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Posts Tagged ‘transition’

Schools may use community, technical, or postsecondary classes as part of transition services

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Letter to Dude, 62 IDELR 91 (OSEP 2013): The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs informed a school attorney that community, technical, and postsecondary classes may be included on a student’s IEP as transition services, provided that such classes are considered secondary education as per state law.  If the classes are considered secondary education, then they may be included on an IEP where necessary in assisting a student in reaching his or her transition goals and receiving FAPE.

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Transition planning may, in certain instances, combine post-secondary goals for both training and education.

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Questions and Answers on Secondary Transition, 57 IDELR 231 (OSERS 2011):  The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued a Q&A regarding transition planning for students with disabilities.  Specifically, OSERS noted that post-secondary goals are required in each of the following categories: training, education, and employment (goals for “independent living skills” are only required “where appropriate”).

As for the areas of training and education, OSERS observed that certain instances could arise where training and education overlap.  For example, if a student with a disability had a post-secondary goal of becoming a certified teacher, the program in which such a student would enroll would likely incorporate both training and education.  Therefore, depending on the nature of the individual student, training and education may overlap regarding post-secondary goals.

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District’s inclusion of parents in IEP process and student’s overall progress showed she received FAPE.

Friday, December 9th, 2011

K.C. v. Nazareth Area School District, 57 IDELR 92 (E.D. Pa. 2011):  A U.S. District Court ruled that a school district’s willingness to work with parents of a student with disabilities, and the progress the student demonstrated under the IEPs contested by the parents, resulted in a free appropriate public education for the student.

The student was twenty years old, and attended a private school at the District’s expense due to her diagnosis of Prader-Willi Syndrome (a genetic disorder), which was considered the underlying cause of most of the student’s academic and functional skill issues.  The student also had brain damage due to an in-utero stroke.  Throughout her education at her private school (beginning in 2006) her parents only agreed to one IEP.  That IEP was finalized in May of 2007.  Since that IEP, the parents requested numerous IEP Team meetings and insisted on specific language to be included in the IEP.  As a result, the last IEP the district offered the student was more than seventy-five (75) pages long.

Despite the length of the IEP, the parents still disagreed with the nature of the services provided.  The Court, affirming the impartial hearing officer, determined that the student’s demonstrated progress showed that the services the district provided were appropriate.  More specifically, the parents argued that the transition plan was deficient due to a failure to provide travel training and the student failed to meet certain transition goals.  However, the Court found that the student made adequate progress.  Additionally, the Court concluded that the parents’ failed to consent to specific transition programs the district wished to provide.   Such programs likely would have been beneficial to the student, and enhanced her transition plan.  Therefore, the Court held the district offered a FAPE, and the student was not entitled to compensatory education.

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Student not entitled to private tutoring as compensatory education.

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

In re Student with a Disability, 55 IDELR 179 (NY SRO 2010):  The New York State Review Officer (SRO) upheld an impartial hearing officer’s (IHO’s) compensatory education award (after the IHO determined that the school district denied the student a FAPE).  The student had reading delays, and was frequently absent from classes.  The school district had failed to address the student’s absenteeism, and sought to place the student in a 15:1 classroom.

The hearing officer ruled that the student required a higher level of support, and ordered 1:1 reading instruction structured in such a way to allow the student to attend a vocational program.  The student, seeking 1:1 private tutoring for his reading instruction, appealed the IHO’s decision, but the SRO determined the 1:1 instruction ordered by the hearing officer was sufficient.  However, the SRO did modify the hearing officer’s order to ensure that the student received multisensory reading instruction.

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Court rejects parents’ claim that transition plan was defective

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Rosinsky by Rosinsky v. Green Bay Area School District, 53 IDELR 193 (E.D. Wis. 2009):  The Court concluded that although the school district may have violated the IDEA by failing to invite a student’s county caseworker to all of the student’s IEP meetings, the school district did not deny the student a FAPE.  The fact that the student, who was other health impaired (cognitive disability and speech and language disability), was making progress toward his transition goals demonstrated that the school district provided the student with an appropriate transition plan.

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Determination of what postsecondary goals to include on a child’s transition plan must be individualized and may not be based solely on the severity of the child’s medical condition and developmental needs.

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Letter to Heath, 54 IDELR 171 (OSEP 2009):  The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) explained that the IDEA provides no exception to the requirement that transition plans include postsecondary employment goals, even for students with severe medical conditions and developmental needs.  OSEP noted that “[w]hile including employment goals in the IEPs of some students with severe medical conditions and developmental needs may be upsetting to their parents, the IDEA does not provide an exception for this requirement based on the nature of the child’s disability.”  The only area in which postsecondary goals are not required is in the area of independent living skills.

Since no other exception exists, and since OSEP does not even have the authority to waive this requirement, any determination as to what postsecondary goals should be included on a child’s IEP is to be made by the IEP team to ensure that the goals reflect the child’s present needs, strengths, preferences, and interests.

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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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