How can case managers collect data for IEPs and 504s if they don’t communicate with teachers?
How can case managers ensure IEPs and 504s are being implemented in full if they aren’t communicating with teachers?
At the start of the 2020-21 school year, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) case managers had to be reminded to connect with the teachers of students enrolled in the FCPS Online Campus.
I’d like to thank Ken Halla for providing this reminder to FCPS staff:
Most of our teachers do not hear from case managers. . . . I mean, we have kids who need say, one out of every five kids have an IEP or 504 or an ESL kid, and so those kids you know, deserve the same kind of structure with us as they do in the base school. The difference is, we have a staff of nine that handles, we now have 2500 kids this summer, this school year, and we can’t possibly do it alone. So Nichole is our only counselor, we have no assistant principal, we have no special ed, we have no ESL person. So anything that you guys can do really helps us, starting with the case manager.
Below, you’ll find a video of the 9.21.20 FCPS Special Education Department Meeting, during which Ken and his colleague Nichole Bernard presented information about FCPS’ online campus. Their presentation starts at about the 7:24 mark.
A transcript for Ken’s and Nichole’s presentation appears below the video.
9.21.20 FCPS Special Education Department Meeting
Debbie Lorenzo (starting at about the 7:14 mark):
Thank you, Dawn. Okay, so we’re gonna start off our first presentation with Nichole Bernard from the online campus. Nichole.
Nichole Bernard (starting at about the 7:24 mark):
Yes. Hi, I sorry, I’m just getting my video up. Thank you so much for having me here today. I think I saw Ken pop up, too. He’s the OC coordinator for online campus. So basically, I just wanted to come in today to talk about online campus and moving forward and working with students with IEP s and 504s. So at online campus, we deliver courses identical in content to those offered in our traditional classrooms, and we use multimedia to engage the students. Students with FCPS may enroll up to two credits as part of their standard seven High School credits without any fees or tuition, how students register for online campus, there is an online application form on our website, but they may also get that through their school counselor. And they would complete that form and then return it to the base school and then we need the approval of the DSS from that school. And then all students must be available to attend weekly live online sessions during the evening at the fixed weekly dates and times. So before sending in a new registration, we hope the school counselor would connect with the case manager regarding the requested course or courses, accommodations and classroom testing accommodations and services with students IEP team will be reviewed to ensure the student will have equitable access to the online course. And then if it’s applicable, the IEP team will develop the plan for the student access to local support services and or amend the IEP as appropriate for compliance in an online environment. And then the counselor would send in that support plan and or amended IEP to the online campus whenever they send the online campus registration to us. Here are some of the accommodations and services that are not readily accessible with online campus. Access to classroom audio material. Access to audio material is provided in online courses when available but some materials such as PDF files aren’t always accessible. Accessible text Braille especially online campus does not have copies of course materials in Braille. And then dictation dictation in English describe online campus does not have a sped support. So these are some accommodations we would be reaching out to the base school for our assistance. And then some other accommodations that are not readily accessible are pressing materials on reduced language level reading level. Plain English school support is needed as online courses and assessments do not always contain reduced language level instruction materials assignments or assessments, read aloud or read on a synchronous aspect of the online learning environment, the online teacher will not be available to read directions, assignments, assessments to the student, it will be asked that the base school provides this accommodation. Though a screen reader will read text within the online course there may be sections within the course content, the screen reader cannot access, for example, image files, and online assessments. And then for Adapted PE, we do not have an itinerant a sorry, a PE teacher on staff. So the goal would be that the counselors and case managers would collaborate and communicate on how to provide for accommodations and services not readily accessible in the online learning environment prior to submitting an online campus registration form. So academic advising begins January at most high schools. So if the student is planning on or considering an online course, it would be the goal for the school counselor to connect with the case manager to talk about this course request. And to ensure that the accommodations would be accessible through online campus. It’d be awesome if that connection happened in the spring, because when I was reviewing everything in July, and people are on off with contracts and enjoying summer vacation, it was just difficult, I wouldn’t wasn’t able to reach out to anyone. So that’s why it’s one of our goals, that this conversation will happen prior to submitting an online application for online campus. So if applicable, the counselors will send amended IEP to online campus along with the online campus registration. We are here to also provide guidance on accommodations and services not assessable in our courses to assist local school IEP teams. The case managers will include the online campus teachers and goal assessment and reporting. So throughout the year, if there’s any updates, we would love for the case managers to update the online campus teachers as well. And we want to continue to build relationships with the base schools and ensure all students have equitable access to their online campus courses. And then the last slide has my contact information, email and phone number. And I know Ken’s on here as well. So anything you want to add Ken?
Ken Halla (starting at about the 12:17 mark):
No, we first can we take some questions, then I can add one thing.
Dawn Azennar (starting at about the 12:25 mark):
At this point, there was only one question that was put into the AM slides, and I’ll be happy to read it. And that was Are we allowed to teach FCPS online courses? Yes. Qualified during the virtual school year as special education with HQ and SS?
Ken Halla (starting at about the 12:52 mark):
I didn’t understand the question. Can you say it again?
Dawn Azennar (starting at about the 12:57 mark):
I would be happy to it appears this author would like to know if they could teach the online courses and it appears that they have the highly qualified status.
Ken Halla (starting at about the 13:12 mark):
So the answer is we have a course that we generally teach in the fall and one in the spring. And we had this past summer, which is unusual for us just because there was a huge demand. So that’s step one. Step two is we have to then have kids so Nichole mentioned that students can start sign up through it beginning of January for summer school through I think last year was June 12, the end of the second week, basically the end of school. And we can’t hire a teacher for summer or fall until we have the kids first. So we have to kind of anticipate where the needs are. So for example, the core classes we don’t have a lot of kids in the summer, maybe one or two classes a grade for say world one, world two, etc. PE we’re off charts math, we’re off the charts, honors geometry, and then we kind of reverse and during the school year we’ll we’re off the charts in English off the charts in social studies, but a lot fewer PE and a lot fewer math for example. So when we anticipate we’re going to have a need, like I anticipate I’m going to have another six sections of PE up next summer. And we interview ahead of time and we kind of line up people so one take the class, two send your resume, three we interview, four we got to wait for the other questions?
Dawn Azennar (starting at about the 14:46 mark):
That was our only question for this content.
Ken Halla (starting at about the 14:51 mark):
So then I have one other thing if I could, and that is it is really, really helpful for us if the case managers can reach out to our teachers, just as they would to any teacher and say, what’s the update on little Ken Holla in your class. Most of our teachers do not hear from case managers. And when I reached out the answer is because they thought we had a special ed person. We don’t have a special ed person. Now, if a person is if a student is struggling, Nichole is going to reach out to the counselor and find out who the special ed person is. But I’d like to, you know, we’d like to kind of beat that before it happens to have all the items and support in place. And I’m not talking about the read aloud, kid, I’m just talking about the kid that might have extended time, which we can obviously handle easily. But it’s really helpful if those people and whatever the timeline is reached out to all the teachers each quarter, just as they would do in the base school. And of course, Nichole has her email up there, you can reach out to Nichole, you can reach out to me, and questions offline, or we can meet with your departments if you find that more helpful. And I think the last thing with no more questions is we really appreciate all that you’re doing. The online campus years ago was kind of an elite institution, if you will, it’s just the kids who did really well and and now it are really well who had took an extra class or something like that. Now, it’s, we look exactly like any school in Fairfax County. I mean, we have kids who need say, one out of every five kids have an IEP or 504 or an ESL kid, and so those kids you know, deserve the same kind of structure with us as they do in the base school. The difference is, we have a staff of nine that handles, we now have 2500 kids this summer, this school year, and we can’t possibly do it alone. So Nichole is our only counselor, we have no assistant principal, we have no special ed, we have no ESL person. So anything that you guys can do really helps us, starting with the case manager. And I appreciate your time today.
Debbie Lorenzo (starting at about the 17:15 mark):
Thank you so much, Nichole and Ken, for coming in and presenting on the online campus.