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Posts Tagged ‘ESY’

School districts must complete evaluations and provide comparable services to newly transferred students

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Letter to State Directors of Special Education, 61 IDELR 202 (OSERS 2013): The federal Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) prepared a letter to state-level directors of special education providing additional insight into the evaluation of highly mobile students, as well as the provision of comparable services to such students.  Highly mobile students include those students who transfer school districts frequently (such as children in military or migrant families, and homeless children).

OSERS noted that if a student transfers while its previous school was completing a special education evaluation, the student’s new school should complete the evaluation without delay.  Specifically, the new school cannot defer completion of the evaluation so it may employ its RTI model.

Also, OSERS specifically identified extended school year services (ESY) as a “comparable service” which should be provided when a student transfers school districts.  Comparable services are not limited to those services provided during the traditional school year.

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ESY not necessary to provide FAPE to student who had little risk of serious regression over summer break

Monday, July 15th, 2013

C.H. ex rel. F.H. v. Goshen Cent. Sch. Dist., 61 IDELR 19 (S.D.N.Y. 2013)—in this case, a fifth grade student with dyslexia had received ESY services to prevent regression in her English Language Arts (ELA) skills. A Subcommittee of the IEP Team convened to develop the student’s fifth grade IEP, where it considered prior evaluations as well as updated reports from teachers and samples of the student’s work. The Subcommittee decided not to recommend ESY because no regression had been observed. Thereafter, the parents filed a due process complaint challenging (among other actions) the removal of ESY services for ELA. Ultimately, the SRO rejected the IHO’s finding that the student had been denied a FAPE, and the parents appealed that decision. The court, giving due weight to the decision of the SRO, found that the record supported the conclusion that substantial regression was not likely. The court reasoned that the district met its burden of proving the absence of a need for ESY services by providing numerous evaluations by different professionals (including some professionals privately retained by the parents) which revealed no risk of substantial regression over the summer break.

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Teen entitled to ESY when his reading skills quickly regressed during short breaks from instruction

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Annette K. ex rel. C.K. v. State of Hawaii, Dep’t of Educ., 60 IDELR 278 (D. Hawaii 2013) (this case involves a student with severe dyslexia who had previously received extended school year services (ESY) after breaks from school of more than seven days. An IEP team met to discuss the student’s education, and determined that he was not eligible for ESY. The parent challenged the proposed IEP and unilaterally placed the student in a private school, and also hired a private reading tutor. The Hearing Officer found for the district, stating that though it was inappropriate to deny the student ESY, this was simply a procedural violation that did not fatally flaw the IEP. The parent appealed the Hearing Officer’s decision, arguing that the Hearing Officer’s finding that ESY was inappropriately denied to the student requires a finding that the student was denied a FAPE. The court reversed the Hearing Officer’s decision, finding no explanation for deeming the denial of ESY services as a procedural violation, rather than a substantive violation. Based on evidence of rapid regression in reading skills, and the student’s progress in the private school, the court found that the district failed to provide a FAPE to the student by denying him ESY services. The case was remanded back to the Hearing Officer to determine the proper relief, including whether the parent may be entitled to reimbursement for the unilateral placement and private reading tutor.

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Student’s progress of one grade level over the course of an academic year was sufficient educational benefit, although she remained well below grade level overall.

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

High v. Exeter Township School District, 54 IDELR 17 (E.D. Pa. 2010):  A U.S. District Court determined a program developed by a high school provided a FAPE to a student with significant reading delays.  The school district’s program helped the student to move from a fifth grade reading level to a sixth grade reading level during her eleventh grade academic year.  The Court said that her parents “could not have reasonably expected the District to close a six-year gap in her reading ability in one year.”  Since “the parents of a child without a learning disability could expect no more” than one year’s worth of progress, the student’s progress demonstrated that her IEP provided a meaningful educational benefit.

Although the parents admitted that the student’s progress was more than trivial, they argued that the IEP was still deficient because the school district did not develop a sufficient transition plan, and did not provide an extended school year or assistive technology.  Namely, the parents argued that since the student wanted to attend college, she would not have the skills necessary to achieve that transition goal.  However, the Court rejected that argument, and determined that the student had been provided with a sufficient transition plan.  The Court focused on the significant support the school provided the student (including multiple meetings with a transition counselor, assistance with applying for the PSAT and SAT tests (including seeking accommodations for both), and arranging for job shadowing opportunities).  The Court further determined that, the student did not demonstrate a need for assistive technology, and, in light of the student’s progress, an extended school year was not necessary.  Therefore, the Court found that the school district provided the student a FAPE.

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