Below are the answers from the administration to questions asked by SEPAC:
Darien Public Schools
Office of the Special Education Ombudsman
Responses to Questions Raised by SEPAC
Area of Focus 1: Case Reviews
Questions: We understand that identifying children with illegal language or other practices is difficult in IEP Direct. Is someone going through IEP’s manually? If so, will you please clarify who that is? What is the current timeline for when this will be done?
Responses: The ombudsman is working with central office staff and the IEPDirect representatives to identify automated approaches to the review and analysis of IEPs. The Ombudsman is collaborating with the Superintendent to identify temporary external resources to review IEPs manually. We expect that the automated and manual processes will be complete by the end of April.
Area of Focus 4: Parent and Community Engagement
Questions: In the last subcommittee meeting, there was discussion of administrative checks within the schools. When will the types of checks parents will have be discussed? Under this category?*
Responses: I believe this question concerns the mechanisms that parents could use to insure that their child’s IEP is appropriate and that it is being implemented with fidelity on an on-going basis. This issue should be discussed in the development of approaches to parent engagement, and also in the development of Guidelines for Practice. Currently, the Principal is responsible for the supervision of staff ion the IEP development and implementation of IEPs, with assistance from the Assistant Principal and the Case Managers in the school. We have proposed the establishment of a new position – SESS Facilitator – who would be the point person in the school’s work with parents of children with disabilities and the primary support to PPTs and school administrators in planning and implementation. * <<SEPAC IS FOLLOWING UP ON THIS RESPONSE FOR FURTHER CLARIFICATION.>>
Gamm Report Recommendations
Questions: In her report, Sue Gamm gave a list of immediate action items. Is someone on the subcommittee assigned to reviewing those action items and verifying their timely completion? How many are complete? What is the timeline for the rest? How does this list relate to John Verre’s action plan?
Responses: Implementing the Required Corrective Actions of the CSDE Letters of Findings, and reviewing the recommendations of the Gamm Report is the responsibility of the Special Education Ombudsman in collaboration with the Superintendent, both of whom have the requisite technical and operational knowledge and experience in special education and student services. Our work has focused first on the requirements and recommendations with the earliest critical timelines, including case reviews and problem solving, ESY Guidelines, ELP-Kindergarten transition, data management, professional development, and guidelines for practice. We are in the process of reviewing the other recommendations to determine appropriateness and level of priority, and will incorporate this work in the medium and long-term Action Plans. Ultimately the implementation of adopted approaches will become the responsibility of the new Superintendent and the new Director of Special Education and Student Services.
Extended School Year Services
Questions: Can you outline the notification and training schedule for parents and staff of the new ESY regulations? Are you still indicating that PPTs to address ESY occur before the end of March?
Responses: The ESY Work Group developed new guidelines for ESY services based on the CSDE Topic Brief, the input of the participants, and the advice of our consulting expert. Professional development for staff and administrators was provided during the weeks of 3/3/14 and 3/10/14. We will provide informational sessions for parents as soon as possible before the end of March. The guidelines describe the expectation that, to the greatest extent possible, many PPTs considering ESY services should be held by the end of March, and others should be held as soon as possible in April, may, and June. SEPAC NOTE: PLEASE READ THE NEXT POST BELOW REGARDING A PARENT MEETING APRIL 9 ABOUT THE NEW ESY GUIDELINES
Rising Kindergarteners with Disabilities
Questions: John Verre and Lynne Pierson have stated that an individualized approach will be taken for each of the families in need of a kindergarten alternative next fall. Who exactly will be determining the IEPs and schooling structure for these families? What is the deadline for these plans to be created? Is May 1st possible?
Responses: The services and settings for all individual ELP students will be determined by appropriately constituted PPTs. For those students whose parents and staff believe there may be issues concerning the appropriateness of a regular kindergarten placement for individual students, Laura Straiton and John Verre will participate in the PPT process to support individualized planning. To address the urgency of planning for September placements and services, these “articulation PPTs” will be initiated during April and completed as soon as possible.