.

• Is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum.

• Is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency.

• Has the authority to commit agency resources and ensure that IEP services are provided.

A public agency may designate a public agency member of the IEP Team to serve as the agency representative, if the above criteria are satisfied.

IEP11/10/2014 11:09 AMWho can serve as a public agency representative?

There is no specific rule prohibiting paraprofessionals from conducting observations.  The IEP Team should make the decision if it would be appropriate based on each individual situation, such as, the problems exhibited by the child and the skill/training of the paraprofessional for conducting and documenting an appropriate observation.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:31 AMShould paraprofessionals be allowed to conduct observations for initial eligibility and/or for reevaluations?

Parents would request an IEE from the LEA that conducted the evaluation with which the parents disagree.

Private School4/14/2015 11:59 AMIf the LEA where the private elementary or secondary school is located conducts an individual evaluation on a child and the parents disagree with the evaluation and wish to have an independent educational evaluation (IEE) conducted, to which LEA must the

Incarcerated parents are still the biological or adoptive parents unless their rights have been legally terminated. Thus, the school must send notices to incarcerated parents in this situation. If a parent’s educational decision-making rights have not been revoked and the Department of Corrections allows for their participation, parents may participate by phone or by providing written input.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:59 PMHow do we proceed with the special education process or obtain consent from the parent/s if the parent/s is incarcerated and his/her parental rights are not revoked?

The success of mediation is closely related to the mediator’s ability to obtain the trust of both parties and commitment to the process. 64 FR 12612 (March 12, 1999). One important way to establish this trust is the selection of a qualified and impartial mediator. To build trust and commitment in the process of selecting a mediator, the IDEA provides several mechanisms for selecting a mediator. The State must maintain a list of individuals who are qualified mediators and knowledgeable in laws and regulations related to the provision of special education and related services. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(3)(i). The State must select a mediator from this list on a random, rotational, or some other impartial basis. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(3)(ii). The State’s selection of mediators on an impartial basis would include permitting the parties involved in a dispute to agree on a mediator. 71 FR 46695 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:20 AMHow is a mediator selected?

Yes. Articulation goals should be related to academic standards in areas such as reading and

language arts.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:33 AMDo students who are receiving Speech/Language services in the area of articulation need to

The most appropriate time would be at the referral meeting with the parent and the rest of the IEP Team.

Referral11/5/2014 3:58 PMWhat is the best time during the referral process to obtain an ECEC Checklist?

A functional vision/auditory response screener is appropriate if the student:

• Fails the vision/hearing screening and rescreening is unwarranted due to the functioning level of the student.

• Cannot follow directions.

• Is unable to be conditioned for the testing situation.

• Is unable to adapt to the screening situation.

• Refuses to cooperate in the screening situation.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMWhen is it appropriate to administer a functional vision or hearing screener?

If a student with a disability (who had an IEP that was in effect in a previous public agency in Alabama) transfers to a new public agency in Alabama and enrolls in a new school within the same school year, the new public agency (in consultation with the parents) must provide FAPE to the student (including services comparable to those described in the student’s IEP from the previous public agency), until the new public agency either:

• Adopts the student’s IEP from the previous public agency; or

• Develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMWhen a student transfers from another public agency within the state do you have to honor the IEP from the other agency?

Yes.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:44 AMWhen evaluating a preschool age child for Autism, only one observation and one structured interview is required. Can the Natural Environment Survey be used in place of an actual observation?

In hard copy forms and in STISETS, on the parent signature line write, "parent participated by phone."

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMHow do we document parent participation in a meeting if they participated by phone?

A representative of the public agency should be in attendance for each annual IEP Team meeting. However, according to the excusal clause a public agency representative is a member who may be excused. SES highly recommends that public agency representatives attend all IEP Team meetings.

IEP11/10/2014 11:10 AMMust there be a public agency representative present at each IEP Team meeting?

Tests administered within the past year are considered current for initial evaluations and may be used to calculate a severe discrepancy.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:32 AMCan an intelligence test administered within the past year be used with a current achievement test to calculate a severe discrepancy for Specific Learning Disability (SLD)?

Equitable services are services provided to parentally placed private school children with disabilities in accordance with the provisions in the IDEA and its implementing regulations in 34 CFR §§300.130 through 300.144.  

Under the IDEA, LEAs have an obligation to provide parentally placed private school children with disabilities an opportunity for equitable participation in the services funded with Federal Part B funds that the LEA has determined, after consultation, to make available to its population of parentally placed private school children with disabilities.  The amount of Part B funds available for these services is based on the proportionate share calculation, which is discussed in the Expenditures section of this document, 

The consultation process is important to ensure the provision of equitable services.  How, where, and by whom special education and related services will be provided for parentally placed private school children with disabilities is determined during the consultation process.  See 34 CFR §300.134(d).

Equitable services for a parentally placed private school child with a disability must be provided in accordance with a services plan.  A services plan must describe the specific special education and related services that will be provided to a parentally placed private school child with disabilities designated to receive services.  See 34 CFR §300.138(b).  The regulations in 34 CFR §300.137(a) explicitly provide that children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private schools do not have an individual right to receive some or all of the special education and related services they would receive if enrolled in the public schools.

Private School4/14/2015 12:00 PMWhat is the definition of the term “equitable services”?

A surrogate parent is a person appointed by the school district to represent the interests of a student with a disability in the educational decision-making process when no parent is known and the school district, after reasonable efforts, cannot locate the student’s parents. In addition, a surrogate would be appointed for a student who is a ward of the state because parental rights have been terminated.

Once a surrogate has been properly appointed, the surrogate has all of the rights and responsibilities of a parent under the IDEA, which includes the opportunity to participate in meetings regarding the identification, evaluation, educational placement, and provision of FAPE to the student. This includes being part of all meetings to address evaluation, eligibility, and educational placement; having their concerns and information considered in developing and reviewing a student’s IEP; and being regularly informed of the student’s progress toward annual IEP goals.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:00 PMWhat is a surrogate parent, and what are a surrogate’s rights and responsibilities?

No. The mediation process required under the IDEA specifies that the mediation is conducted by a qualified and impartial mediator who is trained in effective mediation techniques. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(1)(iii). The use of a single mediator is important to ensure clear communication and accountability. 64 FR 12611-12612 (March 12, 1999). Therefore, it is impermissible for States to use a panel of mediators to resolve disputes between parents and public agencies involving matters arising under 34 CFR part 300.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:20 AMMay more than one mediator be selected to conduct mediation under the IDEA?

NCLB requires students to be tested on grade-level general education standards or alternate

achievement standards (extended standards) that are linked to the grade-level general education

standards. The AAA is based on a body of evidence created with documentation of student

performance on the extended standards. Teachers must teach and gather evidence on the gradelevel

extended standards in order to test the grade-level extended standards.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:33 AMWhy are the extended standards for the student’s grade of enrollment required?

The referral process.

Referral11/5/2014 3:58 PMWhat process do you use for an out-of-state transfer that meets Alabama criteria?

Yes. If the screening has been done within one year, the results may be used for an initial evaluation. If there is a question about hearing or vision, a screening will need to be repeated before the other assessments are administered and/or completed to ensure that results obtained are valid.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMCan a public agency use results from mass vision and hearing screening for initial eligibility purposes?

If a student with a disability was receiving special education and related services pursuant to an IEP in a previous public agency, even if that public agency failed to meet the annual review requirements, and transfers to a new public agency in the same state and enrolls in a new school within the same school year, the new public agency (in consultation with the parents) must provide FAPE to the student (including services comparable to those described in the student’s IEP from the previous public agency), until the new public agency either:

• Adopts the student’s IEP from the previous public agency; or

• Develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP.

Reevaluation11/19/2014 10:04 AMWhat if a student whose IEP has not been subject to a timely annual review, but who continues to receive services under that IEP, transfers to another public agency in the same state? Is the new public agency required to provide FAPE from the time the stu

Authors of behavior rating scales often use different terminology to report their findings.

Therefore, the terms Total and Composite in the AAC can best be understood in general

terms. Total means the overall score of all items on a rating scale. Some authors use

various terms to indicate the overall score (e.g., Index, Quotient or sometimes Composite).

A composite score generally refers to two or more subtest or subscale scores. However, on

some rating scales what is termed a subscale may actually be considered a composite on

another scale if it is independent or a stand-alone scale. On other rating scales a cluster of

subscales may constitute a composite in the loose sense of the word. In all cases, consult

the author’s manual to determine the appropriate use of the Total, Composite and/or

Subscale scores. Be prepared to justify the scores used to make the decision on the

eligibility report and/or in a Due Process Hearing (DPH).

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:44 AMWhat guidance can the SDE give for using “Total, Composite and/or Subscale” scores related to behavior rating scales for Emotional Disturbance (ED) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) eligibility determination?

If the parent said they were going to participate in the meeting by phone and did not participate, document that the parent was unavailable by phone.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMHow do we document the parent chose to participate by phone, but at the time of meeting they did not answer the phone?

A regular education teacher who has knowledge of the general education curriculum for the grade the student will be in during the implementation of the IEP and who may be a regular education teacher of the student (if the student is or may be participating in the regular education environment) should participate as a team member in the development, review, and revision of the IEP. If more than one regular education teacher will be working with the student, the public agency representative may designate who will attend the meeting. The IEP Team is encouraged to seek input from teachers who do not attend. Each public agency must ensure that the student’s IEP is accessible to each regular education teacher who is responsible for its implementation and each teacher is informed of his or her specific responsibilities related to implementing the student’s IEP; and the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided for the student in accordance with the IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 11:10 AMWhich regular education teachers should attend the IEP Team meeting?

The Eligibility Committee and/or IEP Team should consider the following relevant factors when determining that intellectual ability is not the primary cause for learning problems: behavior rating scale results; observations; interviews with parents and teachers; school history; and any additional data or documentation that would suggest a relationship between the child’s learning problems and emotional/behavior problems.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:32 AMWhat are discussion points for determining that cognitive ability is not the primary cause for occurring problems when considering ED?

The regulations in 34 CFR §300.138(c) clarify that equitable services must be provided by employees of a public agency; or through contract by the public agency with an individual, association, agency, organization, or other entity.  An LEA may use Part B funds to make public school personnel available in non-public facilities to the extent necessary to provide equitable services for private school children with disabilities and if those services are not normally provided by the private school.  See 34 CFR §300.142(a).  An LEA may use Part B funds to pay for the services of an employee of a private school to provide equitable services if the employee performs the services outside of his or her regular hours of duty and the employee performs the services under public supervision and control.  See 34 CFR §300.142(b).

Private School4/14/2015 1:40 PMWho provides equitable services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities?

The procedural safeguards or "Special Education Rights" available to parents and their children are extensive. A copy of the "Special Education Rights" form must be provided to parents at least once per school year and at certain required times and must include a full explanation of the procedural safeguards related to:

(1) Independent educational evaluations;

(2) Prior written notice;

(3) Parental consent;

(4) Access to educational records;

(5) Opportunity to present and resolve complaints through the due process complaint and State complaint procedures, including--

i. The time period in which to file a complaint;

ii. The opportunity for the agency to resolve the complaint; and

iii. The difference between the due process complaint and the State complaint procedures, including the jurisdiction of each procedure, what issues may be raised, filing and decisional timelines, and relevant procedure;

(6) The availability of mediation;

(7) The student’s placement during pendency of hearings on the due process complaint;

(8) Procedures for students who are subject to placement in an interim alternative educational setting;

(9) Requirements for unilateral placement by parents of students in private schools at public expense;

(10) Hearings on due process complaints, including requirements for disclosure of evaluation results and recommendations;

(11) State-level appeals (not applicable in Alabama);

(12) Civil actions, including the time period in which to file those actions; and

(13) Attorneys' fees.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:20 AMWhat are the procedural safeguards under IDEA?

The IDEA provides that a mediator under 34 CFR §300.506 may not be an employee of the SEA or the LEA that is involved in the education or care of the child and must not have a personal or professional interest that conflicts with the person’s objectivity. 34 CFR §300.506(c)(1). Therefore, it is impermissible under the IDEA for a current employee of an LEA that is involved in the education or care of the child to serve as a mediator for his or her own LEA. However, if an employee of a different LEA that is not involved in the education or care of the child has no personal or professional interest that would conflict with his or her objectivity and possesses the requisite qualifications, that individual can serve as a mediator in a dispute involving the parents and the LEA that their child attends. Notice of Proposed

Rulemaking Implementing the IDEA Amendments of 2004, 70 FR 35782, 35808 (Jun. 21, 2005).

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:21 AMMay current LEA employees serve as mediators?

Yes. Students can work at different complexities on different standards.

Students cannot, however, work at different complexities within a standard. All three pieces of

evidence collected for a given standard must be from the same complexity.

Extended Standards10/15/2014 11:34 AMCan students work at different complexities?

In hard copy forms and in STISETS, on the parent signature line write, "parent participated by phone."

Referral11/5/2014 3:59 PMHow do we document parent participation in a meeting if they participate by phone?

Yes. The administration of three of the same behavior rating scales must be completed by three or more independent raters, one of whom may be the parent or the child, and who have had knowledge of the child for at least six weeks.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMIs the public agency expected to complete three behavior rating scales on students suspected of having an emotional disability?

Parental consent is not required for the transmission of special education records between public agencies. Parental notice is required. A sample form is on the ALSDE Web site under Special Education/forms.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMDoes consent have to be obtained from the parents to request records from the public agency from which the student transferred?

No. MD means concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness or mental

retardation-orthopedic impairment), the combination of which causes such severe

educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely

for one of the impairments. MD does not include deaf-blindness.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:43 AMShould a student be identified as having Multiple Disabilities (MD) if SLD is one of the disabilities and the student can function in a regular classroom?

The child is still an eligible child. If the parent wants services, reactivate the information in STISETS, get a Notice and Consent for Provision of Special Education Services signed and move forward with developing an appropriate IEP. Document in the annotate process what occurred. If the child needs to be reevaluated, follow Process 2, Reevaluation to Determine Continued Eligibility.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMA child was determined eligible and the parent did not consent to services at the time. One year later, the parent wants services. What do we do?

The requirement is to have the teacher of the child. If a child attends a program in the community, a licensed service provider of the child (i.e., Head Start teacher, day care provider, church personnel) must be invited. If there is not a regular teacher of the child, someone who meets state certification requirements such as a kindergarten teacher or other qualified personnel who can provide services to this age group must be invited.

IEP11/10/2014 11:10 AMWho should be invited as the regular education teacher for a preschool child with disabilities?

According to the Alabama Administrative Code (AAC), the Eligibility Committee and/or IEP Team should consider the following relevant factors when excluding emotional/behavioral problems as the primary cause for the learning difficulties: behavior rating scale results; observations; interviews with parents and teachers; school history; and any additional data or documentation that would suggest a relationship between the child's learning problems and emotional/behavior problems.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:33 AMWhat are discussion points for determining that behavior is not the primary cause for occurring problems when considering SLD?

Timely and meaningful consultation must occur before any decisions are made that will affect the participation of parentally placed children in Part B programs.  Thus, decisions about services may not be made in advance or in the absence of timely and meaningful consultation.  After timely and meaningful consultation has occurred with private schools representatives and representatives of parents of parentally placed private school children with disabilities, the LEA is responsible for making final decisions about all aspects of the services to be provided to parentally placed private school children with disabilities.  See 34 CFR §300.137(b). 

If the LEA disagrees with the views of the private school officials on the provision of services or the types of services, whether provided directly or through a contract, the LEA must provide to the private school officials a written explanation of the reasons why the LEA chose not to accept the recommendations of the private school officials.  See 34 CFR §300.134(e).

Private School4/14/2015 12:00 PMWhat is the process for making decisions with respect to the services to be provided to eligible parentally placed private school children with disabilities?

Not necessarily, particularly if it is the practice to physically provide them at the IEP Team meeting itself, rather than to mail them. Some districts in Alabama may ask parents to sign that they received their Rights, but it is not a requirement.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:45 AMMust a school have parents acknowledge in writing that they received the Special Education Rights?

No. A person who otherwise qualifies as a mediator is not an employee of an LEA or State agency solely because he or she is paid by the State agency to serve as a mediator. 34 CFR §300.506(c)(2).

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:21 AMIs it a conflict of interest if a mediator is paid by a State agency?

All five core content areas (math, reading, science, social studies, and English/language arts);

After twelfth grade, when students stay in school to age 21, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team determines the reading and mathematics content that can be used to address the student's transition from high school to adult life. This selected reading and mathematics content might be from the extended standards or it might be content not included in the extended standards. The IEP Team addresses reading and mathematics content in the context of preparing the student for adult life and the post school outcomes of work and/or independent living;

In addition to academic goals, any other areas of need (e.g., behavior, self-help, communication, motor); and Transition goals for students age 16, or younger if appropriate.

Extended Standards11/3/2014 9:09 AMWhat academic goals are required for students with disabilities?

If the parent said they were going to participate in the meeting by phone and did not participate, document that the parent was unavailable by phone and proceed with the meeting.

Referral11/5/2014 3:59 PMHow do we document the parent chose to participate by phone, but at the time of the meeting they did not answer the phone?

The parent has the right to revoke consent for the evaluation; however, revoking consent does not take away an action that has already occurred. If the parent revokes consent for an evaluation, the public agency has two options:

• Accept the parent's justification as valid.

• Request mediation, and/or an impartial due process hearing to override the revocation if the public agency continues to believe the child is a child with a disability who is in need of special education and related services. However, the agency does not violate its obligations for Child Find if it does not pursue the evaluation.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMMay parents revoke their consent for evaluation at any time?

The new public agency in which the student enrolls must take reasonable steps to promptly obtain the student’s records, including the IEP and supporting documents and any other records relating to the provision of special education or related services to the student, from the previous public agency in which the student was enrolled; and the previous public agency in which the student was enrolled must take reasonable steps to promptly respond to the request from the new public agency. If paper copies of records are requested by the new public agency, SES recommends the records be delivered within ten days of the request.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMDo public agencies have a time limit on facilitating the transfer of student records?

No, the list is not all inclusive. The Federal Regulations added Tourette’s Syndrome to the

list of conditions under OHI, therefore, it is included in the AAC.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:43 AMDoes the health impairment have to be listed in the definition of Other Health Impairment (OHI) for a student to qualify in this disability category? If not, why add Tourette's Syndrome?

If an evaluation is necessary, it would be a reevaluation unless the child had been determined ineligible; the parent revoked consent and then requested an evaluation at a later date; and/or the child moved out-of-state and returned to Alabama.

Eligibility11/10/2014 11:01 AMA child was served in an LEA. The child left and attended private school or was home schooled for a year or two. The child returns to an LEA. Is this an initial evaluation or a reevaluation?

The requirement is to have the teacher of the child. However, if this person cannot attend the IEP Team meeting, maybe they can participate by conference call. The IEP Team should have input from the teacher of the child. Teacher input may be gained through such methods as the Natural Environment Observation/ELPP Documentation, Family Focus Interview/ELPP Documentation, teacher records, etc.

IEP11/10/2014 11:11 AMPreschool teachers are invited to attend IEP Team meetings but may not be able to attend. How do we go about meeting the requirement to have a regular education teacher at the IEP Team meeting?

An individual who is trained to interpret the instructional implications of results is a required member of the IEP Team.  This individual may or may not be the school psychologists/psychometrist.  However, there is one exception to IEP Team required membership.  When either the Eligibility Committee and/or IEP Team meets to consider eligibility for a child suspected of having a specific learning disability, at least one person qualified to conduct individual diagnostic examinations of children, such as school psychologist/psychometrist, speech-language pathologist, or remedial reading teacher, is a required to be a member of the Eligibility Committee and/or IEP Team.

Assessment3/15/2017 8:40 AMAre school psychologists/psychometrists required to be members of the Eligibility Committee and/or IEP Team?

No.  Decisions about which services and the amounts of services children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private schools will receive are made during the consultation process and are based on the needs of the children designated to receive services.  These children have no individual entitlement to receive some or all of the special education and related services they would receive if enrolled in a public school.  See 34 CFR §300.137(a).  

Private School4/14/2015 1:39 PMAre there any particular kinds of services or specified amounts of services that must be provided to parentally placed private school children with disabilities under Part B of the IDEA?

The state complaint process involves a signed written complaint that is sent to the State Superintendent of Education, Attention: Special Education Services. When a formal complaint is filed, the ALSDE investigates the observed/suspected violations of the IDEA requirements that may have occurred and renders a decision. A specialist is assigned as complaint contact for each complaint filed.

A due process complaint is a formal complaint that initiates litigation in the form of a due process hearing. Typically, a request for due process hearing is filed when the parent is represented by an attorney. It is submitted in writing to the ALSDE and a hearing officer is appointed to preside over the hearing. If the matter is not resolved prior to a hearing, the hearing officer will hear evidence and make a decision regarding the issues in the due process complaint. Most requests

for due process are settled prior to a hearing, but some actually go through the entire hearing process.

 

Administrators10/9/2014 11:55 AMWhat is the difference between a state complaint and an impartial due process hearing?

No. The IDEA requires that a mediation session be conducted by a qualified and impartial mediator who is knowledgeable in laws and regulations relating to the provision of special education and related services and is trained in effective mediation techniques. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(1)(iii) and (b)(3)(i). The IDEA requirement for the use of a qualified and impartial mediator trained in effective mediation techniques helps ensure that decisions about the effectiveness of specific techniques, such as the need for face-to-face negotiation or telephone communications are based upon the mediator’s independent judgment and expertise. Because of the need to allow flexibility in the independent judgment and expertise of each mediator and the unique issues of each dispute, other than providing for the confidentiality of discussions that occur during mediation, the IDEA does not address the specific techniques or procedures that States may require their mediators to use. Whether formal training and certification for mediators are required is a decision left to each State, depending on State policy. 71 FR 46695 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:22 AMDoes the IDEA address what would constitute effective mediation techniques?

N/A, students who are not below grade level academically would not be taking the Alabama Alternate Assessment (AAA).

Extended Standards11/3/2014 8:56 AMWhat academic goals are required for students who are struggling in school, but who are not below grade level academically (e.g., students identified with emotional disability, orthopedic impairment or other health impairment)?

Speech refers to communication disorders in the area of articulation, voice, and/or fluency. Language refers to a language disability that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Language usually involves syntax, semantics, and/or pragmatic errors.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMWhat is the difference between speech or language disabilities?

The federal regulations do not establish timelines for the new public agency to adopt the student’s IEP from the previous public agency, or to develop, adopt, and implement a new IEP. However, the new public agency must take these steps within a reasonable period of time to avoid any undue interruption in the provision of required services. With the electronic transfer of data, the IEP should be implemented within days of the transfer.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMWhat is the timeline for the receiving public agency to adopt an IEP from a previous public agency or to develop and implement a new IEP?

No, but at least one must be conducted or collected and documented on the eligibility

report.

Alabama Administrative Code11/6/2014 11:43 AMMust we have documentation for all of the performance measures for OHI?

A regular education teacher of the child (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment) has knowledge of the general education curriculum for the grade the student will be in during the implementation of the IEP and therefore should participate as an IEP Team member in the development, review, and revision of the IEP. The regular education teacher should also assist in the determination of appropriate positive behavioral interventions and supports, other strategies for the student, supplementary aids and services, program modifications, and/or accommodations and supports for school personnel, if necessary.

IEP11/10/2014 11:17 AMWhat is the role of the regular education teacher at an IEP Team meeting?

Decisions about specific qualifications for school psychologist/psychometrists are made by the State of Alabama through the credentialing process.  Any standardized test used with a child must be administered by trained and knowledgeable personnel and in accordance with any instructions provided by the test author or publisher.  Test findings obtained from an uncredentialed test examiner are considered unacceptable due to the high incidence of examiner error and chance for misidentifying a child with/without a disability.

Otherwise, decisions about specific qualifications are made at the local level so that the composition of the team can vary depending on the specific expertise of a local staff member, the nature of the child's disability, and other relevant factors.  For example, for a child suspected of having a specific learning disability in the area of reading, it would be appropriate to include at least one reading specialist as part of the eligibility team.  However, for another child suspected of having a specific learning disability in the area of listening comprehension, it might also be appropriate to include a speech-language pathologist with expertise in auditory processing disorders.  A speech-language pathologist would certainly be included if the child was referred for speech or language difficulties.  Flexibility at the local level ensures that the team is made up of individuals with expertise and specialized knowledge necessary to interpret evaluation data and make informed decisions as to whether or not a child is a child with a disability.

Assessment11/19/2014 10:48 AMAt least one person qualified to conduct individual diagnostic examinations of children, such as a school psychologist/psychometrist, speech-language pathologist or remedial reading teacher, is a required member of the Eligibility Committee and/or IEP Tea

Yes.  The IDEA does not prohibit a State or LEA from using additional State or local funds to provide special education or related services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities that are in addition to the services required in 34 CFR §§300.130 through 300.144, consistent with State law or local policy.  Additionally, as long as the LEA meets all the other requirements of the IDEA, including providing FAPE to children with disabilities, it is permissible for the LEA to spend more than the minimum amount of Part B funds on providing services to children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools.

Private School4/14/2015 1:39 PMMay an LEA provide services to parentally placed private school children that are in addition to the services provided pursuant to the Federal equitable participation requirements and that are covered by the Federal proportionate share?

No. The request must be in writing and signed and, therefore, will not be accepted or handled over the telephone. For information on the provisions applicable to filing a due process hearing, parents may write to the Alabama State Department of Education, Attention: Special Education Services, Post Office Box 302101, Montgomery, Alabama 36130-2101, or use a toll-free line 1 (800) 392-8020. Individuals in the Montgomery area may call (334) 242-8114. Individuals may also access the AAC for information related to due process by visiting the ALSDE Web site at www.alsde.edu.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:18 PMWill the ALSDE accept a due process hearing request over the telephone?

Yes. If the parties resolve a dispute through the mediation process, the parties must execute a legally binding written agreement that sets forth that resolution and states that all discussions that occurred during the mediation process will remain confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil proceeding. In order for the agreement to be legally binding, it must be in writing. The agreement must be signed by both the parent and a representative of the public agency who has the authority to bind the agency. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(6). It is important that the parties understand that the mediation agreement is legally binding and that it is enforceable in any State court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States or by the SEA, if applicable. 34 CFR §§300.506(b)(7) and 300.537. Parties are free to consult with others before entering into a mediation agreement.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:22 AMIf the parties to the mediation process resolve their dispute, must the agreement reached by the parties be in writing?

Goals based on extended standards in the areas of reading, mathematics, and science must be based on the student's grade level of enrollment.

There is some grade-level flexibility for academic goals based on the Alabama Course of Study Standards. Alabama does not have extended standards for social studies or English/language arts. For these academic areas the IEP Team should use the format from the extended standards to develop IEP goals. This involves looking at the course of study for the student's grade of enrollment, or one or two years back, and developing goal(s) related to the content, but at a much lower complexity than what is presented in the general education course of study.

Extended Standards11/3/2014 9:12 AMWhat grade level should be used for developing academic IEP goal(s)?

If a student with a disability (who had an IEP that was in effect in a previous public agency in another state) transfers to a public agency in a new state, and enrolls in a new school within the same school year, the new public agency (in consultation with the parents) must provide the student with FAPE (including services comparable to those described in the student’s IEP from the previous public agency), until the new public agency:

• Conducts an evaluation (if determined to be necessary by the new public agency); and/or

• Develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP, if appropriate.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMWhen a student transfers from another State do you have to honor the IEP from the other State?

Yes, once the student is determined to be eligible in Alabama. If the student transfers into the receiving public agency with an IEP that was in effect in the previous public agency in another state, the receiving public agency, in consultation with the parents, must provide comparable services to those described in the previously held IEP, until the new public agency conducts a new evaluation (if necessary) to determine eligibility. If the parents refuse consent for the initial (new) evaluation, the receiving public agency may not evaluate. The public agency may pursue the evaluation through mediation and/or due process, but is not required to do so.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMIf temporary consent or temporary IEP is not required and a student transfers from another state, is it necessary to get the consent for services signed?

No, not unless the IEP Team determines one is needed. If the IEP Team determines that a

medical evaluation is necessary, the public agency must pay for the evaluation.

Alabama Administrative Code11/6/2014 11:44 AMIs a medical diagnosis required for OHI/ADHD?

Any service provider(s) who is responsible for implementing services identified in the IEP may be invited to the IEP Team meeting. If the service provider(s) does not attend the meeting, the IEP Team should seek input from the service provider(s). The public agency must ensure that the service provider(s) is informed of his or her specific responsibilities related to implementing the student’s IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 11:20 AMWhich related services provider should be invited to the IEP Team meeting?

A summary statement noting relevant information from the Environmental, Cultural, and/or Economic Concerns (ECEC) to eligibility determination must be written on the eligibility report.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:36 AMHow should the information from the Environmental, Cultural, and/or Economic Concerns (ECEC) checklist be reported on the eligibility report the number of checks does not provide sufficient information for the IEP Team?

Under 34 CFR §300.133(a), each LEA must spend a proportionate amount of Part B funds on providing special education and related services (including direct services) to parentally placed private school children with disabilities.  The regulations specify that the LEA makes the final decisions about the services to be provided to eligible parentally placed private school children with disabilities, based in part on input provided through the consultation process by appropriate private school representatives and representatives of parents of parentally placed private school children with disabilities.  See 34 CFR §300.137(b)(2).  These decisions cannot be made in advance of or in the absence of timely and meaningful consultation with private school representatives and with representatives of parents of parentally placed private school children with disabilities.

IDEA does not require an LEA to spend the proportionate share only for direct services.  Rather, through the consultation process described in 34 CFR §300.134, a determination must be made about how the available amount of funds will be utilized so that the parentally placed private school children with disabilities designated to receive services can benefit from the services offered.  Depending on the discussions during the consultation process, local circumstances, and the amount of funds available to expend on services for this population of children, an LEA could determine, after timely and meaningful consultation, that it will provide its population of parentally placed private school children with disabilities with indirect services.  See 34 CFR §300.134(d)(1).  These services could include consultative services, equipment, or materials for eligible parentally placed children with disabilities or training for private school teachers and other private school personnel.  Under 34 CFR §300.138(c)(2), special education and related services provided to parentally placed private school children with disabilities, including materials and equipment, must be secular, neutral, and nonideological.

Private School4/14/2015 12:01 PMMust the proportionate amount of Part B funds be used only for direct services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities?  Is it permissible to use funds for this population on other services, such as consultative services, materials,

Yes. A request for mediation can be made to the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) by telephone and if both parties agree to the mediation, a mediator will be appointed to assist in resolving the dispute informally.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:29 PMWhat about a request for mediation? Will that be accepted over the telephone?

Under 34 CFR §300.506(b)(8), discussions that occur during the mediation process must be confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil proceeding of any Federal court or State court of a State receiving assistance under 34 CFR part 300. This requirement is automatic and may not be altered or modified by parties to mediation conducted under 34 CFR §300.506. Further, this confidentiality requirement applies regardless of whether the parties resolve a dispute through the mediation process. If the parties resolve a dispute through the mediation process, they must execute a legally binding agreement that also includes a statement that all discussions that occurred during the mediation process will remain confidential. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(6)(i).

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:23 AMAre discussions that occur in the mediation process automatically confidential or is the confidentiality of the mediation session a matter that must be mediated and documented as a part of the mediation agreement?

Each student with a significant cognitive disability who is included in general education classroom(s) should be supported according to his or her needs. For example, some may need a paraeducator to provide support; some may need co-teaching; and some may need co-planning.

The Alabama Extended Standards are the required course of study for students who take the AAA. When students working toward extended standards are included in general education classes for reading, mathematics, or science it is up to the special education case manager to ensure the extended standards are taught and the AAA evidence is collected. This does not mean the special education teacher must teach the extended standards. It is means the case manager must make sure the instruction and the documentation of mastery occurs.

Extended Standards11/3/2014 2:17 PMHow can students be supported in general education classrooms?

The federal regulations require that, to facilitate the transition for a student, the new public agency in which the student enrolls must take reasonable steps to promptly obtain the student’s records, including the IEP and supporting documents and any other records relating to the provision of special education or related services to the student, from the previous public agency in which the student was enrolled, and the previous public agency in which the student was enrolled must take reasonable steps to promptly respond to the request from the new public agency. If, after taking reasonable steps to obtain the student’s records from the public agency in which the student was previously enrolled, including the IEP and any other records relating to the provision of special education or related services to the student, the new public agency is not able to obtain the IEP from the previous public agency or from the parent, the new public agency is not required to provide services to the student. This is because the new public agency, in consultation with the parents, would be unable to determine what constitutes comparable services for the student, since that determination must be based on the services contained in the student’s IEP from the previous public agency. However, the new public agency must place the student in the regular school program and conduct an evaluation pursuant to, if determined to be necessary by the new public agency. If there is a dispute between the parent and the new public agency regarding whether an evaluation is necessary or regarding what special education and related services are needed to provide FAPE to the student, the dispute could be resolved through the mediation procedures in or, as appropriate, the due process procedures. Once a due process complaint notice requesting a due process hearing is filed, the student would remain in the regular school program during the pendency of the due process proceedings.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMWhat options are available when an out-of-state transfer student cannot produce an IEP, and the parent is the source for identifying “comparable” services?

No. Students who transfer into Alabama from out-of-state must go through the initial evaluation process. The public agency should send out the "Notice of Proposed Meeting/Consent for Agency Participation" form, indicating that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss the need for additional data collection. Then the IEP Team meets and reviews any existing data and makes the decision regarding additional data. If additional data are needed, the Notice and Consent for Initial Evaluation is completed and the needed assessments are conducted. If no additional data are needed, the IEP Team may use existing data to determine eligibility under Alabama criteria.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMIf a student transfers from out-of-state and there is no IEP and the student is placed in the regular education classroom, should the IEP Team decision form be completed?

Yes.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:42 AMIf the intelligence quotient (IQ) score rules out MR when we suspect SLD, do we still have to administer an adaptive behavior assessment?

No. In Alabama, OT and PT are not considered special education (specially designed instruction). Therefore, an OT or a PT may not serve in the capacity of the required special education teacher or special education provider.

IEP11/10/2014 11:21 AMCan an OT or a PT serve as the special education teacher at an IEP Team meeting?

Yes.  The GAI is designed to measure intellectual ability for some types of children with special needs and/or disabilities. Information on when and how to use the GAI may be found in a special report supplement to the WISC-IV/WISC-V.  The total score may be used for eligibility determination.  The report is on the WISC-IV/WISC-V Website (www.wisciv.com). Note: the GAI should not be used routinely when assessing children suspected of having a disability.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:37 AMMay the General Ability Index (GAI) on the WISC-IV/WISC-V be used as a full scale score when determining eligibility for a child suspected of having a disability?

The IDEA and its implementing regulations do not specify how often a services plan must be updated.  As provided in 34 CFR §300.138(b)(2)(ii), a services plan must, to the extent appropriate, be developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with the individualized education program (IEP) requirements in 34 CFR §§300.321 through 300.324.  The regulations in 34 CFR §300.324(b)(1) require that a child’s IEP be reviewed periodically and not less than annually, to determine whether the annual goals for the child are being achieved, and to be revised as appropriate.  As such, the Department suggests that a services plan be reviewed periodically, not less than annually, to determine whether the annual goals for the child are being achieved and to be revised as appropriate.

Private School4/14/2015 1:39 PMHow often must a services plan be updated?

The special education process begins with a referral for special education consideration. The IEP Team, including the parent, reviews the referral and determines if the child will be evaluated. If the referral is accepted, a comprehensive evaluation is completed by the school district, and eligibility is determined by an IEP Team/Eligibility Committee using the criteria outlined in the AAC. If a student is found eligible and is identified as a student with a disability, the team will develop an IEP and the school will implement the plan/program.

For specific instructions and details applicable to the overall special education process and compliance, school administrators and other school personnel should refer to the ALSDE’s detailed Mastering the Maze publication. It is vital that school personnel adhere to the processes set forth in Mastering the Maze, and school principals should urge all school personnel to refer to this important resource.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:20 AMWhat does the special education process entail?

While discussions that occur during the mediation process must be confidential, neither the IDEA nor its implementing regulations specifically address whether the mediation agreement itself must remain confidential. However, the confidentiality of information provisions in the Part B regulations in 34 CFR §§300.611-300.626 and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and its implementing regulations in 34 CFR part 99 would apply. Further, there is nothing in the IDEA or its implementing regulations that would prohibit the parties from agreeing voluntarily to include in their mediation agreement a provision that limits disclosure of the mediation agreement, in whole or in part, to third parties. Also, there is nothing in the IDEA that would prohibit the parties from agreeing to permit the agreement to be released to the public.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:23 AMMust a written mediation agreement be kept confidential?

The number of goals for all students, including those working toward Alabama Extended Standards, must be based on individual need.

** PLEASE NOTE:

It is problematic when there is an entire class, school and/or LEA where all students have only one (1) goal per subject. This type of trend in the number of goals is an indication students are not receiving individualized programs, as required by the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Teachers may choose to write a goal for each extended standard in Reading, Mathematics and Science, although that is not required by the Alabama State Department of Education. An appropriate approach would be to prioritize the extended standards that will be used for writing goals by evaluating the student's present level of performance and identifying the standards that will take the most effort and time to teach. For example, if there are five extended standards for a certain subject/grade, an IEP Team might pick the two or three standards that the student needs the most instruction to master to be addressed through goals.

The IEP Team must make certain the number and variety of goals provides the student a free appropriate public education.

Extended Standards11/3/2014 2:21 PMHow many goals are needed for each student?

If the parent and the new public agency agree on services that the student needs until records are received from the previous public agency, those agreed upon services may be provided. If the parent and the public agency do not agree on the services to be provided, the student is enrolled in the regular education program along with any special education and related services on which the parent and the public agency agree. Also, the public agency can always ask the parent for consent to conduct an initial evaluation.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMWhat if a student transfers to a new public agency without a copy of an IEP, yet it is obvious he/she is in need of special education services?

Yes, but a new eligibility report must be developed to document all required evaluations and all existing data used to make that decision. Current data must be included on the eligibility report to support the decision.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMCan a student be determined ineligible for special education (upon reevaluation) by documenting and reviewing existing data?

No. A separate Adaptive Behavior Rating Scale must be used.

Alabama Administrative Code8/24/2016 10:55 AMCan the adaptive skills composite on the BASC-2 (approximately 40 questions-covering adaptability, social skills, leadership, study skills, functional communication) be used for the adaptive behavior component for SLD?

The parent or the public agency may include individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student. The determination as to whether an individual has knowledge or special expertise shall be made by the parent or public agency who has invited the individual. The public agency must get consent from the parent or a student who has reached the age of majority to invite transition agency representatives who would be responsible for providing or paying for transition services. The public agency also determines which individuals from the public agency will fill the required IEP Team member’s position.

IEP11/10/2014 11:21 AMDoes a parent and public agency have the option of inviting any individual of their choice to be participants on a student’s IEP Team?

No. The obtained overall test score is considered to be the single best estimate of a typical child's performance, and according to the Alabama Administrative Code (AAC), should be used for eligibility determination.  However, when interpreting and making suggestions for the development of educational programs, consideration of the confidence interval and standard error of measurement may provide useful information.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:38 AMShould the IEP Team use the standard error of measurement (SEM) when determining eligibility for SLD and ID?

Yes.  As provided in 34 CFR §300.138(b)(2)(ii), a services plan must, to the extent appropriate, be developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with the requirements in 34 CFR §§300.321 through 300.324.  Therefore, to the extent appropriate, the meeting to develop a services plan should be conducted in accordance with 34 CFR §300.321.  Under 34 CFR §300.321(a)(1), the parents of the child are required participants.  Given the emphasis on parent involvement in the IDEA, the Department believes that parents should have the opportunity to participate in meetings to review and develop the services plan for their child.

Private School4/14/2015 1:39 PMDoes the parent of a parentally placed private school child have the opportunity to participate in the development of a services plan?

No.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:45 AMMay students be placed in special education without following the evaluation, eligibility, and placement procedures?

No. As noted above, the IDEA requires that discussions that occur during the mediation process must be confidential. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(8). Similarly, if the parties execute a written agreement as a result of mediation, that agreement must include a statement that all discussions that occurred during the mediation process must remain confidential. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(6)(i). Neither the IDEA nor its implementing regulations create exceptions to these confidentiality requirements for discussions that occurred during the mediation process when the State resolves a State complaint pursuant to 34 CFR §§300.151-300.153. Maintaining the confidentiality of mediation

discussions during subsequent State complaint resolution activities is essential to protect the integrity of both processes.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:24 AMDoes the IDEA allow discussions that occur during the mediation process to be disclosed during the resolution of a State complaint?

Strengths, Needs and How the Student's Disability Affects Performance in the General Education Curriculum (for Preschool Children, How the Disability Affects the Child's Participation in Age Appropriate Activities) are the three components that are required in the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance.

Strengths and Needs must be individualized. For academic goals, Strengths and Needs must be based on data related to the standards. This might be things the student can and cannot do in relation to the standard being considered for the goal; or things from past standards that relate to the standard being considered for the goal the student can and cannot do. Strengths and Needs are specific to each goal and are not typically repeated in more than one Present Level.

How the Student's Disability Affects Performance in the General Education Curriculum is based on characteristics of the student that are a result of his or her disability (e.g., difficulty with comprehension, slow reading rate, difficulty memorizing facts, poor generalization of skills, poor organization of notes and other written materials, impulsivity, low attention span). How the Student's Disability Affects Performance in the General Education Curriculum might be repeated in more than one Present Level depending on the nature of the standards being addressed.

**PLEASE NOTE:

IEP Teams must know the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance in order to determine where the student can reasonably be expected to perform within 12 months.

Extended Standards11/3/2014 2:21 PMWhat should be included in the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance?

No. If a student with a disability (who had an IEP that was in effect in a previous public agency in another state) transfers to a public agency in a new state, and enrolls in a new school within the same school year, the new public agency (in consultation with the parents) must provide the student with FAPE (including services comparable to those described in the student’s IEP from the previous public agency), until the new public agency:

• Conducts an evaluation (if determined to be necessary by the new public agency); and/or

• Develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP, if appropriate.

Thus, the public agency must provide FAPE to the student when the student enrolls in the school in the public agency in the new state, and may not deny services to the student pending the development of a new IEP.

Initial Evaluation11/19/2014 10:00 AMIs it permissible for a public agency to require that a student with a disability who transfers from another state with a current IEP that is provided to the new public agency remain at home without receiving services until a new IEP is developed by the p

No.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMIs parental consent required for a reevaluation if the IEP team has determined the student’s records indicate that the reevaluation can be determined by a review of records?

If there is no documentation of appropriate instruction in reading and math, the

documentation must be collected during the evaluation process (a minimum of 8 weeks).

The requirement is not waived for home-schooled students.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:40 AMIf a parent of a home schooled child request an evaluation for SLD and has no documentation of appropriate instruction in reading and math, what procedure must be followed before an evaluation is completed? What is the public agency’s responsibility in su

The public agency has the responsibility to hold the IEP meeting at a mutually agreed upon time and location. Therefore, if the parent informs the public agency before the scheduled meeting that the time, date, or location needs to be changed, the public agency has the responsibility to reschedule the meeting. If after attempts to reschedule with the parent the rescheduling would prohibit the public agency from meeting a timeline (i.e., before the IEP lapses), the public agency should inform the parent that the IEP Team must meet before the specified timeline.

IEP11/10/2014 11:23 AMIf the parent indicates on the request to attend an IEP Team meeting that he/she will attend, but then calls the day before the meeting and wants to reschedule, what is the public agency’s responsibility?

An individual who is qualified to conduct a particular assessment does not necessarily have the skills or knowledge to assist the IEP Team in determining the special education, related services, and other supports that are necessary in order for a child to receive FAPE.  An individual(s) who can “interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results” would include individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child or those who can explain the results of the evaluation in a manner that would assist the IEP Team in making appropriate decisions.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:39 AMThe IEP Team that is responsible for developing the IEP is required to include an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results.  Explain who is qualified to interpret evaluation results.

Children with disabilities enrolled in public schools or who are publicly placed in private schools are entitled to a FAPE and must receive the full range of services under Part B of the IDEA.  These services are determined by the child’s IEP team and are necessary to meet the child’s individual needs and provide FAPE.  The IEPs for these children generally will be more comprehensive than services plans developed for parentally placed private school children with disabilities who are designated to receive services.  This is because parentally placed children do not have an individual entitlement to any or all of the services that the children would receive if enrolled in a public school.  Further, a services plan should reflect only the services offered to a parentally placed private school child with a disability designated to receive services.  In addition, a services plan is required to meet the IEP content requirements described in section 614(d) of the IDEA, or, when appropriate, for children aged three through five, the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) requirements described in section 636(d) of the IDEA, to the extent appropriate, and only in relation to the services that are to be provided.

Private School4/14/2015 1:38 PMWhat is the difference between an individualized education program (IEP) and a services plan?

Yes. This is known as IDEA’s "Child Find" requirement. Child Find also applies to students with disabilities who attend private schools, including children attending religious schools, within the school district’s jurisdiction, highly mobile students with disabilities (such as migrant students), homeless students, and students who are wards of the state.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:20 AMDo school personnel have a legal duty to refer a student for special education consideration?

No. In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking implementing the IDEA Amendments of 2004, the Department included a provision that would have required parties to a mediation to sign a confidentiality pledge, without regard to whether the mediation ultimately resolved the dispute. 70 FR 35870 (June 21, 2005). This proposed provision was based on Note 208 of Conf. Rpt. (Conference Report) No. 108-779, p. 216 (2004).14 However, the Department decided to remove this proposed provision when the final Part B regulations were published in 2006 based on the statutory requirement in section 615(e)(2)(G) that discussions that occur during the mediation process must remain confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil proceeding. 71 FR 46696 (August 14, 2006).

Additionally, if the parties resolve a dispute through the mediation process, as noted above, 34 CFR §300.506(b)(6)(i) requires that the legally binding written agreement contain a statement that all discussions that occurred during the mediation process will remain confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil proceeding. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(6)(i). This is so even if the parties do not enter into a mediation agreement. However, nothing in these regulations is intended to prevent States from allowing parties to sign a confidentiality pledge to ensure that discussions during the mediation process remain confidential, irrespective of whether the mediation results in a legally binding written agreement resolving the dispute. 71 FR 46696 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:24 AMMay parties to the mediation process be required to sign a confidentiality pledge or agreement prior to, or as a precondition, to the commencement of the mediation process?

Who, Time Frame, Conditions, Behavior, and Criterion are the five components that are required in IEP goals.

**PLEASE NOTE:

Copying and pasting standards into the goal is not individualized and places the LEA in a very vulnerable litigious situation. In order for academic goals to be individualized, the present level and the goal must reflect specific information from the standards that the student can or cannot do. For instance extended standard M. ES 4.2: identify coins and their value including penny, nickel, dime, and quarter, requires the student to do eight different things. The present level might say the student: (a) can identify a quarter and a penny, but not a dime and nickel, (b) does not know the value of the quarter, dime, nickel, or penny, and (c) has low attention span and difficulty with comprehension. The goal will include the Who, Time Frame, Conditions, Behavior, and Criterion for the parts the student cannot do: identify dime and nickel, and identify the value of all four coins.

Extended Standards11/3/2014 2:21 PMWhat should be included in IEP goals?

Parental consent is not required for the transmission of special education records between public agencies. Parental notice is required. A sample form is on the SES homepage under Forms.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMDo you have to get consent from the parents to request records from the public agency the student has transferred from?

Anytime you obtain additional appropriate evaluations, you must get parental consent to evaluate unless the parent fails to respond to a request (at least two attempts) for consent to reevaluate.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMDo appropriate evaluations constitute a reevaluation or are these covered under a previous “consent to evaluate”?

An eligibility determination for a child suspected of having SLD, must be made by the

student's parent and a group of qualified professionals (Eligibility Committee) or an IEP

Team, that must include the student's regular teacher; or if the student does not have a

regular teacher, a regular classroom teacher qualified to teach a student of his or her age; or

for a child of less than school age, an individual qualified by the State Education Agency

(SEA) to teach a child of his or her age; and at least one person qualified to conduct

individual diagnostic examinations of children, such as a school psychologist, speechlanguage

pathologist, or remedial reading teacher.

In the commentary to the Federal Regulations, OSEP went on to say, "We believe this

allows decisions about the specific qualifications of the members to be made at the local

level, so that the composition of the group may vary depending on the nature of the child's

suspected disability, the expertise of local staff, and other relevant factors. For example,

for a child suspected of having a SLD in the area of reading, it might be appropriate for the

group to include a reading specialist as part of the eligibility group. However, for a child

suspected of having a SLD in the area of listening comprehension, it might be appropriate

for the group to include a speech-language pathologist with expertise in auditory

processing disorders. The federal regulations regarding the additional team members for

suspected SLD,” provides flexibility for schools and districts, and ensures that the group

includes individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to interpret the evaluation

data and make an informed determination as to whether the child is a child with an SLD,

and the educational needs of the child.” The LEA is responsible for deciding and ensuring

that the required composition is used when making the decision.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:39 AMMust a school psychometrist or a school psychologist be present at all eligibility meetings when SLD is being considered?

If the parent checks that he or she will meet as scheduled but does not attend, the meeting may be held as scheduled. Only the purposes of the meeting checked on the Notice of Proposed Meeting/Consent for Agency Participation may be discussed.

IEP11/10/2014 11:23 AMIf the parent indicates on the request to attend an IEP Team meeting that he/she will attend, but then does not come to the meeting, what is the public agency’s responsibility?

Many of the most important ethical considerations include user qualifications and recognizing professional limitations.  The phrase "test user qualifications" refers to the combination of knowledge, skills, abilities, training, experience, and, where appropriate, practice credentials that the American Psychological Association (APA) and the State of Alabama considers desirable for the responsible use of psychological tests.  Responsible assessment does not focus narrowly on the calculation of scores or description of profile patterns, but rather on developing a broader understanding of a child's uniqueness, using a wide range of assessment information collected by an experienced, trained professional.  It is typically assumed that all test users have the college and/or graduate-level training in general measurement and statistical concepts essential for understanding test scores.  It is essential that all test users have experience in supervised administration and reporting results of individually administered cognitive batteries to accurately administer, score, and interpret intelligence batteries.  It is expected that the test user assume professional responsibility to restrict themselves to specialties and areas in which they have been trained.  Although it may be possible to administer the objectively scored sections of an assessment with only a measurement course without supervised training from a highly trained professional, there are subtleties to establishing rapport, observing the examinee, and scoring items that require examiner judgment.  Practical use of tests of intelligence requires a great deal more than novice and limited experience. (Roid, G.H. (2003). Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Fifth Edition, Examiner's Manual. Itasca, IL: Riverside Publishing. ).

Assessment11/14/2014 10:40 AMWhat are “test user qualifications” and “professional limitations?”

The LEA must initiate and conduct meetings to develop, review, and revise a services plan for a parentally placed private school child with a disability designated to receive services.  The LEA must ensure that a representative of the religious or other private school attends each meeting.  If the representative cannot attend, the LEA must use other methods to ensure participation by the religious or other private school, including individual or conference telephone calls.  See 34 CFR §300.137(c).  The services plan must, to the extent appropriate, be developed, reviewed, and revised consistent with 34 CFR §§300.321 through 300.324.  See 34 CFR §300.138(b)(2)(ii).

Private School4/14/2015 1:38 PMWhat is the process for developing a services plan for a parentally placed private school child with a disability?

The law requires that a student be referred for an evaluation for special education if there is sufficient reason to suspect or reason to believe that a student is a student with a disability in need of special education services.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:45 AMWhen does the child find duty kick in?

Yes, as long as the use of those mechanisms is voluntary and does not operate to deny or delay the parties’ right to seek judicial enforcement of mediation agreements. The IDEA provides that parties who resolve a dispute through the mediation process under 34 CFR §300.506 must execute a legally binding written agreement that sets forth that resolution. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(6). A written, signed mediation agreement is enforceable in any State court of

competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States. 34 CFR §300.506(b)(7). However, notwithstanding the provisions in 34 CFR §§300.506(b)(7) addressing judicial enforcement of mediation agreements and 300.510(d)(2), addressing judicial enforcement of resolution agreements, nothing in part 300 would prevent the SEA from using other mechanisms to seek enforcement of those agreements, provided that the use of the State’s mechanisms is not mandatory and does not delay or deny a party the right to seek enforcement of the written agreement in a State court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States. 34 CFR §300.537. Therefore, in addition to judicial enforcement of mediation and resolution agreements, 34 CFR §300.537 gives States the flexibility to allow enforcement of those agreements through other State mechanisms such as their State complaint resolution procedures in 34 CFR §§300.151-300.153. 71 FR 46604-46605 and 71 FR 46703 (August 14, 2006)

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:25 AMMay a State use nonjudicial mechanisms (e.g., State complaint procedures) to resolve allegations that the public agency did not implement a mediation agreement?

Benchmarks are required for students who take alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards (i.e., the Alabama Alternate Assessment).

As used in this part, the term individualized education program or IEP means a written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in a meeting in accordance with Sec. Sec. 300.320 through 300.324, and that must include--

(ii) For children with disabilities who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards, a description of benchmarks or short-term objectives; §300.320(a)(2)(ii) Benchmarks break the measurable annual goal into discrete components that are short-term, measurable, intermediate steps or break the measurable annual goal into major milestones that the student is expected to reach within a specified period of time.

Benchmarks are required for all goals for students who take the AAA. This includes academic goals and functional goals, regardless of whether it is a testing year or not. There must be at least two benchmarks per goal.

Extended Standards11/3/2014 2:22 PMWhich students are required to have benchmarks?

The new public agency in which the student enrolls must take reasonable steps to promptly obtain the student’s records, including the IEP and supporting documents and any other records relating to the provision of special education or related services to the student, from the previous public agency in which the student was enrolled, and the previous public agency in which the student was enrolled must take reasonable steps to promptly respond to the request from the new public agency. If paper copies of records are requested by the new public agency, SES recommends the records be delivered within ten days of the request. (With the transfer process in STISETS hopefully there will not be a need to transfer hard copies of records.)

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMDo public agencies have a time limit on facilitating the transfer of student records?

Yes. A new eligibility report must be completed each time the student is reevaluated for continued eligibility.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMAre we completing new eligibility reports at all reevaluations?

A better way for us to have stated the requirements might have been "A summary of each

required evaluation must be included on the eligibility report." The intent is to have a brief

summary of each required item to show adverse affect on educational performance.

For example:

GFTA-2 - 40 errors, characterized by initial substitutions and final

consonant deletions

Stimulability - Stimulable for all error sounds in isolation not

stimulable at the word or sentence level

Intelligibility - Conversational speech is reduced to approximately 50%

intelligibility level due to the frequency and consistency

of the error patterns

Oral structure examination - Tremors noted during tongue protrusion; other structures

WNL

Teacher/Caregiver checklist - Classroom teacher indicated that speech is more difficult

to understand than peers; child does not like to read

aloud in class

Alabama Administrative Code11/19/2014 10:20 AMIn the AAC under Speech or Language Impairment (SLI) one of the required components is “A summary of all required evaluations must be included on the eligibility report.” Does this mean the available text box on the Notice and Eligibility Decision Regardi

Each public agency must take steps to ensure that one or both of the parents of a child with adisability are present at each IEP Team meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate,including notifying the parent of the meeting early enough to ensure that he/she will have anopportunity to attend; and scheduling the meeting at a mutually agreed on time and place. Ifneither parent can attend an IEP Team meeting, the public agency must use other methods toensure parent participation, including individual or conference telephone calls or alternativemeans such as video conferences. A meeting may be conducted without a parent inattendance if the public agency is unable to convince the parent that he/she should attend. Inthis case, the public agency must keep a record of reasonable efforts (at least two attempts) toarrange a mutually agreed on time and place such as detailed records of telephone calls madeor attempted and the results of those calls, copies of correspondence sent to the parent andany responses received, and detailed records of visits made to the parent’s home or place ofemployment and the results of those visits. The public agency must take whatever action isnecessary to ensure that the parent understands the proceedings of the IEP Team meetingincluding arranging for an interpreter for a parent with deafness or whose native language isother than English. The public agency must provide the parent a copy of the child’s IEP at nocost to the parent.

IEP11/10/2014 11:24 AMWhat are the requirements for public agencies in regard to parent participation in theIEP Team meeting?

Technically sound instruments must be used at all times, including tests that have up-to-date standardization data and that are not out-dated or obsolete.  Generally, revised instruments should be used instead of an older version as soon as possible after the publication date in order to make the best educational decisions using the most current normative data.  Using out-dated norms can cause a child to be misidentified as a child with/or without a disability.  Test manuals and other publisher information typically provide data comparing the old to the new tests and make recommendations about continued use of the old tests. As soon as possible includes a reasonable amount of time for the public agency to purchase a new instrument, train the staff, and provide opportunity for staff members to practice using the new instrument.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:40 AMWhen a publisher revises an assessment instrument, what is a reasonable length of time to continue using the outdated editions?

The phrase “to the extent consistent with law” is in section 612(a)(10)(A)(i)(III) of the IDEA.  The Department interprets this to mean that the provision of services on the premises of a private school must take place in a manner that would not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and would not be inconsistent with applicable State constitutions or laws.  The Department generally believes that, unless there is a compelling rationale for these services to be provided off-site, LEAs should provide services on-site, at the child’s private school, so as not to unduly disrupt the child’s educational experience.

Private School4/14/2015 1:38 PMSection 300.139(a) of the Part B regulations states that services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities may be provided on the premises of private, including religious, schools to the extent consistent with law.  How is “to the ex

No. The Child Find requirement applies to students who are suspected of having a disability and in need of special education, even though they have not failed, been retained in a course or grade, or are advancing from grade to grade. It does not take failing grades to trigger the Child Find duty under the IDEA, and this is not a school district decision.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:55 AMDoes a student have to actually fail a grade (with or without accommodations) prior to being referred for an evaluation for special education services? Is this a school district decision?

Yes. If the mediation agreement covers a specific time period and that time period has passed, the parent may file a State complaint if the issues that were the subject of the mediation agreement recur or if new issues arise. Also, if there are issues that were not addressed by the mediation agreement, the parent may file a State complaint to seek to resolve those issues. However, once both parties have executed a legally binding mediation agreement, the parties are bound by that agreement and a parent cannot seek to change the terms of that agreement by filing a State complaint to alter that agreement.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:25 AMMay a parent file a State complaint on matters that were not addressed in, or that arose after the time covered by, the mediation agreement?

An intervention is an educational program, product, practice, or policy aimed at improving student outcomes (www.ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc). Depending on a child's age and challenges, evidence-based interventions are available to focus on specific areas of need.

Both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) require that schools use programs, curricula, and practices based on "scientifically-based research" "to the extent practicable." This means that whenever possible, the educational interventions being used must be strongly supported by evidence from well-conducted research studies (National Parent Technical Assistance Center, 2011).

Teachers need to be armed with "evidence-based" programs, products, practices and policies that have been proven effective in improving outcomes for students with disabilities.

There are a few intervention programs for teaching reading and mathematics to students with moderate and severe disabilities. In addition, there are books with evidence-based strategies for teaching reading and mathematics to students with moderate and severe disabilities.  

Extended Standards11/3/2014 2:24 PMWhat are interventions and why are they strongly suggested for students who are performing substantially below grade level on general education standards?

The federal regulations do not establish timelines for the new public agency to adopt the student’s IEP from the previous public agency or to develop, adopt, and implement a new IEP. However, the new public agency must take the steps within a reasonable period of time to avoid any undue interruption in the provision of required services.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMWhat is the timeline for the receiving public agency to adopt an IEP from a previous public agency or to develop and implement a new IEP?

In hard copy forms and in STISETS, on the parent signature line write, "parent participated by phone."

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMHow do we document parent participation in a meeting if they participate by phone?

If an IQ test is a required evaluation you may have to ask for mediation and/or a due

process hearing (DPH) to override the parent’s refusal.

If an IQ test is not a required evaluation, the IEP Team may determine that an IQ test is not

really necessary in order to determine eligibility.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:38 AMIf there is a need for an IQ test and the parent refuses, what procedures should the public agency follow?

Document all attempts to schedule a mutually agreed upon time for an IEP Team meeting. Ifneither parent can participate in a meeting where a decision is to be made relating to theeducational placement of their child, the public agency must use other methods to ensuretheir participation, including individual or conference telephone calls or a video conference.If rescheduling prohibits the public agency from meeting a specified timeline, the publicagency should inform the parent that they must determine eligibility by a certain date or theymust have an IEP Team meeting by a certain date before the IEP lapses.

IEP11/10/2014 11:25 AMWhat if a parent continues to check “I want to reschedule a meeting” time after timeand the timeline is running out?

No.  Children referred for an evaluation, or those currently receiving special education services, should never be used as practice subjects.  There is, however, one exception. Graduate students currently enrolled in approved training programs leading to certification to administer individual intellectual evaluations may administer individual intellectual tests as part of training if the test is part of a reevaluation and written reports are approved and cosigned by a person properly certified by the SDE.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:41 AMTest authors require practice when learning to administer new tests.  Can you administer practice tests on children in special education?

The location of services is one of the subjects that must be discussed during the consultation process among LEA officials, private school representatives, and representatives of parents of parentally placed private school children with disabilities.  See 34 CFR §300.134(d).  Under 34 CFR §300.137(b), after the consultation process and giving due consideration to the views of the private school officials, the LEA makes the final decision.  See 34 CFR §300.137(b).

Private School4/14/2015 1:38 PMHow does an LEA determine the location where services will be provided to parentally placed private school children with disabilities?

Based upon applicable court decisions, there are a number of "referral red flags," such as extensive absences or failing grades, that have been found, in combination, sufficient to constitute a "reason to suspect a disability and need for services" that would trigger the Child Find/evaluation duty under the law. Remember, however, that not one of these "red flags" alone would typically be sufficient to trigger the Child Find duty, but the more of them that exist in a particular situation, the more likely it is that the duty would be triggered.

a. Academic Concerns in School

- Failing or noticeably declining grades

- Poor or noticeably declining progress on standardized assessments

- Student negatively "stands out" from his/her same-age peers

- Student has been in the Problem Solving/RtI process and data indicate little progress or positive response to interventions

- Student is on a 504 Plan and accommodations have provided little benefit

b. Behavioral Concerns in School

- Numerous or increasing disciplinary referrals for violations of the code of conduct

- Signs of depression, withdrawal, inattention

- Truancy problems or increased unexcused absences

- Student negatively stands out from his/her same-age peers

- Student has been in the Problem Solving/RtI process and data indicate little progress or positive response to behavioral interventions, such as a behavior intervention plan, etc.

- Student is on a 504 Plan and accommodations have provided little benefit

c. Outside Information

- Information that the student has been hospitalized for an extended period of time

- Information that the student has received a medical or DSM-IV diagnosis (ADHD, ODD, OCD, etc.)

- Information that the student is taking medication

- Information that the student is seeing an outside counselor, therapist, physician, etc.

- Private evaluator suggests the need for an evaluation or services

d. Personnel/Parent Request

- Teacher/other service provider suggests an evaluation is needed

- Parent requests an evaluation

Administrators10/9/2014 1:18 PMSo, what constitutes “reason to suspect” or “reason to believe” that triggers the child find requirement?

States have been required to establish and implement their own State complaint procedures, separate from their due process procedures, since 1977, when the initial regulations implementing Part B of the EHA were published (45 CFR §121a.602). The EHA regulations were moved to part 76 of the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in the early 1980s and were returned to the Part B of the IDEA regulations in 1992 when the Department decided to move the regulations out of EDGAR and place them in program regulations for the major formula grant programs. 71 FR 46600 (August 14, 2006). In responding to public comments questioning the basis for the State complaint provisions in 34 CFR §§300.151-300.153, the Department provided the following explanation when the final Part B regulations were published:

Although Congress did not specifically detail a State complaint process in the Act, we believe that the State complaint process is fully supported by the Act and necessary for the proper implementation of the Act and these regulations. We believe a strong State complaint system provides parents and other individuals an opportunity to resolve disputes early without having to file a due process complaint and without having to go to a due process hearing. 71 FR 46600 (August 14, 2006).

In addition to the regulations addressing State complaint procedures, there are also a number of statutory provisions in the IDEA that recognize the State complaint process.15

Accordingly, through its Part B State complaint procedures, each State has a powerful tool to address noncompliance with Part B of the IDEA and its implementing regulations in a manner that both supports and protects the

interests of children with disabilities and their parents and facilitates ongoing compliance by the State and its public agencies with the IDEA and its implementing regulations. 71 FR 46601 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:26 AMWhy are States required to have complaint procedures when the IDEA statute does not contain those procedures?

All pieces of evidence submitted for the AAA should show that the student has achieved mastery on the extended standard rather than demonstrate increments of progress toward the standard.

When a student struggles to show mastery of an extended standard a different activity or a lower complexity should be considered.

Extended Standards11/3/2014 2:24 PMHow should mastery for students with disabilities be addressed?

No. STISETS should not kick out observations that are dated prior to the referral date. However, the public agency will need to make sure the observation is within one year of the IEP Team meeting to discuss the referral unless this is an out-of-state transfer.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMWill STISETS kick out observations that are dated prior to the referral date?

If the parent said they were going to participate in the meeting by phone and did not participate document that the parent was unavailable by phone.

Reevaluation11/5/2014 4:39 PMHow do we document the parent chose to participate by phone, but at the time of the meeting they did not answer the phone?

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that the lack of appropriate

instruction in math and/or reading, including the essential components of reading

instruction or limited English proficiency cannot be the determining factor in the eligibility

decision. We added the statement to remind the IEP Team or Eligibility Committee to

include data on the eligibility report that documents the information used to rule out the

lack of appropriate instruction. That information is now documented as Prong 1 and Prong

2 to meet the special rule required in the AAC.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:38 AMOn the signature page of the eligibility report there is a box that must be completed for all students. Why was “See documentation included in this report” added to this box?

The parent should participate as an equal partner with school personnel in developing,reviewing, and revising the IEP. This is an active role in which the parent (1) providescritical information regarding the strengths of the child and expresses concerns for enhancingthe education of the child; (2) participates in discussions about the student’s need for specialeducation and related services; and (3) joins with other participants in deciding how thestudent will be involved in the general education curriculum and participate in state anddistrict-wide assessments, and what services will be provided and in what setting.

IEP11/10/2014 11:25 AMWhat is the role of the parent at an IEP Team meeting?

Test protocols are considered part of a child’s educational record in Alabama.  Educational records can be destroyed five (5) years after the termination of the special education program for which they were used.  At the end of the five-year period, the public agency must inform the parents when personally identifiable information collected, maintained, or used is no longer needed.  Information must be destroyed in a manner whereby confidentiality of the information is maintained, for example shredding.  Disposal of confidential information must be attended to by the individual disposing of the protocols.  Protocols should not be given to other people for disposal, put in dumpsters, or anywhere confidentiality could be compromised. Additionally, confidential information must be destroyed at the request of the parent.  However, a permanent education record that contains the child’s name, address, telephone number, his or her grades, record of attendance for special education services, classes attended, grade level completed, and year completed may be maintained without time limitation.  [AAC 290-8-9.08(2) (h)].

Assessment11/14/2014 10:41 AMHow long do you have to keep test protocols?

The regulations in 34 CFR §300.139(b) require that if necessary for the child to benefit from or participate in the services provided under the private school provisions, an LEA must provide a parentally placed private school child with a disability transportation from the child's school or the child's home to a site other than the private school; and from the service site to the private school, or to the child's home, depending on the timing of the services.  The IDEA does not require LEAs to provide transportation from the child's home to the private school.  The LEA may include the cost of the transportation in calculating whether it has spent the proportionate share of Federal Part B funds on providing services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities as required by 34 CFR §300.133.

Private School4/14/2015 1:38 PMMust an LEA provide transportation in order for a child to benefit from or participate in the services provided under the private school provisions?

No. While the parent may initiate a request for the initial evaluation, the Child Find duty may be triggered prior to that time. When there is sufficient suspicion, a referral must be made whether the parent has requested it or not.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:29 PMDo we wait for parents to make a referral?

Some differences include who can file each type of complaint, subject matter, timing, procedures, and appeal processes. More parties are eligible to file a State complaint than a due process complaint. As explained in Question B-3, a State complaint may be filed by an organization or individual, including one from another State. In contrast, only a parent16 or a public agency17 may file a due process complaint.18 Therefore, while a parent has the option of filing a State complaint or a due process complaint to request a due process hearing, an organization or individual, other than a child’s parent may not file a due process complaint to request a due process hearing.

Another difference is the subject matter of each type of complaint. A State complaint must allege that a public agency has violated a requirement of Part B of the IDEA or the Part B regulations, but a due process complaint is available for matters regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a child with a disability, or the provision of FAPE to the child. Therefore, while a matter that could be the subject of a due process complaint could also be the subject of a State complaint, the reverse is not always true.

Next, the time period within which each type of complaint can be filed is not the same. A State complaint must allege a violation that occurred not more than one year prior to the date that the complaint is received in accordance with 34 CFR §300.151; although States have the option of accepting complaints alleging a violation that occurred within a longer time period (see Question B-19). In contrast, a due process complaint must allege a violation that occurred not more than two years before the parent or public agency knew or should have known about the alleged action that forms the basis for the due process complaint, or, if the State has an explicit time limitation, in the time allowed by State law. 34 CFR §300.507(a)(2). The regulations provide explicit exceptions to the two-year or State-established timeline. 34 CFR §300.511(f). See Question C-5 of this Q&A document for a description of these exceptions.

Different procedures apply to written decisions for State complaints and due process complaints.19 For State complaints, the SEA must issue a written decision to the complainant that addresses each allegation in the complaint within 60 days of the date that the complaint was filed, except that certain specific extensions are allowable as described in Question B-21. In contrast, if a parent files a due process complaint to request a due process hearing and the due process hearing occurs, then a hearing decision must be issued not later than 45 days after the expiration of the resolution period described in 34 CFR §300.510. Note though that a hearing officer may grant a specific extension of the 45-day timeline at the request of either party. See Sections C and D of this Q&A document.

The regulations are silent as to whether a decision on a State complaint may be appealed, but see Question B-32 for a discussion of how State appeal and reconsideration procedures can be implemented consistent with Part B. Also, as described in the response to Question B-34, the Part B regulations do not provide for Secretarial review of a final decision on a State complaint. In contrast, a decision reached in a due process hearing is final, unless a party aggrieved by the decision appeals by requesting a State-level review, if applicable, or by bringing a civil action in an appropriate State or Federal court. 34 CFR §§300.514 and 300.516.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:29 AMWhat are some differences between a State complaint and a due process complaint?
Alabama Extended Standards for the grade level of enrollment must be used and those are the citations that would be used, including the extended standard number and the complexity.
Extended Standards11/3/2014 2:25 PMShould the standard the student is working toward or the lower grade-level standard (if a lower grade-level standard has been chosen) be cited when referencing the standard in the goal?

The IEP Team decides which type of testing is needed (e.g. intellectual, achievement, speech) and the psychometrist chooses the most appropriate assessment for the student after reviewing information provided by the IEP Team. The IEP Team may recommend particular instruments to be used.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMWho should make the decision as to the battery of tests to be administered when looking at testing specific areas of achievement?

No. SES does not require the completion of a referral form; however, a public agency may

choose to require that it be completed. If the IEP Team decides that additional data are

needed, parental consent is obtained and additional data are gathered. The public agency

completes the Notice and Consent for Initial Evaluation in SETSWeb by checking “to

determine eligibility under AAC for out-of-state transfer” as the reason for the evaluation.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:38 AMWhen a student transfers from out-of-state, is the public agency required to complete a referral if the IEP Team decides that additional data are needed to determine if the student meets Alabama criteria for a specific disability area?

Whenever appropriate, and at the discretion of the parent, the student with a disability shouldbe invited to attend the IEP Team meeting. The public agency must invite a student with adisability to attend the student’s IEP Team meeting if a purpose of the meeting will be theconsideration of the postsecondary goals for the student and the transition services needed toassist the student in reaching those goals.

IEP11/10/2014 11:26 AMAt what age can a student attend the IEP Team meeting?

Generally, an invalid assessment should not be used to determine if a child is a child with a disability.  A report with documented notations as to validity must be provided to the IEP Team so that informed decisions can be made.  A good examiner will always ensure that the examinee is assessed under optimal conditions.  At the beginning of the testing period when the examiner is establishing rapport, the examiner must make a judgment call before testing begins as to whether or not the child is in the proper state of mind so that the child is capable of putting forth his/her best efforts.  If for any reason the examiner detects that the child does not feel well, is having a bad day, or is otherwise uncooperative, testing should not be started.  Also, testing should be stopped and rescheduled if there is a legitimate reason, such as, the child gets sick.

Assessment11/19/2014 10:49 AMHow does the IEP Team proceed when the school psychologist/psychometrist reports that an administered assessment is invalid due to the child's poor behavior during the testing period, i.e., refusing to attempt to participate, is uncooperative, silly and/o

No.  The HQT provisions do not apply to special education teachers hired by private elementary and secondary schools, including private school teachers hired or contracted by LEAs to provide equitable services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities under 34 CFR §300.138. 

Private School4/14/2015 1:37 PMDo the HQT provisions in IDEA apply to private school teachers?

Yes. The school district must accept a referral from a parent whenever one is submitted. Once submitted, an IEP Team meeting is then scheduled to discuss the referral. The parent is a member of the IEP Team and must be invited to participate in this meeting. The IEP Team reviews the referral and existing data and determines if there is a need for an evaluation.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:40 PMMust an IEP/Referral Team accept a referral from a parent(s) if there is no clear evidence of a problem or “reason to suspect?”

Any organization or individual, including one from another State, may file a signed written State complaint that meets the requirements in 34 CFR §300.153. 34 CFR §300.151(a).

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:30 AMWho may file a State complaint?

A referral form is not required. The initial referral process should be followed. However, the public agency may require a referral form to be completed. Refer to the out-of-state transfer charts to determine where to begin in the referral process.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMDo you complete a referral form on a child who transfers from out-of-state?

The public agency may or may not have to conduct its own evaluations. School personnel

must review the student’s out-of-state records to determine whether all required evaluations

have been administered and if the student meets AAC criteria. If the student does not meet

AAC criteria, the IEP Team would need to convene to discuss what additional evaluative

data are required to determine eligibility. If additional data are needed, the initial

evaluation process must begin. Parental consent must be obtained on the Notice and

Consent for Initial Evaluation prior to conducting any evaluations.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:37 AMWhen a student transfers from out-of-state, the public agency must determine whether or not the student meets Alabama criteria as a student with a disability. Is the public agency required to conduct its own evaluations to document that the student is eli

In developing each student’s IEP, the IEP Team must consider the strengths of the student;the concerns of the parent for enhancing the education of the child; the student’s preferencesand/or interests; the results of the initial or most recent evaluation of the student; and the

academic, developmental, and functional needs of the student. The IEP Team must also consider "special instructional factors" for the student each time the IEP is reviewed.

IEP11/10/2014 11:43 AMWhat must be considered when an IEP is developed, reviewed, or revised?

No.  Each test manual provides descriptive information regarding the construct of subtests and composites.  The public education agency should designate someone with experience and formal training in the field of assessment, such as a school psychologist/psychometrist, who is capable of reviewing test manuals and making recommendations for public education agencies to use.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:43 AMWill the SDE provide a comparison chart of subtests and composites for commonly used achievement tests for determination of a severe discrepancy for SLD?

Yes.  Any public elementary or secondary school teacher must meet the HQT requirements.

Private School4/14/2015 1:37 PMIf an LEA sends a special education teacher (employed by the LEA) to a private school to provide special education and related services to a child, must that teacher meet the HQT requirements in IDEA?

No. LEAs are only required to accept referrals from parents. The IEP Team will meet to review the referral and determine if the collected student data indicates a need for an evaluation.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:44 PMIf a parent requests an evaluation, is the LEA required to evaluate?

Yes. Under 34 CFR §300.509, each SEA must develop model forms to assist parents and other parties in filing a State complaint; however, the SEA or LEA may not require the use of the model forms. Parents and other parties may use the appropriate model form, or another form or document, so long as the form or document that is used meets the content requirements in 34 CFR §300.153 for filing a State complaint. If the SEA’s model form includes content not required by 34 CFR §300.153, the form must identify that content and specify that it is optional.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:30 AMAre there any mechanisms that an SEA must provide to assist parents and other parties in filing a State complaint?

We no longer use a "MET". Evaluation means the review of existing data and only means "test" if the IEP Team determines that additional data are necessary to determine continued eligibility status.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMDoes evaluate mean retest or just go through the old “MET” process and determine no additional data are needed?

No. As of May 14, 2009, the public agency has the discretion to use evaluations that

transfer in with the student from out-of-state.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:36 AMIf the evaluation data received is consistent with the AAC, but is more than one year old, is the public agency required to retest to determine eligibility for out-of-state transfer students?

In order to be eligible for special education, a student must have a disability that has an adverse effect on educational performance and is in need of special education and related services. Educational performance means academic, social/emotional, and/or communication skills. Each public agency must ensure that FAPE is available to any individual student with a disability who needs special education and related services, even though the student has not failed or been retained in a course or a grade, and is advancing from grade to grade. The determination that a student is eligible must be made on an individual basis by the group responsible within the student’s public agency for making eligibility determinations.

IEP11/10/2014 11:43 AMDoes a student continue to receive special education services even though he or she is making A’s and B’s but may have some areas in the standards where he or she is below grade level?

No.  Public agencies may appoint an individual(s) with the expertise to determine the psychometric qualities (validity and reliability) of an instrument.  The public education agency may choose to develop its own list of approved assessments.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:44 AMIs there an updated State approved list of assessments?

The regulations in 34 CFR §§300.18(h) and 300.138(a) make clear that the IDEA does not require that private school teachers meet the same highly qualified teacher requirements as teachers who are employed by public agencies.  The IDEA is silent regarding additional credentials or certifications that a State may require under State law.  Therefore, States may exceed the IDEA requirements and require teachers in private schools to hold certain credentials or certifications if consistent with State law.  If a State establishes requirements that exceed those required by Part B of the IDEA or the Federal regulations, the State is required by 34 CFR §300.199(a)(2) to identify in writing to the LEAs located in the State and to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education (Secretary) that such rule, regulation, or policy is a State imposed requirement that is not required by Part B of the IDEA or the Federal regulations.

Private School4/14/2015 12:05 PMMay States exceed the IDEA’s requirements and require teachers in private schools to hold certain credentials or certifications?

If the IEP Team determines that the student does not need an evaluation for special education services because there is no reason to suspect that the student is a student with a disability in need of services, the "Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services" must be used to document the IEP Team’s decision not to accept the referral for evaluation and be given to the parent or adult student (age 19 and older), along with a copy of the "Special Education Rights," so that the parent is advised of the school’s decision and their right to challenge the decision.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:47 PMWhat happens if the IEP Team determines that the student referral does not warrant an evaluation?

Yes. The Department’s long-standing position is that an SEA may not refuse to resolve a parent’s State complaint challenging a public agency’s eligibility determination through its complaint resolution procedures even though the complaint concerns a matter that could also be the subject of a due process complaint to request a due process hearing.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:30 AMIf a parent wishes to challenge a public agency’s eligibility determination, may a parent file a State complaint?

Yes.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMCan the Family Focus Interview/ELPP Documentation form be used for eligibility as the structured interview with autism?

Accept the parent’s refusal and send a Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education

Services stating that the agency stands ready to evaluate should the parents choose to give

consent at a later time. The student will be considered a regular education student. The

public agency may request mediation or a DPH to override the parent’s refusal but is not

required to do so.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:36 AMIf an out-of-state transfer student comes to Alabama with an eligibility report that does not meet the AAC and an initial evaluation needs to be conducted, what do we do if a parent does not give us consent for evaluation?

No. Once the student is eligible for special education services, he or she may receive any service(s) that the IEP Team deems appropriate after appropriate evaluations have been completed.

IEP11/10/2014 11:44 AMIf a student qualifies for services in the area of Developmental Delay in one domain, is that the only domain that may be addressed in the IEP for services?

An assessment refers to a single test.  For example, an assessment of intellectual ability (IQ) is one of many assessments administered to the child being evaluated.  An evaluation includes all assessment information, such as work samples, observations, hearing and vision, interviews, collected about the child and making judgments about its worth or effectiveness.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:44 AMWhat is the difference between an assessment and an evaluation?

Yes.  The revisions to the IDEA in 2004 made a significant change in the manner in which the proportionate share is calculated.  Under the 2004 amendments to the IDEA, the proportionate share calculation must be based on the total number of children with disabilities who are enrolled in private schools located in the LEA, whether or not the children or their parents reside in the LEA.

More specifically, each LEA must spend the following amounts on providing special education and related services (including direct services) to parentally placed private school children with disabilities:

(1) For children aged three through 21, an amount that is the same proportion of the LEA's total subgrant under section 611(f) of the IDEA as the number of private school children with disabilities aged three through 21 who are enrolled by their parents in private, including religious, elementary schools and secondary schools located in the school district served by the LEA is to the total number of children with disabilities in its jurisdiction aged three through 21.

(2) For children aged three through five, an amount that is the same proportion of the LEA's total subgrant under section 619(g) of the IDEA as the number of parentally placed private school children with disabilities aged three through five who are enrolled by their parents in private, including religious, elementary schools located in the school district served by the LEA is to the total number of children with disabilities in its jurisdiction aged three through five.

Appendix B of the regulations provides an example of how to make this calculation.

Private School4/14/2015 12:07 PMIs the proportionate share that an LEA must expend to provide equitable services to children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools different from the share an LEA would have been required to spend prior to the 2004 IDEA reauthorizat

The referral becomes "official" on the date it is received by the LEA, whether it is by phone, mail, e-mail, conference, or when a written referral form is submitted to any education personnel (e.g., secretary, guidance counselor, principal).

Administrators10/9/2014 1:52 PMWhen does a referral become “official?”

In resolving a State complaint challenging a public agency’s eligibility determination, an SEA should determine not only whether the public agency has followed the required Part B procedures to reach its determination, but also whether the public agency has reached a determination consistent with Part B requirements governing the evaluation and eligibility determination in 34 CFR §§300.304-300.311, in light of the individual child’s abilities and needs. The SEA must determine whether the child was determined eligible based on evidence that he or she met the definition of "child with a disability" under 34 CFR §300.8 and fell within the age ranges specified at 34 CFR §§300.101 and 300.102. To do so, the SEA may need to review the evaluation data in the child’s record or any additional data provided by the parties to the complaint. In addition, the SEA may need to review the explanation included in the public agency’s prior written notice to the parents under 34 CFR §300.503 explaining why the agency made the challenged eligibility determination (and/or refused to make an alternative determination requested by the parents or others). If necessary, the SEA may need to interview appropriate individuals to determine: (1) whether the public agency followed procedures and applied standards that are consistent with State standards, including the requirements of Part B; and (2) whether the public agency’s eligibility determination is consistent with those standards and supported by the evaluation and other data included in the child’s record or the information provided by the parties to the complaint. The SEA may find that the public agency has complied with Part B requirements if the public agency has followed required procedures, applied required standards, and reached a determination that is reasonably supported by the child-specific data and is consistent with Part B.

If the SEA determines that the public agency’s eligibility determination is not supported by the child-specific facts, the SEA can order the public agency, on a case-by-case basis, to reconsider the eligibility determination in light of those facts. In addition, a parent always has the right to challenge the public agency’s eligibility determination by filing a due process complaint to request

a due process hearing and may also engage in mediation with the public agency to seek to resolve the dispute.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:31 AMHow should an SEA resolve a State complaint challenging a public agency’s eligibility determination?

In hard copy forms and in STISETS, on the parent signature line write, "parent participated by telephone."

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMHow do we document parent participation in a meeting if they participate by phone?

Yes, once eligibility in Alabama has been determined. If the student transfers into the

receiving public agency with an IEP that was in effect in the previous public agency in

another state, the receiving public agency, in consultation with the parent, must provide

comparable services to those described in the previously held IEP until the new public

agency conducts an initial evaluation to determine eligibility. If the parent refuses consent

for the initial evaluation, the receiving public agency may not evaluate. The public agency

may pursue the evaluation through mediation and/or a DPH but is not required to do so.

If the parent does consent to the initial evaluation and the student meets eligibility criteria

as per the AAC, the Notice and Consent for the Provision of Special Education Services

must be obtained.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:35 AMWhen a student transfers from another state is it necessary to get the Notice and Consent for the Provision of Special Education Services signed?

The LRE should be determined when the IEP Team meets and identifies the type and amount of services for the student and determines how and where those services will be implemented. The IEP Team must consider each LRE option and move down the continuum to determine the appropriate LRE.

IEP11/10/2014 11:50 AMAt what point in the IEP process is the least restrictive environment (LRE) determined for a student?

A valid measure is one that measures what it is supposed to measure.  Validity refers to getting results that accurately reflect the concept being measured.

Reliability is the consistency of a set of measurements or measuring instrument. Reliability does not imply validity.  That is, a reliable measure is measuring something consistently, but not necessarily what it is supposed to be measuring.  For example, while there are many reliable tests of specific abilities, not all of them would be valid for predicting school performance.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:45 AMWhat is the difference between validity and reliability?

Children who have been evaluated and found eligible for special education and related services, not just those children who receive services through an IEP or services plan, should be included in the count to calculate the proportionate share.  As discussed in 34 CFR §300.133(a), each LEA must determine the total number of private school children with disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in private elementary schools and secondary schools located in the LEA and the total number of children with disabilities enrolled in public and private elementary schools and secondary schools located in the LEA.

Private School4/14/2015 1:37 PMWhich children must an LEA count in order to calculate the proportionate share?

No. A referral must be accepted anytime there is sufficient "reason to suspect" a disability exists, no matter when that occurs during the school year. Limitations cannot be put in place that restrict when a referral can be accepted for special education consideration, even during the summer break.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:56 PMCan IEP Teams stop accepting referrals for special education in the spring if there is not enough time to begin services before the summer break?

Yes. As is true for State complaints challenging a public agency’s eligibility determination, the Department’s long-standing position is that an SEA may not refuse to resolve a State complaint alleging a denial of FAPE. This is true even if the SEA believes that the parent should file a due process complaint against the LEA or that the due process hearing process is a more appropriate mechanism to resolve such disputes. If a parent believes that the program offered or provided to his or her child with a disability does not constitute FAPE and files a State complaint instead of a due process complaint, the SEA must resolve the State complaint. This responsibility includes resolving a State complaint by a parent, who has unilaterally placed his or her child in a private school at her or her own expense, alleging a denial of FAPE.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:31 AMIf a parent wishes to challenge a public agency’s decision regarding the provision or denial of FAPE to a child with a disability, may a parent file a State complaint?

If the parent said they were going to participate in the meeting by phone and did not participate, document that the parent was unavailable by telephone.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMHow do we document the parent chose to participate by telephone but at the time of the meeting they did not answer the telephone?

Yes. The public agency should send the notice to the last known address.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:35 AMWhen a student transfers to another school system, and the receiving system requests records, does the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) require notice of transfer of records to parents and if so, what if the parents’ address is unknown?

The profile must include:

1. The strengths of the student

2. Parental concerns for enhancing the education

3. Student preferences and/or interests that include transition information beginning no later than the first IEP to be in effect when the student turns 16 or younger, if determined appropriate by the IEP Team

4. The results of the most recent evaluations

5. The academic, development, and functional needs of the student

6. Other

7. For a child transitioning from EI to preschool, justify if IEP will not be implemented on the child’s third birthday

IEP11/10/2014 11:50 AMWhat information should be included in the profile of a student’s IEP.

A standardized test is a test given to a group of individuals under uniform conditions, with the same instructions, time limits, etc.  Tests are designed by sampling the performance of other individuals using results as a norm for judging achievement.  In other words, when a child makes a certain score on an achievement test, his or her score is compared to the other individuals in the norming group.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:46 AMWhat is a standardized test?

Yes.  As referenced in Question D-3, nothing in the IDEA prohibits an LEA from expending more than the proportionate share.  Each LEA is required to spend a minimum amount of its subgrant under Part B of the IDEA for children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools.  As long as the LEA meets all the other requirements of the IDEA, including providing FAPE to children with disabilities, it is permissible for an LEA to spend more than the minimum amount of Part B funds on providing services to children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools.  In addition, as provided in 34 CFR §300.133(d), State and local funds may be used to supplement, but not supplant, the LEA’s proportionate share of Federal funds required to be expended on children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools.

Private School4/14/2015 1:37 PMMay an LEA expend more than the proportionate share of Part B funds on children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools?

No. Appropriate referrals must be acted upon regardless of class loads and capacity. There is no such thing as a "waiting list" for referrals or for services.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:58 PMMay an IEP Team stop accepting referrals if classes are full?

In resolving a State complaint challenging whether a public agency’s decision regarding the provision or denial of FAPE to a child is correct, an SEA may need to determine not only whether the public agency has followed the required Part B procedures to reach its determination, but also whether the public agency has properly addressed the individual child’s abilities and needs. Thus, the SEA would need to review any data provided by the parties to the complaint and the child’s record, including evaluation data and any explanations included in the public agency’s prior written notice to the parents under 34 CFR §300.503 as to why the public agency made its decision regarding the child’s educational program or services (and/or refused to make an alternative decision requested by the parents or others). If necessary, the SEA may need to interview appropriate individuals to determine: (1) whether the agency followed procedures and applied standards that are consistent with State standards, including the requirements of Part B; and (2) whether the determination made by the public agency is consistent with those standards and supported by the data on the individual child’s abilities and needs. The SEA may find that the public agency has complied with Part B requirements if the evidence clearly demonstrates that the agency has followed required procedures, applied required standards, and reached a determination that is reasonably supported by the child-specific data. 71 FR 46601 (August 14, 2006).

If the SEA finds a violation of FAPE for the child, it must address the violation. This includes, as appropriate, ordering an IEP Team to reconvene to develop a program that ensures the provision of FAPE for that child or ordering compensatory services. See Question B-10 for remedies. In addition, a parent alleging a denial of FAPE has the right to challenge the IEP Team’s decision by filing a due process complaint to request a due process hearing and may also engage in mediation with the public agency to seek to resolve the dispute.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:32 AMHow should an SEA resolve a State complaint challenging a public agency’s decision regarding the provision or denial of FAPE to a child with a disability?

The federal regulations state an initial evaluation must be conducted within 60 days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation or, if the state establishes a timeframe within which the evaluation must be conducted, within that timeframe. The IDEA 60 calendar day timeline applies only to the initial evaluation. Public agencies are not required to make the eligibility determination, obtain parental consent for the initial provision of special education and related services, conduct the initial meeting of the IEP Team to develop the child’s IEP, or initially provide special education and related services to a child with a disability during the IDEA 60 calendar day initial evaluation timeline.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMUnder the IDEA, what must occur during the 60 calendar day time period after the public agency receives parental consent for an initial evaluation? Must a public agency determine eligibility and begin providing special education and related services withi

No. Reevaluation is a process that begins with a review of existing data. The IEP Team

may use existing data to determine continued eligibility in the same area, another disability

area, or ineligibility. An IEP Team must decide whether additional data are needed in

order to determine the eligibility status.

Alabama Administrative Code11/6/2014 11:49 AMDoes reevaluation mean formal assessment by a psychometrist?

Medical information should be included in the profile when it is pertinent to the student’s progress and involvement in his or her educational program or if it is a concern of the parent.

IEP11/10/2014 11:51 AMShould medical information be included in the profile?

According to the AAC, a regression model is used to determine the difference between predicted achievement (based on intelligence) and obtained achievement.  In general, the procedure that is used is to determine the obtained achievement score(s) from a complete test, or two composites or two subtests in the area of referral from two different tests.  Compare the obtained achievement to the predicted achievement score, based on the intelligence tests, by using tables from the test publishers or, if not available, SDE tables. The obtained achievement must be at least 16 points lower than predicted achievement to identify a severe discrepancy.  The regression model is based on the predicted achievement model. In this model, the tables are used to predict what the child will achieve at a level comparable to their intelligence.  A severe discrepancy is determined when a child’s achievement is not comparable to what is predicted (as per the tables).   However, an intelligence test score is exactly equal to predicted achievement only if there is a perfect correlation between IQ and achievement.  The correlation is NOT perfect; therefore, IEP Teams must take into account regression to the mean for statistical accuracy. With regression to the mean, predicted achievement will be closer to the mean than the intelligence test score.  Test publishers’ tables provide data to convert the intelligence test score to a predicted achievement score based on actual correlations between the intelligence and achievement test.  If test publishers tables are not available, SDE tables provide the conversion of intelligence test scores to predicted achievement scores and are based on assumption of .65 correlation between intelligence and achievement.

Assessment11/14/2014 10:46 AMWhat is the background for development and use of the regression tables for severe discrepancy?

Under 34 CFR §300.133(a), each LEA is required to spend a minimum amount of its subgrant under Part B of the IDEA on children with disabilities placed by their parents in private elementary and secondary schools.  As provided in 34 CFR §300.133(a)(3), if an LEA has not expended all of the proportionate share of its Part B subgrant by the end of the fiscal year for which Congress appropriated the funds, the LEA must obligate the remaining funds for special education and related services to children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools during a carry-over period of one additional year.  A reduction in the number of children, for example, when a school closes after the start of the school year, does not excuse the LEA from spending its proportionate share to provide equitable services to children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools.

Private School4/14/2015 1:36 PMIf an LEA does not expend the entire proportionate share of Part B funds on children with disabilities placed by their parents in a private school that closes, what must the LEA do with those unexpended funds?

The Problem Solving Team (PST) is the collaborative group of school-based personnel that help identify and guide general education interventions for all students who have academic or behavioral difficulties and is central to the school’s successful implementation of an RtI framework. The PST is responsible for day-to-day decisions which ensure that (1) students receive instruction and interventions matched to their identified needs, (2) appropriate progress monitoring tools are utilized to provide evidence of students’ response to instruction and intervention, and (3) progress monitoring data are used to make timely instructional decisions that maximize student outcomes.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:00 PMWhat is a “Problem Solving Team” and how does it relate to identification or the Child Find duty under the law?

Yes. An SEA is required to resolve any complaint that meets the requirements of 34 CFR §300.153. This includes a complaint alleging that a public agency has not provided FAPE to an individual child or a group of children in accordance with Part B. As noted in the response to Question B-1, State complaint procedures provide a powerful tool to enable a State to fulfill its general supervisory responsibility to monitor implementation of Part B requirements in the State. This responsibility applies to the monitoring of its public agencies’ compliance with Part B with respect to both systemic and child-specific issues. 34 CFR §§300.149 and 300.600(a).

A State complaint alleging systemic noncompliance could be one that alleges that a public agency has a policy, procedure, or practice applicable to a group of children that is inconsistent with Part B or the Part B regulations. An example of a complaint alleging systemic noncompliance is a complaint alleging that an LEA has a policy, procedure, or practice that would limit extended school year (ESY) services to children in particular disability categories or the type, amount, or duration of services that can be provided as ESY services.

If the complaint names certain children and alleges that the same violations apply to a class, category, or similarly situated children, the SEA must review all relevant information to resolve the complaint, but would not need to examine additional children if no violations are identified in the policies, procedures, or practices for the named children. However, if the SEA identifies violations for any of the named children, the SEA’s complaint resolution must include measures to ensure correction of the violations for all children affected by the alleged systemic noncompliance described in the complaint. Additionally, the SEA would need to examine the policies, procedures, and practices that may be causing the violations and the SEA’s written decision on the complaint must contain procedures for effective implementation of that decision, including corrective actions to achieve compliance. 34 CFR §§300.152(b)(2)(iii), 300.149(a)(2)(ii), and 300.600(e).

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:33 AMMay the State complaint procedures, including the remedies outlined in 34 CFR §300.151(b), be used to address the problems of a group of children, i.e., a complaint alleging systemic noncompliance?

If the biological or adoptive parent of the child refuses consent for an initial evaluation of the child, and the parental rights of the biological parent have not been terminated in accordance with state law, or a court has not designated a foster parent to make educational decisions for the child in accordance with state law, a foster parent may not provide consent for an initial evaluation.

Initial Evaluation11/5/2014 4:19 PMMay a foster parent provide consent for an initial evaluation even if the biological parent refuses to provide such consent?

No. Vision and hearing screenings do not have to be administered at each reevaluation

unless there is reason to suspect that vision/hearing problems are degenerative in nature and

may skew the results of formal assessments. However, a vision and/or hearing screening

must be documented on the eligibility report if one is completed for reevaluation to

determine continued eligibility.

Alabama Administrative Code11/6/2014 11:49 AMDoes hearing and vision have to be completed for each reevaluation? Can you use

Any needs addressed on the profile page must be addressed as either a goal or in other components of the IEP. If the student’s needs are more than what could realistically be addressed in one academic year, the IEP Team should prioritize the student’s needs in the profile.

IEP11/10/2014 11:51 AMIf an area of concern is addressed in the profile, do we need goals for that area?

No.  If, after the carry-over period, the LEA is unable to expend the entire proportionate share and assuming the LEA is in compliance with the child find, consultation, and other requirements related to parentally placed private school children with disabilities in 34 CFR §§300.129 through 300.144, the LEA may use the unexpended funds - at the end of the period during which the funds may be spent on parentally placed private school children - to pay for other allowable Part B expenditures for that same LEA.  This situation should be the exception.  We emphasize that it is the clear intent of the Act that LEAs spend these funds on providing special education and related services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities, as provided in 34 CFR §§300.129 through 300.144.  Therefore, if the LEA is not in compliance with these requirements and has not expended the funds on parentally placed private school children, the LEA must return the funds to the U.S. Department of Education. 

The SEA is responsible for ensuring that LEAs are in compliance with these requirements.  See 34 CFR §§300.149(a) and 300.600(b)(2).  If an LEA has not expended the proportionate share by the end of the carry-over period, the SEA can monitor the LEA to ensure that it is meeting these requirements, including the requirement in 34 CFR §300.135 that the LEA obtain written affirmation signed by representatives of participating private schools that timely and meaningful consultation has occurred.  In any event, there is no authority that permits the LEA to return the funds to the SEA to be spent by the SEA or reallocated to another LEA.

Private School4/14/2015 12:08 PMIf an LEA does not expend the entire proportionate share of Part B funds on children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools by the end of the carry-over period, may the LEA return the unexpended funds to the SEA to be spent by the SE

No. The PST may refer a student to the IEP Team for consideration for evaluation if relevant data indicate that there is a suspicion of a disability and a need for special education services. However, a parent should never be informed that the PST/RtI process must be completed before a referral can be made. The only reason to deny a referral is that there is no reason to suspect that the student has a disability or is in need of special education services.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:00 PMCan the school deny a referral based on the fact that a student has not completed the PST/RtI process?

In resolving a complaint in which there is a finding that a public agency has not provided appropriate services, whether to an individual child or a group of children, an SEA, through its general supervisory authority under Part B, is required to address: (1) the failure to provide appropriate services, including corrective action appropriate to address the needs of the child (such as compensatory services or monetary reimbursement); and (2) appropriate future provision of services for all children with disabilities. 34 CFR §300.151(b). Thus, an SEA, pursuant to its general supervisory authority, has broad flexibility to determine appropriate remedies to address the denial of appropriate services to an individual child or group of children.

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:33 AMIf there is a finding in a State complaint that a child or group of children has been denied FAPE, what are the remedies?

A reevaluation begins with the IEP Team reviewing the student’s educational records (all

relevant data) to decide whether or not additional evaluative data are necessary to

determine whether or not the student continues to be eligible for special education and

related services. The IEP Team should review existing data that includes work samples,

observations, attendance, and other measures of student performance already available in

the record. Parental consent is not needed to review the educational records. The IEP

Team may decide that no additional evaluative data are needed to make a determination or

they may decide that additional evaluative data must be obtained in order to determine

whether or not the student continues to be eligible. In the latter case, parental consent is

required prior to conducting evaluations or documentation of at least two attempts if the

parent fails to respond to the request.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:35 AMWhat constitutes a reevaluation for a student before determining that a student is no longer a sudent with a disability?

The general education curriculum is the curriculum for nondisabled students. The generaleducation curriculum in Alabama is based on content standards listed in the College-&Career-Ready Standards. For preschool age children, the Developmental Standards forpreschool children are used as the curriculum.

IEP11/10/2014 11:58 AMWhat do we mean by the term general education curriculum?

This information should be readily available from the LEA or SEA.  As required by 34 CFR §300.134(b), the consultation process must include a determination of the proportionate share of Federal funds available to serve parentally placed private school children with disabilities, including how the proportionate share of funds is calculated.

Private School4/14/2015 1:36 PMHow can the public find out the amount an LEA must expend to meet its proportionate share of Part B funds?

Yes. When a parent requests an evaluation and it is determined that an evaluation will be done, implementation of intervention strategies in the general education program should occur and continue simultaneously with the evaluation.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:01 PMIf a parent requests an evaluation, should PST intervention strategies and evaluations occur concurrently?

An SEA is required to resolve any complaint that meets the requirements of 34 CFR §300.153 filed by an organization or individual, including one from another State. This includes a signed written complaint alleging that a public agency has violated a requirement of Part B of the IDEA or the Part B regulations regarding a particular child with a disability, regardless of whether the State complaint has been filed by the child’s parent or by an organization or individual other than the child’s parent. Thus, in resolving such a complaint, the SEA would be required to follow the minimum State complaint procedures in 34 CFR §300.152 as it would for any other State complaint that alleges that a public agency has violated a requirement of Part B of the IDEA or the Part B regulations.

If a complaint is filed by an organization or individual other than the parent, parental consent must be obtained before an SEA may provide personally identifiable information about a child to a non-parent complainant as part of the complaint decision. 34 CFR §§99.30 and 300.622.

If parental consent is not obtained, any personally identifiable information about the child who is the subject of the complaint must be redacted from the SEA’s written decision on the complaint. Because the complaint resolution would likely involve the child’s personally identifiable information, it may not be possible for the SEA’s decision to be issued to a non-parent complainant. The SEA must make this determination case by case, but should not withhold relevant nonpersonally identifiable information from the complainant regarding the results of the SEA’s complaint resolution. Moreover, even if the SEA would be unable to issue a written decision to the complainant because of its personally identifiable nature, the SEA still must ensure that it resolves the complaint, issues a written decision that addresses each allegation in the

complaint, and ensures timely implementation of its written decision, including, if appropriate, corrective actions to achieve compliance and remedies for the denial of appropriate services. 34 CFR §§300.152(b)(2) and 300.151(b).

Dispute Resolutions10/14/2014 9:34 AMHow does an SEA resolve a complaint when an organization or individual, other than a child’s parent, files a State complaint regarding a specific child?

Yes. A student may be determined ineligible if a public agency chooses not to collect new

data. The determination may be based on existing data (such as report cards, work

samples, teacher input, state assessments, etc.) A new eligibility report that includes all of

the minimum evaluative criteria must be generated. This does not mean just transferring

the information from the previous eligibility report to a new report. Current data must be

on the eligibility report to support the decision to dismiss or to say ineligible.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:34 AMMay we determine a child ineligible if we choose to collect no new data, or must we administer formal assessments?

Yes. The IEPs of all students with disabilities must address the extent to which the student will be involved and progress in the general education curriculum. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) recognizes that some students with disabilities have educational needs which cannot be fully met by the general education curriculum; therefore, the IEP Team must make an individualized decision as to the extent appropriate for the student to participate in the general education curriculum and whether the student has other educational needs which cannot be met by the general education curriculum.

IEP11/10/2014 11:59 AMIs it necessary for a student’s IEP to address involvement in the general educationcurriculum regardless of the nature and severity of the student’s disability and thesetting in which the student is educated?

Under the Grants to States and Preschool Grants for Children with Disabilities programs, Federal Part B funds are allocated to States, and from States to LEAs, using a statutory formula that takes into consideration the amount of program funds received in a prior year (the base year), along with the most recent population and poverty data (see 34 CFR §§300.703, 300.705, 300.807, and 300.816).  Each LEA calculates the proportionate share it must spend on parentally placed private school children with disabilities based on the LEA's subgrant.  Because Part B funds are allocated to States and LEAs using a statutory formula that is not based on a child count, the amount of Part B funds allocated to States and LEAs cannot be adjusted based on the number of private school students with disabilities receiving equitable services.  Adjustments in State funding could be made depending on each State's laws and funding mechanisms.

Private School4/14/2015 12:08 PMWill the Federal and State allocation of Part B funds have to be adjusted to include parentally placed private school children with disabilities receiving equitable services?

The PST process is designed for all teachers and students, both general education and special education. Any teacher who has a student that is experiencing learning or behavioral difficulties should refer the student to the PST for assistance.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:05 PMIs the PST a part of special education or regular education?

An SEA must resolve a complaint alleging that it has violated a requirement of Part B or the Part B regulations just as it must resolve any other signed written complaint that meets the requirements in 34 CFR §300.153. Under 34 CFR §300.33, the term "public agency" includes the SEA. Therefore, an SEA must resolve a complaint alleging that the SEA (a public agency) has violated a requirement of Part B or the Part B regulations.

In resolving a complaint filed against the SEA, an SEA may either appoint its own personnel or may make arrangements with an outside party to resolve the complaint. Regardless of whether the SEA chooses to resolve the complaint on its own or chooses to use an outside party, the SEA must ensure that all of the procedures in 34 CFR §§300.151-300.153 are followed. Specifically, an independent on-site investigation must be conducted, if necessary, consistent with 34 CFR §300.152(a)(1) and the SEA must take appropriate steps to ensure this occurs. Additionally, the SEA must ensure that all relevant information is reviewed and that an independent determination is made as to whether the public agency (in this case the SEA) has violated a requirement of Part B or the Part B regulations with respect to the complaint. 34 CFR §300.152(a)(4).

The SEA also must ensure that it or an outside party, whichever resolves the complaint, considers all available remedies in the case of a denial of appropriate services consistent with 34 CFR §300.151(b). Regardless of whether the complaint is resolved by the SEA or by an outside party that the SEA designates to resolve the complaint, the SEA must comply with all corrective actions, including remedies, set out in the final decision. 71 FR 46602 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 8:21 AMHow does an SEA resolve a complaint against itself?

No. A reevaluation is not required for a child exiting with a regular high school diploma or

one who reaches age 21. The public agency must provide the child with a summary of

academic achievement and functional performance (SOP) including recommendations on

how to assist the child in meeting postsecondary goals as well as the Notice of Intent

Regarding Special Education Services. The parent and the student (age 19 and older) must

receive the Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services.

A reevaluation is not required for students exiting with an AOD or a graduation certificate

or those who drop out because the student is choosing to exit. The public agency is not

initiating a “change of placement” in this situation therefore a reevaluation is only

necessary if the IEP Team determines that one is necessary. The Notice of Intent

Regarding Special Education Services must be provided when a student exits with an

AOD, graduation certificate, or drops out. The Notice of Intent Regarding Special

Education Services should be used to notify the parent that their student may receive free

appropriate public education (FAPE) until age 21. Public agencies must inform the parent

and students (age 19 and older) of their right to FAPE until age 21.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:34 AMSince a reevaluation is not required for students graduating with an Alabama High School Diploma or reaching age 21, does that mean we should reevaluate all candidates for the Alabama Occupational Diploma (AOD) and students who will earn a certificate who

Yes, if indeed the student is with nondisabled peers during lunch and break.

IEP11/10/2014 12:00 PMDoes lunch and break time count as time “inside the regular education environment”?

In accordance with the regulations in 34 CFR §300.133(d), State and local funds may supplement, but not supplant, the proportionate share of Federal funds required to be expended for children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools.  This is a new requirement under the IDEA and its implementing regulations.  Prior to the reauthorization of the IDEA in 2004, if an LEA spent more than the Federal proportionate share of funds using State and local funds, the LEA was not required to spend any Federal Part B funds on parentally placed private school children.  This is no longer permissible. An LEA that previously used only State and local funds to provide equitable services to children with disabilities placed by their parents in a private school and now uses Federal Part B funds to provide equitable services must meet the maintenance of effort requirements in 34 CFR §300.203.  The exceptions to the maintenance of effort requirements in 34 CFR §300.204 do not apply to funds used for equitable participation of parentally placed private school children with disabilities.  Therefore, the total or per capita amount of local or State and local funds expended for the education of children with disabilities, including the amount of local or State and local funds previously expended for equitable services to children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools, would have to be maintained, unless adjustments are permitted under 34 CFR §300.205.

Private School4/14/2015 1:36 PMHow are the “Maintenance of Effort” requirements affected when equitable services are no longer provided with State and local funds to children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools?  How are the “Maintenance of Effort” requirements

No. The PST is not to be confused with the IEP Team. The focus of the IEP Team is on the provision of services to an identified student with a disability. The PST, while focused on the student as well, has as its primary purpose the provision of support to teachers in an attempt to assist them in the development of strategies to improve student achievement.

The typical PST make-up includes the following:

Classroom Teachers

Intervention Teachers

Instructional Coaches (reading, math, literacy, graduation, etc.)

Special Education Teachers

School Counselor/School Psychologist

Administrator (principal or assistant principal)

Administrators10/9/2014 2:06 PMIs the Problem Solving Team the same as the IEP Team?

Yes. Under 34 CFR §300.153(a), a complaint must be signed and written. This regulation does not address whether States can accept State complaints filed electronically with digital or electronic signatures. Because the IDEA does not prohibit this practice, States considering accepting, or choosing to accept, electronic submissions of State complaints with electronic signatures would need to ensure that there are appropriate safeguards to protect the

integrity of the process. 71 FR 46629 (August 14, 2006) (regarding whether States can accept electronic parental consent).

In developing the appropriate safeguards, States should consider that the Department has addressed criteria for accepting electronic signatures to satisfy the signed written consent requirements in the FERPA regulations in 34 CFR part 99. Under 34 CFR §99.30(d), "signed and dated written consent" may include a record and signature in electronic form that identifies and authenticates a particular person as the source of the consent and indicates such person’s approval of the information contained in the electronic consent.

Applying these criteria to electronic complaint submissions, it would be reasonable for States that either are considering accepting, or have chosen to accept, electronic filings of Part B State complaints with electronic signatures to ensure that their process includes safeguards sufficient to identify or authenticate the complainant and indicate that the complainant approves of the information in the complaint. In other words, these safeguards should be sufficient to ensure that an organization or individual submitting a complaint electronically understands that the complaint has the same effect as if it were filed in writing. States would also need to ensure that the same confidentiality requirements that apply to signed written State complaints apply to State complaints filed electronically. 34 CFR §§300.611-300.626. States that are considering or have chosen to accept State complaints filed electronically with electronic signatures also should consult any relevant State laws governing electronic transactions.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 8:54 AMMay States establish procedures permitting a State complaint to be filed electronically?

Send the Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services to the parents notifying

them that the previous eligibility determination was incorrect. The public agency may not

have any choice but to request a mediation or DPH because the public agency is unable to

verify that the student is eligible for special education services.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:33 AMHow does a public agency correct a student’s eligibility if a parent refuses consent for a reevaluation and the previous eligibility is not correct?

Yes.

IEP11/10/2014 12:00 PMCan a student with a disability be in a regular education classroom with different butrelated work/activities?

No.  As stated in 34 CFR §300.133(a), each LEA is required to spend a proportionate share of Federal Part B funds on providing special education and related services to children with disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in private elementary schools and secondary schools in order for the LEA to meet its responsibility for providing equitable services.  We interpret the reference to “special education and related services” to mean that administrative costs could not be included in the amount each LEA must spend to meet this requirement.  Thus, an LEA may not expend the proportionate share of Federal Part B funds on administrative costs.

Private School4/14/2015 1:36 PMMay an LEA include administrative costs to meet the requirement to spend a proportionate share of Part B funds on children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools?

RtI integrates core instruction, assessment, and intervention within a multi-tiered system designed to maximize student achievement and reduce behavior problems. Through implementation of an RtI process, schools identify and monitor students at risk, use problem-solving and data-based decision-making to provide research-based interventions, and adjust the intensity of interventions based on the student’s response. Response to Instruction done well at the classroom level will provide data from which educators can make sound instructional decisions for individuals and groups of students. Given high-quality decisions, RtI shows promise in supporting all students, especially those at risk of failing to achieve state performance standards.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:06 PMWhat is Response to Instruction/Intervention (RtI)?

Yes. Each SEA must include in its minimum State complaint procedures a time limit of 60 days after the date that the complaint is filed to resolve the complaint. 34 CFR §300.152(a). This includes all signed written complaints, including complaints filed electronically, if applicable. The Department interprets this requirement to mean that States must ensure that the 60-day20 time limit for complaint resolution begins on the date that a complaint is received. While a State has some discretion in determining when a complaint is considered received, the SEA must ensure that its procedures allow for the timely resolution of complaints and are uniformly applied, consistent with 34 CFR §300.152(a) and (b). For example, if a State complaint is filed electronically on a day that is not considered a business day (e.g., the weekend), the State could consider the complaint received on the date the complaint is filed or on the next business day.

Under 34 CFR §300.151(a)(2), the State must adopt procedures for widely disseminating to parents and other interested individuals, including parent training and information centers, community parent resource centers, protection and advocacy agencies, independent living centers, and other appropriate entities, the State complaint resolution procedures under 34 CFR §§300.151-300.153. These must include criteria the State uses for determining when the State considers a State complaint to be received.

Likewise, information about filing and timelines for resolving State complaints must also be included in the explanation of State complaint procedures in the procedural safeguards notice to parents in accordance with 34 CFR §300.504(c)(5). The procedural safeguards notice must be provided to parents at least one time a school year, upon receipt of the first State complaint in a school year, and in the other circumstances specified in 34 CFR §300.504(a).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 8:54 AMMust States have procedures for tracking when State complaints are received, including State complaints filed electronically, if applicable?

This is an IEP Team decision. However, the IEP Team must be able to justify and defend

their decision if challenged. Remember however, that when the criteria in the AAC

changes, the student must meet the new AAC criteria at the time of the reevaluation. When

the minimum evaluative criteria in the AAC are revised, most students will need additional

data in order to meet the new criteria and a new eligibility report generated.

Alabama Administrative Code11/6/2014 11:51 AMHow many three year reevaluations may lapse without getting new testing?

The goal is to include all students with disabilities in the regular education environment to thegreatest extent appropriate. The LRE is an IEP Team decision that should be based on theindividual needs of the student. The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has askedstates to work towards having all students with disabilities spend at least 80% of their time inthe regular education environment. This is a goal to work toward. LRE decisions should bemade on a case-by-case basis according to the student’s individual needs.

IEP11/10/2014 12:00 PMIs the goal now for children with severe cognitive delays to spend 80% of their time inthe regular education classroom?

No.  Part B funds for equitable services may not be paid directly to a private school.  Under 34 CFR §300.144(a), a public agency must control and administer the funds used to provide special education and related services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities.  Under 34 CFR §300.141, an LEA may not use Part B funds to finance the existing level of instruction in a private school, and such funds may not be used for meeting the needs of a private school or the general needs of the students enrolled in the private school.  The LEA must use the proportionate share of Federal Part B funds to meet the special education and related services needs of parentally placed private school children with disabilities.

Private School4/14/2015 1:36 PMMay an LEA use Part B funds that are required to be expended on equitable services to make payments directly to a private school?

While there is no legal answer to this question, the school district will decide this within the design of its RtI model, as well as other such timelines and procedures. Remember, however, that the legal Child Find duty is still triggered based upon "reason to suspect" that a disability and possible need for special education services exists.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:06 PMUnder RtI, how/when do we determine that regular education can no longer sustain the services/interventions required for the student?

The regulations do not specifically address an SEA’s responsibility in this situation. Under 34 CFR §300.153, a complaint must include a statement that a public agency has violated a requirement of Part B of the Act or the Part B regulations; the facts on which the statement is based; and the signature and contact information for the complainant. If the complaint alleges a violation with respect to a specific child, the complaint also must include the name and address of the residence of the child; the name of the school the child is attending; in the case of a homeless child or youth, available contact information for the child and the name of the school the child is attending; a description of the problem of the child, including facts relating to the problem; and a proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available to the party at the time the complaint is filed. When an SEA receives a complaint that is not signed or does not include contact information, or any other information required in 34 CFR §300.153(b), the SEA may choose to dismiss the complaint. 71 FR 46606 (August 14, 2006). In general, a State complaint may not be dismissed for not including a proposed resolution of the problem unless an SEA can clearly demonstrate that the resolution is known to the complaining party at the time the complaint is filed.

In general, an SEA should adopt proper notice procedures for such situations. For example, an SEA could provide notice indicating that the complaint will be dismissed for not meeting the content requirements or that the complaint will not be resolved and the time limit not commence until the missing content is provided. The SEA could also include this information in its written procedures for resolving State complaints pursuant to 34 CFR §300.151(a).

To ensure that a State’s complaint resolution procedures are not inconsistent with Part B, in general, an SEA may not adopt procedures that limit or diminish the parent’s or other complainant’s ability to present a State complaint and obtain timely resolution of the issues presented.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 8:55 AMWhat is an SEA’s responsibility to resolve a complaint if the complaint submitted to the SEA does not include all of the content required in 34 CFR §300.153?

Public agencies have been discouraged from indicating secondary disability areas on the

eligibility report since 1997. However, if the public agency continues to add a secondary

disability area and SLI was actually indicated on the eligibility form as a secondary

disability area, you must exit through the reevaluation process. If SLI services were added

through the IEP process and not as a secondary disability area, you must exit through the

IEP process.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:32 AMWhat procedure is used to dismiss students who have speech as a secondary disability when they no longer need speech/language services?

Both No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and the IDEA are federal laws that require all students to have access to the general education curriculum. Additionally, current federal laws state that students with disabilities who are taught the core academic subjects must be taught by a highly qualified teacher.

IEP11/10/2014 1:33 PMWhy do special education students have to be taught by highly qualified teachers?

As required by 34 CFR §§300.149(a) and 300.600(b)(2), the SEA is responsible for ensuring that LEAs meet all program requirements under Part B of the IDEA.  This includes the requirement that an LEA expend the proportionate share of Part B funds on providing special education and related services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities in accordance with 34 CFR §§300.129 through 300.144.

Private School4/14/2015 1:35 PMWho is required to monitor an LEA’s expenditures of Part B funds to meet the requirements for equitable services?

If the RtI data reflect that the student is responding well and the school has no reason to believe or suspect that the student is in need of special

education or related services, the school can refuse to conduct the evaluation requested on that basis. As described in Question 8 of this section, formal written notice of this refusal must be provided to the parent (and contain all of the legally-required components), including notice of the parent’s right to challenge the school’s refusal to conduct an evaluation via mediation or due process.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:12 PMWe are a “Response to Intervention” school. What do we do when parents demand that their child be tested even though the student is responding to the interventions?

No. Under 34 CFR §300.153(b)(4)(v), the requirement for the complaint to include a proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available to the party at the time the complaint is filed applies only to complaints alleging violations with respect to a specific child.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 8:55 AMMay an SEA dismiss a complaint alleging systemic noncompliance because the complainant did not include a proposed resolution of the problem?

Neither the Federal Regulations nor the AAC have criteria for related services. The IEP

Team is responsible for determining if a student needs a related service to benefit from

special education. Once a student has been determined eligible for special education

services for any disability area, the student may receive any service that the IEP Team

deems appropriate after appropriate evaluations have been completed and the need for

services is documented. Note: SLI is a disability area under the IDEA and in the AAC.

Speech/language pathology is a related service in the Federal Regulations and in the AAC.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:32 AMClarify why speech or language services would be provided to a student as a related services if they did not meet qualifying criteria?

Yes. The Student Profile should include the results of the initial or most recent evaluation(s) ofthe student stated in meaningful terms as they relate to the needs of the student in order towrite an appropriate standards-based IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 1:34 PMWill the Student Profile continue to address state testing?

Yes.  As specified in 34 CFR §300.131(a), each LEA must locate, identify, and evaluate all children with disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in private, including religious, elementary schools and secondary schools located in the school district served by the LEA.  The number of parentally placed private school children with disabilities is used to determine the amount that the LEA must spend on providing special education and related services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities in the next subsequent fiscal year.  Under 34 CFR §300.300(d)(4), if a parent of a home-schooled or parentally placed private school child declines to consent to the initial evaluation or the reevaluation, the public agency may not use the consent override procedures to seek to conduct the evaluation and, thus, may not include the child in the annual count of the number of parentally placed private school children with disabilities. If the LEA evaluates a parentally placed private school child and determines the child eligible under the IDEA, but the parent declines the offer of special education and related services, the LEA must include this child in the annual count of the number of parentally placed private school children with disabilities.  Thus, an LEA must include in its proportionate share calculation eligible children with disabilities, including those children whose parents decline all publicly funded services and place them in a private school at their own expense, provided those children are enrolled by their parents in a private, including a religious, elementary school or secondary school located in the school district served by the LEA.

Private School4/14/2015 12:10 PMMust children whose parents decline special education and related services be included in a school district’s proportionate share calculation?

Remember that the Child Find duty to refer is triggered upon a reason to suspect or to believe that the student is a student with a disability, regardless of RtI documentation that may be available. Within an RtI model, prior to, or as a part of, the referral process, documentation must be generated that reflects that the student was provided appropriate instruction in regular education settings that was delivered by qualified personnel. In addition, data-based documentation of repeated assessments of achievement at reasonable intervals, reflecting formal assessment of student progress during instruction, must be provided to the student’s parents. Before a student is referred by the school for a special education evaluation or concurrently during the evaluation process, intervention strategies must be implemented in the general education program and monitored by the Problem Solving Team (PST) for an appropriate period of time (typically, a minimum of eight weeks) and be determined to have been unsuccessful.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:12 PMWhat type of RtI documentation is required before a student can be referred for a special education evaluation?

Under 34 CFR §300.153(d), the complainant must provide a copy of the complaint to the LEA or public agency serving the child at the same time the complaint is filed with the SEA. The regulations do not specifically address a situation where the complainant only provides the complaint to the SEA and does not forward it to the LEA or public agency serving the child. An SEA should include the actions that will be taken under these circumstances in its complaint procedures established under 34 CFR §300.151(a) and provide proper notice of its procedures. An SEA’s complaint procedures should address how the complainant’s failure to provide the required copy to the LEA or public agency serving the child will affect the initiation of the complaint resolution and/or the time limit for completing the complaint resolution.

For example, an SEA could adopt procedures that include advising the complainant in writing that the complaint resolution will not proceed and the 60-day time limit will not begin until the complainant provides the LEA or public agency serving the child with a copy of the complaint as required by the regulations. 71 FR 46606 (August 14, 2006). As an additional protection for parents, consistent with 34 CFR §300.199, we encourage States to adopt procedures that ensure that the SEA provides a copy of the complaint to the LEA or public agency serving the child if the complainant does not do so.

To ensure that a State’s complaint resolution procedures are not inconsistent with Part B, in general, an SEA may not adopt procedures that limit or diminish the parent’s or other complainant’s ability to present a State complaint and obtain timely resolution of the issues presented.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 8:56 AMWhat is an SEA’s responsibility to resolve a complaint if the complainant does not provide a copy of the complaint to the LEA or public agency serving the child at the same time the complaint is filed with the SEA?

The Federal Regulations and the AAC state that the granting of consent is voluntary on the

part of the parent and may be revoked at any time. The AAC also states that if a parent

revokes consent, that revocation is not retroactive, (i.e., it does not negate an action after

the consent was given and before the consent was revoked).

The regulations that became effective on December 31, 2008, allow a parent to revoke

consent for the continued provision of special education and related services. The

revocation must be in writing and the public agency must provide the Notice of Intent

Regarding Special Education Services before ceasing services.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:31 AMThe Federal Regulations and the AAC indicate that the parent can revoke consent at any time. Is that true?

State assessments are designed to measure progress toward academic content standards; therefore, results from state assessments can be used to identify concerns to be addressed when developing a standards-based IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 1:35 PMHow can state assessment data be useful in writing standard-based IEPs?

Yes.  The public agency may place equipment and supplies in a private school, but only for the period of time needed to meet the equitable participation requirements for the Part B program.  The public agency must ensure that equipment and supplies placed in a private school are used only for Part B purposes and can be removed from the private school without remodeling the private school facility.  The public agency must remove equipment and supplies from a private school if the equipment and supplies are no longer needed for Part B purposes or if removal is necessary to avoid unauthorized use of the equipment and supplies for other than Part B purposes.  See 34 CFR §300.144(b), (c), and (d).

Private School4/14/2015 1:35 PMMay a public agency place equipment and supplies for equitable services in a private school?

Unfortunately, there is no legal standard in this regard. The PST/RtI team must be sure, however, that there is sufficient research to support the validity of interventions that are used in the RtI process.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:12 PMWhat is the legal standard for selecting and documenting research-based/supported interventions for students suspected of having a learning disability or emotional/behavior disability?

Prior to October 13, 2006, (the effective date of the August 14, 2006, Part B regulations), States were required to accept complaints that alleged violations that occurred not more than one year prior to the date that the complaint was received, unless a longer period of time was reasonable because the violation was continuing or the complainant was requesting compensatory services for a violation that occurred not more than three years prior to the date that the complaint was received. 64 FR 12465 (March 12, 1999). This provision was removed in the 2006 Part B regulations. Under 34 CFR §300.153(c), a complaint must allege a violation that occurred not more than one year prior to the date that the complaint is received. This requirement applies even if the alleged violation is continuing or if the complainant is requesting compensatory services. However, as described in Question B-19, a State may choose to accept and resolve complaints alleging violations that occurred more than one year prior to the SEA’s receipt of the complaint as an additional protection for parents. 71 FR 46606 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 8:56 AMMay a complaint be filed with an SEA over an alleged violation that occurred more than one year prior to the date of the complaint?

The Notice of Revocation of Consent for Continued Provision of Special Education and

Related Services is the form used to document revocation of consent for services. Once the

public agency receives this signed form, the public agency must complete the Notice of

Intent Regarding Special Education Services and send to the parent before ceasing services.

Alabama Administrative Code11/6/2014 11:52 AMOn what form does a parent document that they revoke consent for services?

In the case of a student whose behavior impedes the student’s learning or the learning of others, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and other strategies to address that behavior should be developed and implemented. If a student has discipline referrals, the IEP Team should consider and discuss the need for behavior goals and/or a behavioral intervention plan (BIP) or other services to address the behavior. If a student has truancy problems, that too should be addressed by the IEP Team.

IEP11/10/2014 1:35 PMCan you elaborate on the collection of discipline referrals and attendance reports for making data based IEP decisions?

No.  Part B funds for equitable services may not be used for repairs, minor remodeling, or construction of private school facilities.  See 34 CFR §300.144(e).

Private School4/14/2015 1:35 PMMay Part B funds for equitable services be used for repairs, minor remodeling, or construction of private school facilities?

Yes. The "Notice and Consent for Initial Evaluation" form must be signed by the parent(s) before any evaluations are conducted.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:20 AMIf the IEP Team determines that an evaluation is needed, is it required to get consent from the parent(s) to evaluate?

As with other procedural protections, a State may elect to provide more protections for children with disabilities and their parents than those specifically required by the IDEA, provided that the State procedure is not inconsistent with the IDEA. Therefore, an SEA may adopt a policy or procedure to accept and resolve complaints regarding alleged violations that occurred outside the one-year timeline in 34 CFR §300.153(c). In general, such a procedure would be treated as an additional protection for children with disabilities and their parents and not inconsistent with Part B. 71 FR 46606 (August 14, 2006).

Pursuant to 34 CFR §300.199(a)(2), the State must identify in writing to LEAs located in the State and the Secretary of Education any rule, regulation, or policy as a State-imposed requirement that is not required by Part B of the IDEA and Federal regulations. Stakeholders, including parents, parent training and information centers, protection and advocacy agencies, independent living centers, and other appropriate entities, must be informed of the State’s complaint resolution procedures pursuant to 34 CFR §300.151(a)(2). Therefore, if an SEA adopts a policy or procedure to accept and resolve complaints alleging violations that occurred outside of the one-year timeline, stakeholders must be informed of the policy or procedure through the State’s complaint procedures so that they will be able to make

informed decisions about how and when they may use the State complaint procedures. Additionally, a public agency’s notice of procedural safeguards, which must be given to parents one time a year and upon receipt of the first State complaint under 34 CFR §§300.151-300.153 in a school year, must include a full explanation of all of the procedural safeguards available to parents. This notice must include an explanation of the opportunity to present and resolve complaints through the State complaint procedures, including, among other information, the time period in which a parent may file a State complaint. 34 CFR §300.504(c)(5)(i).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 8:57 AMDoes an SEA have the option to accept and resolve complaints alleging violations of the IDEA that occurred more than one year prior to the SEA’s receipt of the complaint? What is the SEA’s responsibility if such a procedure is permitted?

Meet with private school representatives and representatives of parents of children with

disabilities in private schools located in the LEA’s jurisdiction.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:31 AMWho must we meet with to discuss services for parentally placed private school students with disabilities?

Special Instructional Factors must be reviewed and considered at each annual IEP Team meeting and may be reviewed and considered if a revision is being made to the IEP. If "yes" is checked on any one of the Special Instructional Factors it should be addressed in the IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 1:35 PMWhat is meant by “consideration of Special Instructional Factors”?

The child find provision in 34 CFR §300.131(f) makes clear that the LEA where the private elementary and secondary schools are located is responsible for conducting child find, including individual evaluations, of all parentally placed private school children suspected of having a disability enrolled in private elementary and secondary schools located in the LEA, regardless of where those children reside.  This includes all children from other States who may be attending private elementary schools and secondary schools located in the LEA.

Private School4/14/2015 1:32 PMMust the LEA where the private elementary and secondary schools are located conduct child find activities for parentally placed private school children who reside outside the State?

Once the parent signs consent for an evaluation, the LEA has 60 calendar days from the date the signed consent is received to complete an initial evaluation. Day 1 of the timeline is the day the LEA receives a signed "Notice and Consent for Initial Evaluation" form from the parent. The initial evaluation must be completed on or before Day 60. Once the evaluation is completed, the LEA has 30 calendar days to determine initial eligibility and another 30 calendar days from the eligibility determination date to develop an IEP.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:45 AMHow long does the LEA have to conduct an evaluation if it is decided that one is needed and the parent consents?

No. An SEA is required to conduct an independent on-site investigation only if it determines that such an investigation is necessary. 34 CFR §300.152(a)(1). The standards to be used in determining whether to conduct an on-site investigation are left to each State. If the SEA determines that there is no need to conduct an independent on-site investigation, the SEA must comply with all other applicable requirements in 34 CFR §300.152(a) and (b) in resolving the complaint.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 8:57 AMMust an SEA conduct an independent on-site investigation for every complaint filed?

The OSEP recognizes that there could be times when parents request that their parentallyplaced

child be evaluated by different LEAs if the child is attending a private school that is

not in the LEA in which they reside. For example, because most States generally assign

the responsibility for making FAPE available to the LEA in which the child’s parents

reside (in Alabama, we say where the child resides), and because that could be an LEA that

is different from the LEA in which the child’s private school is located, parents could ask

two different LEAs to evaluate their child for different purposes at the same time.

Although there is nothing in IDEA that prohibits parents from requesting that their child be

evaluated by the LEA responsible for FAPE for purposes of having a program of FAPE

made available to the child at the same time that the parents request that the LEA where the

private school is located evaluate their child for purposes of considering the child for

equitable services, the Department does not encourage this practice. Note that a new

requirement requires parental consent for the release of information about parentally-placed

private school children between LEAs. Therefore, as a practical matter, one LEA may not

know that a parent also requested an evaluation from another LEA. However, OSEP does

not believe that the child’s best interests would be served if parents request evaluations of

their child by the resident school district and the LEA where the private school is located

even though these evaluations are conducted for different purposes. Subjecting a child to

repeated testing by separate LEAs in close proximity of time may not be the most effective

or desirable way to ensure that the evaluations are meaningful measures of whether a child

has a disability or of obtaining an appropriate assessment of the child’s educational needs.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:30 AMIs it possible for a parent to request evaluations from the district where the private school is located as well as the district where the child resides?

Yes. According to OSEP, for a child with a disability whose behavior impedes his or her learning or the learning of others, and for whom the IEP Team has decided that a BIP is appropriate, or for a child with a disability whose violation of the code of student conduct is a manifestation of the child’s disability, SES strongly suggests that the BIP be attached using documents on the SETS program.

IEP11/10/2014 1:36 PMIf a student has a behavior problem and a BIP will be written, is the BIP considered part of the IEP?

The LEA where the private school is located, in consultation with private school officials and representatives of parents of parentally placed private school children with disabilities, is responsible for determining and paying for the services to be provided to out-of-State parentally placed private school children with disabilities attending private elementary and secondary schools located in that LEA.  Under 34 CFR §300.131(f), these out-of-State children must be included in the group of parentally placed children with disabilities whose needs are considered in determining which parentally placed private school children with disabilities will be served and the types and amounts of services to be provided.

Private School4/14/2015 1:32 PMWho is responsible for determining and paying for services provided to out-of-State parentally placed private school children with disabilities?

No. The vision or hearing problem must be corrected prior to proceeding with evaluations that rely on visual or auditory acuity.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:56 AMIf a student fails the vision and/or hearing screening and we exhaust all avenues to get it corrected but cannot do so, may we proceed with evaluations if it is going to go over the 60-day timeline?

The regulations specify two allowable reasons for extending the 60-day time limit for complaint resolution. Under 34 CFR §300.152(b)(1), the SEA may extend this time limit only if: (1) exceptional circumstances exist with respect to a particular complaint; or (2) the parent (or individual or organization, if mediation or other alternative means of dispute resolution is available to the individual or organization under State procedures) and the public agency involved agree to extend the time to engage in mediation or other alternative means of dispute resolution, if available in the State. States need to determine case by case whether it is appropriate to extend the 60-day resolution time limit for a particular complaint due to exceptional circumstances.

OSEP has found that the following do not constitute exceptional circumstances that would warrant an extension of the 60-day time limit: State staff shortages or heavy caseloads; school vacations and breaks; the use of mediation or alternative dispute resolution without agreement by the parent (or individual or organization under State procedures) and the public agency to extend the 60-day time limit.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 8:58 AMWhen can the SEA extend the 60-day time limit for resolution of a State complaint? Can OSEP identify examples of situations when States have not been permitted to extend the 60-day complaint resolution time limit due to exceptional circumstances?

The LEA where a child attends private school is responsible for ensuring equitable

participation. If a parentally-placed private school child also resides in that LEA, then the

LEA would generally be responsible for making FAPE available to the child unless the

parent makes clear his or her intent to keep the child enrolled in the private elementary or

secondary school located in the LEA. If a parentally-placed private school child resides in

a different LEA, the district in which the private elementary or secondary school is located

is not responsible for making FAPE available to that child.

If a determination is made through the child find process by the LEA where the private

school is located that a child needs special education and related services and a parent

makes clear his or her intent to keep the child enrolled in the private elementary or

secondary school located in another LEA, the LEA where the child resides need not make

FAPE available to the child.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:30 AMDoes the LEA where the private school is located have an obligation to make an offer of FAPE?

The IEP Team is required to consider positive behavioral interventions, and supports, and other strategies to address the behavior of a student with a disability whose behavior impedes his or her learning or the learning of others. The determination of appropriate placement for a student whose behavior is interfering with the education of others requires careful consideration of whether the student can appropriately function in the regular education classroom if provided appropriate behavioral interventions, supports, and strategies. If the student can function in the regular classroom when provided appropriate behavioral interventions, supports, and strategies, placement in a more restrictive environment would be inconsistent with the LRE provisions of the IDEA.

IEP11/10/2014 1:36 PMIf a student's behavior in the regular education classroom would significantly impair the learning of others, can the IEP Team determine that placement in the regular education classroom is inappropriate for that student?

No.  Section 300.133(a) of the regulations clarifies that the LEA where a private school is located is responsible for spending a proportionate amount of its subgrant under Part B of the IDEA on special education and related services for children enrolled by their parents in private elementary and secondary schools located in the LEA.  There is no exception for out-of-State children with disabilities attending a private school located in the LEA.  Therefore, out-of-State children with disabilities must be included in the group of parentally placed children with disabilities whose needs are considered in determining which parentally placed private school children with disabilities will be served and the types and amounts of services to be provided.  Another LEA may not be charged for child find and equitable services even if the child with a disability resides in another State.

Nothing in the IDEA precludes an LEA from contracting with a third party to fulfill its obligations to ensure equitable participation.  This includes contracting with a student's LEA of residence as a third party provider.

Private School4/14/2015 1:23 PMMay an LEA require another LEA to pay for the services of a parentally placed private school child with a disability from another State?

Yes, if it is absolutely necessary to proceed with a valid evaluation. The school district, however, may also call upon nonprofit or other organizations that may help a student in need of eyewear whose parents cannot afford it.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:18 PMIs the school district responsible for purchasing eyewear to correct vision problems prior to continuing testing for eligibility if the parent/guardian has not taken action to correct vision problems?

Under 34 CFR §300.152(a)(3)(ii), the SEA must provide an opportunity for a parent who has filed a State complaint and the public agency to voluntarily engage in mediation consistent with 34 CFR §300.506. This should provide a potential way of promptly resolving disputes between parents and public agencies at the local level. Resolving a complaint through mediation could also prove to be less costly if it avoids the need for the SEA to resolve the complaint, particularly if the SEA were to determine that an on-site investigation would be necessary. Ultimately, children with disabilities will be the beneficiaries of a local resolution because disputes about their educational programs can be resolved in a more timely manner. 71 FR 46603 (August 14, 2006).

While the IDEA does not require that mediation under 34 CFR §300.506 be made available to parties other than parents, there is nothing in the IDEA or its implementing regulations that would prevent States from offering voluntary mediation, or other alternative means of dispute resolution, if available in the State, to parties other than parents. 71 FR 46603-46604 (August 14, 2006). This matter is also discussed in Question A-4 of this Q&A document. An SEA may not require, but may request, that mediation (under 34 CFR §300.506) or other forms of alternative dispute resolution made available in the State take place before its complaint resolution.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 8:58 AMMust an SEA make mediation available when a State complaint is filed?

Document that the parent does not want to receive services. Provide notice to the parent on

the Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services that the public agency will

provide a FAPE (if the student resides in that LEA) should the student enroll in the public

agency or that the student may be eligible to receive equitable services per the Private

School Plan.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:30 AMWhat are the procedures for the public agency if the parent of a private school student does not want services from the public agency?

Transportation does not need to be addressed further unless instruction is being provided. (e.g., teaching a student how to use public transportation).

IEP11/10/2014 1:38 PMIf you mark Yes for transportation, do you need to address it elsewhere in the IEP?

No.  Although LEAs have discretion to determine how the proportionate share of Federal Part B funds will be expended so long as the consultation requirements in 34 CFR §300.134 are followed for all parentally placed private school children, LEAs cannot determine, prior to or in absence of the timely and meaningful consultation process, that the proportionate share of Federal Part B funds for equitable services can only be expended to meet the needs of children who are residents of that LEA or State.

Private School4/14/2015 1:23 PMWhen making a determination regarding the services that an LEA will provide to children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools, could an LEA decide to only provide services to students from their LEA or their State?

The school district is responsible if the parent does not agree to assist.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:30 PMWho is responsible for transporting the student to and from the eye care professional?

Under 34 CFR §300.152(b)(1)(ii), the 60-day time limit for complaint resolution may be extended if the parent (or individual or organization, if mediation or other alternative means of dispute resolution is available to them under State procedures) and the public agency involved agree to extend the time to engage in mediation under 34 CFR §300.152(a)(3)(ii), or to engage in other alternative means of dispute resolution, if available in the State. The SEA may not treat mediation, in and of itself, as an exceptional circumstance under 34 CFR §300.152(b)(1)(i) that would warrant an extension of the time limit for complaint resolution. Rather, the parties engaged in mediation or other alternative means of dispute resolution, if available in the State, must agree to extend the time limit.

If the parties involved agree to engage in mediation once the State complaint is filed but do not agree to the extension of the complaint resolution time limit and the mediation is not successful in resolving the dispute, the State must ensure that the complaint is resolved within 60 days after the complaint was filed, as specified in 34 CFR §300.152(a). At any time that either party withdraws from mediation or other alternative means of dispute resolution, or

withdraws agreement to the extension of the time limit, the extension of the time limit for complaint resolution would end. 71 FR 46604 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 8:58 AMWhat are the procedures related to an extension of the time limit for resolving a State complaint when the parties are engaged in mediation?

Inform the parent that the IDEA and the AAC state that if they refuse consent for

reevaluation, the public agency no longer has to consider the student a student with a

disability. Use the Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services form to notify

the parent.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:30 AMIf a student is parentally placed in private school and is due for a reevaluation, what should the agency do if the parent refuses to give consent for a reevaluation?

If Yes is checked regarding the student’s need for transportation accommodations or modifications, a representative from the Transportation Department should be included in the discussion and decision-making for this section of the IEP.

Each public agency must ensure that the student’s IEP is accessible to any service provider who is responsible for its implementation; each provider is informed of his or her specific responsibilities related to implementing the student’s IEP; and, the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided for the student in accordance with the IEP. Therefore, if the student has a medical, behavioral, or other need of which the bus driver should be made aware, it is the public agency’s responsibility to inform the bus driver of his or her responsibilities to implement the student’s IEP and any specific accommodations, modifications, and/or supports the student may need.

IEP11/10/2014 1:38 PMShould the bus driver be aware of the IEP?

Generally, the LEA where the child resides is responsible for conducting child find activities, including initial evaluations and reevaluations, for children who are homeschooled.

Private School4/14/2015 1:28 PMWhich LEA is responsible for conducting child find for children who are homeschooled?

The LEA must make and document its "reasonable efforts" to obtain informed consent from the parent for an initial evaluation. However, if the parent fails to consent or to respond to a request for consent to an evaluation, the school district may, but is not required to, pursue the initial evaluation by using the due process procedures under the IDEA. Most of the time, a school district will simply document a parent’s refusal to consent to the evaluation and maintain that in the student’s file, rather than to initiate a formal proceeding to attempt to override the parent’s refusal to consent to the evaluation. If the school district does not choose to pursue a proceeding to override parent refusal to consent to an evaluation, the

school district will not be held to be in violation of the IDEA’s Child Find or evaluation requirements.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:40 PMHow should we proceed when parents refuse consent for an initial evaluation that we believe is necessary?

Under 34 CFR §300.152(a)(3)(ii), an SEA is required to offer the parent and the public agency the opportunity to voluntarily engage in mediation to resolve the issues in a State complaint when the parent has filed a State complaint. The regulations do not require an SEA to provide an opportunity for mediation when an organization or individual other than the child’s parent files a State complaint. However, the Department encourages SEAs and their public agencies to consider alternative means of resolving disputes between public agencies and organizations or other individuals, at the local level, consistent with State law and administrative procedures. It is up to each State, however, to determine whether non-parents can use mediation or other alternative means of dispute resolution. 71 FR 46604 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 8:59 AMIf the complainant is a party other than a parent, may the parties use the mediation process to attempt to resolve the issues in the State complaint?

Yes, unless the public agency requests a DPH to show that the evaluation the public agency

conducted was appropriate. A parent may request only one IEE for each evaluation for

which they disagree.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:29 AMIs the school system required to pay for an independent education evaluation (IEE) each time a parent disagrees with an evaluation conducted by the public agency?

If a student is a private school student and only receiving speech or language services from the public agency based on the public agency’s private school plan, Nonacademic and Extracurricular Activities should be addressed as "No" with an explanation provided that the student only receives speech or language services from the public agency based on the public agency’s private school plan.

IEP11/10/2014 1:39 PMIn the area of Nonacademic and Extracurricular Activities, what do you check if the student is a private school student only receiving speech services through the public school?

Whether home-schooled children with disabilities are considered parentally placed private school children with disabilities is determined under State law.  If the State recognizes home-schools as private elementary schools and secondary schools, children with disabilities in those home-schools must be treated in the same way as other parentally placed private school children with disabilities.

Private School4/14/2015 1:23 PMAre home-schooled children considered parentally placed private school children?

Any evaluation is considered valid for determining initial eligibility for special education services if that evaluation is conducted within one year of the date of the IEP Team meeting to discuss the need for additional data, if any, to determine eligibility. If the initial evaluation is for an out-of-state student who is transferring into Alabama, the public agency may use the evaluations at their own discretion.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:44 PMIf a particular evaluation has recently been conducted, for what time period would that evaluation be considered valid for us to use for eligibility purposes?

If a State complaint alleges violations specific to the child who is the subject of a prior settlement agreement resulting from mediation or the resolution process, the SEA may determine that the settlement agreement is binding on the parties as to those issues and inform the complainant to that effect. However, if the State complaint alleges systemic noncompliance or the State has reason to believe that the violations are systemic, it must resolve the allegations through its complaint resolution procedures. If the State finds systemic violations, it must provide for appropriate remedies for all students covered in the complaint, which could include prescribing in its complaint decision remedies for the denial of appropriate services, including corrective actions to address both past violations and future compliance. 34 CFR §§300.151(b) and 300.152(b)(2)(iii).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 8:59 AMCan an SEA dismiss allegations raised in a State complaint that were addressed in a previous settlement agreement resulting from mediation or the resolution process?

Contact the public agency’s special education coordinator and discuss your disagreement

with the public agency’s evaluation(s). Request an IEE for the evaluation(s) with which

you disagree.

Alabama Administrative Code11/6/2014 11:54 AMHow do I get an IEE for my child? Who do I contact?

Students with disabilities should receive progress reports the same as students without disabilities. However, progress of annual goals on the IEP only need to be provided concurrent with the issuance of report cards.

IEP11/10/2014 1:39 PMIf nondisabled students receive progress reports every 4.5 weeks, should students with disabilities receive progress reports on the same frequency?

Whether a home-schooled child with disabilities enrolled in the public school for the purpose of taking some academic courses would be treated as a parentally placed private school child entitled to be considered for equitable services or as a public school child entitled to receive FAPE is determined under State law.  Even if such a child were not considered a public school student, the public school would have to meet the requirements of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, by providing the child an equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from the academic courses provided at the public school.  In addition, the responsible public agency, generally the LEA of residence, would have to make FAPE available to the child consistent with Part B requirements if the parent seeks to enroll the child with a disability in the public school full-time.

Private School4/14/2015 1:27 PMIf a home-schooled child enrolled in the public school for the purpose of taking some academic courses was identified as having a disability, would the student be treated as a parentally placed private school child or as a public school child?

While it is true that a reevaluation meeting must be held every three years to determine whether a reassessment is necessary, a reevaluation may be needed "whenever conditions warrant." Thus, the need to conduct a reevaluation is an IEP Team decision depending upon the needs of the student. If a student is not making progress, an IEP Team should always consider the need for obtaining additional evaluative information.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:20 AMIsn’t it true that we only have to reevaluate a student every three years?

Yes. An issue in a State complaint can also be the subject of a due process complaint requesting a due process hearing, as long as the issue relates to a matter regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a child with a disability, or the provision of FAPE to the child, as described in 34 CFR §300.507(a)(1) or to a disciplinary matter as described in 34 CFR §§300.530-300.532. If a due process complaint is filed on an issue

that is also the subject of a pending State complaint, the State must set aside any part of the State complaint that is being addressed in the due process hearing until the hearing officer issues a final decision. However, any issue in the State complaint that is not part of the due process action must be resolved using the 60-day time limit and procedures described in 34 CFR §300.152(a) and (b). 34 CFR §300.152(c)(1).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:00 AMCan an issue that is the subject of a State complaint also be the subject of a due process complaint requesting a due process hearing?

No. The public agency is not obligated to pay for an IEE without the parent providing

prior notice of disagreement with the public agency’s evaluation results. The public

agency must however, consider the results of such evaluation in the decision making

process. The parent is not limited to the evaluators provided on the list; however the public

agency must ensure that the person completing the IEE meets the same criteria for

conducting evaluations as those required by the public agency.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:29 AMIf a parent brings the results of a privately obtained IEE to the IEP Team/Eligibility Committee without having provided notice of disagreement with the public agency’s evaluation must the public agency pay for it? Is the parent required to use the list o

The following must be addressed in the Annual Goal Progress Report:

A description of how the student’s progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured and when periodic reports on the progress the student is making toward meeting the annual goals (such as through the use of quarterly or other periodic reports, concurrent with the issuance of report cards) will be provided.

• IEP goals must be addressed. The report is in addition to, not instead of, the usual report card and grades given for participation in regular education classes.

IEP11/10/2014 1:40 PMWhat must be addressed in the Annual Goal Progress Report?

As provided in 34 CFR §300.140(b), a parent of a child enrolled by that parent in a private school has the right to file a due process complaint regarding the child find requirements in 34 CFR §300.131, including the requirements in 34 CFR §§300.300 through 300.311.  Such a complaint must be filed with the LEA in which the private school is located, and a copy must be forwarded to the SEA by the LEA.  The due process provisions in section 615 of the Act and 34 CFR §§300.504 through 300.519 of the regulations do not apply to issues regarding the provision of services to any particular parentally placed private school child with disabilities whom an LEA has agreed to serve because there is no individual right to services for such children under the IDEA. 

Disputes that arise about equitable services are, however, properly subject to the State complaint procedures in 34 CFR §§300.151 through 300.153.  As provided in 34 CFR §300.140(c), a parent may file a signed written complaint in accordance with the State complaint procedures alleging that an SEA or LEA has failed to meet the private school requirements, such as failure to properly conduct the consultation process.

Private School4/14/2015 1:24 PMUnder what circumstances may a parent file a due process complaint under the private school provisions?

A student may be determined ineligible for services even if a school district chooses not to collect new data as part of a reevaluation. This determination may be based on existing data (such as report cards, work samples, teacher input, state assessments, etc.). A new eligibility report that includes all of the minimum evaluative criteria must be generated, but this does not mean just transferring the information from the previous eligibility report to a new report. Current data must be on the eligibility report to support the decision at that time to dismiss the student from special education services based upon the fact that the student is no longer eligible.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:45 AMMay we determine that a student is no longer eligible if we choose to collect no new data, or must we administer formal assessments?

Yes. A parent who has filed a State complaint is not prevented from filing a due process complaint on the same or similar issues. However, if a parent files a due process complaint and the hearing officer rules on that issue, the due process hearing decision is binding as to that issue. Therefore, while the State may have begun the process of resolving a State complaint prior to the receipt of a due process complaint, pursuant to 34 CFR §300.152(c)(1), the State must set aside any issues in the State complaint that are being addressed in the due process hearing. As indicated in Question B-26, any issue in the State complaint that is not part of the due process action must be resolved using the State complaint resolution procedures in accordance with 34 CFR §300.152(a) and (b). 34 CFR §300.152(c).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:00 AMIf a parent has filed a State complaint and the State’s resolution is still in process, can the parent request a due process hearing pending resolution of the State complaint?

No.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:29 AMDoes the parent have the right to request an IEE at public expense if they disagree with the school system’s evaluation pertaining to gifted?

It is possible. However, the agency, teacher, or other persons who are responsible for implementing the IEP are not held accountable if a student with a disability does not achieve the growth projected in the annual goal(s), as long as good faith effort is made to assist the student toward achieving the goal(s). Public agencies providing special education services to a student with a disability must provide the services in accordance with the IEP and should keep documentation of the services provided to individual students.

IEP11/10/2014 1:40 PMCould teachers and service providers who are in charge of implementing an IEP be involved in a due process hearing primarily because the student did not master all of the IEP goals written for the duration of an IEP?

Yes.  Under 34 CFR §300.136, a private school official has the right to complain to the SEA that the LEA did not engage in consultation that was meaningful and timely or did not give due consideration to the views of the private school official.  Under this provision a complaint must provide the basis of the private school official’s belief that the LEA did not comply with the consultation requirements.  The LEA must forward appropriate documentation related to the complaint to the SEA.  If the private school official is dissatisfied with the decision of the SEA, the official may submit a complaint to the Secretary providing the basis of the official’s belief that the LEA did not comply with the consultation requirements, and the SEA must forward the appropriate documentation related to the complaint to the Secretary.

Private School4/14/2015 1:28 PMDo private school officials have the right to file a complaint under the State complaint provisions in 34 CFR §§300.136 and 300.140?

The need to conduct assessments and to obtain additional data as part of reevaluation is an IEP Team decision. However, the IEP Team must be

able to justify and defend its decision not to conduct any new assessments as part of its reevaluations of a particular student.

It is important to remember that when the eligibility criteria in the AAC change, the student must meet the new AAC criteria at the time of reevaluation. Thus, when the minimum evaluative criteria in the AAC are revised, most students will need additional evaluative data in order to meet the new criteria.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:56 AMHow many three year reevaluations may lapse without getting new testing?

Under 34 CFR §300.152(c)(2)(i), if a hearing officer has previously ruled on an issue at a due process hearing involving the same parties, the decision is binding on that issue. If a State complaint involving the same parties is filed on the same issue that was previously decided by the hearing officer, the SEA must inform the complainant that the hearing decision is binding on that issue. 34 CFR §300.152(c)(2)(ii). However, the SEA must use its State complaint resolution procedures to resolve any issue in the complaint that was not decided in the due process hearing. In determining that it will not resolve an issue in a State complaint because that issue was previously decided in a due process hearing, the SEA must ensure that the legal and factual issues are identical.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:01 AMMay a State complaint be filed on an issue that was previously decided in a due process hearing?

Send notices to the parent who is incarcerated if they still have educational decision

making rights. If a parent’s educational decision making rights have not been revoked and

the Department of Corrections allows, a parent may participate by phone or by providing

written input.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:28 AMHow do we proceed with the special education process if parents are incarcerated and their parental rights are not revoked?

If a student will not be entering ninth grade or will not be 16 or older during the implementation of an IEP and the IEP Team does not think transition should be addressed for a student not yet 16, the transition page does not have to be included with the IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 1:41 PMDoes the transition page of the IEP have to be a part of the IEP if it is not applicable for a student?

Under 34 CFR §300.140(c), any complaint alleging that an SEA or LEA has failed to meet the requirements in 34 CFR §§300.132 through 300.135 and 300.137 through 300.144 must be filed in accordance with the State complaint procedures described in 34 CFR §§300.151 through 300.153.  If in resolving such a complaint, the SEA determines that compensatory services are the appropriate remedy, such services may be ordered by the SEA if sufficient funds are available from the proportionate share set aside in the LEA to provide equitable services under 34 CFR §§300.129 through 300.144. 

If the proportionate share has been expended prior to the awarding of compensatory services to resolve a complaint, the SEA cannot require an LEA to spend additional Part B funds, beyond the minimum amount required under 34 CFR §300.133(a), to pay for compensatory services for a parentally placed private school child with a disability.  However, under 34 CFR §300.133(d), State and local funds may supplement, but not supplant, the proportionate amount of Federal Part B funds required to be expended for parentally placed private school children with disabilities.  The use of State and local funds, on top of the proportionate share of Part B funds, is permitted but not mandatory.  Therefore, if the proportionate share of Part B funds has been expended, pursuant to the authority in 34 CFR §300.133(d), a State may, but is not required to, order an LEA to use State and local funds to pay for compensatory services for a parentally placed private school child with disabilities.  It is important that as part of the consultation process, the LEA, private school officials, and representatives of parents of parentally placed private school children with disabilities consider the amount of the proportionate share of Part B funds in determining what services will be provided in order to ensure an LEA has sufficient Part B funds to implement the services plan for each parentally placed child with a disability who has been designated to receive services.

Private School4/14/2015 1:25 PMIf the parent of a parentally placed private school child with a disability files a State complaint alleging that the services identified in the child’s services plan were not provided, is it permissible for the SEA to resolve the complaint by requiring t

In essence, a parent is refusing to allow for the district to conduct a reevaluation under these circumstances. The U.S. Department of Education has indicated that where a parent refuses consent for reevaluation and the school district believes that based on existing data the student does not continue to have a disability or does not continue to need special education and related services, the school district may determine that it will not continue to provide special education and related services. If this is decided, the school district must provide prior written notice of its proposal to discontinue the provision of FAPE based upon the fact that it does not have evaluative data in place that supports continued eligibility.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:18 PMIn terms of a reevaluation, what responsibility does a school have if the parent will not attend meetings, give permission for a reevaluation, or provide needed input for social histories or behavior scales?

Yes. Under 34 CFR §300.152(c)(3), if a State complaint alleges that a public agency has failed to implement a due process hearing decision, the complaint must be resolved by the SEA.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:01 AMMay the State complaint procedures be used to resolve a complaint that alleges that a public agency has failed to implement a hearing officer’s decision?

Individuals acting in place of the biological or adoptive parent may sign only if the

educational decision making rights have been revoked from the parent and/or the

whereabouts of the biological or adoptive parent are unknown.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:28 AMIf there is an individual acting in place of a biological or adoptive parent (grandparent, stepparent, other relative, etc.) can this person legally sign consent forms, IEP, eligibility, etc. as the parent?

Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the student turns 16, or if the student is entering ninth grade, or younger, if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually, thereafter, the IEP must include appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills, and transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the student in reaching those goals. If transition is being addressed before age 16 the same transition requirements that apply for students age 16 and older apply to younger students as well.

IEP11/10/2014 1:41 PMWhat are the transition requirements at age 16?

An LEA's obligation to serve children aged three through five under the equitable services provisions depends on whether a child is enrolled in a private school or facility that meets the definition of "elementary school" in the IDEA and the final regulations. "Elementary school" is defined in 34 CFR §300.13 as a nonprofit institutional day or residential school, including a public elementary charter school that provides elementary education, as determined under State law.  Accordingly, three- through five-year-old children with disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in a private school or facility that meets the State's definition of "elementary school" would be considered parentally placed and the equitable participation provisions would apply.

A child aged three through five enrolled by his or her parents in a private school or facility that does not meet the State's definition of "elementary school" would not be eligible to be considered for equitable services.  However, the State's obligation to make FAPE available to such a child remains.  Section 612(a)(1) of the IDEA requires that States make FAPE available to eligible children with disabilities aged three through 21 in the State's mandated age range (34 CFR §300.101).  Because many LEAs do not offer public preschool programs, particularly for three- and four-year-olds, LEAs often make FAPE available to eligible preschool children with disabilities in private schools or facilities in accordance with 34 CFR §§300.145 through 300.147.  In these circumstances, there is no requirement that the private school or facility be an "elementary school" under State law.

In some instances, an LEA may make FAPE available in the private preschool program that the parent has selected.  If there is a public preschool program available, the LEA of residence may choose to make FAPE available to a preschool child in that program.  If the group of persons making the placement decision, as specified in 34 CFR §300.116(a)(1), places the child in a public or private preschool program and the parents decline the public agency's offer of FAPE because they want their child to remain in the private preschool program they have selected, the public agency is not required to provide FAPE to that child., The parent may challenge the public agency's determination of what constitutes FAPE for their child using the State complaint and due process procedures available under IDEA.

Private School4/14/2015 1:26 PMWhat obligation, if any, do districts have to serve three- through five-year-old children who are parentally placed in private preschools?

A reevaluation begins with the IEP Team reviewing the student’s educational records (all relevant data) and deciding whether additional evaluative data are necessary to determine a student’s continued eligibility for special education and related services. The IEP Team should review all existing data, including work samples, observations, attendance, and other measures of student performance already available in the record. Parental consent is not needed to review the educational records. The IEP Team may decide that no additional evaluative data are needed to make a determination, or it may decide that additional evaluative data must be obtained in order to determine continued eligibility. In the latter case, parental consent is required prior to conducting evaluations or documentation of at least two attempts if the parent fails to respond to the request for reevaluation.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:30 PMWhat constitutes a reevaluation for a student before determining that a student is no longer a student with a disability?

Within 60 days of the date that the complaint was filed, subject to allowable extensions, an SEA is required to issue a written decision to the complainant that addresses each allegation in the complaint and contains: (1) findings of fact and conclusions; and (2) the reasons for the SEA’s final decision. 34 CFR §300.152(a)(5). In addition, under 34 CFR §300.152(b)(2), the SEA must have procedures for effective implementation of its final decision, if needed, including technical assistance activities, negotiations, and corrective actions to achieve compliance. Therefore, if necessary to implement the SEA’s final decision, the SEA’s written decision must contain remedies for the denial of appropriate services, including corrective actions that are appropriate to address the needs of the child or group of children involved in the complaint. If appropriate, remedies could include compensatory services or monetary reimbursement, and measures to ensure appropriate future provision of services for all children with disabilities. 34 CFR §300.151(b).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:01 AMOnce an SEA resolves a State complaint, what must the SEA’s written decision contain?

Yes, the grandmother may sign as a participant, but not as the parent unless there is no

biological or adoptive parent or their whereabouts are unknown or the educational decision

making rights have been removed from the parent and given to the grandparent.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:28 AMThe child lives with the mother and grandmother. The grandmother comes to the IEP meeting alone and makes most of the decisions. Can the grandmother sign the IEP?

The requirements apply to the same extent as for eligible students in public schools with one exception. Transition planning and services do not apply to students whose eligibility will end, because of their age, before they will be eligible to be released from prison based on consideration of their sentence and eligibility for early release.

IEP11/10/2014 1:42 PMDo requirements for transition services apply to eligible students in adult prisons?

Are children enrolled in a for-profit private school counted for the purpose of determining the proportionate share and eligible to receive equitable services?

No.  The regulations in 34 CFR §300.130 define parentally placed private school children with disabilities as children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private, including religious, schools or facilities that meet the definition of elementary school in 34 CFR §300.13 or secondary school in 34 CFR §300.36.  The definitions of elementary school in 34 CFR §300.13 and secondary school in 34 CFR §300.36 specify that the school must be nonprofit.  Therefore, children attending for-profit private schools would not be included in the proportionate share calculation or be eligible for equitable services.

However, under 34 CFR §300.111, the State must ensure that all children with disabilities, including children with disabilities attending private schools, who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located, and evaluated.  This includes children with disabilities attending for-profit schools.  A State determines which public agency is responsible for conducting child find under 34 CFR §300.111 for children suspected of having a disability attending for-profit private schools.  Generally, this agency is the LEA in which the child resides.

Private School4/14/2015 1:26 PMAre children enrolled in a for-profit private school counted for the purpose of determining the proportionate share and eligible to receive equitable services?

When a parent disagrees with an evaluation conducted by the school district, the parent has the right to request that the district fund an IEE. An IEE must be conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the school district.

If a parent requests an IEE, the school district must either file a due process hearing request to show that its evaluation is appropriate or ensure that the independent evaluation is provided at public expense unless the school district can demonstrate in a due process hearing that its own evaluation is appropriate or that the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet agency criteria. If the final decision in a due process hearing is that the school district’s evaluation is appropriate, the parent still has the right to an independent evaluation, but not at public expense.

Unfortunately, the law does not specifically set forth whether the parent gets to choose who actually conducts an IEE. However, the U.S. Department of Education has indicated that school districts must maintain a list of independent evaluators from which parents may choose, but the list needs to be comprehensive and inclusive of all qualified examiners in the area.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:20 AMIf a parent disagrees with the school district’s evaluation and requests an IEE, does the parent get to choose who conducts this evaluation?

The SEA must ensure that the public agency involved in the complaint implements the written decision on the complaint in a timely manner. The State’s complaint procedures must include procedures for effective implementation of the SEA’s final decision, if needed, including technical assistance activities, negotiations, and corrective actions to achieve compliance. 34 CFR §300.152(b)(2).

To ensure corrective action and pursuant to its general supervisory responsibilities in 34 CFR §§300.149 and 300.600, the SEA must inform the public agency that is involved in the complaint of any findings of noncompliance and the required corrective action, and ensure that the corrective action is completed as soon as possible and within the timeframe specified in the SEA’s written decision, and in no case later than one year of the State’s identification of the noncompliance. 34 CFR §300.600(e).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:02 AMWhat is the SEA’s responsibility after a written decision on a State complaint is issued?

When parent rights have been revoked and the child is placed in a foster home, the foster

parent may be authorized to act as the parent. A foster parent does not meet the definition

of “parent” when educational decision making rights are still with the parent.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:06 AMWhen would a foster parent meet the definition of parent?

If the student is in the ninth grade and earning program credits the answer is yes. If a student is still in middle school and not earning program credits the statement, "This student is in a middle school course of study that will help prepare him/her for transition" should be checked in lieu of exit option, anticipated date of exit, and program credit to be earned.

IEP11/10/2014 1:42 PMCan you check the box for exit option on the transition page of the IEP if the student is not yet 16?

Yes. The LEA must consider the results of any independent educational evaluation in any decisions made with respect to the student’s right to FAPE. However, the LEA is not required to implement all of the recommendations contained in an independent evaluation report, particularly if the school does not agree with those recommendations.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:45 AMIf an IEE is conducted or a parent brings in a private evaluation report, must the LEA consider it?

The regulations are silent as to whether a State complaint decision may be appealed. The regulations neither prohibit nor require the establishment of procedures to permit either party to request reconsideration of a State complaint decision, although as noted below, the parent or public agency may use mediation or file a due process complaint to request a due process hearing to resolve disputed issues.

Under 34 CFR §300.152(a), the SEA is required to issue a written decision on each complaint within 60 days after the complaint is filed, unless the SEA extends the time limit because exceptional circumstances exist with respect to the particular complaint or the parties agree to extend the time limit to engage in mediation, or other alternative means of dispute resolution, if available in the State. This means that, absent an allowable extension of the time limit for a particular complaint, the State must issue a final decision within 60 days of the date the complaint is filed.

A State may choose to establish procedures for reconsideration of complaint decisions that would result in a decision on the reconsideration within 60 days of the date on which the complaint was originally filed. Alternatively, a State may establish procedures for the reconsideration when the reconsideration process would not be completed until later than 60 days after the original filing of the complaint, but only if the public agency’s implementation of any corrective action required in the SEA’s final decision is not delayed pending the reconsideration process. Therefore, if the reconsideration process is completed later than 60 days after the filing of the State complaint, the public agency must implement any required corrective actions while the reconsideration process is pending.

Also, if the issue is still in dispute, the parent or public agency may, if they have not already done so, use mediation under 34 CFR §300.506 or file a due process complaint to request a due process hearing in accordance with 34 CFR §§300.507-300.508, subject to any applicable exceptions described in Questions C-9 and C-10 of this Q&A document.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:02 AMMay a State complaint decision be appealed?

No, a DHR caseworker may not give consent for evaluations or services. The department

is a state agency and therefore may not function as a parent.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:27 AMMay a Department of Human Resources (DHR) caseworker sign as the parent consenting for evaluations and special education services?

Yes, a student who is eligible for speech or language impairment is considered to be a student with a disability under the IDEA. Therefore, beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the student turns 16 the entire transition page must be completed.

IEP11/10/2014 1:43 PMIf a student is age 16 or older and is receiving speech services only, does the transition page have to be included in the file? If yes, what has to be completed?

While documentation from a doctor may contain valuable and relevant information, a doctor does not determine eligibility for special education services. Rather, the school district must conduct the evaluations required by the AAC, and the student must meet the criteria in the AAC to be eligible for special education services. Doctors make medical diagnoses, not educational diagnoses. A medical diagnosis alone does not

automatically constitute eligibility for special education services. The IEP Team will make decisions regarding eligibility.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:20 AMMust an LEA find a student eligible for services based on letters or other documentation from a doctor?

No. There is no requirement in Part B of the IDEA for a State to make written State complaint decisions available to the public. If the State chooses to do so, through such means as posting on its Web site, it must ensure that the confidentiality of any personally identifiable information in the complaint decision is protected from unauthorized disclosure. 34 CFR §§300.622 and 99.30. An SEA also should consult State law for its public records requirements.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:03 AMIs a State required to make written decisions on State complaints available to the public?

Both the parent and the student (age 19 and older) should always receive a copy of any

notice that is given or sent.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:27 AMIf a student is 19 years old and he/she is to receive all forms/notices, and sign everything, do I still need to send copies of all the forms/notices to the parents as well?

No. Even if the transition goals on the transition page are addressed, every IEP must include at least one goal(s) page that addresses the academic or unique needs of the student. And, there must be a goal to address any Transition Services that are checked on the transition page.

IEP11/10/2014 1:43 PMIf a student is working toward the Alabama Occupational Diploma (AOD) and is successful in the program and has the transition page completed in the IEP, is it appropriate to have an IEP without a goal page?

A unanimous IEP Team decision is not required to determine the eligibility of a student, but obtaining "consensus" of the IEP Team/Eligibility Committee must be attempted. The eligibility decision page provides areas for signatures of agreement or disagreement with the eligibility decision. At the end of the process, however, LEA personnel must ultimately decide what the determination will be from the LEA’s perspective and provide written notice of the determination to the parent(s).

Administrators10/9/2014 11:46 AMWhen the IEP Team/Eligibility Committee is convened to determine eligibility, must the IEP Team/Eligibility Committee reach a consensus regarding eligibility?

The prior regulation in 34 CFR §300.661(d), permitting Secretarial review of State complaints filed under 34 CFR §§300.660-300.662 (the predecessor to 34 CFR §§300.151-300.153), was removed when the 1999 final Part B

regulations were published, and took effect on May 11, 1999. Under the prior regulation, an organization or individual who was dissatisfied with the State’s complaint resolution had the option of requesting that the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services review the SEA’s final decision. The decision whether to grant Secretarial review was discretionary and most requests for Secretarial review were denied because the Department was not in the position to evaluate factual disputes in individual cases. 64 FR 12646 (March 12, 1999). The regulations do not require a State to establish a procedure to replace Secretarial review.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:03 AMWhen did the Department remove the Secretarial review provision from the Part B regulations? Is an SEA required to develop a process to replace Secretarial review?

You may ask them to sign a copy if you would like to do so but the Federal Regulations do

not require a signed copy of the rights to be maintained. The Federal Regulations do

require that you fully inform the parent or student (age 19 and older) of his/her rights.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:26 AMWithout a place for a parent’s signature on the Special Education Rights, how do we prove we gave this to the parent?

Yes. Transition Services that have been identified on the transition page of the IEP require a Measurable Annual Goal to be written.

IEP11/10/2014 1:43 PMOnce you fill out the transition page, are transition goals still required on the goal page of the IEP?

Eligibility criteria are important and must be followed. Congress and the U.S. Department of Education are clear that students must meet eligibility criteria as defined by the state in order to be eligible to receive services.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:56 AMWhy are certain students denied special education services because they don’t meet the “paper” criteria for special education?

The IDEA Amendments of 2004 made significant changes to IDEA’s due process procedures, and parties no longer have the right to request a due process hearing directly. Rather, in order to request a due process hearing under the IDEA, a party (a parent21 or a public agency22) or the attorney representing the party, first must file a due process complaint consistent with 34 CFR §§300.507 and 300.508. When a parent or a parent’s attorney files a due process complaint, the IDEA provides for a 30-day resolution period, subject to certain adjustments, prior to the initiation of a due process hearing. 34 CFR §300.510. The purpose of the resolution process23 is to attempt to achieve a prompt resolution of the parent’s due process complaint as early as possible at the local level and to avoid the need for a more costly, adversarial, and time-consuming due process proceeding. Thus, the IDEA’s due process procedures emphasize prompt and early resolution of disputes between parents and public agencies through informal mechanisms at the local level without resorting to the more formal and costly due process hearing procedures and potential for civil litigation.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:04 AMWhy does the IDEA require that a party file a due process complaint in order to request a due process hearing?

Parents may inspect and review all educational records relating to identification,

evaluation, and educational placement of the child and the provision of FAPE to the child

that are collected, maintained, or used by the participating agency. Parents must be given

the opportunity to review their child’s educational records without unnecessary delay and

before any meeting regarding an IEP or before a DPH or resolution session is conducted.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:10 AMMust a school system provide a parent with copies of a child’s educational records upon request, or is it legally acceptable for the school system to provide the parent access to these records for review and inspection?

A student who can pursue the AOD is a student who qualifies for special education services and the IEP Team determines the AOD is the appropriate diploma option. Each student with a disability that is pursuing the AOD must be provided the opportunity to continue working toward earning the AOD if that student is determined, through the reevaluation process, to no longer qualify for special education services.

IEP11/10/2014 1:44 PMWho can pursue the AOD?

In Alabama, LEAs may use any or all of the three options to determine eligibility for specific learning disability. These options are: RtI, Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses, and Severe Discrepancy. Severe Discrepancy is still the most frequently used option for identification of a specific learning disability in Alabama. However, the two other options are used by Alabama LEAs.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:19 PMDoes Alabama use the severe discrepancy model exclusively to determine SLD? Are any LEAs in Alabama using the RtI model for eligibility?

A parent or a public agency may file a due process complaint to request a due process hearing on any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a child with a disability or the provision of FAPE to the child. 34 CFR §300.507(a).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:04 AMWho may file a due process complaint?

The FERPA defines educational records as those records directly related to the student and

maintained by an education agency or institution.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:11 AMDefine educational records.

IEP Teams should code program credit according to the credit earned. General education courses should be coded on the Alabama High School Diploma line. AOD courses should be coded on the AOD line. Extended standards should be coded on the Graduation Certificate line.

IEP11/10/2014 1:45 PMHow do you document “program credit to be earned”?

Legally, it is required that an LEA "take reasonable steps" to ensure that one or both parents are present at each IEP Team meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate, including notifying them (via sending a "Notice of Proposed Meeting Consent for Agency Participation" form) early enough to ensure that they will have an opportunity to respond and

attend. In addition, the meeting must be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time and place.

There is no legal avenue that a LEA can pursue to force parents to attend IEP Team meetings. The LEA will be in compliance as long as the LEA takes steps and documents actions as noted in the answer to the next question.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:20 AMHow can I get parents to attend IEP Team meetings?

Under 34 CFR §300.508(a), the party filing the due process complaint, or the attorney representing the party, must forward a copy of the complaint to the other party and to the SEA, and that complaint must remain confidential. A due process complaint must meet the content requirements in 34 CFR §300.508(b) and therefore, must contain: the name of the child; the address of the residence of the child; the name of the school the child is attending; in the case of a homeless youth, available contact information for the child and the name of the school the child is attending; a description of the nature of the problem, including relevant facts; and a proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available to the party at the time.

The next step in the process is to determine whether the complaint can be deemed sufficient—i.e., whether the due process complaint contains the information outlined above. Section 300.508(d)(1) provides that the due process complaint must be deemed sufficient, unless the receiving party notifies the other party and the hearing officer in writing, within 15 days of receiving the complaint, that the receiving party believes the complaint does not meet the content requirements in 34 CFR §300.508(b). Under 34 CFR §300.508(d)(2), the hearing officer has five days to make a determination on the sufficiency of the complaint (i.e., whether the due process complaint meets the applicable content requirements). This determination is made based on the hearing officer’s review of the complaint alone. The hearing officer must immediately notify both parties in writing of the determination of whether the due process complaint meets the content requirements in 34 CFR §300.508(b). If the hearing officer determines that the due process complaint notice is not sufficient, the hearing officer’s decision must identify how the notice is insufficient so that the filing party can amend the due process complaint, if appropriate. 71 FR 46698 (August 14, 2006).

In addition, with the one exception described below, the party receiving a due process complaint must send the other party a response, which specifically addresses the issues raised in the due process complaint, within 10 days of receiving notice of the complaint from the other party. The one exception is if the LEA receiving the due process complaint has not sent the parent a prior written notice consistent with 34 CFR §300.503, concerning the subject matter of the parent’s due process complaint. If the LEA has not done so before the parent’s due process complaint has been filed, the LEA must send the parent a prior written notice, consistent with 34 CFR §300.503, which explains, among other matters, why the LEA proposed or refused to take the action raised in the due process complaint.

Prior to the initiation of a due process hearing, within 15 days of receiving notice of the parent’s due process complaint, the LEA must convene a resolution meeting with the parent and the relevant member or members of the IEP Team to discuss the issues in the parent’s due process complaint, unless the parent and the LEA agree in writing to waive the meeting or the parties agree to use mediation under 34 CFR §300.506.24 If the LEA has not resolved the due process complaint to the satisfaction of the parent within 30 days of the receipt of the due process complaint, the due process hearing may occur. 34 CFR §300.510(b)(1).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:05 AMWhat happens after a due process complaint is submitted?

Timely manner means without unnecessary delay or the appearance of a delay.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:12 AMPlease define “in a timely manner”?

Beginning not later than the IEP that will be in effect when the student reaches 18 years of age, the student should be informed of his or her rights and that the rights will transfer to him or her upon reaching the age of majority which is age 19. Document the date the student is informed of the rights being transferred. The initial date that the student is informed of the rights being transferred should be used and carried over in subsequent IEPs.

IEP11/10/2014 1:45 PMHow should the transfer of rights at the age of majority be documented on the signature page of the IEP?

If the parent or adult student (age 19 and older) does not respond to two attempts (first and second notice), the LEA may proceed and conduct the meeting. The LEA must maintain documentation of two attempts and these attempts may be at least one of the following:

a. Records of phone calls made or attempted and the results of the calls.

b. Copies of correspondence, including the "Notice of Proposed Meeting/Consent for Agency Participation" form sent to the parent(s).

c. Records of visits made to the parent(s) home or place of employment and the results of those visits.

The LEA should also seek input from the parent prior to the meeting, as well as offer to the parents the availability to participate in the IEP Team meeting via conference calls or other alternative formats.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:46 AMWhat action should the LEA take if the parent(s) fails to respond to the “Notice of Proposed Meeting Consent for Agency Participation?”

As explained in the Analysis of Comments and Changes to the final Part B regulations:

If the hearing officer determines the notice [due process complaint] is not sufficient, the hearing officer’s decision will identify how the notice is insufficient, so that the filing party can amend the notice, if appropriate. 71 FR 46698 (August 14, 2006).

A party may amend its due process complaint only if the other party consents in writing to the amendment and is given the opportunity to resolve the due process complaint through a meeting held pursuant to 34 CFR §300.510 (opportunity for a resolution meeting or, the parent and the LEA agree in writing to waive the meeting, or if the parties agree to use the mediation process in §300.506); or the hearing officer grants permission to amend the complaint at any time not later than five days before the due process hearing begins. 34 CFR §300.508(d)(3)(ii). If a party files an amended due process complaint, the timelines for the resolution meeting and resolution period begin again with the filing of the amended due process complaint. 34 CFR §300.508(d)(4). If the hearing officer determines that the complaint is insufficient and the complaint is not amended, the complaint may be dismissed. 71 FR 46698 (August 14, 2006).

In general, a party may refile a due process complaint if the complaint remains within the applicable timeline for filing, whether the IDEA timeline or the State-established timeline, under 34 CFR §§300.507(a)(2) and 300.511(f).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:06 AMWhat happens if a hearing officer determines that a due process complaint is insufficient?

A public agency can ask if the parent would be willing to use their private insurance but

they cannot require the use of private insurance from a parent.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:12 AMWhen can a public agency request the use of private insurance from a parent?

When a student with a disability reaches age 19, which is the age of majority in Alabama (except for a student with a disability who has been determined to be incompetent under Alabama law), the public agency shall provide all notices to both the adult student and the parent. All other rights accorded to the parent transfer to the student. The public agency shall notify the student and the parent of the transfer of rights. If, under Alabama law, a student with a disability who has reached the age of 19, who has not been determined to be incompetent, but who is determined not to have the ability to provide informed consent with respect to the educational program of the student, the state shall establish procedures for appointing the parent of his/her child, or if the parent is not available, another appropriate individual, to represent the educational interests of the student throughout the period of eligibility of the student. Those procedures can be found on the ALSDE Web site under Special Education/programs in a document titled Procedures for Determining Inability to Provide Informed Consent.

IEP11/10/2014 1:46 PMCan a parent deny his/her child the process of transferring rights due to the student’s low cognitive skills?

Yes. Even if the parent checks that he or she will meet as scheduled but does not show up, the IEP Team meeting may be held as scheduled with the other required IEP Team members. However, only the topics checked on the "Notice of Proposed Meeting/Consent for Agency Participation" form may be discussed at such meeting.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:56 AMMay an IEP Team meeting occur without the parent(s)?

The due process complaint must allege a violation that occurred not more than two years before the date the parent or public agency knew or should have known about the alleged action that forms the basis of the due process

complaint, or, if the State has an explicit time limitation for filing a due process complaint under 34 CFR part 300, in the time allowed by that State law. 34 CFR §300.507(a)(2). The applicable timelines described above do not apply to a parent if the parent was prevented from filing a due process complaint due to: (1) specific misrepresentations by the LEA that it had resolved the problem forming the basis of the due process complaint; or (2) the LEA’s withholding of information from the parent it was required under part 300 to provide to the parent. 34 CFR §300.511(f). There is nothing in the IDEA or the Part B regulations that would preclude a State from having a time limit for filing a due process complaint that is shorter or longer than two years. 71 FR 46697 (August 14, 2006). The time limitation for filing a due process complaint used by the State, whether the IDEA timeline or the State-established timeline, must be included in the notice of procedural safeguards that must be given to parents one time a year and upon receipt of the first due process complaint under 34 CFR §300.507 in a school year. 34 CFR §§300.504(a)(2) and 300.504(c)(5)(i).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:07 AMWhat is the timeline for filing a due process complaint?

The Notice and Consent Regarding Payment from Medicaid Benefits must be signed

annually unless the scope of services changes.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:13 AMHow often must a parent sign the Notice and Consent Regarding Payment from Medicaid Benefits?

Yes. Students with disabilities who have not earned an Alabama high school diploma and who have not reached their twenty-first birthday by August 1 are entitled to services up to age 21, even if it means that instruction is provided in excess of 12 years. A student who turns 21 on or after August 1 is entitled to begin and complete the school year.

IEP11/10/2014 1:46 PMIf a student has a birthday of August 31, and turns 21 on that date, can the student attend school in the fall?

Unfortunately, the law does not specifically articulate what is an appropriate "mutually agreed upon" time and place for IEP Team meetings. The applicable authority indicates that LEAs must make "a good faith effort" to reach an agreement with the parents regarding the scheduling of IEP Team meetings, but the law does not preclude the LEA

from considering its own scheduling needs. Clearly, scheduling meetings in the evening, after school hours, or over the weekend is not required.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:19 PMWhat level of accommodation is necessary in terms of scheduling IEP Team meetings convenient for parents? Must the LEA schedule an IEP Team meeting on an evening or weekend at parental request?

Yes. Under 34 CFR §300.508(a)(1), the public agency must have procedures that require the party or the attorney representing the party to provide to the other party a due process complaint (which must remain confidential). The party filing the due process complaint must forward a copy of the complaint to the SEA, and the complaint must include specific content as described in Question C-3. 34 CFR §300.508(a)(2) and (b). So long as these requirements are met, there is nothing in the Part B regulations that would prohibit a State from accepting due process complaints that are filed electronically. Because the IDEA does not prohibit this practice, States considering accepting, or choosing to accept, electronic filings of due process complaints would need to ensure that there are appropriate safeguards to protect the integrity of the process. Compare, 71 FR 46629 (August 14, 2006) (regarding whether States can accept electronic parental consent).

In developing the appropriate safeguards, States also should consider that the Department has addressed criteria for accepting electronic signatures to satisfy the signed, written consent requirements in the FERPA regulations in 34 CFR part 99. Under 34 CFR §99.30(d), "signed and dated written consent" may include a record and signature in electronic form that identifies and authenticates a particular person as the source of the consent and indicates such person’s approval of the information contained in the electronic consent.

Applying these criteria to electronic due process complaint submissions, it would be reasonable for States that either are considering accepting, or have chosen to accept, electronic filings of due process complaints to ensure that their process includes safeguards sufficient to identify or authenticate the

party filing the complaint and indicate that the party approves of the information in the due process complaint. In other words, these safeguards should be sufficient to ensure that a party filing a due process complaint electronically understands that the complaint has the same effect as if it were filed in writing. States would also need to ensure that the same confidentiality requirements that apply to written due process complaints apply to due process complaints filed electronically. 34 CFR §§300.611-300.626. States that are considering or have chosen to accept due process complaints filed electronically should also consult any relevant State laws governing electronic transactions.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:07 AMMay States establish procedures permitting a due process complaint to be filed electronically?

No, the request for a DPH must be signed and therefore will not be accepted over the

phone.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:13 AMWill the SDE accept a DPH request over the phone?

IDEA 2004 does not require an exit IEP Team meeting. In Alabama, the Summary of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (SOP) must be completed for every student that exits with a high school diploma, or who will be exceeding the age of eligibility for FAPE. SES strongly encourages public agencies to complete the SOP for all other students exiting high school. Also, the Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services must be completed to document that the student will not be returning to school the next school year because:

• The student will be graduating from high school with the Alabama high school diploma.

• The student will be age twenty-one prior to August 1.

• The parent or student, who has reached the age of majority, has been notified that the student who is exiting school with an AOD or before age 21 has the right to receive services to age 21.

IEP11/10/2014 1:47 PMHas a process been set up for the exit IEP Team conference that is mandated by IDEA 2004?

There is no specified length of time, although individual LEAs may have their own timeframe for providing notices of meetings (typically five to seven school days). However, the notice should be sent early enough so that adequate time is allowed and scheduling adjustments can be made if necessary.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:30 PMHow much advance notice must be given when inviting parent(s) to attend an IEP meeting?

Yes. States must have procedures, which may be determined by State law, to determine when due process complaints are received, whether filed in hard copy or electronically, including mechanisms to ensure the timely resolution of due process complaints in accordance with 34 CFR §300.510 and for the timely resolution of due process hearings in accordance with 34 CFR §300.515. While a State has some discretion in establishing procedures for determining when a due process complaint notice is considered received, the State remains responsible for ensuring that its procedures allow for the timely resolution of due process complaints and due process hearings and are uniformly applied, consistent with 34 CFR §§300.510 and 300.515. For example, if a due process complaint notice is filed electronically on a day that is not considered a business day (e.g., the weekend), the State could consider the due process complaint notice received on the date the due process complaint notice is filed or on the next business day.

Under 34 CFR §300.504(c)(5), the State must include an explanation of the State’s due process complaint procedures in the notice of procedural safeguards, which must be given to parents one time a year and upon receipt of the first due process complaint under 34 CFR §300.507 in a school year. Because these procedures must include filing and decisional deadlines, these procedures would need to address the criteria that the State uses for determining when the State considers a due process complaint notice to be received, including due process complaint notices filed electronically, if the State permits due process complaints to be filed electronically.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:08 AMMust States have procedures for tracking when due process complaints are received, including due process complaints filed electronically if a State accepts due process complaints filed electronically?

Yes.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:13 AMWill a mediation request be accepted over the phone?

Yes. The AOD and a graduation certificate are not considered to be terminal diplomas that cease services. A student with a disability is entitled to FAPE up to the age of 21. A student who turns 21 on or after August 1 is entitled to begin and complete the school year. Students with disabilities who have graduated from high school with a regular high school diploma no longer have a right to FAPE.

IEP11/10/2014 1:47 PMIf a student exits school at age 18 with an AOD or a graduation certificate, may he/shereturn to school to work toward completing the requirements to earn a regulardiploma?

Yes. A copy of the IEP must be provided to the parent(s).

Administrators10/9/2014 1:40 PMMust the LEA provide a copy of the IEP to the parent(s)?

Under 34 CFR §300.509, each SEA must develop model forms to assist parents and public agencies in filing a due process complaint; however, the

SEA or LEA may not require the use of the model forms. Parents and public agencies may use the appropriate model form, or another form or document, so long as the form or document that is used meets the content requirements in 34 CFR §300.508(b) for filing a due process complaint. If the SEA’s model form includes content not required by 34 CFR §300.508(b), the form must identify that content and specify that it is optional.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:10 AMAre there any mechanisms that an SEA must provide to assist parents and public agencies in filing a due process complaint?

The Federal Regulations state that if the public agency decides not to pursue an initial

evaluation it does not violate its obligations under Child Find.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:26 AMIf we decide not to go to mediation or request a DPH because the parent refused consent for the initial evaluation, have we violated our Child Find requirements?

The public agency should take steps to ensure the IEP Team is aware of the student’s needs, interests, and preferences because these must be considered in order to develop an appropriate transition plan. Also, after the meeting there should be a follow-up meeting with the student to let him/her know what was discussed at the IEP Team meeting if the student was not in attendance.

IEP11/10/2014 1:48 PMIf the student does not attend the IEP Team meeting, when are transition servicesdiscussed?

On occasion, a parent may request that an IEP Team meeting be tape recorded or videotaped. Generally, if the parent can show a true need for doing so in order to participate meaningfully during the meeting, courts have allowed taping, even over the objection of a teacher. If a parent truly needs to record the meeting for participation purposes, it may simply be best to allow the recording. However, the LEA should record the meeting as well and keep a copy of the tape as an "education record."

Administrators10/9/2014 1:44 PMCan a parent record an IEP Team meeting?

No. The regulations in 34 CFR §300.18(f) state that there is no right of action on behalf of an individual student or class of students for the failure of a particular SEA or LEA employee to be highly qualified. See also 34 CFR §300.156(e). However, a parent may file a State complaint with the SEA or use the mediation process under 34 CFR §300.506 to resolve issues regarding staff qualifications. See also Question C-1 in Questions and Answers on Highly Qualified Teachers Serving Children with Disabilities, dated January 2007 and Question A-6 of this Q&A document.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:10 AMMay a parent file a due process complaint because his or her child’s teacher is not highly qualified?

No.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:14 AMCan we go to mediation or DPH if a parent refuses to give consent for the provision of services?

If the public agency is unable to get consent from the parent or student (age 19 and older) to invite transition agency representatives after two attempts, the agencies responsible for transition services may not be invited to the IEP meeting. If the parent or student (age 19 and older) check on the Notice of Proposed Meeting/Consent for Agency Participation I DO NOT GIVE CONSENT, the public agency may not invite any agencies that would be responsible for paying or providing transition services.

IEP11/10/2014 1:49 PMWhat happens if the parent or student who has reached the age of majority (age 19)does not give consent for a transition agency representative to participate in the IEP Team meeting?

The IEP Team is a group comprised of the parent and qualified school staff members who make all decisions regarding the identification, evaluation, and placement for a student with a disability.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:20 AMWhat is an IEP Team?

The Department provided the following explanation in Question L-1 in Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Placed by Their Parents in Private Schools, April 2011:

As provided in 34 CFR §300.140(b), a parent of a child enrolled by that parent in a private school has the right to file a due process complaint regarding the child find requirements in 34 CFR §300.131, including the requirements in 34 CFR §§300.300 through 300.311. The due process provisions in section 615 of the Act and 34 CFR §§300.504 through 300.519 of the regulations do not apply to issues regarding the provision of services to any particular parentally-placed private school child with disabilities whom an LEA has agreed to serve because there is no individual right to services for such children under the IDEA. 34 CFR §300.140(a).

However, as described in Question A-7 of this Q&A document, disputes that arise about equitable services are subject to the State complaint procedures in 34 CFR §§300.151-300.153.25 34 CFR §300.140(c)(1). A parent wishing to

file a complaint alleging that an SEA or LEA has violated the requirements in 34 CFR §§300.132-300.135 and §§300.137-300.144 may file a State complaint with the SEA in accordance with the State complaint procedures in 34 CFR §§300.151-300.153.

In addition, under 34 CFR §300.148 and Supreme Court case law, where FAPE is at issue, parents of a parentally-placed private school child with a disability may utilize the due process procedures, including mediation, if seeking reimbursement for the private school placement based on a denial of FAPE.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:15 AMUnder what circumstances does the IDEA permit parents of parentally-placed private school children with disabilities to use IDEA’s due process procedures?

No. Parents are permitted to unilaterally withdraw their children from further receipt of

special education and related services by revoking their consent for the continued provision

of special education and related services to their child. When a parent revokes consent for

special education and related services the parent has refused services and therefore the

public agency is not deemed to have knowledge that the child is a child with a disability

and the child will be subject to the same disciplinary procedures and timelines applicable to

general education students and not entitled to IDEA’s discipline protections. It is expected

that parents will take into account the possible consequences under the discipline

procedures before revoking consent for the provision of special education and related

services.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:25 AMDo the discipline provisions apply if the child violates the school’s code of student conduct after a parent revokes consent for the continued provision of special educatiom and related services?

No.

IEP11/10/2014 1:49 PMIf a representative that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transitionservices (e.g., job coach) is partially funded by the public agency and partially fundedby another agency does the public agency have to get parental consent to inv

The IEP Team is responsible for reviewing all available assessment data, determining eligibility, developing the IEP, and determining appropriate placement for the student.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:46 AMWhat is the function of the IEP Team?

A public agency may use the due process procedures to override a parent’s refusal to consent or failure to respond to a request to provide consent only for initial evaluations and reevaluations of children enrolled, or seeking to be enrolled, in public schools. If a parent of a child enrolled in public school, or seeking to be enrolled in public school, does not provide consent for an initial evaluation, or the parent fails to respond to a request to provide consent, the public agency may, but is not required to, pursue the initial evaluation of the child by utilizing the due process procedures in 34 CFR §§300.507-300.516, if appropriate, except to the extent inconsistent with State law relating to such parental consent. 34 CFR §300.300(a)(3)(i). Also, a public agency may, but is not required to, use the due process procedures to seek to override a parent’s refusal to provide consent to a reevaluation, if the parent has enrolled his or her child or is seeking to enroll the child in a public school. 34 CFR §300.300(c)(1)(ii).

However, if a parent of a child who is home schooled or parentally-placed in a private school by the parent at the parent’s expense does not provide consent (or fails to respond to a request to provide consent) for the initial evaluation or reevaluation of his or her child, the public agency may not use the due process procedures under 34 CFR §§300.507-300.516 in order to obtain agreement or a ruling that the evaluation or reevaluation may be provided to the child. 34 CFR §300.300(d)(4).

In addition, if a parent fails to respond to a request for, or refuses to consent to, the initial provision of special education and related services to his or her child, the public agency may not use the due process procedures under 34 CFR §§300.507-300.516 in order to obtain agreement or a ruling that the services may be provided to the child. 34 CFR §300.300(b)(3). Further, if at any time subsequent to the initial provision of special education and related services, a parent revokes consent in writing for the continued provision of special education and related services to his or her child, the public agency may not use the due process procedures under 34 CFR §§300.507-300.516 in

order to obtain agreement or a ruling that the services may be provided to the child. 34 CFR §300.300(b)(4).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:16 AMUnder what circumstances may a public agency use IDEA’s due process procedures to override a parent’s refusal to consent?

If the IEP Team makes the determination that the conduct was a manifestation of the

child’s disability, the IEP Team must conduct a FBA unless the LEA conducted a FBA

during the previous 18 months before the behavior that resulted in the change of placement

occurred and implemented the BIP for the child. If a BIP has already been implemented

then you must review and revise as necessary to address the behavior. A BIP may be

developed anytime if the student’s behavior impedes his or her learning or the learning of

others.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:25 AMWhen would it be appropriate to do a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) and Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) to address a behavior violation? Please give examples.

If a participating agency, other than the public agency, fails to provide the transition services described in the IEP, the public agency must reconvene the IEP Team to identify alternative strategies to meet the transition goals for the student set out in the IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 1:50 PMWhat happens if another agency fails to provide agreed upon transition services?

Under the IDEA, the LEA shall ensure that the IEP Team for each student with a disability includes: (1) the parents of the student; (2) not less than one regular education teacher of the student (if the student is, or may be,

participating in the regular education environment); (3) not less than one special education teacher of the student or, if appropriate, at least one special education provider of the student; (4) a representative of the LEA who (i) is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities; (ii) is knowledgeable about the general curriculum; and (iii) is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the school district; (5) an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results and who may be a member of the team already described; (6) other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student, including related services personnel as appropriate at the discretion of the parent or the agency; and (7) the student.

The school is required to ensure that members (2) through (5) above are present at every IEP Team meeting and that parents are properly invited to attend. At meetings where transition services will be addressed for the student (typically beginning at age 16), other agencies involved in providing transition services are required to be invited to attend (with parental consent) as well as the student.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:56 AMWho are the required members of a student’s IEP Team?

Yes. Under 34 CFR §300.502(b)(2), if a parent requests an IEE at public expense, the public agency must, without unnecessary delay, either file a due process complaint to request a hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate or ensure that an IEE is provided at public expense, unless the agency demonstrates in a hearing pursuant to 34 CFR §§300.507-300.513 that the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet agency criteria. If the public agency files a due process complaint to request a hearing and the final decision is that the agency’s evaluation is appropriate, the parent still has the right to an IEE, but not at public expense. Once a final decision is rendered, a parent aggrieved by that decision would have the right to appeal that decision to the SEA pursuant to 34 CFR §300.514, if applicable, or to bring a civil action in an appropriate State or Federal court pursuant to 34 CFR §300.516.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:16 AMIf a parent wishes to obtain an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense pursuant to 34 CFR §300.502(b)(1), and the public agency believes that its evaluation is appropriate, must the public agency file a due process complaint to request

The Federal Regulations say the public agency. In Alabama, we define the public agency,

for this purpose, as an administrator and the student’s special education teacher.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:24 AMWho determines if there is a pattern of removals that constitute a change of placement?

Consent from the parent or the student who has reached the age of majority is only needed when inviting agency representatives that may be providing or paying for transition services. The purpose for inviting other agency representatives not providing or paying for transition services should be considered. The IEP Team should consider if the agency representatives have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child and the reason for inviting other agency representatives not affiliated with providing or paying for transition services. Parental consent is required before personally identifiable information is released to parties including those providing or paying for transition services.

IEP11/10/2014 1:51 PMIf other agencies (such as DHR or Mental Health) not affiliated with transition areinvited to the IEP Team meeting by the public agency does the IEP Team needpermission from the parent or student, who has reached the age of majority, to invitethe other ag

In general, yes. In 2004, however, the IDEA formalized a process by which a member of the IEP Team could be excused from attending an IEP Team meeting or part of an IEP meeting. A member of the IEP Team is not required to attend an IEP Team meeting, in whole or in part, if the parent of the student at issue and the school agree that the attendance of that member is not necessary "because the member’s area of the curriculum or related services is not being modified or discussed in the meeting." When the meeting involves a modification to, or discussion of, the member’s area of the curriculum or related services, the member may be excused if the parent and LEA consent to the excusal and the member submits in writing to the parent and the IEP Team input into the development of the IEP prior to the meeting. Parental agreement or consent to any excusal must be in writing.

The 2006 IDEA regulations clarified the "IEP Team members" to whom the excusal procedures apply. The regulations clarified that the excusal procedures in the Act refer to the IEP Team members (2) through (5) listed in the answer to Question 3 above. If the staff members that cannot attend include any of these IEP Team members, then a formal excusal procedure must be followed for each one who cannot attend. If certain staff members do not plan to attend but the vital members of the student’s IEP Team will be there, then the excusal procedures are not required.

Because these procedures can be so complicated, most districts will not proceed with a meeting unless all IEP Team members are present. However, there may be times (due to an emergency) where the district will need to get the parent’s consent to proceed without a mandatory IEP Team member.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:19 PMAre all IEP Team members required to attend every IEP Team meeting? Do they all have to stay for the entire meeting?

No. As long as the parent has legal authority pursuant to applicable State law or a court order to make educational decisions for the child, the public agency must accept either parent’s revocation of consent under 34 CFR §300.300(b)(4). A parent who disagrees with the other parent’s revocation of consent does not have the right to use the due process procedures to override the other parent’s revocation of consent for their child’s continued receipt of special education and related services. The IDEA does not address this issue as State law governs the resolution of disagreements between parents. However, the public agency may, based on State or local law, provide or refer parents to alternative dispute resolution systems to attempt to resolve their disagreements.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:18 AMIf both parents have legal authority to make educational decisions for their child and one parent revokes consent for the provision of special education and related services pursuant to 34 CFR §300.9(c), may the other parent file a due process complaint t

School personnel (in consultation with one of the child’s teachers) have the authority to

make that decision. The decision can be challenged by requesting a DPH.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:24 AMWho makes the decision regarding services for a student who has been suspended for more than ten days in a school year when there has not been a change of placement?

The Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance should be written in terms that are observable, specific, and based on evidence. The Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance should include the strengths and needs of the student and how the student’s disability affects the student’s performance in the general education curriculum. For preschool children, as appropriate, the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance should include how the disability affects the child’s participation in age appropriate activities. For more information on Standard-Based IEPs, a Q and A, dated October 2012, can be found on the special education homepage under the standards tab.

IEP11/10/2014 1:51 PMWhat should be considered in the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance?

Although no one is actually required by law to sign an IEP, it is prudent practice to have members sign to reflect who was present and who participated for compliance purposes. Thus, only those individuals present at the IEP Team meeting should sign the IEP. If one of the IEP Team members participates by telephone, the name of that person should be placed on the appropriate line and a notation made stating that he/she participated by telephone. Unless you were present and participated at the IEP Team meeting, you should not sign the IEP.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:30 PMWho should sign an IEP?

The Part B regulations require that each hearing and each review involving oral arguments must be conducted at a time and place that is reasonably convenient to the parents and child involved. 34 CFR §300.515(d). OSEP believes that it is important for public agencies to be flexible in scheduling due process hearings to enable parents to participate. While a public agency

must make a good faith effort to accommodate the parent’s scheduling request, consistent with 34 CFR §300.515(d), public agencies are not precluded from also considering their own scheduling needs when accommodating the parent’s request and in setting a time and place for conducting the due process hearing and/or review.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:18 AMDoes the IDEA address where due process hearings and reviews are held?

The IEP Team makes the decision with regard to an IAES.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:24 AMWhen there is a disciplinary change of placement, who makes the decision as to the interim alternative educational setting (IAES) and the services?

Measurable Annual Goals are related to needs resulting from the student’s disability that directly affect involvement and progress in the general education curriculum. Goals should be specific, based on the student’s Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance. Goals should be measurable. Goals should be realistically achievable and related to the most critical needs. Goals should be results-oriented by being developed with an outcome in mind, and goals should be time bound by clearly defining the length of time in which the student should be able to master each goal. Academic goals must be written to general education content standards, or Alabama Extended Standards for students with significant cognitive disabilities who are being assessed with the Alabama Alternate Assessment, or Developmental Standards for preschool children with disabilities. For more information on Standard-Based IEPs, a Q and A, dated October 2012, can be found on the special education homepage under the standards tab.

IEP11/10/2014 1:52 PMWhat are Measurable Annual Goals?

It is important that whoever is designated to serve as the local education agency representative (LEA representative) at an IEP meeting be qualified to serve in that position. Remember that the LEA representative must meet the following criteria and be: (i) qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities; (ii) is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum; and (iii) is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the LEA. In Alabama, the LEA representative must also be able to commit resources on behalf of the LEA.

Whoever is chosen to serve as the LEA representative at an IEP meeting should be clearly aware of his/her role and be prepared to meet the criteria for serving as the LEA representative.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:40 PMWho is authorized to serve as the LEA representative of the school at an IEP Team meeting?

The Part B regulations are designed to ensure the independence of hearing officers, while maintaining minimum qualifications. Under 34 CFR §300.511(c), a hearing officer must not be: (1) an employee of the SEA or the LEA that is involved in the education or care of the child; or (2) a person having a personal or professional interest that conflicts with the person’s objectivity in the hearing. This provision addresses independence.

Under 34 CFR §300.511(c)(1)(ii)-(iv), a hearing officer also must: (1) possess knowledge of, and the ability to understand, the provisions of the IDEA, Federal and State regulations pertaining to the IDEA, and legal interpretations of the IDEA by Federal and State courts; (2) possess the knowledge and ability to conduct hearings in accordance with appropriate, standard legal practice; and (3) possess the knowledge and ability to render and write decisions in accordance with appropriate, standard legal practice. This provision addresses minimum qualifications for impartial hearing officers.

Also, 34 CFR §300.511(c)(2) provides that a person who otherwise qualifies to conduct a hearing under 34 CFR §300.511(c)(1) is not an employee of the agency solely because he or she is paid by the agency to serve as a hearing officer. This provision clarifies that hearing officers may be reimbursed for serving as hearing officers without compromising their impartiality. 71 FR 46705 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:19 AMWhat requirements apply to the qualifications and impartiality of hearing officers?

Both the Federal Regulations and the AAC state “the LEA, the parent, and the relevant

members of the IEP Team (as determined by the parent and the LEA) must review all

relevant information in the student’s file when determining if the student’s behavior was a

manifestation.” The public agency may want to use the full IEP Team so that if a

determination is made that the behavior is a manifestation of the child’s disability, the IEP

Team can proceed with determining services and the IAES.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:16 AMWhat group meets to conduct the manifestation determination?

As long as the goals are written in measurable terms to the extent that they can be used to monitor progress and assess the appropriateness of special education services, goals can be stated in terms of percentages or trials. SES highly recommends that goals are reviewed on a regular basis.

IEP11/10/2014 1:53 PMShould the Measurable Annual Goals be stated in terms of percentages or trials?

With respect to "not less than one special education teacher of the student," this must be a teacher who provides (or has provided) special education services to the student and not just someone with special education certification.

With respect to "not less than one regular education teacher of the student," if the student has several regular education teachers, the law is clear that "not less than one" regular education teacher of the student is required to attend (if the student is, or may be, participating in the regular

education environment). This means that not all of a student’s regular education teachers must be there and that the requirement is satisfied with one of the student’s regular education teachers in attendance.

With respect to which regular education teacher should attend if the student has more than one regular education teacher, it is important to consider language from the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) indicating that the regular education teacher who serves as a member of a student’s IEP Team should be a teacher who is, or may be, responsible for implementing a portion of the IEP so that the teacher can participate in discussions about how best to instruct the student. If the student has more than one regular education teacher responsible for carrying out a portion of the IEP, the school may designate which teacher or teachers will serve as the IEP member(s), taking into account the best interests of the student.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:45 PMWhich teacher should attend the IEP Team meeting when the student has more than one teacher?

No. The Analysis of Comments and Changes accompanying the 1999 final Part B regulations reflects the Department’s long-standing position that this matter is an issue for the hearing officer to decide and is not a decision that can be made by the public agency, including an LEA or an SEA. Therefore, a public agency does not have the authority to deny a parent’s due process complaint requesting a due process hearing on the basis that it believes the parent’s issues are not new. Rather, IDEA leaves these determinations to a hearing officer. 64 FR 12613 (March 12, 1999).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:19 AMDoes the SEA have the authority to determine whether a due process complaint constitutes a new issue compared to a previously adjudicated due process complaint between the same parties?

No, if the parent(s) of a child and the school district agree to a specific change in the

current educational placement of the child.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:22 AMWhen the parent(s) of a child and the school personnel are in agreement about the child's change of placement after the chils has violated a code of student conduct, is it considered to be a removal under the discipline provisions?

Include standards based on the two grades the IEP will cover.

IEP11/10/2014 1:59 PMIf IEPs are written during the academic year that may cover two grades, which grade level of standards do we use?

If no general education teacher of the student can or will attend, then the formal excusal procedures must be followed before the meeting proceeds. Not having a general education teacher at the meeting has been held sufficient, in and of itself, to constitute a denial of FAPE. Principals must impress upon general education teachers the importance of compliance with the requirement that they attend and participate in IEP Team meetings.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:48 PMWhat if a general education teacher cannot or will not attend the IEP meeting?

No. Under the IDEA, hearing officers have complete authority to determine the sufficiency of all due process complaints filed and to determine jurisdiction of issues raised in due process complaints consistent with 34 CFR §§300.508(d) and 300.513.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:20 AMMay State law authorize the SEA to unilaterally dismiss or otherwise limit the issues that can be the subject of a party’s due process complaint?

It depends on whether or not the in-school suspension program will allow the student to

progress in the general education curriculum and work toward the goals in his/her IEP.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:17 AMWill in-school suspensions count as out-of-school suspensions?

The amount of goals written should be based on the student’s needs. (For students working on extended standards at least one goal in the area of reading, math, language arts, science, and social studies are required).

IEP11/10/2014 2:00 PMCan we write only one measurable annual goal?

A general education teacher must participate as a member of the IEP Team to discuss what and how the general education curriculum may be accessed by the student and how the student will be involved in the general education curriculum during that IEP implementation year. The general education teacher may also assist in the determination of appropriate positive behavioral interventions and supports, the determination of supplementary aids and services, program modifications, and supports for school personnel.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:52 PMWhy is there a requirement that a general education teacher participate as a member of the IEP Team if a student is not participating in the general education environment?

Pursuant to 34 CFR §300.511(d), the party requesting the due process hearing may not raise issues at the due process hearing that were not raised in the due process complaint filed under 34 CFR §300.508(b), unless the other party agrees. The IDEA does not address whether the non-complaining party may raise other issues at the hearing that were not raised in the due process complaint. Therefore, the decision as to whether such matters can be raised at the hearing should be left to the discretion of the hearing officer in light of the particular facts and circumstances of the case. 71 FR 46706 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:20 AMDo hearing officers have jurisdiction over issues raised by either party during the prehearing or hearing which were not raised in the due process complaint?

Students in local jails reside in your LEA’s jurisdiction. Child Find and service

requirements must be provided for all students with disabilities within your LEA’s

jurisdiction.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:17 AMWhy do we have to be responsible for students in local jails?

Goals should address the area(s) of need for the student.

IEP11/10/2014 2:00 PMDo we write a measurable annual goal for all academic areas or just for the area(s) of the student’s weakness?

Yes. The parent or the LEA may invite any individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student to the IEP Team meeting. According to the U.S. DOE, the determination as to whether an

individual has "knowledge or special expertise" is to be made by the parent or LEA that invited the individual to participate.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:56 PMMay the parent(s) bring other individuals with them to the IEP Team meeting?

The IDEA does not address whether hearing officers may raise and resolve issues of noncompliance if the party requesting the hearing does not raise the issues. Such decisions are best left to States and are generally addressed in their procedures for conducting due process hearings. 71 FR 46706 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:20 AMDo hearing officers have the authority to raise and address issues of noncompliance that were not raised by the parties?

If the student resides in your LEA’s jurisdiction, the LEA is responsible for offering FAPE

to the student until he/she turns 21 or exits with a regular diploma.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:21 AMIf students in prison are released prior to age 21 must FAPE, including transition services, be provided regardless of whether the reenroll in school or not?

Goals should be written to address the student’s needs not the classes taught. Goals should not restate the standard.

IEP11/10/2014 2:01 PMDo we write goals for classes taught by regular education teachers?

The U.S. DOE has addressed this question and responded that the IDEA authorizes the addition of other individuals to the IEP Team at the discretion of the parent or the LEA only if those other individuals have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student. The determination of whether an attorney possesses knowledge or special expertise regarding the student would have to be made on a case-by-case basis by the parent or school inviting the attorney to be a member of the team. The U.S. DOE noted that the presence of attorneys could contribute to a "potentially adversarial atmosphere at the meeting" even if the attorney possessed knowledge or special expertise regarding the student. Therefore, the attendance of attorneys at IEP meetings should be strongly discouraged. However, if the parent brings an attorney to an IEP Team meeting then the school should strongly consider whether it should have its attorney present and adjourn the meeting and reschedule it, if necessary, so that the school’s attorney may attend.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:58 PMAre LEAs and parents allowed to be represented by attorneys at IEP Team meetings?

The IDEA provides that agreements reached through the mediation or resolution processes may be enforced in an appropriate State or Federal court, or by the SEA if applicable. 34 CFR §§300.506(b)(7), 300.510(d)(2), and 300.537. Neither the IDEA nor the Part B regulations specifically address the authority of hearing officers to review or approve these settlement agreements. Also, the IDEA does not specifically address enforcement by hearing officers of settlement agreements reached by the parties outside of the IDEA’s mediation and resolution processes. Therefore, in the absence of controlling case law, a State may have uniform rules relating to a hearing officer’s authority or lack of authority to review and/or enforce settlement

agreements reached outside of the IDEA’s mediation and/or resolution processes. However, such rules must have general application and may not be limited to proceedings involving children with disabilities and their parents.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:21 AMUnder what circumstances may a State prohibit hearing officers from reviewing the appropriateness, and ordering the implementation of, settlement agreements reached under the IDEA?

Yes, if students were pursuing the AOD at the time they were determined to be ineligible

for special education services, they may continue to pursue the AOD.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:18 AMCan students continue to pursue the AOD if they have exited special education?

No. Goals should be written based on the student’s deficit areas in working toward grade level standards.

IEP11/10/2014 2:02 PMWould there ever be a reason to have the student’s measurable annual goal read “the student will maintain A’s and B’s on grade level standards”?

The U.S. DOE has stated that the IDEA does not provide guidance for including individuals such as representatives of teacher organizations as part of an IEP team unless they are included because of knowledge or special expertise regarding the child. Because a representative of a teacher organization would generally be concerned with the interests of the teacher rather than the interests of the child and generally would not possess knowledge or expertise about the child, it generally would be inappropriate for such an official to be a member of the IEP Team or to otherwise participate in an IEP Team meeting.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:00 PMCan representatives of the Alabama Education Association (AEA) or other teacher organizations attend IEP Team meetings at the request of a teacher or other LEA personnel?

The public agency conducting the due process hearing (either the SEA or the public agency directly responsible for the education of the child) must ensure that not later than 45 days after the expiration of the 30-day resolution period described in 34 CFR §300.510(b) or the adjustments to the time period permitted in 34 CFR §300.510(c), a final decision is reached in the due process hearing and a copy of the decision is mailed to each of the parties. The SEA is responsible for monitoring compliance with this timeline, subject to any allowable extensions described in Question C-22. 34 CFR §§300.149 and 300.600.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:21 AMOnce the 30-day resolution period or adjusted resolution period expires, what is the timeline for issuing a final hearing decision?

A general education teacher must participate as a member of the IEP Team to discuss what

and how the general education curriculum may be accessed and how the student will be

involved in the general education curriculum during that IEP implementation year. The

general education teacher may also assist in the determination of appropriate positive

behavioral interventions and supports, the determination of supplementary aids and

services, program modifications, and supports for school personnel.

Alabama Administrative Code11/10/2014 10:19 AMWhy is there a requirement that a general education teacher participate as a member of the IEP Team if a child is not participating in the regular education environment?

Students should have goals that address the student’s area of need which may or may not be reading and/or math.

IEP11/10/2014 2:02 PMMust all IEPs have a reading and math goal?

The law does not specify how long an IEP must be, but does specify the required components of an IEP. Because Alabama has a state form that must be used by IEP Teams, the components are driven by the form. However, this does not provide guidance in terms of how long an IEP will be for a particular student. Each IEP Team must determine what is appropriate for each student with a disability.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:20 AMHow long should an IEP be?

The timelines for due process hearings and reviews described in 34 CFR §300.515(a) and (b) may only be extended if a hearing officer or reviewing officer exercises the authority to grant a specific extension of time at the request of a party to the hearing or review. 34 CFR §300.515(c).

A hearing officer may not unilaterally extend the 45-day due process hearing timeline. Also, a hearing officer may not extend the hearing decision timeline for an unspecified time period, even if a party to the hearing requests an extension but does not specify a time period for the extension. Likewise, a reviewing officer may not unilaterally extend the 30-day timeline for reviewing the hearing decision. In addition, a reviewing officer may not extend the review decision timeline for an unspecified time period, even if a party to the review requests an extension but does not specify a time period for the extension.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:22 AMWhen would it be permissible for a hearing officer to extend the 45-day timeline for issuing a final decision in a due process hearing on a due process complaint or for a reviewing officer to extend the 30-day timeline for issuing a final decision in an a

If the student receives specially designed PE which is an area of instruction, the IEP must have goal(s) if the PE curriculum is being modified. If only accommodations are provided for PE, goals are not required unless specially designed PE is the only goal being addressed in the student’s IEP. The PE accommodations without a goal should be documented under Supplementary Aids and Services on the goal page of the IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 2:03 PMDo goals need to be written for specially designed physical education (PE)?

Yes. The IDEA regulations require the IEP to include "a description of how the student’s progress toward meeting the annual goals [in the IEP] will be measured" and "when periodic reports on the progress the student is making toward meeting the annual goals (such as through the use of quarterly or other periodic reports, concurrent with the issuance of report cards) will be provided." It is very important that the student’s progress is measured in accordance with the provisions in the IEP.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:46 AMMust the IEP describe how a student’s progress will be measured?

No. In a one-tier system, the SEA conducts due process hearings. In a two-tier system, the public agency directly responsible for the education of the child conducts due process hearings. The determination of which entity conducts due process hearings is based on State statute, State regulation, or a written policy of the SEA. 34 CFR §300.511(b). In a one-tier system, a party

aggrieved by the SEA’s findings and decision has the right to appeal by bringing a civil action in any State court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States without regard to the amount in controversy. 34 CFR §300.516(a). In a one-tier system, an aggrieved party has no right of appeal to the SEA. However, in a two-tier system, an aggrieved party has the right to appeal the public agency’s decision to the SEA which must conduct an impartial review of the findings and decision appealed. 34 CFR §300.514(b). A party dissatisfied with the decision of the SEA’s reviewing official has the right to bring a civil action in any State court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States without regard to the amount in controversy. 34 CFR §§300.514(d) and 300.516(a). There is nothing in the IDEA that would prohibit a State with a one-tier due process system from carrying out its responsibility by retaining impartial hearing officers under contract to conduct the hearings or contracting with another agency that is not a public agency under the IDEA to conduct the hearings. Because the SEA is the entity responsible for conducting the hearing, there is no right of appeal to the SEA.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:22 AMIf an SEA contracts with another agency to conduct due process hearings on its behalf, can those decisions be appealed to the SEA?

If specially designed PE is prescribed in a student’s IEP, the public agency responsible for the education of that student must provide the services directly or make arrangements for them to be provided through other public or private programs.

IEP11/10/2014 2:04 PMIf a student with physical disabilities requires specially designed PE whose job is it to provide this service?

Yes. In addition, each service should be addressed/discussed specifically during the IEP Team meeting and clearly set out in the IEP.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:57 AMIf a student is eligible for more than one service, can all services be discussed at the same IEP Team meeting?

Yes. The IDEA provides specific rights to a party to a due process hearing conducted pursuant to 34 CFR §§300.507-300.513, or a party appealing the due process hearing decision to the SEA pursuant to 34 CFR §300.514(b), if applicable, or a party to an expedited due process hearing conducted pursuant to 34 CFR §300.532. A party to these proceedings has the right to obtain a written, or, at the option of the parents, an electronic, verbatim record of the hearing. A party to these proceedings also has the right to obtain a written, or, at the option of the parents, electronic findings of fact and decisions. 34 CFR §300.512(a)(4) and (5). Parents must be given the right to have the record of the hearing and the findings of fact and decisions provided at no cost. 34 CFR §300.512(c)(3).

The IDEA and the Part B regulations do not establish a time period within which a parent must request a record of the hearing or the findings of fact and decisions; nor do they otherwise limit the time period of a parent’s right to receive the hearing record and findings of fact and decisions at no cost. We also note that in very limited circumstances, judicial principles of fairness may allow a reviewing officer or court to waive the timeline for a specific appeal. Moreover, the information contained in a hearing record or in the findings of fact and decisions could be used for purposes other than appealing a due process hearing decision. There could be situations where a parent would need the information contained in the hearing record or decision for an IEP Team meeting or for mediation or in a subsequent State complaint or due process complaint.

In addition, States and their public agencies are required to retain records to show compliance with programmatic requirements for a three-year period. If any litigation involving the records has been started before the expiration of the three-year period, the records must be retained until completion of the action and resolution of all issues which arise from it, or until the end of the regular three-year period, whichever is later. 34 CFR §§76.731 and 80.42(b).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:23 AMDoes a parent have the right to receive a hearing record at no cost, even though the applicable time period to appeal the hearing decision has expired?

Goals should not be written for OT and PT services. The OT and PT services are related services that are needed to assist the student who qualifies for special education services. Address OT and PT services under Related Services in the IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 2:04 PMDo goals need to be written for OT or PT services?

No. Each student’s IEP and services must be determined on an individual basis at least annually. At this time, a statement of the specific special education and related services to be provided to the student and the extent to which the student will be able to participate in the general education setting are to be included in the student’s IEP. Blanket statements such as "we always do it that way" or "this is what we provide for all of our students with autism" must be avoided.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:19 PMIs it appropriate to make categorical decisions about what services will be provided to students with disabilities?

As explained in Question C-23, in a one-tier system where the due process hearing is conducted by the SEA, or its agent, a party does not have the right to appeal a decision to the SEA or make a motion for reconsideration. Under 34 CFR §300.514(a), a decision made in a due process hearing conducted by the SEA is final, except that a party aggrieved by that decision may appeal the decision by bringing a civil action in any State court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States under 34 CFR §300.516.

Once a final decision has been issued, no motion for reconsideration is permissible. However, a State can allow motions for reconsideration prior to issuing a final decision, but the final decision must be issued within the 45-day timeline or a properly extended timeline. For example, motions for reconsideration of interim orders made during the hearing would be permissible as long as the final decision is issued within the 45-day timeline or a properly extended timeline. Proper notice should be given to parents if State procedures allow for amendments and a reconsideration process may not delay or deny parents’ right to a decision within the time periods specified for hearings and appeals. 64 FR 12614 (March 12, 1999).

There may be situations in which the final due process hearing decision contains technical or typographical errors. It is permissible for a party to request correction of such errors when the correction does not change the outcome of the hearing or substance of the final hearing decision. This type of request does not constitute a request for reconsideration as discussed within this response.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:23 AMAre “motions for reconsideration” permitted after a hearing officer has issued findings of fact and a decision in a due process hearing?

Yes, if this is an area of need for the student.

IEP11/10/2014 2:05 PMIs it appropriate to have fluency goals for a high school student?

State assessments are designed to measure progress toward academic content standards. Therefore, results from state assessments can be used to identify concerns to be addressed when developing a standards-based IEP.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:31 PMHow can state assessment data be useful in writing standards-based IEPs?

Hearing decisions must be implemented within the timeframe prescribed by the hearing officer, or if there is no timeframe prescribed by the hearing officer, within a reasonable timeframe set by the State as required by 34 CFR §§300.511-300.514. The SEA, pursuant to its general supervisory responsibility under 34 CFR §§300.149 and 300.600, must ensure that the public agency involved in the due process hearing implements the hearing

officer’s decision in a timely manner, unless either party appeals the decision. If necessary to achieve compliance from the LEA, the SEA may use appropriate enforcement actions consistent with its general supervisory responsibility under 34 CFR §§300.600 and 300.608.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:25 AMWhat is the SEA’s responsibility after a due process hearing decision is issued?

If SLI is the disability area and the student qualifies in articulation, voice, or fluency there must be a speech goal(s) and speech should be addressed as "Special Education" under the Special Education and Related Service(s) section of the IEP. If a student qualifies for SLI in the area of language, the IEP team should have a language goal, reading goal, or other goal with a language component embedded in the goal and services should be addressed as "Special Education" under the Special Education and Related Service(s) section of the IEP. If SLI is not identified to be the area of disability on the student’s eligibility report, goals may or may not be written in the area of articulation, voice, or fluency. That will be an IEP Team decision. When SLI is not the area of disability as stated on the eligibility report, it should be addressed as a "Related Service" under the Special Education and Related Service(s) section of the IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 2:06 PMDoes speech need to be written as a goal or as a related service?

IEP goals are required in all five core content areas for students working toward Alabama Extended Standards in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The five core content areas are: (1) reading, (2) mathematics, (3) science, (4) social studies, and (5) language arts. The Alabama Extended Standards for reading, mathematics and science are used to develop goals for the first three content areas. For social studies and language arts, the IEP Team should use the Alabama Courses of Study for the student’s

grade of enrollment and develop goals based on the content, but at a lower level of complexity.

After twelfth grade, if students stay in school to age 21, the IEP Team determines the reading and mathematics content that can be used to address the student’s transition from high school to adult life. This selected reading and mathematics content may be from the extended standards or content not included in the extended standards. The IEP Team addresses reading and mathematics content in the context of preparing the student for post-school outcomes such as adult life, work, and/or independent living.

The number of goals for all students, including those working toward Alabama Extended Standards, should be based on individual need. It is problematic when there is an entire class, school, and/or LEA where all students have only one (1) goal per subject. This type of trend in the number of goals is an indication that students may not be receiving individualized programs as required by the IDEA. Teachers may choose to write one goal for each extended standard in reading, mathematics and science, although that is not required by the Alabama State Department of Education. An appropriate approach would be to prioritize the extended standards that will be used for writing goals by evaluating the student’s present level of performance and identifying the standards that will take the most effort and time to teach. For example, if there are five extended standards for a certain subject/grade, an IEP Team may choose two or three standards where the student needs the most instruction to master to be addressed through goals.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:41 PMHow many goals do we need to write for each student who is assessed on the Alabama Alternate Assessment (AAA) in a subject area and how many subject areas must have goals addressed in the IEP?

The entity that is responsible for conducting the hearing transmits the findings and decisions to the SAP and makes them available to the public. In a two-tier system where the hearing is conducted by the public agency directly responsible for the education of the child (i.e., the LEA), that public agency, after deleting any personally identifiable information, must transmit the findings and decisions in the hearing to the SAP and make those findings and decisions available to the public. In a one-tier system where the hearing is conducted by the SEA, the SEA must first delete any personally identifiable information and then transmit the findings and decisions in the hearing to the SAP and make those findings and decisions available to the public. 34 CFR §300.513(d). If a State has a two-tier due process system and the decision is appealed, the SEA, after deleting any personally identifiable information, must transmit the findings and decisions in the review to the SAP and make those findings and decisions available to the public. 34 CFR §300.514(c). In carrying out these responsibilities, SEAs and LEAs must comply with the confidentiality of information provisions in 34 CFR §§300.611-300.626. 34 CFR §300.610.

OSEP has advised that in a one-tier due process system, the SEA may meet these requirements by means such as posting the redacted decisions on its Web site or another Web site location dedicated for this purpose and directing SAP members or members of the public to that information.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:25 AMWhich public agency is responsible for transmitting the findings and decisions in a hearing to the State advisory panel (SAP) and making those findings and decisions available to the public?

The term peer reviewed research means there is reliable evidence that the program or services are effective. The IEP Team should have strong evidence (i.e., journal publications, programs that are known to be scientifically based researched, teacher data) of the

effectiveness of instructional programs and other services before proposing them in an IEP. Peer reviewed research also applies to nonacademic areas such as behavioral interventions. Before the IEP Team lists specially designed services and/or programs under Special Education and Related Service(s) the IEP Team must validate that the services and/or programs have been proven to be effective based on peer review research.

IEP11/10/2014 2:06 PMWhat is meant by the term peer reviewed research?

It depends on whether the student is working toward the Alabama Courses of Study Standards or Alabama Extended Standards.

Students Working Toward Alabama Extended Standards:

Goals based on extended standards in the areas of reading, mathematics, and science must be based on the extended standards for the student’s grade level of enrollment.

There is some grade-level flexibility when developing academic goals for students with significant cognitive disabilities for social studies and English/language arts. The goals for these areas are based on the Alabama Courses of Study standards because Alabama does not have extended standards for social studies or English/language arts. For these academic areas the IEP Team should use the format from the extended standards to

develop IEP goals. This involves looking at the course of study for the student’s grade of enrollment, or one or two years back, and developing goal(s) related to the content, but at a much lower complexity than what is presented in the general education course of study.

Students Working Toward Alabama Courses of Study Standards:

The ALSDE recommends IEP Teams start with the student’s grade level of enrollment and consider the standards from the grade level of enrollment and standards from one or two grades back.

Simultaneous to considering the standards for the grade level and one or two grades back, it is strongly suggested that the LEA offer reading and/or mathematics intervention programs for students who are substantially behind grade level.

IEP Teams must also keep in mind there are other considerations for high school students who are trying to earn credit toward the Alabama High School Diploma or the Alabama Occupational Diploma. Goals for high school students can be written using standards from lower grade levels, but the student must be taught and tested on the grade-level standards in order to earn course credit.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:45 PMAre IEP goals to be written for the actual grade placement of a student or should they be written based upon the actual grade level in which the student is functioning currently?

The purpose of the resolution meeting is to achieve a prompt and early resolution of a parent’s26 due process complaint to avoid the need for a more costly, adversarial, and time-consuming due process hearing and the potential for civil litigation. Section 300.510(a)(1) of the Part B regulations, consistent with section 615(f)(1)(B)(i) of the IDEA, provides that within 15 days of receiving notice of the parent’s due process complaint, and prior to the initiation of an impartial due process hearing under 34 CFR §300.511, the LEA must convene a meeting with the parent and the relevant members of the IEP Team who have specific knowledge of the facts identified in the due process complaint.27 The two exceptions to this requirement are described in Question D-6. In the Analysis of Comments and Changes accompanying the August, 2006 final Part B regulations, the Department described the purpose of a resolution meeting as follows:

The purpose of the [resolution] meeting is for the parent to discuss the due process complaint and the facts that form the basis of the due process complaint so that the LEA has an opportunity to resolve the dispute. 71 FR 46700 (August 14, 2006).

If the LEA has not resolved the due process complaint to the satisfaction of the parent within 30 days of the receipt of the due process complaint, the due process hearing may occur. 34 CFR §300.510(b)(1).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:25 AMWhat is the purpose of the resolution meeting?

A program used for all students does not need to be addressed in the IEP. If it is a program used specifically to meet an individual student’s needs, the program would be identified under the Special Education and Related Service(s) section of the IEP. Naming a specific program in the IEP is not recommended because a specific program may change (i.e., the program isn’t working, the student transfers) within the implementation and duration dates of the IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 2:07 PMWhere would you list a scientifically based reading research program on an IEP?

Federal law requires that students with disabilities be provided access to the general education curriculum. The law allows for students with significant cognitive disabilities to access the general education curriculum by being taught and tested on alternate achievement standards that link to state academic content standards. In Alabama, these standards are called Extended Standards. The Alabama Extended Standards for Reading, Mathematics, and Science are extensions of the state academic content standards for each grade level and are based on the academic content standards found in the Alabama Courses of Study. They are designed to allow students with significant cognitive disabilities to progress toward state standards while beginning at each student’s present level of performance. As required by law, the Alabama Extended Standards are clearly related to the grade-level content, but are reduced in scope and complexity.

As a general rule, a student with an IQ of 55 or below would be considered a student with a significant cognitive disability. In some situations, IEP Teams may determine extended standards are appropriate

for a student with an IQ a few points higher than 55 or the regular standards are appropriate for students with an IQ a few points lower than 55. The decision should always be based on student need and what is appropriate for the individual student.

Administrators11/25/2014 3:09 PMWhat are the benefits of extended standards versus general standards?

The IDEA requires an LEA to convene a resolution meeting only if the parent is the complaining party.28 Section 615(f)(1)(B)(i) of the IDEA is clear that the LEA’s obligation to convene a resolution meeting prior to the initiation of a due process hearing is triggered within 15 days of receiving notice of a parent’s due process complaint, and the implementing regulation in 34 CFR §300.510(a) reflects this statutory provision. As explained in Note 212 of Conf. Rpt. (Conference Report) No. 108-779, p. 217 (2004), "[b]oth the House Bill and Senate amendment require the LEA and parent of a child with a disability to meet within 15 days of a parent’s complaint being filed to attempt to resolve the complaint." Thus, as also explained in the Analysis of Comments and Changes accompanying the Part B regulations, "[t]here is no provision requiring a resolution meeting when an LEA is the complaining party. The Department’s experience has shown that LEAs rarely initiate due process proceedings." 71 FR 46700 (August 14, 2006). Therefore, we expect that LEAs will attempt to resolve disputes with parents prior to filing a due process complaint. This includes communicating with a parent about the disagreement and convening an IEP Team meeting, as appropriate, to discuss the matter and attempt to reach a solution. The LEA and parent may also choose to voluntarily engage in the mediation process described in 34 CFR §300.506 or another appropriate alternative dispute resolution mechanism available in the State to resolve the issue.

Because there is no requirement to convene a resolution meeting when an LEA files a due process complaint, the 45-day timeline for issuing a final decision in a due process hearing begins the day after the LEA’s due process complaint is received by the other party and the SEA.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:26 AMWhy is a resolution meeting not required when an LEA files a due process complaint?

For students with deficits in reading and math, the regular education teacher and special education teacher should collaborate to provide differentiated instruction during regular education time as well as during the supplemental and intervention time that should be built into the master schedule.

IEP11/10/2014 2:10 PMHow do we work toward eliminating deficits in reading and math when the students are required to be in a regular class?

No. In 1999, the U.S. DOE specifically stated that an IEP must be in effect before special education and related services are provided to an eligible student and that the appropriate placement for a particular student with a disability cannot be determined until after decisions have been made about the student’s needs and the services that the LEA will provide to meet those needs. These decisions must be made at the IEP Team meeting, and it would not be permissible to first place the student and then to develop the IEP.

Thus, according to the law, an IEP must be developed before special education services may be delivered, and the student’s placement must be based upon, among other factors, the student’s IEP. In addition, courts have considered "predetermination of placement" to be fatal to the LEA’s position and a denial of FAPE, in and of itself.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:18 PMCan the LEA provide special education before an IEP has been formulated?

A parent’s rights and obligations are not altered even though the resolution process requirements do not apply when an LEA files a due process complaint. The parent still retains the right to challenge the sufficiency of the due process complaint within 15 days of receipt of the complaint, consistent with 34 CFR §300.508(d). It should be noted that one way for an LEA to amend a due process complaint that is not sufficient is for the parent to agree

in writing and be given an opportunity to resolve the LEA’s due process complaint through a resolution meeting. 34 CFR §300.508(d)(3)(i). Also, the parent must send a response to the LEA that addresses the issues raised in the due process complaint within 10 days of receiving the complaint. 34 CFR §300.508(f).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:27 AMDoes the parent still have the right to challenge the sufficiency of the due process complaint when an LEA files a due process complaint? Must the parent respond to the LEA’s due process complaint?

Benchmarks are targeted sub skills or steps (levels of achievement) that lead to the achievement of the overall annual goal and should contain clear indications of how the student’s progress will be evaluated. For more information on Standard-Based IEPs, a Q and A, dated October 2012, can be found on the special education homepage under the standards tab.

IEP11/10/2014 2:10 PMWhat is meant by Benchmarks?

Technically, "consensus" means unanimity. Though reaching unanimity in decision-making is an admirable goal, it may not always be possible. The U.S. DOE has addressed this issue and stated that an IEP meeting serves as a communication vehicle between parents and school personnel and enables them, as equal participants, to make joint, informed decisions regarding the (1) student’s needs and appropriate goals; (2) extent to which the student will be involved in the general curriculum and participate in the regular education environment and state and district-wide assessments; and (3) services needed to support that involvement and participation and to achieve agreed-upon goals. The U.S. DOE noted that parents are considered "equal partners" with LEA staff in making these decisions, and the IEP Team must consider the parents’ concerns and the information that they provide regarding their student in developing, reviewing, and revising IEPs.

While the IEP Team should work toward reaching consensus, the LEA has the ultimate responsibility to ensure that the IEP includes the services that the student needs in order to receive FAPE. It is not appropriate to make IEP decisions based upon a majority "vote." The fact that the parents brought more people to the

meeting is not determinative of its outcome. Nor does the principal get to "stack the deck" and mandate that a vote occur at an IEP meeting.

If the IEP Team cannot reach consensus, the LEA must provide the parents with prior written notice of the agency’s proposals or refusals, or both (using the "Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services" form), regarding the student’s educational program, and the parents have the right to seek resolution of any disagreements by initiating mediation or an impartial due process hearing to challenge the proposal or refusal.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:20 PMWhat does it mean to require IEP decisions to be made by “consensus? Should a placement decision be made if the parents oppose it? What happens if the parents do not agree with the LEA’s proposed IEP?

Yes. Under 34 CFR §300.508(d)(3), a party may amend its due process complaint subject to the following conditions. The other party must consent in writing to the amendment and be given the opportunity to resolve the complaint through a meeting held pursuant to 34 CFR §300.510. Alternatively, the hearing officer may grant permission to amend the complaint at any time not later than five days before the due process hearing begins. This process is intended to ensure that the parties involved understand the nature of the complaint before the due process hearing begins. 71 FR 46698 (August 14, 2006).

Under 34 CFR §300.508(d)(4), when a due process complaint is amended, the timeline for the resolution meeting and the time period for resolving the complaint begin again with the filing of the amended due process complaint. 71 FR 46698 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:27 AMIf a due process complaint is amended and the 15-day timeline to conduct a resolution meeting starts over, must the LEA conduct another resolution meeting?

Benchmarks are required only for those students who participate in alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards and for those students where the public agency requires benchmarks for all students.

IEP11/10/2014 2:11 PMIf a child is in all regular classes, are Benchmarks required?

Again, while the parent must be afforded a meaningful opportunity to participate in the development of an IEP, the parent is only one member of the IEP Team. The parent may offer suggestions and provide information that must be considered by the entire IEP Team in developing an appropriate IEP. It is not required, however, that all members of the IEP agree with the proposed services that are written in the IEP or that all of a parent’s demands be incorporated.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:26 PMCan a parent dictate what is to be included in the IEP? Do all IEP Team members have to agree upon the services?

The Part B regulations do not address this specific question. In establishing procedures for administering the due process complaint system, States should address how a parent’s failure to provide the required copy of the due process complaint to the LEA or public agency and SEA will affect the resolution process and due process hearing timelines. However, such procedures must be consistent with the due process requirements of Part B of the IDEA.

For example, a State could require that the LEA advise the parent in writing that the timeline for starting the resolution process will not begin until the parent provides the SEA with a copy of the due process complaint as required by the regulations. As an additional protection for parents, consistent with 34 CFR §300.199, we encourage States to adopt procedures that ensure the LEA or public agency provides a copy of the due process complaint to the SEA and proceeds with the established timelines.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:27 AMIf a parent files a due process complaint with the LEA or public agency but does not forward a copy of the due process complaint to the SEA, when does the timeline for convening a resolution meeting begin?

Changes in the IEP can only be made through an IEP Team meeting or through the allowable amendment process. Regardless, notice must be provided to the parent explaining the changes made.

IEP11/10/2014 2:11 PMCan Measurable Annual Goals and/or Benchmarks be changed without initiating another IEP Team meeting?

When there is disagreement among LEA staff as to what the LEA’s final IEP recommendation/proposal will be, at least one court has looked to the LEA representative as the final authority for the LEA when the IEP Team was in disagreement as to the student’s placement. Someone will need to make the decision as to what proposal the school district believes it can support and defend.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:26 PMWhat if the LEA staff does not agree among themselves on the services to be provided?

Yes. Under 34 CFR §300.510(a)(3), there are two occasions when a resolution meeting need not occur: (1) when the parent and LEA agree in writing to waive the meeting; and (2) when the parent and LEA agree to use the mediation process described in 34 CFR §300.506 to resolve the due process complaint. There are no provisions in the IDEA that allow a parent or an LEA to unilaterally waive the resolution meeting, because the resolution meeting is "a required vehicle for the parent and the LEA to attempt to resolve their differences prior to initiating a due process hearing." 71 FR 46702 (August 14, 2006). Likewise, an agreement to use another alternative dispute resolution mechanism if available in the State, by itself, would not relieve the LEA of its obligation to convene a resolution meeting.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:28 AMAre there circumstances in which an LEA would not be required to convene a resolution meeting when it receives notice of a parent’s due process complaint?

The term Anticipated Frequency of Service(s) indicates how often the service(s) will be provided (e.g., annual, bi-monthly, daily, weekly). The term Amount of Time refers to the total Amount of Time for each area. Amount of Time is required for Special Education and Related Services. If the IEP Team knows the Amount of Time for other needed services, it should be included. The Beginning/Ending Date is the start to finish of service(s) and may be different for each goal listed and may be different from IEP Initiation/Duration Dates. Location of Service(s) should list the specific location where the services will be provided (e.g., regular education classroom, resource room, school bus, lunch room, gym).

IEP11/10/2014 2:12 PMWhat is meant by the terms anticipated frequency of service(s), amount of time, beginning/ending date, and location of service(s)?

Yes. School districts must obtain "informed parental consent" prior to the initial provision of services by providing them with a "Notice and Consent for the Provision of Services" form to indicate their written consent to services. If the parent refuses to provide consent to initial services or fails to respond to requests for it, the school district may not use the mediation or due process procedures to obtain agreement or a ruling that the services may be provided to the student. Thus, where a parent refuses consent to services, there is really nothing the school district can do other than to document its attempts to obtain consent. Clearly, however, the school district will not be in violation of the requirement to make FAPE available to the student where the parent has refused consent. In addition, the student will not be considered a student with a disability for disciplinary purposes or other considerations.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:26 PMDo parents have the right to decline special education services for their child?

No. The Part B regulations allow adjustments to the 30-day resolution period. These adjustments may result in a shorter or longer period to resolve the due process complaint and affect when the timeline for a due process hearing decision begins.

If the LEA has not resolved the due process complaint to the satisfaction of the parent within 30 days of the receipt of the due process complaint, the due process hearing may occur. 34 CFR §300.510(b)(1). However, under 34 CFR §300.510(c), there are three circumstances which permit the resolution period to be made shorter than 30 days or longer than 30 days. Note that the 45-day due process hearing timeline in 34 CFR §300.515(a) starts the day after one of the following events: (1) both parties agree in writing to waive the resolution meeting; (2) after either the mediation or resolution meeting starts but before the end of the 30-day resolution period, the parties agree in writing that no agreement is possible; or (3) if both parties agree in writing to continue the mediation at the end of the 30-day resolution period, but later, the parent or public agency withdraws from the mediation process.

In addition, as set out in Question D-13, a hearing officer may begin the timeline for a due process hearing decision after receiving a parent’s request to begin that timeline, under 34 CFR §300.510(b)(5), based on the LEA’s failure to hold the resolution meeting within 15 days of receiving notice of a parent’s due process complaint or failure to participate in the resolution meeting.

Further, except where the parties jointly agree to waive the resolution process or use mediation, the failure of the parent filing a due process complaint to participate in the resolution meeting will delay the timelines for the resolution process and due process hearing until the resolution meeting is held. 34 CFR §300.510(b)(3). As explained in Question D-13, an LEA may request a hearing officer to dismiss a complaint when the LEA has been unable to obtain the participation of the parent in a resolution meeting despite making reasonable efforts to do so. 34 CFR §300.510(b)(4).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:29 AMDoes the timeline for a due process hearing decision always begin after the 30-day resolution period?

The Amount of Time must be documented for all related service areas. There are various ways to document the Amount of Time. All IEP Team members should understand what services will be provided and ensure that the services are documented and implemented as per the IEP Team’s understanding.

IEP11/10/2014 2:12 PMWhen putting the minutes on related services, do you put a cumulative amount for those areas where the services are not provided daily?

Obtaining signed parental consent for evaluations and the initial provision of special education services is a vital procedural requirement under IDEA and the AAC. Documentation is the key to showing compliance under the IDEA and to a school district’s ability to defend itself if challenged.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:26 PMWhy do we have to “chase down” parents to acquire signatures for referrals, consent for evaluation, and provision of services?

Under 34 CFR §300.510(a)(4), the parent and the LEA determine the relevant members of the IEP Team to attend the resolution meeting. The LEA must convene a resolution meeting with the parent and relevant member(s) of the IEP Team who have specific knowledge of the facts identified in the parent’s due process complaint. The resolution meeting must include a representative of the public agency who has decision-making authority on behalf of that agency. An attorney of the LEA may not attend the resolution meeting unless the parent is accompanied by an attorney. 34 CFR §300.510(a)(1). This is true even if a non-attorney advocate attends the meeting on behalf of the parent. We encourage LEAs and parents to cooperate in determining who will attend the resolution meeting, because a resolution meeting is unlikely to result in any resolution of the dispute if the parties cannot agree on who should attend. 71 FR 46701 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:29 AMWhich individuals participate in the resolution meeting?

This refers to the aids, services, and other supports that are provided in regular education classes, other education-related settings, and in extracurricular and nonacademic settings to enable students with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled students to the maximum extent appropriate.

IEP11/10/2014 2:13 PMHow are supplementary aids and services defined?

If the parent or adult student (age 19 and older) refuses consent for the provision of services, the school district may request that the parent or adult student participate in a conference to discuss his/her decision. However, if the parent or adult student does not give consent for services, the school district cannot provide those services and cannot request a due process hearing or mediation to seek to override parental refusal to consent to services. As a result, the LEA must do the best it can to provide appropriate services to the student short of special education services.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:26 PMHow should a school proceed when parents refuse to provide consent for the provision of special education services?

No. Under 34 CFR §300.510(a)(1)(ii), an LEA’s attorney may not participate in the resolution meeting unless the parent is accompanied by an attorney. Therefore, the attendance of an LEA’s attorney is expressly limited to instances where the parent brings an attorney, not a non-attorney advocate or other qualified individual, to the resolution meeting. While the IDEA states that parties to a due process hearing may be accompanied and advised by non-attorneys, the issue of whether non-attorneys may "represent" parties to a due process hearing is a matter that is left to each State to decide. 34 CFR §300.512(a)(1) and 73 FR 73006, 73017, and 73027 (Dec. 1, 2008).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:30 AMMay the LEA bring its attorney to a resolution meeting when the parent is accompanied by a non-attorney or qualified representative or advocate with the authority under State law to represent the parent at a due process hearing?

Not necessarily. Students should be included in the regular education environment to the greatest extent possible. Although a student may not be in any regular education classes, he/she may need accommodations when they are at lunch, traveling through halls, attending school programs, or other scenarios.

IEP11/10/2014 2:13 PMIf the student does not receive any services with nondisabled peers, does the box for supplementary aids and services remain blank?

Yes, if certain conditions have been met. If the parent(s) has been given an opportunity to participate in the meeting and this is documented (via the "Notice of Proposed Meeting/Consent for Agency Participation" form with two documented attempts) but cannot or will not attend, the IEP Team can meet and sign the IEP and it can be implemented, even if the parent did not sign the IEP. However, if the IEP is the initial placement for the student, parental consent must be provided for its implementation via the "Notice and Consent for the Provision of Special Education Services" form prior to initial placement in special education.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:26 PMMay an IEP be implemented without a parent’s signature?

Yes. Even during periods when school is closed, the LEA must hold the resolution meeting within 15 days of receiving notice of the parent’s due

process complaint. 34 CFR §300.510(a). The only exceptions to this requirement are if the parent and the LEA agree in writing to waive the resolution meeting, or the parent and the LEA agree to use mediation under 34 CFR §300.506.

Under 34 CFR §300.11(a), "[d]ay means calendar day unless otherwise indicated as business day or school day." Therefore, the SEA or LEA may not suspend the 15-day timeline for convening a resolution meeting while schools are closed for breaks or holidays. Such a delay would be inconsistent with the 15-day timeline for convening the resolution meeting and the 30-day resolution period described in 34 CFR §300.510, and also would delay the initiation of the 45-day timeline for issuing a final decision in a due process hearing under 34 CFR §300.515(a). 71 FR 46704 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:30 AMMust an LEA include the days when schools are closed due to scheduled breaks and holidays in calculating the timeline for convening a resolution meeting?

Accommodations lessen the impact of the student’s disability in the teaching/learning environment in order to level the playing field but do not change the content of the standard. When accommodations are made for the student with disabilities, the content has not been altered and the student can earn course credit. Modifications are changes made to the content of the curriculum due to the unique needs arising from the student’s disability. When course content is modified, the student is not pursuing the content prescribed in the applicable course of study and cannot earn course credit.

IEP11/10/2014 2:14 PMWhat is the difference in an accommodation and a modification?

Yes. In 2008, IDEA regulations were put into place that requires school districts to discontinue the provision of services if a parent revokes consent, in writing, to special education services personnel. However, as is discussed in the discipline section below, where the parent revokes consent to services, the student will not be considered to be a student with a disability for discipline or other purposes.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:26 PMOnce a parent has consented to the provision of special education services, does the parent have the right to demand later that the student be dismissed from special education?

The LEA must attempt to schedule an in person meeting with the parent within 15 days of receiving the parent’s due process complaint. If the LEA notifies the parent of its intent to schedule a resolution meeting within the 15-day timeline and the parent informs the LEA in advance of the meeting that circumstances prevent the parent from attending the meeting in person, it would be appropriate for an LEA to offer to use alternative means to ensure parent participation, such as video conferences or conference telephone calls, subject to the parent’s agreement. 71 FR 46701 (August 14, 2006). Whether the meeting is conducted in person or by alternative means, the LEA must include the required participants and be prepared to discuss with the parent the facts that form the basis of the due process complaint and any possible resolution of the complaint.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:32 AMWhat is an LEA’s responsibility to convene a resolution meeting when the parent cannot attend within the 15-day timeline?

A computer-based reading program could be considered as part of the student’s Special Education, Related Services, Supplementary Aids and Services, or as Assistive Technology (AT) if the IEP determines the program is needed for the student to receive FAPE. If it is a program available to all students, it is not considered to be AT.

IEP11/10/2014 3:18 PMWould a computer-based reading program be considered assistive technology?

If the parent makes the request to remove the student from special education, the LEA must obtain a signed "Notice of Revocation of Consent for Continued Provision of Special Education and Related Services" form and provide notice to the parent before ceasing services.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:27 PMWhat is the procedure for a parent(s) to request that special education services be discontinued for a student?

Yes. If a parent fails or refuses to participate in a resolution meeting that the LEA attempts to convene within 15 days of receiving notice of the parent’s due process complaint, an LEA must continue to make diligent efforts throughout the remainder of the 30-day resolution period to convince the parent to participate in a resolution meeting. At the conclusion of the 30-day resolution period, an LEA may request that a hearing officer dismiss the complaint when the LEA is unable to obtain the participation of a parent in a resolution meeting, despite making reasonable efforts to obtain the parent’s participation and documenting its efforts, using the procedures in 34 CFR §300.322(d). 71 FR 46702 (August 14, 2006).

Examples of appropriate efforts LEAs can make to obtain the participation of the parent in the resolution meeting include detailed records of telephone calls made or attempted and the results of those calls and copies of correspondence sent to the parents and any responses received. 34 CFR §300.510(b)(4). In making such efforts, it also would be appropriate for an LEA to inform the parent that the LEA may seek the intervention of a hearing officer to dismiss the parent’s due process complaint if the parent does not participate in the resolution meeting.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:33 AMMust the LEA continue its attempts to convince a parent to participate in a resolution meeting throughout the 30-day resolution period?

Public agencies must ensure that the external components of surgically implanted medical devices are functioning properly; but for a student with a surgically implanted medical device who is receiving special education and related services, a public agency is not responsible for the post-surgical maintenance, programming, or replacement of the medical device that has been surgically implanted (or of an external component of the surgically implanted medical device). The AT may be documented on the IEP as a goal and also under the Special Education and Related Service(s) area as Special Education, Related Services, Supplementary Aids and Services, or as Assistive Technology.

IEP11/10/2014 3:18 PMDoes assistive technology include support for the function of a surgically implanted medical device and if so, is this considered a related service?

No. The assignment of specific school personnel to implement an IEP is a school district decision. The parent does not get to dictate who will provide the services, and personnel selection is not an IEP Team decision.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:28 PMAs part of parent consent, do parents get to select the student’s special education teacher/case manager?

Yes. The regulations in 34 CFR §300.510(b)(4) provide that an LEA may request a hearing officer to dismiss a complaint when the LEA has been unable to obtain the participation of the parent in a resolution meeting despite making reasonable efforts to do so and documenting those efforts. Under 34 CFR §300.510(b)(5), if an LEA fails to hold a resolution meeting within the required timelines or fails to participate in a resolution meeting, the parent may seek the intervention of a hearing officer to begin the due process hearing timeline. The appropriate party must seek the hearing officer’s intervention to either dismiss the complaint or to initiate the hearing timeline, depending on the circumstances.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:34 AMIf a party fails to participate in the resolution meeting, must the other party seek the hearing officer’s intervention to address the pending due process hearing on the parent’s due process complaint?

Support for personnel should be documented in the Special Education and Related Service(s) section on the goal page of the IEP under "Support for Personnel" and should be indicated on the IEP only when training or support are being provided to public agency personnel regarding a student’s specific need.

IEP11/10/2014 3:19 PMIf the student requires support for personnel in the general education curriculum, where do you document this?

The IDEA requires states to establish procedures to ensure that, to the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities, including students in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with students who are not disabled and that special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of students with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. This is called the Act’s LRE requirement.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:28 PMWhat is the meaning of least restrictive environment (LRE)?

Yes. If there is no adjustment to the 30-day resolution period timeline as described in Question D-7, and if the LEA or the parent does not seek the hearing officer’s intervention as described in Question D-13, regardless of the reasons for the parties’ inaction, the 45-day timeline for a due process hearing decision would remain in effect. 34 CFR §§300.510(b)(2) and 300.515(a).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:34 AMIf a party fails to participate in the resolution meeting, and neither party seeks the hearing officer’s intervention to address the pending due process complaint, would the timeline for a due process hearing decision still apply?

That is considered Special Education and should be documented under "Special Education" in the Special Education and Related Service(s) section of the IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 3:19 PMWhen the special education teacher collaborates with the regular education teacher by meeting with him or her to discuss the student’s special education services, is that considered Special Education or Support for Personnel?

It depends upon what is meant by "full inclusion." To the extent that "full inclusion" means that all students with disabilities must be placed in the regular education classroom, that would be inconsistent with the Act’s requirement that placement decisions be made on an individualized basis. Clearly, the LRE for a student is determined based upon the individual needs of the student.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:28 PMIs “full inclusion” of students with disabilities mandated by the IDEA?

As explained in the Analysis of Comments and Changes, the Department fully expects that only in very rare situations will an LEA fail to meet its obligation to convene a resolution meeting within 15 days of receiving notice of the parent’s due process complaint, delay the due process hearing by scheduling meetings at times or places that are inconvenient for the parent, or otherwise not participate in good faith in the resolution process. In instances of noncompliance, parents are able to request a hearing officer to allow the due process hearing to proceed. 71 FR 46702 (August 14, 2006).

In addition, an SEA has an affirmative obligation to ensure its LEAs’ compliance with the resolution process timelines, consistent with its general supervisory and monitoring responsibilities. 34 CFR §§300.149 and 300.600(d)(2). The SEA must monitor LEAs located in the State for compliance with the requirements for resolution meetings in 34 CFR §300.510. Accordingly, the State must ensure that its LEAs convene a resolution meeting within 15 days of receiving notice of the parent’s due process complaint. If the LEA fails to convene a resolution meeting and the parties have not agreed to use mediation or agreed in writing to waive the meeting, the State must ensure the LEA corrects the noncompliance as soon as possible and in no case more than one year after the State’s identification of noncompliance, as required in 34 CFR §300.600(e). If necessary to achieve compliance, the SEA may use appropriate enforcement actions consistent with its general supervisory responsibility under 34 CFR §§300.600 and 300.608 to ensure that the LEA complies.

Also, as part of the State’s general supervisory responsibility, the SEA must ensure that due process hearing decision timelines are properly calculated and enforced. Therefore, the SEA must establish a mechanism for tracking the resolution process to determine when the resolution period has concluded and the 45-day due process hearing timeline in 34 CFR §300.515(a) (or the expedited due process hearing timeline in 34 CFR §300.532(c)(2)) begins. The SEA has the flexibility to determine its procedures and the appropriate mechanism for tracking the resolution process, given the State’s unique circumstances.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:37 AMWhat is the SEA’s responsibility for ensuring that LEAs comply with the resolution process requirements?

The IEP Team must consider ESY services at least annually as part of the provision of FAPE. The ESY services must be provided only if a student’s IEP Team determines that the services are necessary for the provision of FAPE. If ESY services are needed, the IEP must clearly specify which goals and services are being extended, the beginning and ending dates for services, the location, and the amount of time committed.

IEP11/10/2014 3:20 PMWhen should extended school year (ESY) services be provided?

The issue of LRE has been frequently litigated and many courts have established standards and factors for use in determining what the LRE is for a particular student. Factors to be considered include whether education in the regular classroom, with the use of supplementary aids and services, can be achieved satisfactorily for a given student. If it cannot and the school intends to provide special education or to remove the student from regular education, whether the school has mainstreamed the student to the maximum extent appropriate must be considered. The appropriate question is

what is the least restrictive environment where the student can receive meaningful educational benefit?

When determining the appropriate services and the LRE where they will be provided, the IEP Team must consider the range of service options beginning with collaborative/consultative services in the general education setting to the provision of homebound/hospital services. As each option on the continuum is considered, the IEP team discusses and decides if the option will allow the student to experience the LRE in the attainment of his/her educational goals and/or benchmarks set out in the IEP.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:29 PMWhat factors should a school consider in making a placement decision? How do schools determine the LRE?

No. An LEA may not require a confidentiality agreement as a precondition to conducting a resolution meeting. The only reasons that an LEA would be excused from the requirement to convene a resolution meeting with the parent within 15 days of receiving notice of the parent’s due process complaint are those specified in 34 CFR §300.510(a)(3) and discussed in Question D-6. Neither of these exceptions addresses confidentiality agreements. Nor is there any separate requirement, such as that in 34 CFR §300.506(b)(8) for mediation discussions, requiring parties to resolution meetings to keep the discussions that occur in those meetings confidential. However, as noted in the Analysis of Comments and Changes, there is nothing in the IDEA or its implementing regulations that would prohibit the parties to a resolution meeting from entering into a confidentiality agreement as part of their resolution agreement resolving the dispute that gave rise to the parent’s complaint. 71 FR 46704 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:37 AMMay an LEA require a parent to sign a confidentiality agreement as a precondition to conducting a resolution meeting?

The IDEA requires that each student with a disability be educated with nondisabled students to the maximum extent appropriate. A student with a disability may be removed from the regular education environment only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in the regular education classroom with Supplementary Aids and Services cannot be satisfactorily achieved. To the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities should participate with nondisabled students in nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities. The IDEA assumes that the majority of students who are eligible for special education and related services are capable of participating in the general education curriculum to some degree with accommodations and/or modifications. The IEP Team must consider the needs of the individual student and decide the extent to which the student is able to participate appropriately in the general education curriculum.

IEP11/10/2014 3:21 PMWhy is the IEP Team required to include an explanation of the extent to which a student will NOT participate with nondisabled students in the regular class and in extracurricular and nonacademic activities?

While there is a preference for every student with a disability to receive services in the school that he/she would attend if not disabled, the IDEA does not require that each school building in a school district be able to provide all the special education and related services for all types and severities of disabilities. Rather, the school district has an obligation to generally make available a full continuum of alternative placement options that maximize opportunities for its students with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate. If a student’s IEP requires services that are not available at the school closest to the student’s home, the student may be placed in another school that can offer the services that are included in the IEP. Transportation, if needed for the student to benefit from special education, must be provided as a related service, at no cost to the parent, to the location where the IEP services will be provided.

Often, students who have low-incidence, high needs may need to be placed outside of their home-zoned school where the highly structured, intensive services that they need are located. Districts are not required to have such services in every one of its schools.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:30 PMDoes a student with a disability have the right to placement in the neighborhood school?

In general, the answer is no. Unlike mediation, IDEA and its implementing regulations do not prohibit or require discussions that occur during a resolution meeting to remain confidential. However, the confidentiality requirements in section 617(c) of the IDEA and the Part B regulations at 34 CFR §§300.611-300.626 and FERPA and its implementing regulations in 34 CFR part 99 apply.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:38 AMAre there any provisions in the IDEA that require discussions that occur in resolution meetings to remain confidential?

No. The IEP Team should determine where the student spends most of his or her time and choose the LRE based on that information. If the amount of time is equally spent at home and in the hospital only choose one LRE. The IEP Team should explain why a student receives services in more than one environment in the Least Restrictive Environment section of the IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 3:21 PMIf a student receives intermittent services at home or in the hospital, could more than one LRE be noted?

No. The U.S. DOE has noted that an IEP must address a student’s involvement in the general curriculum regardless of the nature and severity of the student’s disability. In addition, the IEP for each student with a disability (including students who are educated in separate classrooms or schools) must address how the student will be involved in and progress in the general curriculum.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:30 PMIs inclusion in regular education classes the same as participation in the general curriculum?

In general, yes. Unlike mediation, the IDEA and its implementing regulations contain no requirement for discussions in resolution meetings to be kept confidential and not be introduced in a subsequent due process hearing or civil proceeding. There is nothing in the IDEA or its implementing regulations that would prevent the parties from voluntarily agreeing that the resolution meeting discussions will remain confidential, including prohibiting the introduction of those discussions at any subsequent due process hearing or civil proceeding. Absent an enforceable agreement by the parties requiring that these discussions remain confidential, either party may introduce information discussed during the resolution meeting at a due process hearing or civil proceeding when presenting evidence and confronting or cross-examining witnesses consistent with 34 CFR §300.512(a)(2). As noted in Question D-16, neither an SEA nor an LEA may require the parties to enter into such an agreement as a precondition to participation in the resolution meeting. 71 FR 46704 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:38 AMDo the Part B regulations allow information discussed at a resolution meeting to be introduced at a due process hearing or civil proceeding?

The justification of LRE is written for the student not for the separate school. The justification should be based on the needs of the student. Students enrolled in separate schools should still be afforded the opportunity for interaction with age-appropriate nondisabled peers. Also, physical education services, specially designed if necessary, must be made available to every student with a disability receiving FAPE, unless the public agency

enrolls students without disabilities and does not provide physical education to students without disabilities in the same grades.

IEP11/10/2014 3:22 PMUnder what circumstances can you justify a separate school as a student’s LRE?

Not as a matter of law. In discussing the Act’s LRE requirements, the U.S. DOE has commented that "a student need not fail in the regular classroom before another placement can be considered. Conversely, IDEA does not require that a student demonstrate achievement of a specific performance level as a prerequisite for placement into a regular classroom."

Administrators10/9/2014 2:32 PMMust a special education student fail in the LRE before moving to a more restrictive environment?

Pursuant to 34 CFR §300.510(d), if a resolution to the dispute is reached at the resolution meeting, the parties must execute a legally binding agreement. Either party may void the agreement within three business days of the agreement’s execution. This regulation contemplates that an agreement may not be finalized at the resolution meeting and therefore allows for a 30-day resolution period. At a time subsequent to the resolution meeting, the parties may have additional discussions and may execute a written settlement agreement within the 30-day resolution period. Only a legally binding agreement reached during the 30-day period that meets the requirements of 34 CFR §300.510(d) and (e), is considered an agreement under the resolution process requirements.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:39 AMMust a settlement agreement be signed and executed at the resolution meeting, or may a settlement agreement be signed and executed by the parties prior to the conclusion of the 30-day resolution period?

Yes. A public agency may not say that the only option is full inclusion.

IEP11/10/2014 3:22 PMAre public agencies required to have a continuum of services available?

It has never been done, so it remains to be seen whether a parent of a regular education student would have any legal "standing" to bring an action to challenge the inclusion of a disruptive disabled student in the regular classroom.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:32 PMCan parents of regular education students legally challenge the inclusion of a disruptive special education student?

The Part B regulations do not address the status of the due process complaint or which party is responsible for requesting that the due process complaint be dismissed or withdrawn once a resolution agreement is reached and the three- business-day review period has passed. Such matters are left to the discretion of the State and the hearing officer.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:39 AMIf the parties reach agreement on all issues in the parent’s due process complaint and execute a written settlement agreement, what happens to the due process complaint?

There is not a requirement in the IDEA statute or the federal regulations that a parent sign an IEP for it to be implemented. The parent signature is a way of documenting parent participation.

IEP11/10/2014 3:23 PMIs a parent signature required on the IEP?

Convene the student’s IEP Team for the purpose of proposing an amendment to the IEP to address behavior and consider what the LRE is for the student. If it is determined that 100% in the general education setting with supplementary aids and services is not the LRE for the student, then a proposed change in placement would be made by the IEP Team.

Administrators11/25/2014 2:43 PMWhat is our process when a low-functioning student with a disability enrolls in our school who has never been in the general education setting, is a total disruption to instruction, yet the LRE determination dictates that all services be provided in the g

A written settlement agreement reached through IDEA’s resolution process is enforceable in any State court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States. 34 CFR §300.510(d)(2). Even though this regulation provides for judicial enforcement of resolution agreements, it also provides an SEA the option of using other mechanisms or procedures that permit parties to seek enforcement of resolution agreements. However, this can occur only if use of those mechanisms is not mandatory and does not delay or deny a party the right to seek enforcement of the written agreement in an appropriate State or Federal court. 34 CFR §300.537.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:39 AMHow can written settlement agreements reached through IDEA’s resolution process be enforced if a party believes the agreement is not being implemented?

No. Simply document how the parent participated in the IEP Team meeting in the spaceprovided for the parent signature. The parent must be provided a copy of the IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 3:24 PMIf a parent participated in the IEP meeting via conference call, should a signature pagefor the IEP be mailed to the parent for their signature?

Students pursuing the Alabama High School Diploma or the Alabama Occupational Diploma must receive their core content instruction from a teacher deemed highly qualified (HQT) by the Alabama State Department of Education. Special education teachers or collaborative teachers may provide resource room instruction for students with disabilities for the purposes of, but not limited to, remediation and enrichment of content delivered in the general education classroom and they may provide such supportive instruction as organizational skills, note taking and test-taking skills, behavioral intervention, and other supportive instruction.

A continuum of services must be available to meet the needs of each student.

Administrators11/25/2014 2:56 PMIs resource room placement still an option? We have guidelines for placing students in a self-contained multi-needs classroom and are “pushed” to place students with disabilities into the general education setting to the greatest extent possible.

Yes. Under 34 CFR §300.506, the public agency must ensure that mediation is available to allow parties to disputes involving any matter under this part, including matters arising prior to the filing of a due process complaint, to resolve disputes through the mediation process described in 34 CFR §300.506. However, mediation must be voluntary on the part of both parties, and may not be used to deny or delay a parent’s right to a due process hearing on a due process complaint.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:41 AMIf an agreement is not reached during the resolution meeting, must mediation continue to be available?

The IEP Team meeting serves as a communication vehicle between the parent and school personnel, and enables them, as equal participants, to make joint, informed decisions regarding the: (1) child’s needs and appropriate goals; (2) extent to which the child will be involved in the general education curriculum and participate in the regular education environment and state and districtwide assessments; and (3) services needed to support that involvement and participation, and to achieve agreed-upon goals. The parent is considered an equal partner with school personnel in making these decisions; and, the IEP Team must consider the parent’s concerns and the information provided by the parent regarding the child in developing, reviewing, and revising IEPs. The IEP Team should work toward consensus, but the public agency has ultimate responsibility to ensure that the IEP includes the services that the student needs in order to receive FAPE. It is not appropriate to make IEP decisions based upon a majority "vote." If the IEP Team cannot reach consensus, the public agency must provide the parent with prior written notice of the public agency’s proposals or refusals, or both, regarding the student’s education program, and the parent has the right to seek resolution of any disagreements by initiating an impartial due process hearing. Every effort should be made to resolve differences between the parent and school staff through voluntary mediation or some other informal step, without resorting to a due process hearing. However, mediation or other informal procedures may not be used to deny or delay a parent’s right to a due process hearing or to deny any other rights afforded under the IDEA.

IEP11/10/2014 3:25 PMIf the parent and the public agency are unable to reach agreement at an IEP meeting, what steps should be followed until agreement is reached?

Access to the general education curriculum for students with disabilities is required by law. The IEPs of all students with disabilities must address the extent to which the student will be involved and progress in the general education curriculum. The goal is to include all students with disabilities in the regular education environment to the maximum extent appropriate for that student to receive FAPE. The LRE is an IEP Team decision that should be based on the individual needs of the student and take into consideration many relevant factors.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:57 PMWhy is it important for students with disabilities to have access to and be included in the general education curriculum with their non-disabled peers?

Yes. If the parties choose to use mediation rather than participate in a resolution meeting, the 30-day resolution period is still applicable. Under 34 CFR §300.510(c), the resolution period applies to the use of mediation after the filing of a due process complaint requesting a due process hearing. When the parties engage in mediation, the resolution period may be adjusted

in accordance with 34 CFR §300.510(c)(2) and (3). Adjustments to the resolution period when mediation is used are described in Question D-24.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:41 AMDoes the 30-day resolution period apply if the parties elect to use mediation under 34 CFR §300.506 rather than convene a resolution meeting?

If the parent gets upset and leaves the IEP meeting, the meeting may continue. An IEP Team member should document that the parent was present during part of the meeting. Each IEP Team member should document his or her participation and position(s) he/she is serving in by signing and dating on the appropriate line(s). The parent must be provided a copy of the IEP if this was an annual IEP Team meeting. If this was an IEP amendment meeting, the parent must receive a copy of the revised IEP and a Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services form explaining the changes.

IEP11/10/2014 3:26 PMWhat if the parent gets upset and leaves the IEP meeting?

Not necessarily, but the LRE mandate also applies to preschoolers with disabilities. The U.S. DOE has recently addressed this issue in a letter that may be accessed online at www.alsde.edu, Offices, Office of Learning Support, Special Education, Correspondence, Preschool LRE 2-29-12.pdf. The introductory sentence of the letter begins with "[t]he purpose of this letter is to reiterate that the least restrictive environment (LRE) requirements…of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) apply to the placement of preschool students with disabilities." In part, the letter states that the IDEA’s LRE requirement states a strong preference for educating students with disabilities in regular classes alongside their peers without disabilities. The term "regular class" includes a preschool setting with typically developing peers, and the IEP must include an explanation of the extent, if any, to which the student will not participate with nondisabled students in the regular class. The letter also notes that for data collection purposes, the U.S. DOE defines a "Regular Early Childhood Program" as a program that includes a majority (at least 50%) of non-disabled students. The U.S. DOE also provides a description of some options that may be used to meet the LRE requirement for preschoolers with disabilities, even if the school district does not have preschool programs for non-disabled students.

It is also important to note that every state must report to the U.S. DOE information regarding the LRE for preschool students through Indicator 6 and as part of monitoring.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:59 PMIn order to meet the LRE mandate, are we required to have a general education preschool program in order to meet the requirement for preschoolers with disabilities or will our self-contained, multi-needs preschool class be sufficient?

If both parties agree to use the mediation process described in 34 CFR §300.506 instead of the resolution process described in 34 CFR §300.510, the resolution meeting does not need to be held but the 30-day resolution period would still apply. 34 CFR §300.510(a)(3)(ii). If the parties agree in writing to continue the mediation process beyond the end of the 30-day resolution period that began when the due process complaint was received, the 45-day due process hearing timeline does not begin until one of the parties withdraws from the mediation process or the parties agree in writing that no agreement can be reached through mediation. 34 CFR §300.510(c)(2) and (3).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:42 AMWhat is the impact of mediation on the resolution and due process hearing timelines?

No. Public education agency staff may come to an IEP meeting prepared with evaluation findings and proposed recommendations regarding the IEP content, but the public agency must make it clear to the parent at the beginning of the meeting that the services proposed by the public agency are only recommendations for review and discussion by the IEP Team. Best practice would be to seek input from the parent prior to the meeting and/or send a draft of the IEP to the parent so he/she has time to review the proposed IEP prior to the meeting.

IEP11/10/2014 3:26 PMIs it permissible for the public agency to have the IEP completed before the IEP meeting begins?

Matters of funding and establishing teaching and support positions are local decisions that are largely based upon state foundation allotments. However, the needs of students with disabilities must be met when an IEP Team determines LRE and supplementary aids and supports necessary for a student to attain the

goals developed in the IEP. Unfortunately, cost and lack of availability of services are not considered defenses to the failure to meet a student’s individual needs.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:00 PMHow do we provide “full inclusion, one-on-one paraprofessionals” with cuts in personnel that would provide for this service?

In general, no. The regulations contemplate that the parties may agree in writing to continue the mediation at the end of the 30-day resolution period pursuant to 34 CFR §300.510(c)(3). Therefore, such agreements would not require hearing officer involvement or approval, but notice to the hearing officer of the agreement would be appropriate.

To the extent that the hearing officer already has established a hearing schedule that is inconsistent with the extension agreed to by the parties, either party may request a specific extension of time from the hearing officer. 34 CFR §300.515(c).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:42 AMIf the LEA and parents wish to continue the mediation process at the conclusion of the 30-day resolution period must the hearing officer agree to the extension in order for the parties to continue the mediation process?

No.

IEP11/10/2014 3:27 PMAre state assessment forms required for preschool?

In addition to special education services, an IEP Team may decide that an individual student requires related services in order to benefit from special education. Related services may include, but are not limited to, audiology services, counseling services (including rehabilitation counseling services), early identification and assessment of disabilities in children, interpreting services, medical services (for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only), occupational therapy, parent counseling and training, physical therapy, psychological services, recreation (including therapeutic recreation), speech-language pathology, social work services in schools, school nurse services, school health services, and orientation and mobility services. Related services do not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, the optimization of that device’s functioning (e.g., mapping of a cochlear implant), maintenance of the device, or the replacement of it.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:29 AMWhat are related services?

An expedited due process hearing is a hearing involving a due process complaint regarding a disciplinary matter, which is subject to shorter timelines than a due process hearing conducted pursuant to 34 CFR §§300.507-300.516. Under 34 CFR §300.532(a), a parent29 of a child with a disability who disagrees with any decision regarding placement under 34 CFR §§300.530 and 300.531, or the manifestation determination under 34 CFR §300.530(e), or an LEA that believes that maintaining the child’s placement is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or to others, may appeal the decision by requesting a hearing. If a parent or LEA files a due process complaint to request a due process hearing under one of these circumstances the SEA or LEA is responsible for arranging an expedited due process hearing, which must occur within 20 school days of the date that the due process complaint requesting the hearing is filed. The hearing officer must make a determination within 10 school days after the hearing. 34 CFR §300.532(c)(2). Although this hearing must be conducted on an expedited basis under these shortened timelines, it is an impartial due process hearing subject to the requirements of 34 CFR §§300.507, 300.508(a)-(c), and §§300.510-300.514, except as provided in 34 CFR §300.532(c)(2)-(4), as described in Question E-3. 34 CFR §300.532(c)(1).

The shortened timelines for conducting expedited due process hearings in disciplinary situations should enable hearing officers to make prompt decisions about disciplinary matters while ensuring that all of the due process protections in 34 CFR §§300.510-300.514 are maintained.

Note that when a due process complaint requesting an expedited due process hearing is filed either by the parent or the LEA, the child must remain in the alternative educational setting chosen by the IEP Team pending the hearing officer’s decision or until the time period for the disciplinary action expires, whichever occurs first, unless the parent and the public agency agree otherwise. 34 CFR §300.533 and 71 FR 46726 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:43 AMWhat is an expedited due process hearing?

The number of pages in an IEP would depend on the needs of the student and what the IEP Team determines the student can reasonably be expected to do during a school year.

IEP11/10/2014 3:27 PMHow many pages will be in an IEP?

Yes. If the IEP Team determines that a related service is necessary in order for the student to benefit from special education services, the school district must specify that in the IEP and provide the service directly, through its own resources, or indirectly, by contracting with another public or private entity.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:48 AMMust related services be specified in the IEP?

An impartial hearing officer conducting an expedited due process hearing under 34 CFR §300.511 hears, and makes a determination regarding, the due process complaint. Under 34 CFR §300.532(b)(2), a hearing officer also has the authority to determine whether the child’s removal from his or her placement violated 34 CFR §300.530 (authority of school personnel); whether a child’s behavior was a manifestation of his or her disability; and whether maintaining the child’s current placement is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or to others. In determining what is the appropriate relief, if any, the hearing officer may return the child to the placement from which he or she was removed or may order that a child’s placement be changed to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting for no more than 45 school days if the hearing officer determines that maintaining the current placement of the child is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or to others. 34 CFR §300.532(b)(2). These procedures may be repeated if the LEA believes that returning the child to the original placement is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or to others. 34 CFR §300.532(b)(3).

A decision in an expedited due process hearing may be appealed consistent with 34 CFR §§300.514 and 300.516. 34 CFR §300.532(c)(5). In a one-tier system, where the SEA conducts the expedited due process hearing, a party aggrieved by the findings and decision has the right to appeal by bringing a civil action in a State court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States without regard to the amount in controversy. 34 CFR §§300.516(a) and 300.532(c)(5). In a two-tier system, where the public agency directly responsible for the education of the child conducts the expedited due process hearing, the findings and decision in the hearing can be appealed to the SEA. 34 CFR §300.514(b). If a party is dissatisfied with the SEA’s decision, the party may appeal by bringing a civil action in an appropriate State or Federal court, pursuant to 34 CFR §300.516. 34 CFR §300.514(d).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:46 AMWhat is the hearing officer’s authority in an expedited due process hearing?

The special education teacher and/or case manager of the student must have a copy of the IEP. The public agency is also required to provide a copy of the IEP to the parent at no cost. Others responsible for implementing parts of the IEP (e.g., regular education teacher(s), related service providers, and any other service provider) must be informed of their specific responsibilities related to implementing the IEP and the accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided in accordance with the student's IEP. The IEP must be "accessible" to these other providers but it is not a requirement that a personal copy of the entire IEP be provided. If a personal copy of the IEP is provided to other service providers, they must be made aware that the IEP document in whole or in part must be protected in a secure location and treated as a confidential document.

IEP11/10/2014 3:41 PMWho should have a copy of the IEP?

The regular mode of transportation provided to general education students must be provided for students with disabilities unless the student’s IEP Team determines that special transportation is needed to meet the individual needs of the student.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:30 AMWhat are the requirements applicable to transportation of students with disabilities?

The following shortened timelines apply when a due process complaint requesting an expedited due process hearing is filed. The resolution meeting must occur within seven days of receiving notice of the parent’s due process complaint (34 CFR §300.532(c)(3)(i)), unless the parents and the LEA agree in writing to waive the resolution meeting, or agree to use the mediation process described in 34 CFR §300.506 (34 CFR §300.532(c)(3)). Under 34 CFR §300.532(c)(3)(ii), the due process hearing may proceed unless the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties within 15 days of the receipt of the due process complaint. Thus, for expedited due process

hearings, there is a 15-day resolution period from the date the parent’s due process complaint requesting an expedited due process hearing is received, and the time period for resolution is measured in terms of calendar days, not school days. Under 34 CFR §300.11(a), "[d]ay means calendar day, unless otherwise indicated as business day or school day." The Part B regulations define school day as "any day, including a partial day that children are in attendance at school for instructional purposes. School day has the same meaning for all children in school, including children with and without disabilities." 34 CFR §300.11(c).

Further, the expedited due process hearing must occur within 20 school days from the date that the parent’s due process complaint requesting a due process hearing is filed. Thus, the resolution period is part of, and not separate from, the expedited due process hearing timeline. If an expedited due process hearing occurs, the hearing officer must make a determination within 10 school days after the hearing. 34 CFR §300.532(c)(2).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:46 AMHow is the timeline for conducting an expedited due process hearing calculated? Does this timeline begin after the resolution period?

Yes. Each regular education teacher, special education teacher, related service providers, and any other service provider must first be informed of his or her specific responsibilities related to implementing the student’s IEP and the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided for the student in accordance with the IEP. Secondly, once informed of his or her responsibilities each individual responsible for the implementation of the student’s IEP must sign the form Persons Responsible for IEP Implementation. The student’s case manager must keep a copy of the form Persons Responsible for IEP Implementation with the individual signatures on file.

IEP11/10/2014 3:41 PMShould a paraprofessional assigned to a student sign the Persons Responsible for IEP Implementation?

No.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:48 AMCan the parent(s) be required to transport his/her student?

No. There is no provision in the IDEA or the Part B regulations that permits adjustments to the 15-day resolution period for expedited due process complaints. 34 CFR §300.532(c). Also, there is no provision in the Part B regulations permitting the parties to agree to extend this time period. Therefore, when the parties have participated in a resolution meeting or engaged in mediation and the dispute has not been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties within 15 days of the receipt of the due process complaint, the expedited due process hearing may proceed. 34 CFR §300.532(c)(3)(ii).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:47 AMMay the parties mutually agree to extend the resolution period to resolve an expedited due process complaint?

The local education agency where the detention/jail facility is located should ensure that special education and related services are provided to the student with disabilities.

IEP11/10/2014 3:42 PMWho is responsible for serving a student with disabilities who is residing in a local detention/jail facility?

Transportation must be provided at no cost to the parent(s). Generally, this would include a reimbursement to parents who agree to transport their student of at least the per-mile allowance approved by the school district.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:11 PMIf the parent(s) agrees to provide transportation through a contract with the school district, what is the rate of reimbursement?

When a due process complaint requesting an expedited due process hearing is filed during the summer or when school is not otherwise in session, the SEA or LEA responsible for arranging the expedited due process hearing is not required to count those days in calculating the expedited due process hearing timelines. A school day has the same meaning for all children in school, including children with and without disabilities. 34 CFR §300.11(c)(2). Therefore, any day that children without disabilities are not in school is not counted as a school day, and is not considered in calculating the expedited due process hearing timelines. For example, a day on which a public agency only provides extended school year services to children with disabilities and does not operate summer school programs for all children cannot be counted as a "school day." 71 FR 46552 (August 14, 2006). In contrast, if a due process

complaint requesting a hearing is filed under 34 CFR §§300.507-300.516, when school is not in session, the SEA is required to meet the 30-day resolution period and 45-day hearing timelines in 34 CFR §§300.510 and 300.515(a).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:47 AMHow must SEAs and LEAs apply the timeline requirements for expedited due process hearings if the due process complaint is filed when school is not in session?

The IEP must be reviewed at least annually. The IEP and placement may be reviewed more often, if needed. The parent or the teacher may request an IEP Team meeting if there is a need to review or revise the IEP.

IEP11/10/2014 3:43 PMHow often must the IEP and placement be reviewed?

This is an IEP Team decision based upon the individual needs of a particular student.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:20 PMIs special education support staff (i.e., aides) required on special education buses or on general transportation buses equipped with assistive equipment?

No. The sufficiency provision in 34 CFR §300.508(d), described previously in Questions C-3 and C-4 of this Q&A document, does not apply to expedited due process complaints. Because of the shortened timelines that apply to conducting an expedited due process hearing, it would be impractical to extend the timeline in order for this provision to apply. 34 CFR §300.532(a) and 71 FR 46725 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:48 AMMay a party challenge the sufficiency of a due process complaint requesting an expedited due process hearing?

No.

IEP11/10/2014 3:45 PMWill a transitional IEP be developed for students who are no longer eligible for special education services?

This practice is not typical. Based upon the continuum of services available within the transportation system, the IEP Team should consider the individual ability/disability of the student and determine the appropriate level of service to be offered. Even for students who need specialized transportation as a related service, pick-up points could range from regular bus stops to curb-to-curb service, depending upon the needs of the student and taking into consideration the obligation to safely transport the student while promoting independence.

It is not common practice for school district employees to enter the residence of students who ride a special needs bus. In fact, family members or other responsible parties are typically expected to bring their children to the curbside in the morning and meet them there in the afternoon where they are assisted on and off the bus as necessary by transportation providers.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:31 PMMust a student with a disability be picked up inside the residence/home?

No. The SEA or LEA is responsible for arranging the expedited due process hearing, which must occur within 20 school days of the date the due process complaint requesting the hearing is filed. The hearing officer must make a determination within 10 school days after the hearing. 34 CFR §300.532(c)(2). There is no provision in the Part B regulations that would give a hearing officer conducting an expedited due process hearing the authority to extend the timeline for issuing this determination at the request of a party to the expedited due process hearing.

A State may establish different procedural rules for expedited due process hearings than it has established for other due process hearings, but except for the timelines in 34 CFR §300.532(c)(3), those rules must be consistent with 34 CFR §§300.510 through 300.514.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:49 AMMay a hearing officer extend the timeline for making a determination in an expedited due process hearing?

If a student with a disability (who had an IEP that was in effect in a previous public agency in Alabama) transfers to a new public agency in Alabama and enrolls in a new school within the same school year, the new public agency (in consultation with the parent) must provide FAPE to the student (including services comparable to those described in the student’s IEP from the previous public agency) until the new public agency either:

• Adopts the student’s IEP from the previous public agency; or

• Develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP

IEP11/10/2014 3:46 PMWhen a student transfers from another public agency within the state do you have to honor the IEP from the other agency?

It depends on the needs of the individual student. Every IEP Team must consider the student’s need for ESY services at least annually as part of the provision of FAPE. ESY services must be provided only if a student’s IEP Team determines, on an individual basis, that the services are necessary for the provision of FAPE to the student. If ESY services are needed, the IEP must clearly specify which goals and services are being extended, the beginning and ending dates for services, the location, and the amount of time committed.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:31 AMMust IEPs include services during the summer months or extended school year (ESY)?

Because the 15-day resolution period for a due process complaint requesting an expedited due process hearing concludes well before the 20-school-day period within which the hearing must occur, the parties should have enough time to meet this requirement before the hearing begins. This is because 15 calendar days would usually be the equivalent of 11 school days. Also, there is nothing in the IDEA that would prevent the parties from agreeing to disclose relevant information to all other parties less than five business days prior to an expedited due process hearing. 71 FR 46706 (August 14, 2006).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:50 AMHow can the parties meet the requirement in 34 CFR §300.512(b) to disclose evaluations and recommendations to all parties at least five business days before an expedited due process hearing begins?

If a student with a disability was receiving special education and related services pursuant to an IEP in a previous public agency even if that public agency failed to meet the annual review requirements and transfers to a new public agency in the same state and enrolls in a new school within the same school year, the new public agency (in consultation with the parent) must provide FAPE to the student (including services comparable to those described in the student’s IEP from the previous public agency), until the new public agency either:

• Adopts the student’s IEP from the previous public agency; or

• Develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP.

IEP11/19/2014 10:37 AMWhat if a student whose IEP has not been subject to a timely annual review, but who continues to receive services under that IEP, transfers to another public agency in the same state? Is the new public agency required to provide FAPE from the time the stu

The principal is the instructional leader of the school and is considered to be its site-based manager. As such, the principal and/or his designee on the school campus will participate in and serve as the LEA Representative at IEP meetings. In doing so, an assurance has been given to ensure that FAPE is provided to all students with disabilities and that their IEPs are being implemented. The school principal must assume the responsibility of monitoring and supervising his/her staff in such a way to ensure that they are providing the greatest possible instruction and support to all students. It is also critical that the principal communicate closely with the school district’s special education administrator for problem-solving, collaboration, and compliance, which will demonstrate a unity of effort throughout the organization.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:32 AMWho, in the school setting, should monitor the services that students with disabilities should be receiving? How do we hold special education teachers accountable for providing services that are written in the IEP?

While this situation is not addressed specifically by the Part B regulations, the Department’s position, in the context of discipline, is that a school district may seek judicial relief through measures such as a temporary restraining order when necessary and legally appropriate. In addition, there is extensive case law addressing exigent circumstances where exhaustion of administrative remedies is not required or where the failure to exhaust administrative remedies may be excused. In general, a school district that goes directly to court seeking to remove a child with a disability would need to show that the proposed removal is appropriate (e.g., that other interventions will not reduce the immediate risk of injury) and that exhaustion of the expedited due process hearing process should not be required (e.g., due to the exigency of the situation). If appropriate, prior to seeking a court order, the LEA should attempt other interventions which could include, but are not limited to, the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports and other strategies to address the behavior giving rise to the proposed removal. See 34 CFR §§300.324(a)(2)(i) and 300.530(e)-(f).

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 9:50 AMMay a school district proceed directly to court for a temporary injunction to remove a student from his or her current educational placement for disciplinary reasons or must the school district exhaust administrative remedies by first filing a due process

No. The receiving public agency would implement the out-of-state IEP until such time that a new IEP is developed, if the student is eligible according to the AAC.

IEP11/10/2014 3:47 PMWhen a student transfers from another state do you have to honor the IEP from the other state?

Yes. If the student’s IEP requires course modifications, the teacher is required to comply with the IEP. It is anticipated, however, that a collaborative/consultative teacher who may or may not be the case manager for the student would assist the general education teacher in developing and implementing the required modifications.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:48 AMIf specified by the IEP, must a general education teacher modify a general education program for a student with a disability?

Any person or agency that believes a school system is violating a requirement of Part B of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and 34 CFR Part 300 may file a complaint.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:02 AMWho may file a State Complaint?

No. The receiving public agency would implement the out-of-state IEP until such time that a new IEP is developed, if the student is eligible according to the AAC.

IEP11/10/2014 3:57 PMIs the receiving public agency required to write an IEP on Alabama forms for out-of-state transfers who have a current IEP?

"Adapting the curriculum involves differentiating instruction to provide learners with a variety of ways to process information and demonstrate what they have learned, in order to ‘match’ the way in which each learner learns most effectively." (Bashinski, Susan M., July 2002)

General and special education teachers should work together to modify the curriculum. General education teachers have content knowledge, while special education teachers have expertise in student characteristics and knowledge of student strengths and needs. It makes sense for them to work together to decide how to differentiate to address individual student needs.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:11 PMWho is responsible for modifying curriculum?

An individual or agency, including an organization or individual from another state, may send a signed written complaint to the Alabama State Superintendent of Education, Attention: Special Education Services, Post Office Box 302101, Montgomery, Alabama 36130-2101. A sample form for filing a State Complaint can be found on the Department of Education’s Web site at www.alsde.edu. The use of the form is not required as long as another form or document used meets the content requirements for filing a State Complaint.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:03 AMHow is a complaint filed?

The federal regulations require that to facilitate the transition for a student the new public agency in which the student enrolls must take reasonable steps to promptly obtain the student’s records, including the IEP and supporting documents and any other records relating to the provision of special education or related services to the student, from the previous public agency in which the student was enrolled; and the previous public agency in which the student was enrolled must take reasonable steps to promptly respond to the request from the new public agency. If, after taking reasonable steps to obtain the student’s records from the public agency in which the student was previously enrolled, including the IEP and any other records relating to the provision of special education or related services to the student, the new public agency is not able to obtain the IEP from the previous public agency or from the parent, the new public agency is not required to provide services to the student. This is because the new public agency, in consultation with the parent, would be unable to determine what constitutes comparable services for the student, since that determination must be based on the services contained in the student’s IEP from the previous public agency. However, the new public agency must place the student in the regular school program and conduct an evaluation pursuant to, if determined to be necessary by the new public agency. If there is a dispute between the parent and the new public agency regarding whether an evaluation is necessary or regarding what Special Education and Related Services are needed to provide FAPE to the student, the dispute could be resolved through the mediation procedures or, as appropriate, the due process procedures. Once a due process complaint notice requesting a due process hearing is filed, the student would remain in the regular school program during the pendency of the due process proceedings.

IEP11/10/2014 3:56 PMWhat options are available when an out-of-state transfer student cannot produce an IEP, and the parent is the source for identifying “comparable” services?

This is an IEP Team decision.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:21 PMWho is responsible for providing the accommodations for a student with an IEP--special education teachers or general education teachers?

A signed written complaint must include at least:

  1. A statement that the school system has violated a requirement of Part B of the IDEA.
  2. The facts on which the statement is based.
  3. The signature and contact information for the complainant.
  4. If the violation(s) named in the complaint involve a specific child, the name and address of the child’s residence.
  5. If the complaint involves a specific child, the name of the school the child is attending.
  6. In the case of a homeless child or youth (within the meaning of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 USC 1143a(2)), available contact information for the child and the name of the school the child is attending.
  7. A description of the nature of the child’s problem, including facts relating to the problem.
  8. A proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available to the party at the time the complaint is filed.
Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:03 AMWhat is the required content that must be included when filing a State Complaint?

If the parent and the new public agency agree on services that the student needs until records are received from the previous public agency, those agreed upon services may be provided. If the parent and the public agency do not agree on the services to provide, the student is enrolled in the regular education program along with any Special Education and Related Services on which the parent and the public agency agree. The public agency may also ask the parent for consent to conduct an initial evaluation.

IEP11/10/2014 3:56 PMWhat if a student transfers from an out-of-state agency to a public agency without an IEP, yet it is obvious he/she is in need of special education services?

No.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:31 PMCan the parents of students with disabilities ever be required to provide education services?

Yes. The party filing the complaint must forward a copy of the complaint to the school system serving the child at the same time the party files the complaint with the Alabama Department of Education.

The school system must provide a copy of the Special Education Rights if this is the first State Complaint filed by the parent in a school year.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:03 AMAre there other requirements for filing a State Complaint?

No. If a student with a disability (who had an IEP that was in effect in a previous public agency in another state) transfers to a public agency in a new state, and enrolls in a new school within the same school year, the new public agency (in consultation with the parent) must provide the student with FAPE (including services comparable to those described in the student’s IEP from the previous public agency), until the new public agency:

• Conducts an evaluation (if determined to be necessary by the new public agency); and

• Develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP, if appropriate.

The public agency must provide FAPE to the student when the student enrolls in the public agency in the new state, and the public agency may not deny services to the student pending the development of a new IEP.

IEP11/19/2014 10:38 AMIs it permissible for a public agency to require that a student with a disability who transfers from another state with a current IEP that is provided to the new public agency remain at home without receiving services until a new IEP is developed by the p

In Alabama, the assigned student case manager is directly responsible for monitoring, consulting, and teaching with general education teachers in a collaborative role to ensure that accommodations are being provided for a student with a disability. Special education teachers and general education teachers should work collaboratively to continually review, revise, and create appropriate accommodations as needed to provide FAPE to students with disabilities. It is extremely important to remember, however, that overall, it is the school principal who is responsible for supervising teachers to ensure that they are implementing the IEPs of students with disabilities.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:41 PMWho is responsible for monitoring to make certain that accommodations are being provided and IEPs are being implemented?

Complaints may be filed for allegations that occurred not more than one year prior to the date that the complaint is received by Special Education Services, Alabama Department of Education.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:04 AMIs there a timeline for filing a complaint?

Parental consent is not required for the transmission of special education records between public agencies. Parental notice is required. SES will be placing a sample form on our Web site for transfer of records.

IEP11/10/2014 3:56 PMDo you have to get consent from the parent to request records from the sending public agency?

A student’s current IEP and placement (defined as the services listed in the IEP) must be implemented unless there is a subsequent IEP developed by an IEP Team. Of course, the IEP Team must meet at least every 12 months to review and revise an IEP and, as part of that review, it could be proposed that a service included on the previous IEP not be continued in the new IEP. If the parent agrees to this Team decision, the IEP services can be changed. If the parent does not agree to the decision, written notice must be given to the parent of the proposed change in placement and the parent can then challenge the proposed change in placement via mediation or initiation of a due process hearing. If the parent requests a due process hearing, the service will continue as part of the student’s "stay-put" placement.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:32 AMIs a school obligated to continue to provide a service listed on a prior year’s IEP?

Yes. A complaint, including the letter of findings, must be completed within 60 days of Special Education Services receiving it. An extension may be granted when exceptional circumstances warrant a delay. The parent and the school system involved may agree to extend the time in order to engage in mediation provided by Special Education Services.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:04 AMIs there a timeline for Special Education Services to complete a complaint?

The new public agency in which the student enrolls must promptly obtain the student’s records, including the IEP and supporting documents and any other records relating to the provision of special education or related services to the student, from the previous public agency in which the student was enrolled. The previous public agency in which the student was enrolled must promptly respond to the request from the new public agency. If paper copies of records are requested by the new public agency, SES recommends the records be delivered within ten days of the request.

IEP11/10/2014 3:57 PMDo public agencies have a time limit on facilitating the transfer of student records?

An IEP can be changed at any time that an IEP Team agrees that the student’s needs indicate that a change to the IEP is needed. Changes must be reflected on the IEP or via an appropriate amendment to the IEP, and an IEP cannot be changed unilaterally by the parent or by any school person.

In 2004, the IDEA set out a curious provision allowing for changes to be made to IEPs after the annual IEP meeting but without another IEP meeting. In making changes to a student’s IEP after the annual IEP meeting for a school year, the parent and the school district may agree not to convene an IEP meeting for the

purposes of making such changes and instead may develop a written document to amend or modify the student’s current IEP. Changes to the IEP may be made if the parent agrees in writing, "either by the entire IEP Team … or by amending the IEP rather than by redrafting the entire IEP."

In Alabama, if it is agreed that an IEP may be amended without an IEP Team meeting, the parent must be provided with a revised copy of the IEP with the amendments incorporated. In addition, if changes are made to the IEP without an IEP meeting, the school must ensure that the student’s IEP Team is informed of those changes. This amendment provision lends itself to potential pitfalls and school administrators must be extremely careful in implementing these provisions.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:49 AMWhen and how can an IEP be changed?

No.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:04 AMMay someone file an anonymous complaint?

The federal regulations do not establish a timeline for the new public agency to adopt, develop, and implement the student’s IEP from the previous public agency. However, the new public agency must take these steps within a reasonable period of time to avoid any undue interruption in the provision of required services.

IEP11/10/2014 3:57 PMWhat is the timeline for the receiving public agency to adopt an IEP from a previous public agency or to develop and implement a new IEP?

The IEP must be reviewed at least annually. The IEP and placement may be reviewed more often, however, and as needed. In Alabama, if the parents or the student’s teacher have reason to suspect that the IEP needs revision, an IEP meeting can be requested at any time. The school must conduct the IEP meeting within 30 calendar days of receipt of the request.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:11 PMHow often must IEPs be revised/updated/written?

Yes. The school system is informed of the identity of the complainant and the nature of the complaint because the school system is required to submit a response to Special Education Services about the complaint.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:05 AMMust the school system be told that a complaint has been filed and who filed the complaint?

In hard copy forms and in STISETS, on the parent signature line write, "parent participated by phone."

IEP11/10/2014 3:57 PMHow do we document parent participation in a meeting if they participated by phone?

Behavior management (not traditional forms of discipline) is key to addressing behavioral issues for students with disabilities. When a student with a disability exhibits behaviors that are disruptive to the education of the student or others, the IEP Team is required to address this issue either by including behavioral goals in the IEP, conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) and developing a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP), and referencing those in the IEP, providing specific services for the student and/or all of the above.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:39 PMHow do you teach and manage special education students who are out of control?

That depends. Sometimes, the school system's response and the complainant's submission of documents are all that is needed to determine whether a school system has violated a requirement. Sometimes it is necessary to take other action; for example, to go onsite and look at pertinent information or interview school system personnel or to request further information from the parties involved in the complaint.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:05 AMHow is a complaint investigated?

If the parent said he/she was going to participate in the meeting by phone and did not participate, document that the parent was unavailable by phone.

IEP11/10/2014 3:58 PMHow do we document the parent chose to participate by phone but at the time of the meeting they did not answer the phone?

The IEP will contain reference to the BIP and other behavioral services/goals in place and they must be implemented. School administrators whose duties include supervision of teachers must monitor student services as outlined in IEPs in order to maintain compliance and

the integrity of the special education process and to provide a safe school environment.

 

Administrators10/9/2014 11:49 AMHow do you ensure fidelity in the implementation of a BIP when there is significant resistance from teachers, both general education and special education teachers?

The person assigned as complaint contact usually conducts the onsite investigation and, depending on the information needed, other Special Education Services’ staff may be asked to participate.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:05 AMIf there is an onsite investigation, who goes onsite to investigate?

According to OSEP, an "annual review" of the IEP must be conducted every 365 days. The IEP that carries the student through the last day of school would be okay as far as the implementation/duration dates. However, you will still need to review the IEP by the annual review date (signature date of the IEP) to document that the IEP has been reviewed in a timely manner. Here are some suggested ways to meet this requirement for exiting seniors (exiting with a regular diploma or will be 21 before August 1):

Option 1

Provide the Notice of Proposed Meeting/Consent for Agency Participation form checking the purpose of the meeting is to "Review the IEP." If the IEP Team decides to complete the Summary of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (SOP) during the meeting that purpose should be added on the Notice of Proposed Meeting/Consent for Agency Participation. Hold an IEP Team meeting, review the IEP and if the student is indeed exiting (exiting with a regular diploma or will be 21 before August 1) complete a Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services, documenting the review of the IEP and also providing notice again that the student is expected to exit in May. If the SOP will be completed with the student at a later date that should be indicated on the Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services form.

The case manager would go into the student folder in STISETS and manually enter the date of the meeting in the field called Date of Most Recent Annual IEP Signature. The IEP Team could use a

hard copy of the signature page of the IEP to document attendance at the meeting. The Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services form should indicate who was in attendance. Do not open a new IEP process.

Option 2

Provide the Notice of Proposed Meeting/Consent for Agency Participation indicating the purpose of the meeting is to "Revise the IEP". If the IEP Team decides to complete the Summary of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (SOP) during the meeting that purpose should be added on the Notice of Proposed Meeting/Consent for Agency Participation. Hold an IEP Team meeting, amend the Student Profile to document that the IEP Team met on ______ (add date) to review the IEP and that the student will graduate as scheduled in May with a regular diploma or that the student has reached the age of 21. Update goals that may have been mastered, amend the signature page with new signatures and date. Send a copy of the amended IEP along with the Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services form informing the parent of actions taken. If the SOP will be completed with the student at a later date that should be indicated on the Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services form.

The case manager would go into the student folder in STISETS and manually enter the date of the meeting in the field called Date of Most Recent Annual IEP Signature. The IEP Team could use a hard copy of the signature page of the IEP to document attendance at the meeting. The Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services form should indicate who was in attendance. Do not open a new IEP process.

Option 3

If there is any doubt that the student will be exiting in May, the IEP Team should develop an IEP so that an IEP is in place on the first day of school in the fall. Follow process 4 in Mastering the Maze. If the IEP Team decides to complete the Summary of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (SOP) that purpose should be added on the Notice of Proposed Meeting/ Consent for Agency Participation. If the SOP will be completed with the student at a later date that should be indicated on the Notice of Intent Regarding Special Education Services form.

IEP11/10/2014 3:59 PMDo you have to develop a new IEP for each senior even if the annual review signature date is in March or April?

Convene the IEP Team to discuss behavioral issues, review and revise the BIP as necessary, and make certain to document all good faith efforts to address and provide services designed to correct the undesirable behavior.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:11 PMWhat recourse do we have when a student has had every opportunity to complete his/her work, has a behavior plan with a rewards system in place, but refuses to attempt work that is given?

No. The school system is notified prior to the investigation. The investigator(s) must have complete access to all records of the agency that pertain to the special education program.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:06 AMIs the onsite investigation a surprise to the school system?

The AAC does not contain regulations for promotion and retention. Each public agency should have its own policies regarding promotion and retention based on the number of credits required for graduation in high school.

The same applies for elementary grades with the school/system deciding what classes, number of classes, etc., that must be passed in order to progress from one grade to the next grade.

IEP11/10/2014 4:00 PMWhat are the ALSDE’s policies for promotion and retention?

No. When a district refers a student for a medical evaluation, this is considered for "diagnostic and educational purposes" and, therefore, would essentially constitute a related service that the district should fund.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:21 PMCan a school district refer students who demonstrate extreme behavioral misconduct for an assessment by a local mental health psychiatrist without cost to the district?

Yes. The Special Education Services person assigned as complaint contact may be contacted at any time during the process. The complainant is also reminded in a letter that additional information may be submitted.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:06 AMDoes the person filing the complaint have the opportunity to submit other information?

No. Parents may revoke consent in writing for special education services at any time and unilaterally withdraw their children from further receipt of special education and related services. When a parent revokes consent for special education and related services, the IDEA regulations specifically say that the LEA will not be deemed to have knowledge that the student is a student with a disability. The student will be subject to the same disciplinary procedures and timelines applicable to general education students. In other words, the student is no longer entitled to IDEA’s special discipline protections. It is expected that parents will take into account the possible consequences under the discipline provisions before revoking consent for the provision of special education and related services.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:33 PMIf a parent revokes consent for special education services, and the student is dismissed as required, does IDEA’s special discipline provisions apply if the student violates the LEA’s code of student conduct?

A complaint contact is assigned to each complaint filed. You and school officials may contact the person assigned if you have questions or need information about the complaint. In addition, it is the practice of Special Education Services to provide a copy of any letter generated by Special Education Services about the complaint to both parties.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:06 AMIf I file a complaint, how do I know what's happening with the complaint?

Conducting FBAs and developing BIPs are essential requirements for addressing behaviors that a student exhibits, particularly if the student is

disabled. As soon as a pattern of behavioral issues is present, best practice would dictate that a FBA be conducted and a BIP developed.

For some students, behavior intervention can be as important as academic intervention. Routine and structure are critical when working with students who have behavior problems that impede their learning or the learning of others. When working with a student that exhibits inappropriate behavior at school, the IEP Team, as a matter of best practice, should first complete an FBA to observe when the behavior is occurring to determine what is going on around the student when the negative behavior is being displayed. The FBA may reveal a pattern that will help the IEP Team to understand the student better.

Based upon the information from the FBA, a BIP should be developed. It is extremely important that there is follow through in all rewards/incentives and consequences. It is important to have short-term goals with rewards/incentives and long-term goals with rewards/incentives for the student. The student should be a part of developing the BIP when appropriate. In some instances, the school should request the assistance of a behavioral specialist.

Specifically within the context of disciplining a student, and where the contemplated disciplinary action will constitute a "change of placement" for the student (exclusion for more than 10 days), it is required that an IEP Team conduct a manifestation determination. If the IEP Team decides that the conduct is a manifestation of the student’s disability, the IEP Team is required to conduct an FBA unless the district has already conducted one and implemented a BIP during the previous 18 months before the behavior that resulted in the change of placement occurred. If a BIP has already been implemented, then the IEP Team must review and revise it as necessary to address the behavior currently at issue.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:36 AMWhen would it be appropriate to do a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) and Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) to address a violation of the Code of Conduct?

A closing letter and written decision (Complaint Investigation Report) are sent to the person or agency filing the complaint, the school system superintendent, and special education coordinator within 60 calendar days of Special Education Services’ receipt of the State Complaint. The Complaint Investigation Report is the final decision that reports on the investigation, subject to confidentiality requirements. It addresses each complaint allegation, the complaint findings of fact, and the conclusions and reasons for the final decision. If there are violations found, corrective actions that the school system must take are included in the Complaint Investigation Report.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:07 AMHow do I know what the results of my complaint are?

Yes, if proper procedures for a "disciplinary change of placement" are followed. When a student with a disability is removed completely from the school setting due to an expulsion, special education services must continue to be provided by the LEA. Because some services must be provided to a properly expelled student with a disability, there is no such thing as "true expulsion" for students with disabilities under the IDEA.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:36 AMMay students with disabilities be expelled from a school/district?

After the final decision is sent to the parties, if no violations were found, no further action is required. However, Special Education Services continues to address corrective actions found and named in the Complaint Investigation Report with the school system to ensure that the school system corrects the errors found.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:07 AMWhat happens next in the State Complaint process?

Yes, as long as a unilateral "change of placement" does not occur. If a change of placement will occur as a result of a suspension, then the student’s IEP Team must be involved.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:49 AMMay students with disabilities be suspended from school?

The person or agency involved in the State Complaint process who disagrees with the final decision may inform Special Education Services of the disagreement. There is no formal appeal process. However, a complainant may request mediation and/or request an impartial due process hearing about the matters involved in the State Complaint.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:08 AMWhat if I do not agree with the complaint findings?

The IDEA regulations and the AAC provide that a disciplinary change in placement occurs if the removal of the student is for more than 10 consecutive school days or the student has been subjected to a series of removals that total more than 10 days in the school year and constitute a pattern that is a change of placement because the student’s behavior is substantially similar to the student’s behavior in previous incidents of misconduct and because of factors such additional factors as the length of each removal, the total amount of time the student has been removed, and the proximity of the removals to one another.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:11 PMSo, what constitutes a “disciplinary change of placement” that would trigger the IEP Team’s involvement?

Mediation is a process through which parents and the local education agency representatives with differing viewpoints can, in an informal manner, consider and/or develop alternatives to the disputed issue.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:19 AMWhat is mediation?

Yes. Under the AAC, removals for partial school days of a half day or more will count as one full day toward determining whether a disciplinary change of placement has occurred or will occur.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:21 PMDo partial days count in looking at when a disciplinary change of placement has occurred?

No, it is a voluntary process. State special education regulations recognize the value of mediation as an optional approach, but it cannot be used to delay or replace an impartial due process hearing once there is a written request for an impartial due process hearing.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:19 AMIs mediation legally required?

The IDEA regulations say that "the public agency" decides that. The AAC provides more specifically that, at a minimum, an administrator and the student’s special education teacher will make that determination. If it is determined that the pattern of removals over 10 school days in the school year would be a change of placement, then the IEP Team must be involved. If it is decided that the pattern of removals is not a change of placement, school personnel (in consultation with one of the student’s teachers) have the authority to make the decision as to what services will be provided on Days 11, 12, 13, and so on.

Because this "pattern of removals" language is so vague and uncertain, many school districts treat any removal beyond 10 days in a school year as a "change of placement" and get the IEP Team involved to ensure procedural compliance with respect to any further removals beyond 10 school days in a school year.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:33 PMWho decides whether going beyond 10 days of short-term removal in a school year is a pattern of removals that constitutes a change of placement?

The use of mediation has the following benefits over the formal impartial due process hearing:

  1. Through mediation, objectivity and negotiation can assist the parties in developing acceptable alternatives.
  2. A negotiated agreement helps promote future positive relations.
  3. Mediation can be less antagonistic and less time-consuming, as well as less costly for both parties.
Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:19 AMWhat is the value of mediation?

Yes. If it is determined that it is appropriate to suspend a student beyond 10 school days in a school year (because it is not a change of placement or because there is no manifestation) or expel the student (because there is no manifestation), the IDEA requires the school district to continue to provide FAPE to the suspended/expelled student.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:41 PMIf a student is suspended beyond 10 school days in a school year or expelled for a longer period of time, is the student entitled to any services?

It is an opportunity for both parties to meet with a third party to consider and/or develop alternatives to a dispute. The mediation conference is conducted informally to:

  1. Provide open communication and discussion of alternatives.
  2. Focus on the child’s best interest.
  3. Attempt to resolve the difference and find an alternative which is adequate, appropriate for the child’s individual needs, and acceptable to both parties.
  4. Discussions are confidential and may not be used as evidence in a due process hearing or civil proceeding.
Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:20 AMWhat is an informal mediation conference?

The IDEA provides that during the suspension/expulsion beyond 10 school days the student must continue to receive services that will enable the student to continue to participate in the general education curriculum, although in another setting, and to progress toward meeting the goals developed in the student’s IEP. These educational services may be provided in an interim alternative setting.

Unfortunately, there is not a great deal of authority that helps to clarify what, exactly, this means. In 2006, the U.S. DOE commented that "services so as to enable the student to continue to participate in the general educational curriculum" does not mean "that a school or district must replicate every aspect of the services that a student would receive if in his or her normal classroom. For example, it would not generally be feasible for a student removed for disciplinary reasons to receive every aspect of the services that a student would receive if in his or her chemistry or auto mechanics classroom, as these classes generally are taught using a hands-on component or specialized equipment or facilities."

In addition, the U.S. DOE commented that while students with disabilities removed for more than 10 school days in a school year for disciplinary reasons must continue to receive FAPE, "we believe the Act modifies the concept of FAPE in these circumstances to encompass those services necessary to enable the student to continue to participate in the general curriculum, and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the student’s IEP. A school district is not required to provide students suspended for more than 10 school days in a school year for disciplinary reasons, exactly the same services in exactly the same settings as they were receiving prior to the imposition of discipline. However, the special education and related services the student does receive must enable the student to continue to participate in the general curriculum, and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the student’s IEP."

Administrators10/9/2014 1:45 PMWhat are these services for a suspended/expelled student with a disability supposed to look like?

Mediation may be requested by:

  1. The child’s parents,
  2. Other persons having primary care and custody of the child,
  3. The child (If over 19 years of age), or
  4. The local education agency representative.
Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:22 AMWho may request mediation?

The IDEA requires that a manifestation determination be made "within 10 school days of any decision to change the placement of a student with a disability because of a violation of the code of student conduct." What we clearly know is that a manifestation determination is not required for the first 10 days of suspension during a school year. As explained previously, any further removal will require a determination as to whether it constitutes a change of placement for the student. If it does, a manifestation determination is required to ensure that further removal is appropriate.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:48 PMWhen is a “manifestation determination” required?

Yes. Parents and the local education agency represen-tatives have the right to bring other people who may help them. However, in order to keep the session informal and manageable, the number of such additional persons should be kept to a minimum.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:22 AMMay participants bring other persons to the mediation?

Both the federal regulations and the AAC state, "the LEA, the parent, and the relevant members of the IEP Team (as determined by the parent and the school district) must review all relevant information in the student’s file when determining if the student’s behavior was a manifestation." Typically, it makes sense for the school district to convene the student’s entire IEP Team so that important placement decisions can be made in addition to the manifestation determination.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:54 PMWhat group meets to conduct the manifestation determination?

The mediator does not render a decision, but assists in developing alternatives to help the parties reconcile their differences in the dispute. If an agreement is reached, a written document is prepared with assistance of the mediator. A signed mediation agreement is enforceable in any state court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:23 AMWhat should be the outcome of the mediation?

The IDEA requires that the manifestation determination be based upon whether "the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the student’s disability." In addition, the IEP Team is to determine whether the "conduct in question was the direct result of the LEA’s failure to implement the IEP." The conduct must be determined to be a manifestation of the student’s disability if the IEP Team answers yes to either question, and the assumption is that a disciplinary change of placement cannot occur.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:57 PMWhat is the required link between a student’s disability and his/her misconduct for it to be considered a manifestation?

If the parties are unable to come to an agreement, the mediator should advise them of their right to request, in writing, an impartial due process hearing.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:23 AMWhat if an agreement is not reached?

Not if the parent(s) of a student and the school district agree, via the IEP Team process, to a specific change in the current educational placement of the student. Where no suspension/expulsion is going to occur, the IDEA’s discipline provisions would not be triggered. Rather, it would be an IEP Team decision that the student’s placement should change. For example, it might be the IEP Team’s decision that the student needs to be evaluated

and the LRE changed to a more restrictive setting. As long as the IEP Team agrees and the parent is properly provided written notice of the proposed change of placement and does not challenge it, the placement may be changed and the disciplinary provisions would not apply.

Administrators11/25/2014 2:45 PMWhen a parent(s) of a student and the LEA are in agreement, via the IEP process, that a student’s placement should be changed (rather than suspension/expulsion), due to a code of conduct violation, is it considered to be a removal under the discipline pro

The parents and the local education agency should receive a copy of the written agreement.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:23 AMWho should receive a copy of the agreement reached through mediation?

No. Essentially, the first 10 days of disciplinary removal in a school year do not trigger any of the IDEA’s special disciplinary procedures. Once 10 days of disciplinary removals have been reached in the school year, however, it must be determined whether any further suspensions would constitute a pattern that is a change of placement that would trigger the IDEA’s disciplinary requirements.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:00 PMIs a student with a disability who is suspended for 10 school days or less during a school year entitled to more than the due process procedures that are mandated for all students?

Generally, mediation can be completed in 4-6 hours. Depending on the complexity of the dispute, a longer amount of time may be needed. (It is wise to schedule a whole day for the mediation.)

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:23 AMHow long should mediation take?

Yes, but not unilaterally. The IEP Team must meet to make this change of placement decision.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:36 AMMay students with disabilities be placed in an alternative school program?

The mediation may be postponed to a later date, if necessary, and agreeable to all concerned.

Dispute Resolutions10/15/2014 11:24 AMMay a postponement be requested?

Continue to address placement issues via the IEP process, review and revise BIPs, explore the possibility of a more restrictive setting, etc.

Administrators10/9/2014 2:46 PMWhat do schools do when students with disabilities continue to misbehave in an alternative school?

Yes. According to the U.S. DOE, a day of in-school suspension is not considered a removal from a student’s current educational program for disciplinary reasons (and, therefore, would not be counted toward the 10-day change of placement count), as long as the student is afforded in the ISS setting the opportunity to continue to appropriately participate in the general education curriculum, to continue to receive the services specified on the student’s IEP, and to continue to participate with nondisabled students to the extent the student would have in the current placement.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:37 AMMay students with disabilities be placed in “in-school suspension” programs?

It depends. The AAC provides that whether a bus suspension would constitute a day of suspension that would be counted toward a change of placement depends on whether the bus transportation is on the student’s IEP as a related service. If the bus transportation is a related service that is specialized to address the student’s disability in some way, it would be treated as a change of placement day, even if the student gets to school in some other way. This is so because transportation, as a related service, is part of the student’s "placement" because it is a service listed in the student’s IEP. If the bus transportation is not part of the student’s IEP as a related service, a bus suspension would not be a suspension that counts toward a change of placement. In those cases, the student and his or her parents would have the same obligations to get the student to and from school as a nondisabled student who had been suspended from the bus. However, school districts must address whether the behavior on the bus is similar to behavior in the classroom that is addressed in an IEP and whether the bus behavior should also be addressed in the IEP or BIP for the student.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:50 AMDoes a bus suspension constitute a day of suspension?

Yes, as long as Board policy allows for the use of corporal punishment and specific procedures under the policy are followed. However, with corporal punishment or any other disciplinary measure, it is prudent not to administer it if the behavior at issue would be considered to be a manifestation of the student’s disability. In addition, an IEP Team may specifically prohibit or limit its use.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:37 AMMay corporal punishment be used with students with disabilities?

Yes. Clearly, failure to attend school is a behavior that is disruptive to the education of that student. Therefore, the IEP Team must address that behavior by addressing positive behavioral strategies and interventions to address it. It would not be appropriate to report truancy without also appropriately addressing it as a behavioral issue.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:37 AMAre truancy and attendance problems behavioral issues that an IEP Team must address?

The principal should contact the parent to determine the degree of illness and the approximate duration of the student’s absence. Any student with a disability who is covered under IDEA may be served within the home or hospital if the IEP Team determines that it is the student’s least restrictive environment. The school needs to be proactive in following up on the student’s condition to ensure that the student’s educational needs are addressed.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:50 AMWhat is the principal’s obligation if a student with a disability is hospitalized or experiences a lengthy illness necessitating absence from school?

Students in local jails reside in your school district’s jurisdiction. Child Find and service requirements must be met for all students with disabilities who reside within your district’s jurisdiction.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:37 AMWhy do we have to be responsible for students in local jails?

Yes, but only if a change in placement has not occurred or in cases involving special circumstances for behavior.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:50 AMCan a school unilaterally (without an IEP Team meeting) place a “dangerous” special education student in an interim alternative educational setting for more than 10 school days?

The IDEA contains "special circumstances" that will allow school personnel to move a student to an interim alternative educational setting for not more than 45 school days without regard to whether the behavior is a manifestation of the student’s disability. This special circumstance applies if the student:

a) Carries a weapon to or possesses a weapon at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of the LEA or state DOE;

b) Knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs, or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance, while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of the LEA or state DOE; or

c) Has inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of the school district or state DOE.

LEA personnel may move a student to an interim, alternative educational setting up to 45 days without an IEP Team meeting when a "special circumstances" offense has been committed. The IEP Team meeting can occur at a later date to address a manifestation determination and the need for a functional behavior assessment (FBA) and behavior intervention plan (BIP).

Administrators10/9/2014 1:12 PMWhat are the “special circumstances” that would allow the LEA to unilaterally move a student with a disability and not require an IEP Team meeting ahead of time?

Unilaterally, the school can move the student for not more than 45 school days without regard to whether the behavior is determined to be a manifestation of the student’s disability. However, the student’s IEP Team could decide to change the placement via the IEP process, and the IEP Team can determine how long that setting would be appropriate and how long the new IEP will be in place.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:21 PMWhat is the maximum number of days a disabled student can be placed in an alternative setting for possession of drugs or a weapon?

Under the IDEA’s disciplinary provisions, the term "weapon" has the meaning given the term "dangerous weapon" under paragraph (2) of the first subsection (g) of Sec. 930 of title 18, United States Code. Under this Code section, the term "dangerous weapon" means a weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 1/2 inches in length. Alabama criminal law definitions do not apply for purposes of the discipline of students with disabilities.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:33 PMSo, what is a “weapon?”

The IDEA defines both "controlled substances" and "illegal drugs" as follows:

"Controlled substance" means a drug or other substance identified under Schedules I, II, III, IV, or V in Section 202(c) of the Controlled Substances Act.

"Illegal drug" means a controlled substance; but does not include a controlled substance that is legally possessed or used under the supervision of a licensed health-care professional or that is legally

possessed or used under any other authority under that Act or under any other provision of federal law.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:41 PMWhat is an “illegal drug?”

The IDEA references a definition contained in 18 U.S.C. § 1365(3)(h). There, the term ''serious bodily injury'' means bodily injury which involves: (a) a substantial risk of death; (b) extreme physical pain; (c) protracted and obvious disfigurement; or (d) protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:46 PMWhat is “serious bodily injury?”

Yes, but caution is advised. The IDEA specifically provides that "nothing in this part prohibits an agency from reporting a crime committed by a student with a disability to appropriate authorities or prevents state law enforcement and judicial authorities from exercising their responsibilities with regard to the application of federal and state law to crimes committed by a student with a disability." While the law does not prohibit contacting criminal authorities to report criminal behavior, schools need to consider each instance on a case-by-case basis and ensure that it has been addressing the student’s behavior appropriately within the educational context. Do not rely on the criminal process as a substitute for what the IDEA requires the school to do.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:48 PMCan a school press charges against a student with a disability?

Yes, with the same considerations discussed in the answer to the previous question.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:55 PMCan the school call the police when a disabled student has a behavior intervention plan?

Yes. The AAC provides that where law enforcement or judicial authorities are contacted by school district personnel reporting an alleged crime committed by a student with a disability, the student’s IEP Team must meet within two (2) weeks of the student’s return to a school setting. At that time, the IEP Team must:

a) Conduct an FBA unless the school district has conducted an FBA during the previous 18 months before the behavior at issue occurred and implement a BIP for the student; or

b) If a BIP has already been developed, review the BIP and modify it, as necessary, to address the behavior.

Administrators10/9/2014 1:57 PMMust there be an IEP meeting for a special education student who is detained by juvenile authorities as a result of the school calling the police but who returns to the school district?

Yes. The IDEA regulations contain provisions regarding in and out-of-state transfer students.

IEPs for students who transfer between school agencies in Alabama: If a student with a disability (who had an IEP that was in effect in a previous LEA in the same state) transfers to a new LEA in the same state and enrolls in a new school within the same school year, the new LEA (in consultation with the parents) must provide FAPE to the student (including services comparable to those described in the student’s IEP from the previous LEA) until the new LEA either (1) adopts the student’s IEP from the previous LEA or (2) develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP that meets the IDEA’s applicable requirements.

IEPs for students who transfer from another state: If a student with a disability (who had an IEP that was in effect in a previous district in another state) transfers to a district in a new state and enrolls in a new school within the same school year, the new district (in consultation with the parents) must provide the student with FAPE (including services comparable to those described in the student’s IEP from the previous district) until the new school district (1) conducts an initial evaluation pursuant to the IDEA (if determined to be necessary by the new district that it is needed in order to meet state criteria for eligibility) and (2) develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP, if appropriate, that meets the IDEA’s applicable requirements.

Transmittal of records. To facilitate the transition for a student who has transferred: (1) The new district in which the student enrolls must take reasonable steps to promptly obtain the student’s records, including the IEP and supporting documents and any other records relating to the provision of special education or related services to the student, from the previous district in which the student was enrolled and (2) the previous district in which the student was enrolled must take reasonable steps to promptly respond to the request from the new district.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:38 AMAre there special rules concerning development of IEPs for transfer students?

No. As of May 14, 2009, the school district has the discretion to use evaluations that transfer with the student from out-of-state.

Administrators10/9/2014 11:50 AMIf evaluation data received on an out-of-state transfer student is consistent with the