Whether you live in Fairfax County, Virginia, or in a different county or state, view this video.
It’s an opportunity to 1) learn what another school division is doing; 2) identify behind-the-scenes practices that are a) problematic and/or b) not occurring according to the training; and 3) to compare against your own division’s practices to a) bring ideas to them and/or b) ask about problem areas behind-the-scenes in your school division.
This presentation was developed by Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).
There are a few stand-out comments to considerâand to contact FCPS (or your school division) about if these items weren’t discussed with you.
Here’s one for now, and then the video and transcript follow:
“The first thing the case manager needs to do is to review the IEP and determine whether or not the goals, accommodations, and services can be delivered in a virtual format.” (@ 02:00 time stamp)~Debbie Lorenzo, Coordinator for the Office of Special Education Procedural Support
Did your son’s or daughter’s case manager do this?
If yes, did the case manager actually take an action outside of “review” and “determine”?
For example, say your son has an accommodation that states teachers must engage with him and sign his plannerâas in the planner that comes in a paper format, in which his assignments are supposed to be hand recorded.
In an online learning environment, that’s not possible. The teachers can’t physically sign his planner.
The accommodation needs to be adjusted for online learning.
Did FCPS (or your school division) go through accommodations, goals, and services with you?
Or are you stuck with accommodations, goals, and services that can’tâand/or aren’tâbeing implemented as written in your child’s IEP?
I know more families that fall in the category of “aren’t being implemented as written” because that very first thing for case managers to do, as stated within the first two minutes of this presentations, did not happen.
Debbie Lorenzo (00:02 time stamp):
Hello everyone, welcome to the return to school virtual IEP guidance document presentation.
My name is Debbie Lorenzo, coordinator for the Office of Special Education Procedural Support. Also presenting with me today are the managers in our office, Angelina Prestipino and Christina Roman.
Today’s presentation will take you through the return to school virtual IEP guidance document.
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for special education teachers and administrators on procedures if amending students individualized education programs (IEP) or holding an annual or initial IEP meeting if required. IEPs will be written to reflect the location and services being provided for the 2020-21 school year.
At IEP meetings planned for August 2020, school staff will discuss special education services includedâ including related services for students for the upcoming school year.
Three documents have been developed for each instructional level to include early childhood and PAC, elementary and secondary. The links for these documents were provided in an action gram on August 5th, and can also be found on the due process and eligibility FCPS intranet page under the heading Return to School Fall 2020.
During this presentation, we will use examples from all instructional levels. Teachers will use the document for the appropriate instructional levels as they follow along in the presentation.
The next few slides will take you through the section titled Steps for Case Managers in determining whether or not a meeting is required, actions needed for both.
The first thing the case manager needs to do is to review the IEP and determine whether or not the goals, accommodations, and services can be delivered in a virtual format.
To start the process, the case manager contacts the parent of each student on their caseload, via phone or email regarding a student’s IEP. Meeting options could include: no meeting, addendum with a meeting, or addendum without a meeting. If you determine that there is no need for a meeting, because the goals, accommodations, and services can be delivered and provided as written, and parent agrees to not hold anything, then provide the parent with a stand-alone prior written notice (PWN).
In the section titled Steps for Case Managers, number two references brick and mortar. To avoid confusion, brick and mortar is referring to pre-COVID-19, when students were attending a school building full time, five days a week. Appendix A contains a prior written notice sample with the important points to include in the standalone PWN, which will be reviewed in an upcoming slide.
This is the matrix found on pages two and three of the guidance document. Use the chart when making a decision as to whether or not to hold an IEP meeting.
This slide demonstrates a scenario in which an IEP meeting may not need to be held. The first column lists the scenarios of levels one and two. The second column describes the number of service hours over five-days school week. Level one means total services are less than 50% of the day, and level two mean services are greater than 50% of the day, in IEPs completed pre-COVID-19. The fourth, the fourth column gives directions for communicating with the parent and next steps. The fifth column indicates that an IEP meeting may not be needed. If the parent agrees to not hold a meeting, write a standalone IEP, which we will review next.
Here is the sample PWN found in Appendix A. In the first box you will document the date and decision made with the parents regarding what FCPS will continue to implement regarding goals, accommodations, and services for virtual instruction.
In the next box, you will include the reasons why the proposal was made.
In the other options considered section, include a statement that a meeting was considered what was not needed.
In the description of information and data used to make the decision, include the current or last agreed upon IEP, IEP progress reports, parent input, and school staff input, in addition to any other data that you may have used and discussed.
In the description of relevant factors to the proposals section, you would include a statement regarding COVID-19, which has been added to the drop down menu on the present level of performance page (PLOP), which, we will review that in a further detailed, in further detail later in this presentation.
Case managers contact the parent when it is determined that a meeting is required. The meeting options could include an initial IEP, an annual IEP, and addendum with a meeting, or an addendum without a meeting. At this time, the case manager, in consultation with other IEP team members, has determined the current IEP cannot be implemented during virtual instruction. The case managers need to follow the steps for setting up a meeting, documenting the context with the parents and sending the IEP invite notice letter with a full copy of the draft IEP. It is recommended that an annual IEP should be completed to include virtual learning for students whose annual IEP is due through September 30, 2020.
This slide demonstrates a scenario in which an IEP meeting needs to be held. As explained previously, the first column lists the scenarios of level one and two. The second column describes the number of service hours over a five-day school week. Level one means total services are less than 50% of the day. And level two means services are greater than 50% of the day in IEPs completed pre COVID-19. The third and fourth columns give directions, communicating with the parent and next steps. In these columns, the decision is that an IEP meeting is required because adjustments will need to be made to goals, accommodations, and or services. The fifth column indicates that an IEP meeting is needed. The sixth column indicates a statement, which will be available from a drop-down menu on the present level performance page (PLOP).
Angelina Prestipino (07:57 time stamp):
The next section is factors to consider for virtual instruction when developing the IEP.
Begin by considering schedule and service hours. Services reflect synchronous instruction provided by a special educator to students. The number of minutes or hours of services should be determined based on individual student needs and the general education schedule. Sample schedules are linked in the appendix section. Keep in mind, the least restrictive environment or LRE still applies.
As you begin to review the IEP goals and think about the setting, consider the purpose of the IEP goal and whether it can be supported in the general education setting. Is the goal for learning or for social interaction, for example? Consider the learner profile. Can the student learn the information in the general education setting with accommodations? Consider the rate of acquisition in the large group and priority of learning Essential Skills specific to that student. Can the student learn the information at the expected rate in a general education classroom with accommodations? Consider whether or not this is a skill that can be addressed in the environment. For example, peer socialization skills, or stair stepping goals in a house with no stairs. Is it a priority and can you balance the needs of the student?
Thinking about the supports and services, when everyone was full time in schools, special education services provided to students with disabilities were designed to provide access to the learning environment within the physical setting. Not all of these same supports and services are required, appropriate, and are feasible during virtual instruction.
If a student requires a device, consider if the student has the device and internet access for these supports. If the student requires additional technology accommodations, such as an augmentative communication device or screen magnifier, contact your principal, AT resource teacher or related service provider to confirm the student has the necessary equipment.
To prepare to consider IEP goals, the IEP team will need to review the current IEP and determine the necessary goals, accommodations, and services for virtual instruction. Consideration should be given to the skills the student will need to learn during the year. Services should address the instructions specifically related to a student’s IEP goals and accommodations on the IEP.
Some students may need related services. Related service providers will be expected to provide a continuum of support and services to students during virtual instruction. Additionally, related service providers may use a combination of service models in order to address student needs.
If a student has an IEP homebound or home-based services, or an IEP team is considering these services, instruction will be provided virtually. Please refer to the appendix for additional guidance.
Services should address specific minutes and hours just on general education schedule offerings. For example, the preschool day is shorter than the elementary and secondary schedules. Refer to the sample schedules found in the appendix.
Customize goals and accommodations to individual students and be sure the synchronous instruction hours provided by a special educator are reflected in the services page.
Remember, asynchronous activities are not included on the services page.
If you’re writing an addendum to propose virtual services, the previously proposed primary and additional related services will already appear on the services page. You will be adding virtual services to the additional related services section only.
If you are writing an annual or an initial IP, begin by proposing in-person services based on 30 hours per week, or 120 hours per month in the primary and additional related services if appropriate. Then you will document the virtual service hours in the additional and related services section on the services page.
We will take the process of documenting service hours in Sea Stars. The following sample is of a student whose IEP is being amended to include the virtual services. As shown, this is the students currently proposed in person, primary and additional related services in Sea Stars. In order to add virtual services, click the Add button in the additional related services box. Sea Stars will add a new service row.
Then click on the drop-down menu, being mindful to select the virtual version of a primary service. It will be listed as the service name followed by the word virtual. Virtual services are concurrent services and will not cause a validation error indicating that the proposed time has exceeded the 30-hour week or 120 hours a month limits.
If the student requires additional or related services, repeat the steps to add additional related services. Be mindful to to select the services that are followed by the word virtual. Please note this sample student’s IEP happens to be due in January and therefore all the end dates align with that review date.
As you are completing the service and review dates for initials, annuals, or addendums, use this guidance to complete the beginning and end dates in Sea Stars. For initial or annual IEPs, the IEP service dates for the in-person and virtual services begin the first day of school and will end on the annual review date.
For addendums with the meeting, the virtual services will begin first day of school and will end on the annual review date.
For addendums without a meeting, the virtual services begin the first day of school and will end on the annual review date.
When the document is converted to a PDF, it will show both in person and virtual hours in the same grid. If a parent should ask why both services are appearing on the document, let them know we do not want to lose what has been previously proposed for in-person instruction prior to COVID-19.
Based on the school schedule, the IEP team will determine how much specialized instruction the student will receive in the general education setting and or special education setting during synchronous learning.
So let’s look at some example service time options, which have been broken down by grade level to include early childhood, preschool resource and PAC, elementary, and middle and high. This section provides some examples of possible service times and teacher responsibilities. Early childhood class students will receive four days a week of synchronous instruction. The maximum number of hours documented on the service page, IEP 320, for preschool class based is four hours and 40 minutes per week. Additional individualized instruction or parent coaching sessions can be conducted on Monday each week as needed.
Early childhood students will receive four days a week of synchronous instruction. The maximum number of hours documented on the services page, IEP 320, for PAC is six hours and 40 minutes a week and one hour a week for early childhood resource. Additional individualized instruction, parent coaching sessions can be conducted on Monday each week as needed.
This slide is an example for an elementary student. Elementary students will receive four days a week of virtual synchronous instruction. The maximum number of hours documented on the services page, IEP 320, is no more than 21 hours per week. This is equivalent to 4.5 hours each day, Tuesday through Friday, and up to three hours on Mondays. Refer to your school schedule to verify instructional time for synchronous learning. Synchronous learning will include morning meeting for core, specials, and up to an hour of specialized instruction. Screen-time breaks, lunch, handwashing breaks and family choice asynchronous learning activities are not included in service hours. Students will receive service according to their disability needs for the content area in the general education or special education setting.
This slide is a sample for a middle or high school student. Middle and high school students will receive four days a week of virtual synchronous instruction on an AB block schedule. The maximum number of hours documented on the services page, IEP 320, is no more than 24 hours a week. This is equivalent to four eight-minute blocks per day, or 21.33 hours per week, Tuesday through Friday, and up to three hours on Mondays. Screen-time breaks, lunch, handwashing breaks, and family choice asynchronous learning activities are not included in service hours. Students receive services according to their disability needs for the content area in the general education or special education setting.
This slide is an example for a student receiving related services. Related service providers will be expected to provide a continuum of support and services to students during online instruction. Additionally, related service providers may use a combination of service models in order to address student needs.
Kristina Roman (20:21 time stamp):
On the present level of performance page 309, you’ll find a statement in the drop-down menu under the heading Other Statements for the return to school. You will need to select the option of FY 2020-21 COVID-19 virtual instruction. This is the same statement from the matrix decision chart we reviewed in the beginning of the presentation.
The next section in your document will provide you with an example of either early childhood, elementary, or secondary demonstrating how you might document the services on the PLOP page in the IEP. In the first column, you will see instructional level for which this slide indicates middle school general ed curriculum. The middle column is a summary of the services determined on the services page of the IEP. The last column is the sample description of what you would document on the PLOP page regarding the service hours.
Case managers should focus on goals and objectives that have practical application in the home environment based on the number of specialized instructional hours determined for each student. These goals are different from the goals in the TLP as they include measurement criteria. We will be taking data frequently for progress monitoring and reporting.
In the next section of your document regarding goals, you’ll find several charts with examples of IEP goals that could be used in the virtual environment. You will see the current IEP goal in the first column and then one example of how you may need to adjust the IEP goal to meet the needs of the student during virtual learning in the second column. The conditions in the goal may need to be changed based on the learning environment. For example, if a student has an IEP goal for looking at the speaker, keeping hands and feet to self and body on the rug for 20 consecutive minutes, you may modify that goal for the virtual learning environment to indicate the student will sit in front of the camera, with hands and feet to self, for three minutes. When determining whether or not goals can be implemented in the virtual environment as written, consult other pertinent members of the IEP team. If they can be implemented in the virtual environment, adjustments will not need to be made to the goals.
When determining accommodations and modifications for students with disabilities, consult with other members of the IEP team to decide whether or not the identified accommodations and or modifications can be implemented in a virtual environment as written. If they can be implemented, adjustments will not need to be made.
The following chart guides school teams and navigating student supports to determine whether grade level curriculum expectations could be considered an accommodation and/or a modification. A student might require an individualized assignment modified, however, the student may demonstrate a full understanding of the content on a final assessment, when modifications are no longer accessed. You may recognize this chart as it has been shared with school staff in the past.
The last section of the guidance document includes the appendices. The first appendix is of the PWN sample that was discussed earlier in the presentation, when we reviewed the determination of whether or not an IEP meeting needs to be held. The next three bullets on the slide pertain to accommodations and provide links for information regarding the accommodations toolkit, the low-tech accommodations toolkit, and the SOL and accommodations reference chart. There are links for sample data sheets, special education and general education sample schedules and guidance for homebound and home-based decision-making during Fairfax County Public School virtual instruction SY 20-21.
For any questions, please use the contact information on this slide.
Thank you for joining us today and best of luck for the start of the school year.