How to document current performance levels

Compensatory Education for Special Education Students. 

Maureen Brown, M.S Special Education Advocate

The March 21, 2020 OSERS guidance attempts to halt the free fall of FAPE during the Coronavirus crisis by addressing a “serious misunderstanding”  that has been recently circulated within the educational community.

 

Under the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, all school districts must continue to provide a FAPE to their special education students EVEN during the Coronavirus crisis.  Consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students with disabilities and those individuals providing education, specialized instruction and related services to these students . 

 

How to document current performance levels:

 

  1. Reach out to the district asking for their advisories.
  2. Reach out to your child’s special education teacher and ask for a written update on what they were working on prior to school closure. Summarize progress reports based on the date and what they were working on before school closed.
  3. Ask your special ed teacher if they are going to be providing educational instruction while out of school, if so, how and when. (see U.S Department of Education Advisory that states;) “Districts should be communicating with parents and guardians during and after a school closure regarding their child’s IEP services.  After an extended closure, districts should review how the course impacted the delivery of special education and related services to students and condense individual IeP team meetings, as necessary , in order to make an individualized determination as to whether additional services are needed for individual students. The department encourages educators, administration related services provides and general educators may provide needed support to students remotely during periods of extended closure.
  4. Documenting Regression After the break we may want to ask for assessments of where the child is based on where they were before the break.  Is your child behind in meeting their IEP goals? Where they are at a point of emerging skills or having breakthrough opportunities. For example your child has spent all year working on reading and they were making great progress before the break and you need them to get back on track, and a longer break will significantly decrease any progress they have made.  As listed in the Question and Answer Guide on Special Education Extended School Year Programs 603 CMR 28.05 (4)(d) A Team must not put off a determination of Extended School Year programing until the end of a brea in services The team must consider the need for such services proro ot the beginning of the break in service by anticipating whether substantial regression and problems with recoupment will occur in the absence of ESY services.  ESY program should be a continuation of the education benefits that accrue to the child during the regular school year and should be consistent with the child’s IEP goals and objectives addressed throughout the regular school year.
  5. Recoupment? What is it? Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) interprets a child’s difficulty with recoupment to be an aspect of “significant regression” specifically significant regression and recoupment consist of the following interrelated elements. 
    • The loss of performance levels that were attained before a break in services, 
    • The child limited earning rate which lengthens the amount of time the child requires to review and to relearn previously attained objectives and 

The fact that the time for that child to accomplish such recoupment is great than the period of time the school district allows all other children for review and or relearning 

 

Pull out your service delivery of your IEP and copy the Grid B and Grid C services here: Please keep track of the amount of services missed.  (I.E. Occupational Therapy 15 sessions, Physical Therapy 12 sessions etc) 

 

Grid B

Goal # Type of Services Personnel Frequency/Duration  Start/End Date

 

Grid C

Goal # Type of Services Personnel Frequency/Duration  Start/End Date

 

How you can measure current performance levels…

Most recent progress reports

Take video of your child reading….

Take a video of your child’s behavior, are you seeing any previous behaviors that are coming back, such as nail biting, self injurious behaviors, self stimming.  

 

Compensatory education is an equitable remedy designed to provide a special education student with a replacement for IEP services that he or she has not received, placing the student in a position equivalent to that which he or she would occupy if the services had been delivered in a timely manner.  If the corona virus crisis continues there should be a presumption that any student who has missed services will be entitled to compensatory relief.  

 

In a letter from Massachusetts Special Education Attorney’s dated March 20, 2020 “The Massachusetts Constitution requires that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts meet the education needs of all children, including those with disabilities, and even during this extraordinary moment in our history.” 

 

(Letter to Senior Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston signed by thirty four attorneys from the private and public bar.   

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