Last year's post rings true today: Year's End.
However, for those of you who celebrate the holiday,
I just re-read the rephrasing on the accommodations. I've got a fundamental problem, and I don't know that it's limited to Special Education. Here's the thing: The phrasing on the first accommodation, which is still a condition, by the way, doesn't allow [my son] to have an extension if the group needs the assignment/activity. However, students in the STEM program who don't have an IEP frequently come to class without their work completed, even when it's group work, thus impacting [my son] and their other teammates. Now, perhaps those students take a hit on their grades, but I don't know about that, and I've seen repeatedly over the past couple of years that if students can't get it done, they come to class, say they couldn't get it done, and the whole assignment gets a pushed-back due date! It seems to me that this phrasing makes it forbidden for [my son] but allows others to do so with impunity. (It's now also a broad condition that impacts [my son] in Social Studies and Language Arts.)I don't know what will come of it, but I surely want it in writing. I've been treated to inaction, lies, and threats in the past; I can't afford to let it continue if there's any question about the legality.
In addition to the above "fairness" issue, I've got a legal question. While I agree that [my son] needs to do the work in a timely fashion, the phrasing is still a condition, and I'm asking you to verify that it isn't illegal to have such a phrasing on an IEP. I'm asking the same for the much-watered-down-but-still-a-condition phrasing of the second accommodation.
I'm really sorry that I didn't catch why I was so uncomfortable with these phrasings before I said that they were okay. When I read them the first time, they made a certain kind of sense, and I also didn't process that these are still conditions. The phrasings are okay if they're legal, but they make me uneasy.
Therefore, I need something in writing from the Department of Special Education saying that they have been checked out, and by whom, and that they are legal. Please advise me if stating this request in this manner is or isn't enough to make that happen.
Again, I'm sorry I wasn't able to figure out what was bothering me earlier.
I need to apologize for the tone of my "Day __ Pack-up" messages. My intent was to log what did/didn't happen with packing up; I regret that the manner of logging that information may have caused a rift in the team. While my sense of urgency hasn't declined, I'll try to replenish my stock of patience as we work to address [my son's] needs.Who knows if that was enough to mend the relationship on their end. I know that tomorrow will be the 71st day of this school year and we're still "working on" the procedure -- a procedure that, by law, is supposed to be in place by the start of the school year. So really, who owes whom an apology?
|Artist: Thaneeya McArdle|
Thank you for getting back to me with the answer to my follow-up question. As I understand it from our meeting plus the response below, children with IEPs in the STEM program may have appropriate accommodations and no modifications, and the appropriateness of accommodations is determined by each individual IEP team.
As I mentioned during our meeting, my research is showing that placing any conditions on the implementation of an IEP for a student in such a program is a denial of FAPE and therefore a violation of IDEA. I respectfully request that you check into this and provide me with the regulations that show that it isn't so that I can put this to rest.
Again, thank you for both the meeting and the follow-up answer.
"Participation by a student with a disability in an accelerated class or program generally would be considered part of the regular education or the regular classes referenced in the Section 504 and the IDEA regulations. Thus, if a qualified student with a disability requires related aids and services to participate in a regular education class or program, then a school cannot deny that student the needed related aids and services in an accelerated class or program."
"[Schools] may not impose or apply eligibility criteria that screen out or tend to screen out an individual with a disability or any class of individuals with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying any service, program, or activity, unless such criteria can be shown to be necessary for the provision of the service, program, or activity being offered"
So we're playing charades; [wife] is acting out walking the dogs and being pulled in opposite directions, trying to untangle leashes, etc. -- all very typical and familiar to everyone in the family. [Son] (13) blurts out his guess: "An abstract representation of America's dependence on foreign oil." WHERE DOES HE GET THIS FROM? Never mind, I already know.So do I, honey, so do I...
I think it's interesting that the STEM website states the following: "Are special education students eligible for participation in the STEM program? Yes, all students are eligible to apply to the STEM Academy. Appropriate accommodations and modifications will be made to address an IEP carrier enrolled in the STEM Academy." Just an interesting point when compared to the existing attitude.
Thank you for your question. I'll try to explain:
A few days prior to the start of this school year, I was made aware that [my son] was to have *no* accommodations in his STEM classes. This was news to me, though in hindsight I could see that someone somewhere had broached the subject with his outgoing team at [his elementary school] because I was told at the end of 5th grade that we needed to modify a few of [his] IEP accommodations to incorporate "except as would compromise the rigor of STEM." (I thought it odd and concerning, but when sprung on me with no prior warning, I determined that we could try.)
As I'm sure you are aware, we've fought long and hard to get [my son] appropriate academic rigor in elementary school. We couldn't make it happen, in large part because it just doesn't already exist in general education in the elementary grades, and also because we were finally told definitively that "it is not the obligation of the Special Education Department to provide gifted instruction to [my son]; if gifted instruction is otherwise provided, it is [their] obligation to work with it." (Obviously, I disagree with both these standpoints, as do other school districts, but they are topics for another day.) The STEM6 program became the last *available* [school system] placement for [my son] that could possibly be appropriate, so we decided to give it a try.
At the start of the school year, as I said, I learned that it was a definite statement -- there were to be no accommodations in STEM. I wondered about the legality of such a statement and certainly have felt frustrated with the restriction on the implementation of his IEP. I have also been frustrated on [his] behalf because what he needs in the STEM classroom is help with executive functioning and social skills, *not* with academics. (Check out his 5th-grade Science MSA results!) It has appeared all year that the dictate is unbreakable. [His] Special Education school team has had no success changing it, and I thought that your statement at a recent CACSE meeting that students must be "otherwise capable" to be in the STEM program supported the "no accommodations" rule.
I know that [my son] is the Special Education "test case" in the STEM6 program, but I must say that I don't understand the lack of understanding of, and possible prejudice against, an IEP carrier, especially when the STEM page on [the school system website] clearly states that "appropriate accommodations and modifications will be made to address an IEP carrier enrolled in the STEM Academy." When I ran across the STEM quote again a couple of weeks ago, I passed it along to [two members of my son's school team] as an "FYI." I believe that they have [my son's] interests at heart and would be interested in the disparity between the ideal and the real.
So there you have the history of my having sent the original message to [those two members of my son's school team] as a benign "thought you'd like to know" message. Thanks again for following up.
Participation by a student with a disability in an accelerated class or program generally would be considered part of the regular education or the regular classes referenced in the Section 504 and the IDEA regulations. Thus, if a qualified student with a disability requires related aids and services to participate in a regular education class or program, then a school cannot deny that student the needed related aids and services in an accelerated class or program. For example, if a student’s IEP or plan under Section 504 provides for Braille materials in order to participate in the regular education program and she enrolls in an accelerated or advanced history class, then she also must receive Braille materials for that class. The same would be true for other needed related aids and services such as extended time on tests or the use of a computer to take notes.
Conditioning enrollment in an advanced class or program on the forfeiture of needed special education or related aids and services is also inconsistent with the principle of individualized determinations, which is a key procedural aspect of the IDEA, Section 504 and Title II. As noted above, under Section 504, the provision of FAPE is based on the student’s individual education needs as determined through specific procedures--generally, an evaluation in accordance with Section 504 requirements. 34 CFR 104.35. An individualized determination may result in a decision that a qualified student with a disability requires related aids and services for some or all of his regular education classes or his program. Likewise, the IDEA contains specific procedures for evaluations and for the development of IEPs that require individualized determinations. See 34 CFR 300.301 through 300.328. The requirement for individualized determinations is violated when schools ignore the student’s individual needs and automatically deny a qualified student with a disability needed related aids and services in an accelerated class or program.
[W]e do not have “STEM policies regarding having IEP carriers”. The STEM academies are inclusive rather than exclusive in regards to all students with IEPs, because each one has an Individual Educational Plan. The STEM teachers make every effort to implement accommodations for students with IEPs.... I will be glad to meet with you to discuss the STEM instructional curriculum and how it is implemented in the classroom.