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STATE OF NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SPECIAL EDUCATION OFFICE

State Education Building 300 Don Gaspar Avenue Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786 Phone (505) 827-6541 Fax (505) 827-6791

July 21, 2003

Focused Monitoring Report on Services for Students with Disabilities Los Lunas Schools

Mr. Bill Moffatt Acting Superintendent Mr. Michael Ogas Asst. Superintendent of Special/Alternative Education Mrs. Wilma Smith Coordinator for Special Services

Approved by: _________________________________________ Sam Howarth

State Director of Special Education

Los Lunas Public Schools Summary of Focused Monitoring Process

Statutory Authority for State Department of Education Monitoring The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides federal funds to assist states in educating children with disabilities and requires each participating state to ensure that school districts and other publicly funded educational agencies in the state comply with the requirements of the IDEA and its implementing regulations.1 New Mexico state law requires local school districts to provide appropriate special education and related services and requires the State Board of Education (SBE) to establish, monitor and enforce regulations governing special education programs in the New Mexico public schools and in all institutions wholly or partly supported by the state.2 The SBE has adopted regulations implementing those requirements.3 The Special Education Office of the State Department of Education (SDE) supervises and conducts the focused monitoring process in furtherance of the state's obligations under the IDEA and New Mexico law. The Monitoring Team The SDE authorized the following team of monitors and consultants to conduct on-site monitoring in the Los Lunas Schools from January 13th to 17th, 2003: Team Leader Mae Taylor, Ph.D. Team Members Charity Lee Shirley Dean Louise Naranjo Rhonda Phillips Steven Stile Team Consultant Trudy Potts

The IDEA regulations require the state educational agency to ensure that the federal regulatory requirements are carried out statewide and that all educational programs for children with disabilities in the state are under the general supervision of the state educational agency and meet the state's educational standards. 34 CFR Sec. 300.600.

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Section 22-13-5, New Mexico Statutes Annotated, 1978 Compilation (NMSA 1978).

The current state special education regulations are codified at Title 6, Chapter 31, Part 2 of the New Mexico Administrative Code (6.31.2 NMAC).

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Introduction: Focused Monitoring in New Mexico

Focused monitoring is a new way of determining compliance with federal and state special education laws and regulations while also addressing educational benefit. Focused monitoring emphasizes two major areas of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1997: access to the general curriculum and improved educational performance for children with disabilities. While focused monitoring includes some aspects of traditional monitoring of public schools, such as on-site visits, file reviews, interviews with staff members, students and parents and corrective actions to address findings of noncompliance, it differs from traditional monitoring in other important respects: · Instead of visiting all New Mexico school districts on a rotating basis, focused monitoring uses information from the state Accountability Data System (ADS) to select districts with wide variances from the state averages on key indicators for students with disabilities. These indicators cover the most important compliance issues as well as measurable aspects of educational benefit. Monitoring visits and corrective actions focus on the specific processes related to the indicators that put districts on the "visit" list and are aimed at helping districts improve their performance on those indicators.

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In 2001, a statewide group of stakeholders identified three key focus areas for New Mexico school districts. The development of the focus areas was guided by the U.S. Department of Education's January 2000 monitoring report on the State Department of Education's performance in supervising IDEA compliance by public schools in New Mexico. The focus areas are: · · · Identification and evaluation of students with disabilities, emphasizing possible overidentification of students as learning disabled; Least restrictive environment, emphasizing inclusion of students with disabilities in regular classes to the maximum extent appropriate with access to the general education curriculum; and Performance of students with disabilities on statewide assessments of educational development.

During the 2001-02 school year, 13 districts received on-site focused monitoring visits and some are being asked to implement district improvement plans. Those districts are being followed by the SDE Special Education Office and were not included when selecting districts for those indicators in the 2002-03 school year. In June 2002, the stakeholders met to review the focused monitoring process as implemented in the 2001-02 school year and plan the next steps. The stakeholders identified an additional focus area for which monitoring visits will occur in the 2002-03 school year. The additional indicator identified by the stakeholders was:

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Participation of students with disabilities in the standard administration of statewide assessments.

The methodology and rankings for choosing districts for focused monitoring are explained on the Special Education Office's web page of the State Department of Education's web site at www.sde.state.nm.us. Printed copies of the explanations and rankings are available from the Special Education Office at the address on the cover page of this report.

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Selection Criteria The Las Lunas School District was selected for focused monitoring during the 2002-03 school year under the following categories: 1. Regular Classroom/Least Restrictive Environment Variable -- This category examines the percentage of students with disabilities who are placed in regular education settings for more than 80% of the school day. Data from the December 2001 count showed that 25.7% of the district's students with disabilities spent more than 80% of their time in the regular classroom setting compared to the New Mexico average of 34.7%. 2. Test Participation Variable-- Data from the CTBS/TerraNova statewide achievement test showed that during the 2000-01 school year, 12.6% of the district's students with disabilities in grades 3-9 participated in the test under standard administration compared to the number of students with disabilities on the 120th day of 2000-2001 in grades 3-9. The state average for students with disabilities participating in the test under standard administration was 25.5% and the average for the enrollment group in which Los Lunas is included was 22.7%. 3. Test Score Variable--Results of the statewide achievement test scores on the CTBS/TerraNova for 2000-01 school year showed that 20% of the district's students with disabilities who took the test under standard administration scored at or above 40%ile in reading (composite scores). This was compared to the state average of 36.2% and an average of 35.6% for all districts in the enrollment group for which the Los Lunas data was included for purposes of this monitoring activity. Additional Data Other district data reviewed and analyzed prior to or during the on-site visit included the following: · District Special Education Funding Report · Referral to Special Education Packets · IEP Forms and Directions · Initial Evaluation Reports · Reevaluation / Interim Testing Reports · Student Demographics · Students by Setting and Percentage of Students in Each Setting · Over/Under Representation-- Ethnicity Data from Accountability Data System (ADS) · Referral to Special Education Tracking Data · Special Education Parent Handbook · Student Assistance Team (SAT) Handbook · District Professional Development Plan

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District Demographic Information Los Lunas Public Schools employs approximately 617 teachers to serve 8,343 students with 1,625 of those students identifies with special needs. The district consists of 8 elementary schools, 3 intermediate schools, 2 middle schools, one high school, one alternative high school, and one family school. The ethnic make-up of the district is 28% Anglo, 60% Hispanic, 7% Native American, and <5% other. Dates and Sites Visited

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01/14/03 ­Ann Parish Elementary, Valencia Elementary, Katherine Gallegos Elementary 01/15/03 ­ Las Lunas Elementary, Raymond Gabaldon Intermediate, and Las Lunas Middle 1/16/03 ­ Las Lunas High School Team Strategies, Methods, and Activities On-Site

In conducting the on-site visit, the team carried out the following activities:

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Interviewed 25 parents during a parent input meeting Interviewed 14 parents by telephone, or in person Reviewed 38 student records which included student IEPs, evaluation reports, report cards, and class schedules Interviewed two district administrators Interviewed 42 school site personnel in 7 schools, including 11 regular educators, 17 special educators, 7 head teachers, and 7 principals Observed services being provided to students with disabilities in 10 special education and regular education classrooms Reviewed district professional development activities

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Methodology for Identification of Findings of Noncompliance The team gathered information from 1) parent and/or student interviews; 2) staff interviews; and, 3) record reviews. Record reviews included cumulative student records, SAT information, standardized test scores, ADS reports, and other documentation provided by the district. Systemic noncompliance was established when corroborating evidence was gathered from at least two of the above-mentioned sources. However, if in the course of its review of student records, the team identified substantial patterns of regulatory errors, then another basis for systemic noncompliance was established. The team leader compiled the monitoring team's on-site findings and submitted them for review to the SDE Special Education Office. A draft of this report was prepared by the SDE's focused monitoring team and has been reviewed, revised, and approved by the SDE's Special Education Office and its legal counsel as necessary. This report is issued to the district in preliminary form until the district has reviewed the findings and has developed an Improvement Plan that is approved by the SEO. Once approved, the State Director of Education will sign the plan and it will be issued to the district as the complete and final report. Summary of On-Site Findings The monitoring team found systemic noncompliance in three areas, as follows: 1. The evidence demonstrates that placement decisions do not meet the requirement of serving students in the least restrictive environment that is appropriate to each student's individual needs. Students with disabilities are not provided appropriate access to the general curriculum and are not educated with children who are not disabled to the maximum extent appropriate for three related reasons:

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IEP teams do not adequately consider how a child's disability affects his or her ability to be involved in the general curriculum and to be educated in regular classes. As a result, placement and instructional decisions do not reflect adequate efforts to compensate for the effects of the disability while educating the child alongside nondisabled peers. Parents (and students) are not ensured participation in decisions for program placements. The widespread nonparticipation of regular education teachers in IEP team meetings, as discussed separately under Area of Concern No. 2 below, further hampers the identification of instructional accommodations, modifications, and supports for students and staff that could allow more students with disabilities to remain in regular classrooms. Lack of training and professional development opportunities for all educators in supporting students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment.

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2. The evidence demonstrates that regular education teachers are not participating as part of the IEP team in making decisions regarding behavioral interventions or identifying appropriate supplementary aids, services, and supports that could enable more students with disabilities to remain in regular classrooms. 3. In addition to the previously identified concerns relating to the contents of IEPs, the evidence demonstrates that IEPs are not individualized and designed to provide students a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

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IEPs do not demonstrate consideration of: Parent concerns for enhancing the education of their child All special factors; specifically behavior, communication, and assistive technology The results of the child's performance on any general State- or districtwide assessment programs Documentation does not include: Representation from all required members of the IEP team Annual goals and short term objectives/benchmarks that are measurable and related to the New Mexico Content Standards and Benchmarks Alternate Assessment Addendum to document why the statewide assessment is not appropriate For students 14+, appropriately developed transition plans

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These findings and the supporting evidence are discussed in the sections that follow. The report concludes with a framework for the district to propose an improvement plan to address the identified areas of noncompliance.

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Area of Concern: Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Description of Findings of Noncompliance:

The evidence demonstrates that placement decisions do not meet the requirement of serving students in the least restrictive environment that is appropriate to each student's individual needs. Students with disabilities are not provided appropriate access to the general curriculum and are not educated with children who are not disabled to the maximum extent appropriate for three related reasons:

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ON-SITE FINDING NO. 1

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IEP teams do not adequately consider how a child's disability affects his or her ability to be involved in the general curriculum and to be educated in regular classes. As a result, placement and instructional decisions do not reflect adequate efforts to compensate for the effects of the disability while educating the child alongside nondisabled peers. Parents (and students) are not ensured participation in decisions for program placements The widespread nonparticipation of regular education teachers in IEP team meetings, as discussed separately under Area of Concern No. 2 below, further hampers the identification of instructional accommodations, modifications, and supports for students and staff that could allow more students with disabilities to remain in regular classrooms. Lack of training and professional development opportunities for all educators in supporting students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment.

Applicable Regulations:

Subsections (C)(1), (2)(b), and 2(h) of 6.31.2.11 NMAC Least Restrictive Environment-- The district must comply with all applicable federal requirements in regards to providing services to students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment that is appropriate to each student's individual needs in compliance with 34 CFR Secs. 300.550-300.556. In determining the least restrictive environment for each student's needs, IEP teams shall devote particular attention to several factors, including the required continuum of alternative placements as specified in 34 CFR Sec. 300.551 and the requirement of 34 CFR Sec. 300.503 that the written notice of proposed placement include a description of any other options considered and an explanation of the reasons why those options were rejected. 34 CFR Sec. 300.550 General LRE Requirements-- The district shall ensure that to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities are educated with children who are nondisabled; and that special classes, separate schooling or other removal from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids or services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. Subsection (A) of 6.31.2.8 NMAC Right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)--All children with disabilities aged 3 through 21 who reside in New Mexico, including children with disabilities who have been suspended or expelled from school, have the right to a free appropriate public education that is made available by one or more public agencies in compliance with all

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applicable requirements of 34 CFR Part 300 (especially Secs. 300.121, 300.300-300.313, 300.340300.350 and 300.550-300.556) and these or other SBE rules and standards. 34 CFR Sec. 300.300 Provision of FAPE (3)(ii)--The services and placement needed by each child with a disability to receive FAPE must be based on the child's unique needs and not on the child's disability. 34 CFR Sec. 300.552 Placements-- In determining the educational placement of a child with a disability each district shall ensure that the placement decision is made by a group of persons, including the parents, and other persons knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of the evaluation data, and the placement options. Unless the IEP requires some other arrangement, the child is educated in the school that he or she would attend if nondisabled. Each district must also ensure that a child with a disability is not removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general curriculum. 34 CFR Sec. 300.551 Continuum of Alternative Placements-- Each public agency shall ensure that a continuum of alternative services is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services. 34 CFR Sec. 300.347(a)(1)-(4) Content of IEP-- The IEP for each child with a disability must include-- (1) A statement of the child's present levels of educational performance, including how the child's disability affects the child's involvement and progress in the general curriculum (i.e., the same curriculum as for nondisabled children); (2) A statement of measurable annual goals, including benchmarks or short-term objectives, related to meeting the child's needs that result from the child's disability to enable the child to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum; (3) A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child to be involved and progress in the general curriculum, to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities and to be educated and participate with other children with disabilities and nondisabled children in the activities described in this section; (4) An explanation of the extent, if any, to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in the regular class and in the activities described in paragraph (a)(3) of this section Subsection (C)(8) of 6.31.2.7 NMAC Definitions--The "general curriculum" under 34 CFR Sec. 300.347(a) means the same curriculum that a public agency offers for nondisabled children. Subsection (D) of 6.31.2.11 NMAC Performance Goals and Indicators-- The Content Standards and Benchmarks from the State Board of Education's Standards for Excellence for all children attending public schools shall provide the basic performance goals and indicators for children with disabilities in the general curriculum. The general curriculum and the Content Standards and Benchmarks shall only be modified to the extent necessary to meet the needs of individual children with disabilities as determined by the IEP teams in individual cases.

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Supporting Evidence:

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The IEP form that the district uses has an LRE Justification section on page four, which includes a preprinted statement, "To provide opportunities to receive individualized and small group support services." There is also a place to mark "Other" as the justification and leaves space for an individualized statement of need, however, in almost all 38 files reviewed the preprinted statement was selected. This does not show reasoning based on a student's individual need. In 15 out of 38 file reviews, there was no explanation as to how the child's disability affects his or her involvement and progress in the general curriculum. In 8 of the 38 files reviewed, the documentation in the records showed only a need for modifications in the general curriculum and no indication of need for a segregated placement. In 10 of 38 files reviewed, the Prior Written Notice of Action form did not describe any other options considered or why they were rejected. Other files included very general statements such as "This program will meet her needs" and "[name withheld] tries to avoid her work." During staff interviews, teachers indicated a variety of considerations that were taken into account prior to a placement decision being made: "Where special education is provided is determined by reading levels." "They need to be working at their academic level." "Social and behavior can be accommodated in regular, it's the academic needs that puts a student in more restrictive." Three teachers reported "Too many students at one time." One teacher provided the example of 38 students in one class. During staff interviews, 5 of 17 special education teachers indicated that goals and objectives are not related to the New Mexico Content Standards and Benchmarks. Teachers reported using other sources to develop goals such as: "developmental needs," functional skills," or "Brigance testing." During staff interviews, two teachers reported that four students were unable to participate in extra-curricular activities or after-school programs because of a teacher's lack of willingness to work with the student or teachers not willing to accommodate student needs. During staff interviews, lack of training and professional development for working with students with disabilities was a common response to questions. One special education teacher stated that district trainings are all about regular education. Special education teachers get to pick one workshop every year related to special education. During parent interviews, 2 of 14 parents stated that assistive technology was provided but that the teachers had no training in how to use it. During the parent meeting, 12 of 25 parents reported that students were "fit into" a program, rather than an individualized program developed for them. One parent commented, "Special education is like a box, and regular education teachers don't want to deal with kids in that box." During the parent meeting, 13 of 25 parents thought that their child could be educated more in the regular classroom, if given the opportunity. During parent interviews, 5 of 14 parents reported that the IEP team did not discuss how their student might be supported in the regular classroom. All five of the parents thought that their child could be supported more in the regular classroom. During parent interviews, 3 of 14 parents stated that only one option for placement was discussed at the IEP meeting.

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Comments and Discussion:

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The majority of parents from the parent meeting or during phone interviews indicated that the district has made many positive strides in the past year, but still needed to concentrate on improvements. The IEP form itself has space under the "What do we know about..." section to allow the IEP team to provide information specific to the student's needs and document how the student's disability affects his or her involvement and progress in the general curriculum. However, many of the files reviewed did not provide enough specific information to justify the placement decisions made by the IEP teams. During file reviews, the descriptions for present levels of educational performance were unclear and nonspecific on most IEPs. A typical statement on many IEPs was "below grade level." During file reviews, the monitoring team found that students within the same class often had the same or very similar IEPs. IEPs did not appear to be developed to address each student's unique individual needs. During interviews, many regular and special education teachers indicated a strong need and interest for more training in the areas of IEP development, relating goals and objectives to the New Mexico Content Standards and Benchmarks, and the decision-making process for supporting students in the LRE.

Option to Provide Alternative Evidence:

If the district disputes this citation under the issue above, then it must convey that decision in writing to the SDE's Special Education Office (SEO) within 30 days from the date of this report. The SEO will then select and review the samples described below. If the alternative evidence provided by the sample does not meet the standard of compliance, the district will amend its improvement plan as required on pages 23 to 26 of this report to include the citation. Alternative Evidence Sample In 100% of 20 records of students who are currently placed in special education at extensive or maximum levels, the documentation will include statements that clearly explain: (1) how the student's disability affects progress in the general curriculum; (2) the extent to which the child will not participate in the general curriculum, regular classes and extracurricular activities with peers who are nondisabled; (3) any options to removal from regular classes that were considered and the reasons why they were rejected; and (4) evidence that the IEP team gave meaningful consideration to any input provided by the parent(s) and the student, if applicable, regarding placement and program decisions. The record sample will be selected by SEO using student numbers from the most current completed ADS student file. If the district does not dispute this citation, then it must develop an improvement plan for this citation as required on pages 23 to 26 of this report and submit the plan in writing to the SDE's Special Education Office (SEO) within 30 days from the date of this report.

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Area of Concern: Participation of Regular Teacher Description of Findings of Noncompliance:

The evidence demonstrates that regular education teachers are not participating as part of the IEP team in making decisions regarding behavioral interventions or identifying appropriate supplementary aids, services, and supports that could enable more students with disabilities to remain in regular classrooms.

ON-SITE FINDING NO. 2

Applicable Regulations:

Subsection C (f) of 6.31.2.11 NMAC Least Restrictive Environment--In meeting the IDEA's least restrictive environment requirements, IEP teams shall pay particular attention to the requirement of 34 CFR Sec. 300.346 (d) that the regular education teacher of a child with a disability, as a member of the IEP team, must assist in determining the supplementary aids and services, program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child in compliance with Sec. 300.347 (a)(3). 34 CFR Sec. 300.344(a)(2) IEP Team Members--The IEP team for each child with a disability must include at least one of the child's regular education teachers, if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment. 34 CFR Sec. 300.346 (d) Requirement with respect to regular education teacher--The regular education teacher of a child with a disability, as a member of the IEP team must, to the extent appropriate, participate in the development, review, and revision of the child's IEP, including assisting in the determination of (1) appropriate positive behavioral interventions and strategies for the child; and (2) supplementary aids and services, program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child.

Supporting Evidence:

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In file reviews, 12 out of 38 records were missing the regular education teacher signature. In interviews with teachers and administrators there were many statements made to indicate that regular education teachers are not involved in the IEP process. Information provided to the monitoring team included: "The special education teacher does all the modifications," stated a regular education teacher. Information gathered at the middle school indicated that regular education teachers are not involved in the IEPs and administration only attends if needed. No regular education teachers attend IEPs for students in segregated settings. At one school, the regular education teacher is assigned a special education student and is asked how to accommodate that student after the initial IEP meeting has taken place. That regular education teacher is involved in subsequent IEPs but not the initial IEP.

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A district administrator stated that regular education teachers are required to be at IEP meetings but one issue is that it is difficult to get them to the meetings and another is "teacher attitudes." During interviews with principals, four out of seven reported that there are no written policies regarding the role of the regular education teacher in the IEP process. When asked what would happen if a special education student was not making progress in a regular education class, one regular education teacher stated that the special education teacher documents it and revises goals but that the regular education teacher was not involved. Another regular education teacher stated that she didn't know because she was not involved. During interviews with teachers and administrators, three staff indicated that one reason teachers are opposed to having students with disabilities in their classes has to do with the student: teacher ratio. During interviews with regular education teachers, 2 of 11 teachers reported that they had to wait months to get copies of the modifications sheet and be told what they were responsible for implementing. During teacher interviews, 3 of 11 teachers stated that more collaboration time between regular and special educators was needed to facilitate communication. During parent interviews, 4 of 14 parents reported that the regular education teacher was not working on the student's identified goals as written in the IEP. During the parent meeting, several comments were made regarding regular education teachers: One parent reported that regular education teachers have a problem with flexibility of scheduling to accommodate ancillary services. Another parent stated that regular education teachers have negative attitudes regarding having students with disabilities in their classroom and several other parents concurred with that statement. A parent stated, "It's me against the school...the regular teacher is opposed."

Comments and Discussion:

The U.S. Department of Education's official interpretations of the IDEA regulations describe the function of the regular education teacher on the IEP team as follows: Very often, regular education teachers play a central role in the education of children with disabilities (H. Rep. No. 105-95, p. 103 (1997); S. Rep. No. 105-17, p. 23 (1997)) and have important expertise regarding the general curriculum and the general education environment. Further, with the emphasis on involvement and progress in the general curriculum added by the IDEA Amendments of 1997, regular education teachers have an increasingly critical role (together with special education and related services personnel) in implementing the program of FAPE for most children with disabilities, as described in their IEPs. Accordingly, the IDEA Amendments of 1997 added a requirement that each child's IEP team must include at least one regular education teacher of the child, if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment (see Sec. 300.344(a)(2)). (See also Secs. 300.346(d) on the role of a regular education teacher in the development, review and revision of IEPs.) 34 CFR Part 300, Appendix A, Question 1.

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24. What is the role of a regular education teacher in the development, review and revision of the IEP for a child who is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment? As required by Sec. 300.344(a)(2), the IEP team for a child with a disability must include at least one regular education teacher of the child if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment. Section 300.346(d) further specifies that the regular education teacher of a child with a disability, as a member of the IEP team, must, to the extent appropriate, participate in the development, review, and revision of the child's IEP, including assisting in-- (1) the determination of appropriate positive behavioral interventions and strategies for the child; and (2) the determination of supplementary aids and services, program modifications, and supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child, consistent with 300.347(a)(3) (Sec. 300.344(d)). Thus, while a regular education teacher must be a member of the IEP team if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment, the teacher need not (depending upon the child's needs and the purpose of the specific IEP team meeting) be required to participate in all decisions made as part of the meeting or to be present throughout the entire meeting or attend every meeting. For example, the regular education teacher who is a member of the IEP team must participate in discussions and decisions about how to modify the general curriculum in the regular classroom to ensure the child's involvement and progress in the general curriculum and participation in the regular education environment. Depending upon the specific circumstances, however, it may not be necessary for the regular education teacher to participate in discussions and decisions regarding, for example, the physical therapy needs of the child, if the teacher is not responsible for implementing that portion of the child's IEP. In determining the extent of the regular education teacher's participation at IEP meetings, public agencies and parents should discuss and try to reach agreement on whether the child's regular education teacher that is a member of the IEP team should be present at a particular IEP meeting and, if so, for what period of time. The extent to which it would be appropriate for the regular education teacher member of the IEP team to participate in IEP meetings must be decided on a case-by-case basis. 25. If a child with a disability attends several regular classes, must all of the child's regular education teachers be members of the child's IEP team? No. The IEP team need not include more than one regular education teacher of the child. If the participation of more than one regular education teacher would be beneficial to the child's success in school (e.g., in terms of enhancing the child's participation in the general curriculum), it would be appropriate for them to attend the meeting.

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26. How should a public agency determine which regular education teacher and special education teacher will be members of the IEP team for a particular child with a disability? The regular education teacher who serves as a member of a child's IEP team should be a teacher who is, or may be, responsible for implementing a portion of the IEP, so that the teacher can participate in discussions about how best to teach the child. If the child has more than one regular education teacher responsible for carrying out a portion of the IEP, the LEA may designate which teacher or teachers will serve as IEP team member(s), taking into account the best interest of the child. In a situation in which not all of the child's regular education teachers are members of the child's IEP team, the LEA is strongly encouraged to seek input from the teachers who will not be attending. In addition, (consistent with Sec. 300.342(b)), the LEA must ensure that each regular education teacher (as well as each special education teacher, related services provider, and other service provider) of an eligible child under this part (1) has access to the child's IEP, and (2) is informed of his or her specific responsibilities related to implementing the IEP, and of the specific accommodations, modifications and supports that must be provided to the child in accordance with the IEP . . .. 34 CFR Part 300, Appendix A, Questions 24-26.

Option to Provide Alternative Evidence:

If the district disputes this citation under the issue above, then it must convey that decision in writing to the SDE's Special Education Office (SEO) within 30 days from the date of this report. The SEO will then select and review the samples described below. If the alternative evidence provided by the sample does not meet the standard of compliance, the district will amend its improvement plan as required on pages 23 to 26 of this report to include the citation. Alternative Evidence Sample In 100% of 20 records, the documentation will show evidence of regular education teacher participation in the IEP process by signature or if not present at the meeting, by documentation of input from the regular education teacher. If the district does not dispute this citation, then it must develop an improvement plan for this citation as required on pages 23 to 26 of this report and submit the plan in writing to the SDE's Special Education Office (SEO) within 30 days from the date of this report.

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Area of Concern: Development, Review, and Revision of the IEP Description of Findings of Noncompliance:

In addition to the previously identified concerns relating to the contents of IEPs, the evidence demonstrates that IEPs are not individualized and designed to provide students a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

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ON-SITE FINDING NO. 3

IEPs do not demonstrate consideration of: Parent concerns for enhancing the education of their child All special factors; specifically behavior, communication, and assistive technology The results of the child's performance on any general State- or district-wide assessment programs Documentation does not include: Representation from all required members of the IEP team Annual goals and short term objectives/benchmarks that are measurable and related to the New Mexico Content Standards and Benchmarks Alternate Assessment Addendum to document why the statewide assessment is not appropriate For students 14+, appropriately developed transition plans

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Applicable Regulations:

Subsection B of 6.31.2.11 NMAC Individualized Education Programs-- The district must comply with all applicable federal requirements in the development, review, and revision of individualized education programs (IEPs). 34 CFR Section 300.346 Development, review and revision of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) -- In developing each child's IEP, the IEP team shall consider the strengths of the child and the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child and the results of the child's performance on any general State or district-wide assessment programs. The IEP team shall also consider five special factors: behavior, limited English proficiency, vision, communication, and assistive technology. 34 CFR Section 300.344 IEP team--The public agency shall ensure that the IEP team for each child with a disability includes--(1) the parents of the child; (2) at least one regular education teacher (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment); (3) at least one special educator; and (4) a representative of the public agency who--(i) is qualified to provide,

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or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction; (ii) is knowledgeable about the general curriculum; and (3) Is knowledgeable about availability of resources for the public agency. Subsection (D) of 6.31.2.11 NMAC Performance Goals and Indicators-- The general curriculum and the [State Board of Education's] content standards and benchmarks shall only be modified to the extent necessary to meet the needs of the individual children with disabilities as determined by the IEP teams in individual cases 34 CFR Section 300.347 (a) and (b) Content of the IEP-- The content of the IEP for each child with a disability must address the following areas specifically identified in this regulation: · How the child's disability affects his/her involvement in the general curriculum · A statement of measurable annual goals, including short-term benchmarks or objectives related to enabling the child to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum · Supplementary aids, services, and supports for the child and/or school personnel to enable the child to attain annual goals, or to be involved and progress in the general education curriculum · If the IEP team determines that the child will not participate in a particular state- or district-wide assessment, a statement of why that assessment is not appropriate and how that child will be assessed. · Beginning at age 14, a statement of the transition service needs that focus on the student's courses of study · Beginning at age 16, a statement of needed transition services, including if appropriate, a statement of interagency responsibilities or any needed linkages 34 CFR Section 300.347 (b) Transition Services --The IEP must include (1) for each student with a disability beginning at age 14, and updated annually, a service statement of the transition service needs of the student under the applicable components of the student's IEP that focuses on the student's courses of study; and (2) beginning at age 16, a statement of needed transition services for the student, including, if appropriate, a statement of the interagency responsibilities or any needed linkages.

Supporting Evidence:

· · · · · ·

In 3 of 38 files reviewed, there was no signature to represent district administration. On another 24 records a "Head Teacher" signed. In 4 of 38 files reviewed, the signatures of both the regular and special education teacher was missing. Only the signature of the "Head Teacher" and the parent was on the document. In 23 of 38 records reviewed, the IEPs contained no documentation of consideration of parental concerns. During parent interviews it was reported that 5 of 14 parents were not asked about their concerns for their student. During parent interviews, 6 out of 14 parents stated that their concerns were not considered in the development of the IEP. During parent interviews, 5 of 14 parents indicated that their student's needs were not being addressed. Issues identified included academics, behavior plans, and assistive technology.

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· ·

·

·

· ·

·

· · · ·

·

During parent interviews, 2 of 14 parents stated that their students need assistive technology but those needs were not considered. During parent interviews, 5 of 14 parents indicated that their child could benefit from related services but those services were not provided. One parent stated the reason as, "I was told that there was not enough staff." In 38 of 38 file reviews, the records showed no consideration of four out of five special factors. The IEP form has a specific section to document English language proficiency but does not specifically address behavior, visual, communication, or assistive technology considerations. In the records of three students identified with behavior concerns, behavior goals or interventions are not included in the IEP. One IEP included documentation in the "What do we know about..." section that stated, " X needs help with safety and behavior." During parent interviews, two parents stated that the CTBS TerraNova testing scores were not considered during IEP meetings. During staff interviews, 8 out of 17 special education teachers reported that the results of the statewide achievement testing are not considered or discussed during the IEP process. Reasons provided by the teachers included: "it is only frustrating;" "it's not appropriate," and "it's not helpful." The district IEP form has a "Participation in Mandated District and State Testing section to document how the student will participate in the statewide assessment and the selection box for indicating the Alternate Assessment includes directions to attach the Alternate Assessment Addendum and supporting documents. In five records, the Alternate Assessment was indicated but there was no addendum or supporting documentation attached. In file reviews, 5 of 38 records do not show documentation of how the student will participate in the statewide assessment. In 10 of 38 records reviewed, the IEPs did not contain measurable annual goals or objectives. One parent commented that their student has had the same goals for 4-5 years. Even though the district IEP form includes a space specifically to refer to the New Mexico Content Standards and Benchmarks for each annual goal, 11 out of 38 records did not include such a reference. In five of nine files reviewed at the high school, transition plans were incomplete or not addressed at all.

Comments and Discussion:

·

In 24 of 38 records reviewed, a "head teacher" signed on the IEP. The district's IEP form has a designated line on the signature page for head teacher. During interviews with staff, it was determined that the head teacher often takes the role as the administrative representative on the team but usually does not sign the IEP as the administrative representative. It was also reported during interviews, that the head teacher does not have the authority to commit district resources and if a need for resources were identified prior to the meeting, then either the principal or a representative from the district special education office would attend the meeting.

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34 CFR Sec. 300 Appendix A to Part 300--Notice of Interpretation, Question 22 provides in relevant part as follows: Who can serve as the representative of the public agency at an IEP meeting? The IEP team must include a representative of the public agency who: (a) Is qualified to provide; or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities; (b) is knowledgeable about the general curriculum; and (c) is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency. Each public agency may determine which specific staff member will serve as the agency representative in a particular IEP meeting, so long as the individual meets these requirements. It is important, however, that the agency representative have the authority to commit agency resources and be able to ensure that whatever services are set out in the IEP will actually be provided. A public agency may designate another public agency member of the IEP team to serve as the agency representative, so long as that individual meets the requirements of 34 CFR 300.344 (a)(4).

Option to Provide Alternative Evidence:

If the district disputes this citation under the issue above, then it must convey that decision in writing to the SDE's Special Education Office (SEO) within 30 days from the date of this report. The SEO will then select and review the samples described below. If the alternative evidence provided by the sample does not meet the standard of compliance, the district will amend its improvement plan as required on pages 23 to 26 of this report to include the citation. Alternative Evidence Sample 1. Documentation in 100% of a 20-record sample of students who are currently placed in special education will show consideration of the following: (1) parent concerns; (2) all special factors; and (3) State- or district-wide assessment results. The record sample will be selected by the SEO using student numbers from the most current completed ADS student file 2. In 100% of the 20-record sample, the SEO will verify that the following parts are in compliance with regulation: (1) IEPs will include signatures of all required IEP team members; (2) measurable annual goals and short term objectives/benchmarks that are related to the New Mexico Content Standards and Benchmarks; and (3) for students who are 14+, a transition plan that includes a course of study and for students 16+, a statement of needed transition services. The sample will be selected by SEO using student numbers from the most current completed ADS student file If the district does not dispute this citation, then it must develop an improvement plan for this citation as required on pages 23 to 26 of this report and submit the plan in writing to the SDE's Special Education Office (SEO) within 30 days from the date of this report.

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ADDITIONAL PROFESSIONAL CONCERNS

The SDE strongly urges the district to examine the following concerns and take steps to resolve them as appropriate.

· At Las Lunas High School, six special education teachers and their students were crowded into

a single classroom, creating a very restrictive environment. Special education services should be provided in facilities comparable to that of regular education students.

· During an observation of special education students in a regular classroom, two students did not

have textbooks and had to share with other students.

· During file reviews, three records indicated that three-year reevaluations were overdue. Also, at

the parent meeting, two parents reported that they had to wait a long time for initial testing for their child to receive special education. One parent reported that her child was held back because the district could not get the child tested for special education. The child was finally tested just before Christmas in the next school year. In Attachment 1 to the IDEA regulations, Analysis of Comments and Changes, Federal Register, Vol. 64, No. 48, page 12581 (March 12, 1999), OSEP states that most states are able to meet a timeline of 60 calendar days from receipt of parent consent to an initial evaluation and they consider this to be reasonable. It is recognized, however, that it may, for some children take longer, and for some, it could be done in a shorter period of time.

· In many of the IEPs, services were described as minutes per year. Through interviews with

staff, it was reported that this was a practice recommended by district administration. 34 CFR Sec. 300 Appendix A to Part 300--Notice of Interpretation, Question 35, provides in relevant part as follows: Must the IEP specify the amount of services or may it simply list the services to be provided? The amount of services to be provided must be stated in the IEP, so that the level of the agency's commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members (CFR 34 Sec. 300.347 (a)(6)). The amount of time to be committed to each of the various services to be provided must be (1) appropriate to the specific service, and (2) stated in the IEP in a manner that is clear to all who are involved in both the development and implementation of the IEP. The amount of special education or related service to be provided to a child may be stated in the IEP as a range only if the IEP team determines that stating the amount of services as range is necessary to meet the unique needs of the child. A range may not be used because of personnel shortages or uncertainty regarding the availability of staff. (Emphasis added.)

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The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has provided guidance in this matter in its Letter to Copenhaver, 21 IDELR 1183, (OSEP, 1994). It has stated that the IEP must be clear to all who are involved in its development and implementation. "It would be inconsistent with that requirement to adopt a practice of using a range of time for a particular service. In a situation where a child's disability and unique educational needs cannot be reflected through a daily allocation, public agencies should determine weekly allocations for amount of services." Listing special education services as an amount per year is a problematic practice for several reasons: 1. It may confuse parents, as well as staff implementing the IEP 2. It opens the possibility of the student not being served over an extended period of time and services being compacted into a shorter time span 3. Compacted instruction is not conducive to learning. Massed practice of skills is not as beneficial to learning as the practice of skills distributed consistently over time.

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GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPING AN IMPROVEMENT PLAN FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

The Improvement Plan needs to be a comprehensive, interdisciplinary plan that targets district-wide improvement. In order to assure that the plan is comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and district-wide, the development team must include the district superintendent (or an administrator with the authority to commit district time and resources), the special education director, the professional development coordinator, the EPSS coordinator, a representative from federal programs, and the curriculum & development coordinator. Other participants could include teacher representatives from regular and special education, parents, and/or a local REC consultant. This plan must not be a uniquely special education response developed in isolation from other district initiatives. 1. The team will review the report findings, areas of concern, and the expected evidence of change. The team will use the attached document to develop the Improvement Plan. 2. The team will describe exactly what will be done differently to attain the evidence of change. 3. The team will identify resources available within the district and from outside the district that will be needed to implement those changes. 4. The team will review and coordinate this plan with other district initiatives. 5. The team will develop targeted, specific Tasks/Activities and describe what will take place, by Whom, and When. The team will identify any products, materials, documentation, or action plans that are to be developed in the Deliverables column of the Improvement Plan. 6. For each targeted activity, the team will document in the Why column what is being done differently and what the expected impact will be in addressing the required evidence of change. 7. The plan will also include how the specific targeted activities will be followed up, monitored, and maintained by the district to ensure that the expected changes take place. This information will be included in the District Follow-up/Evaluation column of the Improvement Plan.

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IMPROVEMENT PLAN FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES IN LOS LUNAS SCHOOL DISTRICT

Area of Noncompliance #1: The evidence demonstrates that placement decisions do not meet the requirement of serving students in the least restrictive environment that is appropriate to each student's individual needs. Students with disabilities are not provided appropriate access to the general curriculum and are not educated with children who are not disabled to the maximum extent appropriate for three related reasons:

· · · ·

IEP teams do not adequately consider how a child's disability affects his or her ability to be involved in the general curriculum and to be educated in regular classes. As a result, placement and instructional decisions do not reflect adequate efforts to compensate for the effects of the disability while educating the child alongside nondisabled peers. Parents (and students) are not ensured participation in decisions for program placements The widespread nonparticipation of regular education teachers in IEP team meetings, as discussed separately under Area of Concern No. 2 below, further hampers the identification of instructional accommodations, modifications, and supports for students and staff that could allow more students with disabilities to remain in regular classrooms. Lack of training and professional development opportunities for all educators in supporting students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. TASKS/ACTIVITIES WHEN BY WHOM WHY DELIVERABLES DISTRICT FOLLOW-UP/EVALUATION

Required Evidence of Change: In November of 2004, the SEO will request that the district bring a 20-record sample to the SDE for review. In the 20-record sample of students who are currently placed in special education, the documentation will include statements clearly explain: (1) how the student's disability affects progress in the general curriculum; (2) the extent to which the child will not participate in the general curriculum, regular classes and extracurricular activities with peers who are nondisabled; (3) any options to removal from regular classes that were considered and the reasons why they were rejected; and (4) will show evidence that the IEP team gave meaningful consideration to any input provided by the parent(s) and the student, if applicable, regarding placement and program decisions. The sample will be selected by the SEO using student numbers from the most current completed ADS student file. Standard: 100% of files reviewed will contain the required information.

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Area of Noncompliance #2: The evidence demonstrates that regular education teachers are not participating as part of the IEP team in making decisions regarding behavioral interventions or identifying appropriate supplementary aids, services, and supports that could enable more students with disabilities to remain in regular classrooms. TASKS/ACTIVITIES WHEN BY WHOM WHY DELIVERABLES DISTRICT FOLLOW-UP/EVALUATION

Required Evidence of Change: In the 20-record sample, the documentation will show evidence of regular education teacher participation in the IEP process by signature or if not present at the meeting, by documentation of input from the regular education teacher. Standard: 100% of the records will show input from the regular education teacher as appropriate.

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4. Area of Noncompliance #3: In addition to the previously identified concerns relating to the contents of IEPs, the evidence demonstrates that IEPs are not individualized and designed to provide students a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

·

IEPs do not demonstrate consideration of: Parent concerns for enhancing the education of their child All special factors; specifically behavior, communication, and assistive technology The results of the child's performance on any general State- or district-wide assessment programs Documentation does not include: Representation from all required members of the IEP team Annual goals and short term objectives/benchmarks that are measurable and related to the New Mexico Content Standards and Benchmarks Alternate Assessment Addendum to document why the statewide assessment is not appropriate For students 14+, appropriately developed transition plans WHEN BY WHOM WHY DELIVERABLES DISTRICT FOLLOW-UP/EVALUATION

·

TASKS/ACTIVITIES

Required Evidence of Change: 1. Documentation in the 20-record sample of students who are currently placed in special education will show consideration of the following: (1) parent concerns; (2) all special factors; and (3) State- or district-wide assessment results. The sample will be selected by the SEO using student numbers from the most current completed ADS student file 2. In the 20-record sample, the SEO will verify that the following parts are in compliance with regulation: (1) IEPs will include signatures of all required IEP team members; (2) measurable annual goals and short term objectives/benchmarks that are related to the New Mexico Content Standards and Benchmarks; and (3) for students who are 14+, a transition plan that includes a course of study and for students 16+, a statement of needed transition services. Standard: 100% of records will contain the required documentation.

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The district team, as signed below, accepts the above Improvement Plan, and assures that all responsible parties will complete tasks as outlined in order to meet the determined "evidence of change". POSITION

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________ __________________________ __________________________

TEAM MEMBERS

_________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________

DATE

______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________

Important Notes · Each activity in this Improvement plan is, of course, subject to, and must be carried out in compliance with, the detailed procedural requirements of the IDEA and the corresponding

state and federal regulations. In no event, however, may the district leave its obligations toward these findings of noncompliance unresolved.

· The file on this Improvement Plan will remain open pending the SDE's satisfaction that the required elements of this plan are accomplished within the deadlines above. The district is

to be advised that the SDE maintains jurisdiction over the findings of noncompliance until it is officially closed by this agency and that failure to comply with the plan may result in further consequences from the SDE. STATE APPROVAL: The above plan has been reviewed and approved by the State Department of Education, Special Education Office. This report is now complete and final. ____________________________________________________ Sam Howarth Date State Director of Special Education REQUIRED FOLLOW-UP: The district is requested to submit brief narrative reports detailing the progress and completion of each task as outlined in the above Improvement Plan. Please submit these reports on the 30th of each month to Ms. Pepper Skodack who is the SDE consultant assigned to monitor the district's progress with the Improvement Plan and be the point of contact at the SDE about this plan from here forward. CLOSURE: The evidence of change as described in the above plan has been met and the monitoring of this plan is officially closed as of ______________ by ____________________. Date Consultant

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IMPROVEMENT PLAN FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES IN LOS LUNAS SCHOOL DISTRICT

Area of Noncompliance #1: The evidence demonstrates that placement decisions do not meet the requirement of serving students in the least restrictive environment that is appropriate to each student's individual needs. Students with disabilities are not provided appropriate access to the general curriculum and are not educated with children who are not disabled to the maximum extent appropriate for three related reasons:

· · · ·

IEP teams do not adequately consider how a child's disability affects his or her ability to be involved in the general curriculum and to be educated in regular classes. As a result, placement and instructional decisions do not reflect adequate efforts to compensate for the effects of the disability while educating the child alongside nondisabled peers. Parents (and students) are not ensured participation in decisions for program placements The widespread nonparticipation of regular education teachers in IEP team meetings, as discussed separately under Area of Concern No. 2 below, further hampers the identification of instructional accommodations, modifications, and supports for students and staff that could allow more students with disabilities to remain in regular classrooms. Lack of training and professional development opportunities for all educators in supporting students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment.

TASKS/ACTIVITIES WHEN 2003 ­ 2004 school year Nov. 12, 2003 BY WHOM Central Office Staff, Administrators, Teachers WHY To continue ensuring that all special education students have the opportunity to avail themselves of the general curriculum, including standards and benchmarks that are tied to IEP goals and objectives DELIVERABLES Sign-in sheets documenting attendance of the meeting meeting agendas meeting handouts Professional development forms Teacher lesson plans IEPs DISTRICT FOLLOW-UP/EVALUATION The district will continue to self monitor IEPs through random checks. Fifteen IEP's (newly written or updated) will be reviewed monthly by special services staff including diagnosticians, coordinators, assistant superintendent, child find team, head teachers, etc. to ensure that annual goals and objectives are measurable and related to the NM Content Standards and Benchmarks. The district will ensure that staff has the opportunity to enhance their awareness, through attending these trainings, in the delivery of instruction that allows special education students to have access to the general curriculum through modifications and other supports as deemed appropriate in their IEP.

A. Provide training on aligning the IEP Goals & Objectives to the State's Standards & Benchmarks, & District Curriculum for special education students in both special education and regular education classrooms. Special education head teachers and at least one regular education teacher from each grade level will be trained from each school site.

-

-

. B. Provide training on Least Restrictive Environment to all staff. Specific information to be covered will include IDEA requirements for LRE and the IEP decision making process. Also, how LRE decisions are documented in the IEP (e.g. through prior written notice, service delivery schedules, defining responsible parties for implementing goals and where services are to occur). 2003 ­ 2004 school year Jan. 5, 2004 Susan Martinez from REC 9 (she may possibly bring a team from UNM) Central Office Staff, Administrators, Teachers To continue ensuring that special education students are served in the least restrictive environment that is appropriate to their individual needs sign in sheets - agendas - IEPs - in district memos and directives In monitoring the success of training, the district will review the "setting data" every 40 day ADS reporting period in order to track LRE tends. Current data indicates that our district is seeing improvement on the # of students being served 80% or more of the day in the general education classroom. ( 2000 = 25%, 2001 = 25.7%, 2002 = 30%). The district will continue to increase the number of students served in setting 1 and will decrease the number of student receiving services in a segregated setting (setting 3).

Training will also include consideration of parent and student input in the decision making process. Training will be offered to all certified (special and regular education) staff on the in-service day immediately following Christmas Break C. The district will continue to require training for all staff regarding how to prepare for an IEP meeting and required documentation that indicates present levels of performance and progress in the general curriculum. This training will also include how parents and students will be ensured participation in decisions for program placements and options. 2003 ­ 2004 school year Sept. 24, 2003 Central Office Staff, Administrators, Teachers To provide accurate and consistent data across the district sign in sheets agenda handouts checklist

Special Services will randomly check 15 IEPs per month to ensure LRE decisions are documented in the IEP (e.g. through prior written notice, service delivery schedules, defining responsible parties for implementing goals and where services are to occur)

Training will increase the likelihood that staff comes to IEP meetings adequately prepared with Present Levels of Performance. The IEP review process mentioned above (15 IEP's per month); will also be used to monitor that staff is implementing the information gleaned from the trainings. During the review a checklist will be used that includes a check for 1. clear statements of how the student's disability affects progress in the general curriculum 2. meaningful statement of the extent to which the child will not participate in the general curriculum, regular classes and extracurricular activities with peers who are nondisabled 3. documentation of any options to remove from regular classes that were considered and the reasons why they were rejected 4. check for evidence that the IEP team gave meaningful consideration to input from parents and students 5. Feedback forms will be provided to staff regarding any missing or incomplete information on the IEP's reviewed.

Required Evidence of Change: In November of 2004, the SEO will request that the district bring a 20-record sample to the SDE for review. In the 20-record sample of students who are currently placed in special education, the documentation will include statements clearly explain: (1) how the student's disability affects progress in the general curriculum; (2) the extent to which the child will not participate in the general curriculum, regular classes and extracurricular activities with peers who are nondisabled; (3) any options to removal from regular classes that were considered and the reasons why they were rejected; and (4) will show evidence that the IEP team gave meaningful consideration to any input provided by the parent(s) and the student, if applicable, regarding placement and program decisions. The sample will be selected by the SEO using student numbers from the most current completed ADS student file. Standard: 100% of files reviewed will contain the required information.

1.

Area of Noncompliance #2: The evidence demonstrates that regular education teachers are not participating as part of the IEP team in making decisions regarding behavioral interventions or identifying appropriate supplementary aids, services, and supports that could enable more students with disabilities to remain in regular classrooms. TASKS/ACTIVITIES WHEN SY03-04 including June and July `04 BY WHOM Central Office Staff, Administrators, Teachers WHY To ensure regular education teachers are active participants in the IEP process. DELIVERABLES IEPs Sign-in sheets Agendas Random checks by Special Education Administrators. Time cards IEP signature page Documentation from AESOP Time cards IEP signature page -Sign-in sheets. The district will compare sign in sheets to staff teacher lists to determine who will need "make up sessions" which will be scheduled as needed -Agendas -Training materials DISTRICT FOLLOW-UP/EVALUATION The District will continue to self monitor IEPs through the review described above. The check list will include checking for teacher attendance by input documented in the IEP and teacher signature on the IEP. Also, the LEA representative attending the meeting, will document teacher participation at the meetings they attend by summarizing the input they offered to the committee. The District will continue to provide funding for substitutes.

D. The district will continue to require that all regular education teachers participate in IEP meetings.

E. The district will continue to provide substitute coverage for teachers to attend IEP meetings. F. The district will compensate teachers to attend IEP meetings beyond the contract day. G. The district will provide training for all staff in behavior interventions.

SY03-04 including June and July `04 SY03-04 including June and July `04 SY03-04 including June and July `04 Nov. 12, 2003 Dec. 10, 2003 Jan. 28, 2004

Central Office Staff, Administrators, Teachers Central Office Staff, Administrators, Teachers Central Office Staff, Administrators, Teachers

To ensure regular education teachers are active participants in the IEP process. To ensure regular education teachers are active participants in the IEP process. To provide regular education teachers with skills necessary to modify the regular education learning environment for students, including those students with IEPs.

The District will continue to provide funding for substitutes.

-

-

Follow up survey for staff in attendance to offer feedback on the quality of training. Included in the survey will be a narrative on how each teacher will utilize the information learned as part of their daily routine in their classroom. Classroom visits / observations by principals and head teachers will monitor instructors implementation of modifications and behavior plans. The District will continue to self monitor IEPs through the review described above. The check list will include checking IEPs for appropriate behavior plans and/or behavior goals and objectives.

H. The district will continue to provide all certified staff, instructionsl aides, and ancillary services personnel with training in identifying and implementing appropriate accommodations for special education students.

SY03-04 including June and July `04 Sept. 24, 2003? Nov. 12, 2003 Dec. 10, 2003 Jan. 28, 2003

Central Office Staff, Administrators, Teachers

To provide regular education teachers with skills necessary to modify the regular education learning environment for students, including those students with IEPs.

Sign-in sheets to document all staff has attended this training Agendas Training materials

Review of IEP's as stated above. The checklist will include a review of modifications and accommodations documented on the IEP. Classroom visits will verify that accommodations are occurring These visits will be conducted by site administration and head teachers to ensure teachers are implementing the modifications on a regular basis. This will be documented on the administration's observation form during their walk through classroom visits.

Required Evidence of Change: In the 20-record sample, the documentation will show evidence of regular education teacher participation in the IEP process by signature or if not present at the meeting, by documentation of input from the regular education teacher. Standard: 100% of the records will show input from the regular education teacher as appropriate.

1.

Area of Noncompliance #3: In addition to the previously identified concerns relating to the contents of IEPs, the evidence demonstrates that IEPs are not individualized and designed to provide students a free appropriate public education (FAPE). · IEPs do not demonstrate consideration of: Parent concerns for enhancing the education of their child All special factors; specifically behavior, communication, and assistive technology The results of the child's performance on any general State- or district-wide assessment programs Documentation does not include: Representation from all required members of the IEP team Annual goals and short term objectives/benchmarks that are measurable and related to the New Mexico Content Standards and Benchmarks Alternate Assessment Addendum to document why the statewide assessment is not appropriate For students 14+, appropriately developed transition plans WHEN 2003 ­ 2004 school year Sept, 24, 2003 Nov. 12, 2003 Dec. 10, 2003 Jan. 28, 2003 BY WHOM Central Office Staff Administrators, Site Administrators, Teachers, IEP Team members *Outside entities may also be used to facilitate training or to train our trainers (e.g. Parents Reaching Out, SDE Special Education Unit, Suzan Martinez) WHY To demonstrate that IEPs are individualized, and to provide students a free appropriate public education DELIVERABLES sign in sheets noting any teachers that did NOT attend the training and information regarding how these teachers will receive the information meeting agendas training materials professional development forms teacher lesson plans IEPs DISTRICT FOLLOW-UP/EVALUATION The district will continue to self monitor IEPs as stated above the checklist for this area on noncompliance will include a check for consideration of: 1. parent concerns 2. special factors; specifically behavior, communication and assistive technology 3. the results of any state or district-wide assessments 4. Additionally the checklist will include a check for documentation of all required members attend IEP meeting 5. annual goals and short term objectives are measurable and related to the NM Content Standards 6. Alternate Assessment Addendum to document why the statewide assessment is not appropriate 7. an appropriately developed transition plan for all students 14+ years old - The district will ensure all staff is implementing what they learned in the district provided training through classroom visits and surveys as mentioned above.

·

TASKS/ACTIVITIES I. Offer required training on aligning the IEP Goals & Objectives to the State's Standards & Benchmarks, & District Curriculum for special education students in both special education and regular education classrooms In addition to the training mentioned above, the following topics will specifically be addressed: -Parent concerns -Special factors specifically behavior, communication, and assistive technology -Results of child's performance on any standardized assessment -Representation from all required members of the IEP team -Annual goals and short term objectives/benchmarks that are measurable and related to the New Mexico Content Standards and Benchmarks -Alternate Assessment Addendum to document why the statewide assessment is not appropriate -For students 14+ appropriately developed transitions plans

-

Required Evidence of Change: 1. Documentation in the 20-record sample of students who are currently placed in special education will show consideration of the following: (1) parent concerns; (2) all special factors; and (3) State- or district-wide assessment results. The sample will be selected by the SEO using student numbers from the most current completed ADS student file 2. In the 20-record sample, the SEO will verify that the following parts are in compliance with regulation: (1) IEPs will include signatures of all required IEP team members; (2) measurable annual goals and short term objectives/benchmarks that are related to the New Mexico Content Standards and Benchmarks; and (3) for students who are 14+, a transition plan that includes a course of study and for students 16+, a statement of needed transition services. Standard: 100% of records will contain the required documentation.

The district team, as signed below, accepts the above Improvement Plan, and assures that all responsible parties will complete tasks as outlined in order to meet the determined "evidence of change". POSITION

__________________________ __________________________ __________________________ __________________________ __________________________

TEAM MEMBERS

_________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________

DATE

______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________

Important Notes · Each activity in this Improvement plan is, of course, subject to, and must be carried out in compliance with, the detailed procedural requirements of the IDEA and the corresponding state and

federal regulations. In no event, however, may the district leave its obligations toward these findings of noncompliance unresolved.

· The file on this Improvement Plan will remain open pending the SDE's satisfaction that the required elements of this plan are accomplished within the deadlines above. The district is to be

advised that the SDE maintains jurisdiction over the findings of noncompliance until it is officially closed by this agency and that failure to comply with the plan may result in further consequences from the SDE. STATE APPROVAL: The above plan has been reviewed and approved by the State Department of Education, Special Education Office. This report is now complete and final. ____________________________________________________ Sam Howarth Date State Director of Special Education REQUIRED FOLLOW-UP: The district is requested to submit brief narrative reports detailing the progress and completion of each task as outlined in the above Improvement Plan. Please submit these reports on the 30th of each month to Ms. Pepper Skodack who is the SDE consultant assigned to monitor the district's progress with the Improvement Plan and be the point of contact at the SDE about this plan from here forward. CLOSURE: The evidence of change as described in the above plan has been met and the monitoring of this plan is officially closed as of ______________ by ____________________. Date Consultant

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