***Post written by Howard Wakkinen, Conference Graduate Credit Chair for WSPA***
In the midst of providing specialized services and instruction to students who meet the IDEA criteria for an educational disability, school teams sometimes struggle to effectively follow a continuum of specialized services. Special education and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) provide specific supports, instruction, and accommodations / modifications to help struggling learners. IEP teams may consider the following questions and graphic below as they move forward in their planning to meet students’ needs. 1) Once students qualify for special education and IEP services, how often do your teams look at the students’ progress toward specific goals (no, I’m not talking about the legally obliged quarterly progress reports that everyone completes to fulfill this part of the process)? 2) Do your IEP teams and Case Managers examine data from the IEP goals on a regular basis (e.g., weekly for intensive supports or at least monthly for most students)? 3) What progress monitoring tools do you utilize to inform growth and students’ overall progress compared to themselves (and to same grade peers)? 4) How closely do your students’ goals align with the district curriculum to find out how close or how far away the student is performing compared to same grade peers? 5) Have you defined your continuum of specialized services as an IEP team? 6) Have you discussed what the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) truly is for each student?
I am curious how and how often others across the state are looking at students’ data on IEPs? In our district it is usually up to the case manager or the/a gen-ed teacher to bring up that a student may need different (less restrictive/more restrictive) services. Other than the annual review and in rare instances where it is obvious the student needs something different, i’m not sure this is considered. I think this is especially problematic at the secondary levels where children often are failing in an area their IEP team is unaware of and this is never discovered at until the annual review. Even then, if it is not an area they have a goal in this is sometimes not addressed. I feel that a monthly review of student data who are on IEPs would be valuable in helping ensure we are serving all of our students appropriately. Getting this implemented with the time constraints we already have is another story……… Please let me know if you have an effective/efficient way to do this. Thanks!
Hi Matthew! Thank you for your comment / thoughts. It is similar in our district (in LCSD1) in that case managers / gen ed teachers typically drive the process for more/less restrictive services. I agree with you and would like to see us (special education teams) be more active in reviewing data (monthly would be appropriate). With that being said, the battle (like you said) is finding and making the time.
My goal before the end of this year is to get feedback from my teams that will hopefully assist in the creation of a master calendar that allows for one special education PLC per month to discuss our progress monitoring tools / students’ data (and if the tools are producing the data we need to show students’ progress / lack of progress).
What are others doing to ensure data are utilized to support students’ IEPs / specialized services?