Freedom of Information Act

FOIA Release: FCPS’ Jane Strong and VDOE’s Samantha Hollins; E-Mails, May 5 and May 13, 2020

These May 5 and May 13, 2020 e-mails were obtained via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

They are between Jane Strong, director of Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) Office of Special Education Procedural Support, and Samantha Hollins, assistant superintendent of the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) Department of Special Education and Student Services.

Jane explores using waivers to graduate students who weren’t expected to graduate.

We are working on it

Crisis Management Messaging: Gov. Cuomo’s, Gov. Northam’s, VDOE’s, and FCPS’ Staff on “Distance Learning”

“Sorry this got to you and James”.
—Scott Brabrand, FCPS Superintendent.

4.21.20, Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) Superintendent Scott Brabrand emailed this apology to Donald R. Fairheart, Deputy Superintendent and Chief of Staff, Division of School Quality, Instruction, and Performance, VDOE. James is James Lane, Superintendent of the Virginia Department of Education.

His “sorry” followed an email from Alexander Cochran, Special Counsel to the Governor for Federal Affairs, Office of Governor Cuomo, to Stacey Brayboy, Director of the Virginia Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, warning about FCPS’ failures to launch.

FCPS: “We’re Not Using the IEP During Covid-19 . . . Students May Not Be Found Eligible”

“. . . we’re not using the IEP during COVID-19â€. —Andrew Guillen, manager due process and special education services

This is just one of the quotes from the 4.13.20 “TLP Procedural and Instructional Guidance Training†FCPS provided to staff — and just one of many that are cause for concern.

The presentation indicates: 1) FPCS did not have IEPs or TLPs in place when their online campus for distance learning launched April 14th. Instead, the day before, staff members were being advised on TLPs.

Freedom of Information Act

FOIA Release: FCPS “TLP Procedural and Instructional Guidance Training” (4.13.20)

4.13.20: Video Slideshow accompanying “TLP Procedural and Instructional Guidance Training” presented by Dawn Schaefer, coordinator for due process and eligibility; Andrew Guillen, manager due process and special education services; Kellie Cochran, coordinator for special ed related services.

Obtained via FOIA request.

Transcript provided by Special Education Action.

FCPS Makes Case Against Providing Comp Ed, FAPE, and PWNs

Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) issued a Notice of Complaint (NOC) in response to a systemic complaint filed on behalf of six Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) students.

FCPS’s response to the complaint makes a case AGAINST providing compensatory education in response to the cessation of in-person instruction during the 2019-20 school year, based on an argument that schools weren’t open and FCPS isn’t responsible for closed and/or partial days.

“Big 8” Letter Requests Special Education Waivers; Children Put Behind 8 Ball

FCPS provided a document saved as “Lane Special Ed Letter”, in response to a FOIA request. The letter itself lists one waiver after another related to special education, as divisions “try to navigate the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Instead of requesting more supports to ensure provision of FAPE for students and to help teachers, the letter states, “Our goal is to reduce the administrative burden on special education staff . . . ”

“Hot Topics”

I received this internal “Hot Topics” Region 4 document in response to a FERPA request. I didn’t ask for it.

When I opened the file, I noticed tracked changes on the document. I clicked them and everything Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) incorrectly redacted popped up, to include names of students, their lawyers, monies paid, and so on.

The document including concerning information, to include FCPS acknowledging some of the very issues that I and other parents have complained about for year, such as failure to identify special education students, failure to implement programs related to Dyslexia with fidelity, and privacy violations.

Virginia Regulation Restricts Parent’s IEE Rights

Section 300.502 of IDEA 2004 does not state that the Local Education Agency (LEA) or the State, may 1) set a below-market price cap on the evaluations; 2) place limits on the the type of evaluation and the assessments within the evaluation; 3) nag parents to state the reason for their IEE request or put any other burden upon the parents; or 4) require the IEE provider to edit its evaluation upon request of the LEA or State.

However, Fairfax County Public Schools has done all of the above.