FCPS Knows Its IEPs are Noncompliant, Leads Hearing Officer, Virginia Dept. of Ed., Staff, and Parents to Believe Otherwise

Dawn Schaefer, director of Fairfax County Public Schools' (FCPS) Office of Special Education Procedural Support and Michelle Boyd, FCPS's former assistant superintendent for the Department of Special Services (from 2020 through July 2023) and now assistant superintendent of region six, have a history of advising parents, staff, Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), and/or Virginia hearing officers that FCPS’s IEPs are in compliance with IDEA and implementing state regulations—even though VDOE's state complaint letters of finding and its 2022 monitoring report, and the two-year special education audit FCPS commissioned itself, indicate otherwise.

September 14, 2022, Michelle and Dawn admitted FCPS's IEPs are in noncompliance with IDEA and state regulations, that FCPS was changing the PLOP page in the IEP to a Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) page, and moving meeting notes to a different section. This contradicts Dawn's 2020 testimony to Due Process Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell (see transcript below).

A slide at the 00:42:05 mark of the September 14 presentation (read the minutes and presentation slides or watch the presentation) by Dawn states “updates to the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) section of the individualized education program (IEP) [are] being proposed to foster collaboration of all members of the IEP team and ensure all IEP components, outlined in the Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia is documented, are documented [sic].”

Yet, there's never been a PLAAFP page, so the change is more a matter of it being added, not updated.

At the 00:51:44 mark, Dawn Schaeffer states the change “brings our practice into alignment with special education regulations.

At the 1:34:00 mark: Michelle Boyd states, “We sat and met as a team to ensure we would be able to be in accordance with Virginia Special Education Regulation.”

At the 1:35:00 mark, Michelle Boyd states, “The spirit of these changes truly are, as we shared, to bring us into compliance with our special education regulations.”

FCPS Two-Year Special Education Audit

FCPS contracted with the American Institutes for Research® (AIR®) in October 2020 to conduct an independent, third-party review of its special education program. September 26, 2022, FCPS released the final report for the audit, which identified numerous areas of noncompliance, to include, but not limited to the following about FCPS's PLOP page:

Pages 49 & 50:

Most present levels of performance statements rely on subjective information rather than objective, measurable terms.”

“Within each student’s IEP, state regulations require the PLOP statement to include the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance and a rationale for how the child’s disability affects involvement and progress in the general curriculum (34 CFR 300.320(a)(1)). The regulations also require PLOP statements to be written in objective, measurable terms to the greatest extent possible and include test scores, if appropriate. Finally, PLOP statements should be directly related to the other components of the IEP. Within FCPS IEPs, a PLOP statement appears with each annual goal and is customized for that particular area. Therefore, if an IEP includes an annual goal for reading and an annual goal for mathematics, there are two unique PLOP statements. Quality PLOP statements should clearly identify all areas of need as well as the supports necessary to address those needs, specific and measurable baseline data, and strengths related to the areas of need. PLOP statements can include data from state testing, diagnostic assessments, classroom assessments, progress monitoring, universal screeners, teacher reports, observation data, and other sources.”

"Our review identified a discrepancy between staff and parent perceptions about use of data within the IEPs and the documentation of data within the IEPs reviewed. On the staff survey, 95.7% of staff agreed or strongly agreed that IEPs are developed in alignment with each student’s present level of academic and functional performance, and 94.5% of staff agreed or strongly agreed that present levels of academic and functional performance are based on data, including comprehensive evaluation results (see Appendix Exhibit D7). Results from the parent survey were similar; 93.2% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that their child’s IEP was developed using multiple sources of data, including results from evaluations (see Appendix Exhibit E13). Despite these perceptions, results from the IEP review point to a lack of quantitative data reported within IEP documents."

"AIR reviewed all PLOP statements in the IEPs (see Appendix Exhibit C9). In addition, we reviewed other sections of the IEP (i.e., information related to the PLOP page) to understand whether the IEPs noted any data elsewhere in relation to PLOP statements. Our team defined objective, measurable data as any numerical or quantifiable information (e.g., solves problems with 95% accuracy, reads at a fifth-grade reading level). Our review found that only 26% of the IEPs in our sample included objective, measurable data in the PLOP statements. The other 74% of IEPs reported subjective information rather than objective, measurable data. For example, one PLOP statement for a mathematics goal read as follows: [Student’s name] is an enthusiastic student who enjoys experiencing success in math class. She has shown the ability to solve grade-level math problems with the aid of a calculator. [Student’s name] sometimes experiences difficulty solving more complex, multistep math problems. She sometimes requires extra help to learn a new math concept. Although this example is in parent-friendly language, it does not provide enough detail to clearly articulate the baseline level of performance. The term “sometimes” is subjective and should be clarified to give the reader a clear picture of how often the student has difficulty with multistep problems (e.g., three of five times, 60% of the time). In addition, the sample PLOP statement names a general area of need (e.g., complex multistep math problems) but does not provide any details on what constitutes a “complex multistep math problem.” More detail is needed to fully explain the type of multistep math problem the student struggles with (e.g., multistep problems involving multiplication, multistep word problems involving addition with regrouping).

"Despite agreement from parents that data are used to develop IEPs, the lack of objective, measurable data reported within PLOP statements (i.e., areas of strengths and needs) was palpable to some parents as reported in focus groups. For example, one parent commented:

"So for me, I had to do a written request to get the IEP goals one week in advance of the IEP meeting. And I found a lot of the goals were not, or even the areas of strengths and needs were not well written. There were literally a cut and paste of the same paragraph repeated over several sections. My child had just been through a triennial eligibility assessment, which have multiple assessments for speech and psychological assessment. And the teacher assessments…BRIGANCE and all those things, none of that narrative was included in his areas of strengths and needs that would drive some of the goals. I, as a parent, had to go back through all those tests and sift out the areas of strengths and needs and send a draft to the teacher to include in the follow-up IEP meeting.

"PLOP statements should be data driven and individualized to describe the current levels of each student. Moreover, PLOPs must be written in objective, measurable terms and include multiple sources of data documented within the IEP itself to ensure accurate record keeping over time and across case managers."

Pages 52-53:

"According to federal regulations, the IEP development process should be a collaboration between all members of the multidisciplinary team. On the FCPS IEP form, IEP teams must provide a statement of parent/family concerns regarding their child’s education to guide the PLOP statement (e.g., parent reports that the child likes school, parent would like the child placed in all general education classes).

"Our review identified a discrepancy between perceptions of parent involvement in the IEP process from the surveys and parent input documented on the IEPs. The parent and staff surveys asked respondents to indicate their level of agreement that IEPs were developed with adequate input from parents (see Appendix Exhibits D7 and E13). Results show similar rates of agreement among staff (92.2%) and parents (93.9%). Despite these perceptions, results from the IEP sample review show minimal documentation of parent input on IEP documents (see Appendix Exhibit C8). Nearly 38% of the IEPs in our sample did not include any written evidence of parent input within the IEP itself. Moreover, among the subsample of the full history evaluations, 84% included evidence that parents were present for the reevaluation meeting, but only 20% of reports included evidence of parent input on the reevaluation reports. Documenting parent input and concerns within the IEP is a way to document compliance with federal special education regulations that require IEP teams to consider “the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child.”

"IEPs do not consistently document detailed rationales for placement decisions. As part of the annual IEP meeting, the IEP team selects the most appropriate instructional setting(s) and services to support the individual needs of each student. The selection of setting(s) and services should be based on available evaluation data, PLOP statements, and annual goals paired with teacher and parent input. Specific to FCPS, the Special Education Program Sites webpage provides an overview of the programs available to SWDs. In addition, the Special Education Instruction webpage on the FCPS website provides links to the various services available to SWDs.

"In addition to the surveys, our team assessed the extent to which the IEP sample included a rationale for why the special education setting(s) and services were selected (see Appendix Exhibit C21). This includes a rationale for why a student receives special education services in a general education class or why a student receives special education in a separate setting. Only 36% of the reviewed IEPs included a detailed rationale statement. The other 64% of IEPs either had a generic statement not individualized to the student (e.g., “[Student’s name] needs specialized instruction”) or did not provide a reason why the placement would meet the needs of the student. These types of statements do not explain the extent to which the student’s needs will be met in the selected special education setting(s).

"Comments shared by staff during the focus groups provide some insight as to why there are neither detailed nor data-driven rationales for the selection of special education settings documented in IEPs. For example, a staff member commented about parents driving the decisions:

I also think that if you have attorneys and advocates involved, the process is different. We, as a team, may feel based on goals, what the child needs, how they’re functioning in our setting, that certain things are appropriate. If the parents have an advocate or an attorney, what we feel as professionals is not necessarily valued. And I feel like sometimes my PSL comes in, or the office of eligibility will just be like, “Oh, we’re just going to do what they say. We’re just going to do it.” And sometimes, we don’t have the staff and we don’t have the ability to truly meet the child’s needs. But because there’s an advocate and attorney, we’re placing kids in programs and giving them hours. And how we’re doing their hours is different than we would with another family. It’s not allowing us to give kids… Even if it is a more restrictive environment, if that’s what they need, that’s what they need. And I think sometimes the process is different depending on if you can afford an advocate and a lawyer, and if you can’t.

In a different focus group, one staff member commented about staffing or availability of settings driving placement decisions:

I find that as far as academic or the placement… that it’s not necessarily my students’ strengths or weaknesses, it’s that there’s not space in class and things like that. So it doesn’t even come to that point of discussion because it’s just not going to happen.

VDOE's Monitoring Report Identifies Noncompliance

July 18, 2022, VDOE issued a letter to FCPS Superintendent Michelle Reid with the results of its FCPS monitoring. Neither VDOE nor FCPS released the monitoring report to the public, even though it supported parents' complaints that FCPS was failing to propose IEPs that provide FAPE and implement the IEPs in full.

The failure to include objective, measurable data that was identified by AIR in its report was identified by VDOE, too. Whereas AIR discussed the measurements not being included in the PLAAFP, VDOE identified it in the IEP generally, that FCPS's IEPs failed to have statements of measurable goals to meet educational needs. Those measurable goals are supposed to be used on PLAAFP pages to establish a student's present levels. If the goals aren't measurable, present levels can't be identified with accuracy, which leads to students not having IEPs that meet their unique needs).

The following are a few areas of noncompliance VDOE identified:

  • Failure to have statements of measurable goals to meet educational needs.
  • Failure to document concerns of the parent.
  • Failure to obtain input from IEP team members who were excused/unable to attend meeting when discussion were held about that member's area of expertise.
  • Failure to inform parents of the provisions relating to the participation of a Part C representative.
  • Failure to ensure special education teachers are teaching subjects within their teaching license endorsements. (VDOE places this one under "Personnel Assignment", not "IEPs", but if the student has services in the IEP that aren't being provided by appropriately licensed staff, that can come back to failure to implement the IEP.

FCPS Provides False Information to Due Process Hearing Officer

During a 2020 due process hearing, Dawn Schaefer provided false information about FCPS's IEPs to Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell when she maintained FCPS's IEP components—to include the PLOP page—were in compliance with special education regulations. In addition, Dawn and FCPS’s lawyer John Cafferky indicated FCPS believes that it does not have to follow VDOE’s guidance, to include that a) if VDOE issues a warning, FCPS isn't in noncompliance, so taking action isn't necessary; b) that although there were issues with FCPS staff using the PLOP page incorrectly, FCPS is a large county, so problems are to be expected; and c) that due process can’t be used to enforce compliance with a state complaint finding, even though VDOE’s appeal documentation states otherwise.

The following is reflected in the 10.13.20 transcript for the due process hearing, which also shows that FCPS did not train Parent to use online platform used during COVID "closured", as well as other problems with the online platform [emphasis added]:

Parent: Ms. Schaefer, is it coming up on your screen?

Dawn Schaefer: I can see it. It just needs to be bigger if you're wanting me to read anything there.

Parent: Okay. How do I blow it up? Do you know?

Dawn Schaefer: You should be able to on your screen, but I think because you're viewing it side by side, I'll just use the magnification on my screen. Hold on. Am I looking at the left page or the right page?

Parent: Page five. It should be the present level of academic achievement page.

Dawn Schaefer: Okay. I can see it.

Parent: Can you read that -- just read that paragraph that describes what that page is?

Dawn Schaefer: "The present level of academic achievement and functional performance summarize the results of assessments that identify the student's interests, preferences, strengths and areas of need, included assistive technology and/or accessible materials." Oh, it's glitching.  

Parent: Is it back?

Dawn Schaefer: "It also describes the effect of the student's disability on his or her involvement and progress in the general education curriculum. And for preschool children as appropriate, how the disability affects the student's participation in appropriate activities. This includes the student's performance and achievement in academic areas, such as writing, reading, mathematics, science and history/social sciences. It includes the student's performance in functional areas such as self-determination, socialcompetence, communication, behavior and personal management. Test scores, if included, should be self explanatory or an explanation should be included. And the present level of academic achievement and functional performance should be written in objective, measurable terms to the extent possible. There should be a" -- I can't see it now.

Parent: I didn't do anything.

Dawn Schaefer: You closed it.

Parent: What?

Dawn Schaefer: You closed it.

Parent: I didn't mean to. I was trying not to. All right. Are you still there? I think we have enough on it. Has the VDOE ever advised FCPS that its PLOP page is not in line with VDOE's PLOP page? That it doesn't have the right criteria?

Dawn Schaefer: Can you point me to an exhibit, please?

Parent: I can point you to a piece of new evidence if that will be allowed?

John Cafferky: I again object to this. Why do we have a five-day rule—

Parent: Q Do you recall -- do you recall -- do you recall VDOE ever being advised that -- do you ever recall VDOE ever advising FCPS that its PLOP page is not in line with the criteria -- the state's mandated the criteria of the state's PLOP page?

Dawn Schaefer: I believe Mr. Cafferky objected.

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: Yeah, but she's not going to submit that piece of paper. So she's just asking you the question right now.

Dawn Schaefer: And I asked for an exhibit.

Parent: And I asked you do you recall if VDOE ever advised Fairfax County that its PLOP page is not in line with the state mandated regulations for PLOP pages?

John Cafferky: I'm going to make a different objection, Your Honor, which is how is this germane at all to the claims that have been raised in this case, which is not about the congruity or incongruity of IEP forms. It's about special education for [STUDENT]. So –

Parent: And this isn't about forms. This is –

John Cafferky: We're talking about -- I just -- this is just to finish my objection, it's not relevant to the claims in this case.

Parent: It's about my son's IEP and what should and shouldn't be on the IEP. So if Fairfax County's IEPs are not in line -- and I'm not talking about format. I'm talking about regulations. I'm talking about what VDOE wants in an IEP. That's what I'm talking about. And that directly impacts my son.

John Cafferky: Well, it's certainly not a claim that's been articulated in this complaint I would submit. And furthermore—

Parent: It's the content of the IEP.

John Cafferky: -- the regulations are the regulations, regardless of what VDOE thinks, frankly.

Parent: It's the content of the IEP. That is what we're talking about. Did my son's IEP provide FAPE? Well—

John Cafferky: -- object to that question.

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: Are you contending that the absence of these format this format information is impacting his FAPE?

Parent: Yes, ma'am. I am. It's not the format. I mean, I don't care if it's on a piece of paper that's red, white or blue, or triangles or whatever. It's not the format. It's the actual information that VDOE requires versus what Fairfax County has. What is in line with IDEA?

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: All right. I will sustain the objection, but you better get to a point. And you better get to a point quick.

Parent: Okay. Q So has VDOE ever advised – Well, can I skip over that since I asked it and put in my -- and put in the 

Hearing Officer: You have to lay a foundation for the question. You have to lay a foundation.

Parent: Do you recall VDOE ever advising Fairfax County that its PLOP page is not in line with VDOE's regulations?

Dawn Schaefer: I think the premise of your question is wrong. I think you're trying to make a question say something that the finding didn't say.

Parent: Do you recall if VDOE has ever advised Fairfax County that Fairfax County's IEP is not in compliance?

Dawn Schaefer: No.

Parent: Okay. May I submit evidence which shows otherwise?

John Cafferky: Well –

Dawn Schaefer: I think that's your interpretation.

Parent: Well, it's from VDOE.

John Cafferky: Well, the witness can be asked a question about anything that pertains to that, but again, I have an objection to -- and I don't even know what the evidence is -- to submitting additional evidence in the questioning of her own witness.

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: If you're going to establish that Ms. Schaefer is incorrect, then I would like to see it.

Parent: Thank you. Well, it's from the Virginia Department of Education. All right. Let me try this again. Give me a minute.

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: What is it? Is it an opinion letter?

Parent: No. It's a letter of findings. Hold on. It's about to come up. Okay. This is the May 7, 2020, letter issued by the Virginia Department of Education. And I am going to scroll down. 

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: Why didn't you submit this as evidence? It says [Student]. Is this –

Parent: Because I didn't know that -- I was naive and I thought that people would answer correctly. And Ms. Schaefer has already testified that she's involved in all of these complaints and that's part of her job.

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: Well, you should have submitted this in evidence. It's about [Student]. I thought you were going to bring up something else.

Parent: I don't know what else to say. Ms. Schaefer, can you see page 24 and 25 right next to each other?

Dawn Schaefer: I can.

Parent: Can you blow them up and read the last paragraph on page 24, and the first paragraph on page 25?

Dawn Schaefer: Yes. "Further, we caution LEA that as a best practice, the PLOP section of an IEP should be designed to address that which it – that which its name addresses. The student's present levels of academic and functional performance and the regulation is there. While special education regulations mandate the consideration of parental concerns, again, referencing a regulation, nowhere do these regulations dictate the inclusion of summaries of IEP team discussion -- in essence, meeting minutes"

John Cafferky: Okay.

Parent: Hello?

John Cafferky: Yeah.

Parent: Hello?

John Cafferky: Everybody dropped out for a minute, but I'm back.

Parent: Hold on. The whole thing's glitching. Hello?

Dawn Schaefer: I'm here. 

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: We're here, but you need to correct the problem. 

Parent: It's -- it's not me if it's just the whole thing is glitching. It's the connection.

Dawn Schaefer: I can see it fine. Do you want me to continue reading?

Parent: Yes. Just go back to the meeting minutes "Special education regulations mandate" –

Dawn Schaefer: "the consideration of parental concerns and the  regulation is cited. Nowhere do these regulations dictate the inclusion of summaries of IEP team discussion -- in essence, meeting minutes in the IEP document itself as part of student's present levels of performance. We note that in some cases, the inclusion of extensive discussion of informal arrangements, understandings or good practice within the PLOP may prompt confusion between parents and school personnel responsible for IEP implementation. LEA's seeking to document IEP team discussions and detailing parental input may be better advised to develop separate, underlined, IEP meeting minutes or maintain audio recordings of IEP meetings for this purpose."

Parent: Ms. Schaefer, why are Fairfax County's PLOP pages used for minutes rather than just what they're named, as VDOE wrote, which is present level of performance?

Dawn Schaefer: A I think you're generalizing to the entire county. We were not found out of compliance on that letter of findings. That was a caution. It wasn't that our forms are incorrect. It's that they don't think that we were using the form as it was intended, and it was a caution that we need to not use the PLOP page as meeting minutes. That's VDOE's opinion. It wasn't out of compliance. It was a caution. And I'm again, that's why I said to you your -- the basis of your question was incorrect. 

Parent: Okay. So when VDOE, which is the state, offers you a caution, do you take their caution into consideration, or you continue on your same track? 

Dawn Schaefer: It depends on what the caution is.

Parent: In this instance, when they came back and asked each of – suggested using the present level PLOP page for that which it is named, did you change your practices? And I won't ask about the entire county. I'll just ask about [Student].

Dawn Schaefer: I'm not sure.

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: Take that down, please. Please take that down. Thank you.

Parent: Okay.

Dawn Schaefer: I'm not sure if [Student's] team has met since that letter of findings was issued. But I would say that we are reviewing practices regarding the PLOP pages across the county and providing additional guidance to staff about not using them as meeting minutes. Again, we're the tenth largest division in the country with almost 30,000 special education students. And it's something that we are working to train staff on.

John Cafferky: Good news. Good news. I withdraw my objection to that letter of finding. It finds FCPS in compliance. It offers an editorial opinion about howVDOE would do it if they were running the schools. I withdraw my objection to it. [Parent] is welcome to put it into evidence if she wants.

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: Okay.

Parent: Why did they give you a warning? Why did they give you a caution?

Dawn Schaefer: I think that the facts in [Student’s] specific situation warranted them thinking that perhaps because there have been 45 IEP meetings for [Student] since 2016, that there was -- and very little agreement -- that there was too much on the PLOP pages of the IEPs. Much like Ms. Massie testified. [Witnesses are not supposed to hear other witnesses testify and they are not supposed to discuss their testimonies, but since Dawn Schaefer was handling the online platform for the due process hearing, she heard all testimonies and this is an example of her crafting her testimony to match the testimony of another witness.] It's really hard to figure out what's what because there have been so many meetings, and so many conversations, and so many proposals, and so many people involved that I think the caution was for us to streamline and think about how that PLOP page is used rather than using it perhaps as meeting minutes as they characterized it.

Parent: In spite of all the meetings that [Student] has had or IEP meetings that [Student] has had, why would you not still use -- why aren't you using the PLOP page for [Student's] present levels? It doesn't matter how many meetings. Why aren't you using the PLOP page to reflect [Student’s] present levels?

John Cafferky: Objection. Objection to -- the question lacks foundation. She didn't say that they weren't using it to reflect his present levels, she just said they also were using it for meeting minutes.

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: Objection sustained.

Parent: Do [Student’s] IEPs have his present levels listed?

Dawn Schaefer: Can you point me to an exhibit, please?

Parent: All right. Let's go to -- actually, let's go someplace else. Has VDOE ever cautioned Fairfax County that it isn't listing services on its IEPs?

Dawn Schaefer: You're going to need to -- you have filed 36 state complaints.

Parent: Okay.

Dawn Schaefer: If you want to talk about one of those, you're going to have to point me to some evidence.

Parent: All right. For example, if Fairfax County suggested a service for [Student], has VDOE ever come back to Fairfax County and pointed out that Fairfax County did not actually include it on the services page?

Dawn Schaefer: Again, I - - I can't - -

Parent: Okay.

Dawn Schaefer: answer your question without - -

John Cafferky: Objection, overly broad.

Parent: All right. Please turn to Volume 8, No. 15. 

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: Somebody put it up on the screen.

Parent: All right. Give me one second. Hold On.

John Cafferky: Number what?

Parent: Fifteen. Volume eight, number fifteen.

John Cafferky: I don't even have it in what we received. I'll look at it on the screen, I guess.

Parent: Hold on.

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: I can get to your exhibits, but it takes a long time and it wipes out the whole -my whole setup here.

Parent: It's a May 24, '19, letter of findings. Hold on. I almost have it. This process is bulky, doing it this way. A little archaic. Let's see. My goodness gracious. This is a pain in the butt. Hold on.

John Cafferky: While [Parent] is trying to find her exhibit or get her exhibit up on the screen, Your Honor, I just want to make an overarching objection. It seems as though we're going to be going through a bunch of these state complaint letters that [Parent] has filed. And here's my objection. A due process hearing is not a state complaint finding enforcement process.The two processes are separate. They are separate sections of the regulations and if there's not compliance with a state complaint finding, there's a separate enforcement proceeding, essentially it is an enforcement proceeding through the Virginia Department of Education. So if it's [Parent’s] contention that somehow FCPS has not complied with a state complaint finding or corrective action plan or something like that, her recourse is through the Virginia Department of Education, not to a hearing office in a special education case. We're talking about two different enforcement regimes.

Parent: That's not my intention and I never said it was. So we're not going to go through all of them, I just have a few things I want to point out. All right. This is a –

John Cafferky: I

Parent: This is a letter of finding—

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: If it is determined that [Parent] is trying to use this process as an enforcement mechanism for complaints that she filed through VDOE, then your objection is sustained. 

Parent: That is not my intent and I'm just trying to get to the next page. Hold on. Okay. Hold on. All right. Do you see page 53, or is it glitching on your end?

Dawn Schaefer: It's glitching. 

Parent: All right. Let me try. Let me try it again. Excuse me.

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: Fairfax included - - or did you? Include some letters of find - - letter of findings? I read some somewhere where they –

John Cafferky: Sure. There's some in the evidence and we haven't objected to these put in, we haven't raised any objection to them. My point was they are what they are from an evidentiary point of view.

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: No, no, no. What I -- no. That's not the point I'm trying to make. The point I'm trying to make is can we find them in Fairfax books?

John Cafferky: Oh, I don't think that one is -- we put only a couple in. 

Parent: This is -- 24, '19. Do you have that in your book? I'm just having a hard time here with this.

John Cafferky: Well, actually I defer to you, since you put these together.

Dawn Schaefer: Ms. Mitchell, would you like me to put it up?

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: If you have it, yeah. 

John Cafferky: Sure. Okay. Much better.

Parent: Look at that. How do you do it so much faster and how do you get it onto one page instead of two pages? Ms. Schaefer?

Dawn Schaefer: Practice.

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: We don't have time to go through a tutorial, [Parent]. 

Parent: I'm just saying because I want to be able to do it in the future. All right. Please turn to page 53.

Hearing Officer Rhonda Mitchell: Okay.

Parent: Is that 53?

Dawn Schaefer: I'm sorry. What did you say? 

Parent: Page 53.

Dawn Schaefer: This is page 53.

Parent: Okay. Please go to the last open bullet. The last paragraph. Okay. Okay. Hold on. All right. Can you go ahead and read the first two sentences, starting with, "The PLOP in the IEP"? 

Dawn Schaefer: "The PLOP in the IEP developed at the November 2, 2018, facilitated IEP meeting indicated that AP shared that some services for students were not provided earlier in the school year. The school team has arranged for a teacher to provide those services totaling 10 hours to compensate for the missed time based on the IEP service hours." That was two sentences.

Parent: All right. Please turn to page 54 of the same document. Please read the second open bullet starting with, "Five days later."

Dawn Schaefer: "Five days later, at the December 11, 2018, IEP meeting, the PLOP recorded that school team is proposing to provide the 10 hours within the school day during the advisory time to be completed by April 29, 2018." Do you want me to read more?

Parent: Yes, please. It should have -- I'm sorry. The second open bullet is what I wanted you to read that says -- that starts with, "Five days later." 

Dawn Schaefer: That's what I just read. 

John Cafferky: That's what she was just reading.

Parent: The whole thing? Yeah, read the whole thing? 

Dawn Schaefer: "The school team will provide an overview of the focus of the compensatory services to the parent by December 17, 2018. These proposed services did not appear in the services section of the December 11, 2018, addendum."

Parent: Ms. Schaefer, how does a parent provide informed written consent for proposed services that VDOE itself says aren't on the services page?

Dawn Schaefer: Would you like me to stop sharing this now? I -- all I'm seeing is the document.

Parent: That's fine. And, Ms. Mitchell, just so you know, this wasn't -- I mean, this wasn't something that -- I'm not trying to prove a, or retry a complaint. I just want to know -- this is something that VDOE pointed out itself. So how does a parent provide informed written consent for proposed services that VDOE itself says aren't on the services page?

Dawn Schaefer: Those proposed services were compensatory services. They were for missed services, so we wouldn't be putting compensatory services on the services page. Those would need to be outlined either on the PLOP page or in the PWN that goes with -- the prior written notice that goes with the IEP. They wouldn't be listed on the -- on the services page of the IEP. 

And yet, in 2023, after Office for Civil Rights found FCPS in noncompliance, after VDOE monitored FCPS, and after FCPS released the two-year audit of its special education program, FCPS's services page does, indeed, included compensatory education services on it.

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