Special Education Tip – Summertime, and the Living is Easy – 88-2018

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Rochelle’s Special Education Tips

Summertime, and the Living is Easy
Except it is Not Always Easy to Meet the ESY Timeline

Spring is in the air. Make it your goal to address Extended School Year (ESY) eligibility for each student with an IEP by April 15, 2018. When you make the ESY determination, read aloud each of the questions on the ESY page of the IEP, including the last one. (Will the student be significantly jeopardized in making progress next school year if the student does not receive ESY services this summer?) It is usually this very last question that disqualifies a student for ESY services. Do not get hung up on whether the student’s IEP addresses critical life skills. You can always answer “yes” to that first question, and because of the last question, the student will still not qualify for ESY services.

Remember that ESY services are for the purpose of ensuring that the student is not deprived of a FAPE by virtue of the normal break in the regular school year. Some attorneys have been known to advocate that ESY should be interpreted to provide a longer school day during the school year. Not so.

Finally, some parents/attorneys/advocates have been known to try to push the IEP team into not making the ESY decision until school ends. Do not get backed into that corner. Remember the reason the April 15th date is your goal is because you need to give the parents an opportunity to file for a Due Process Hearing against the school system if there is a dispute over ESY. You do not want to be accused of denying the parent the right to sue you and to obtain the remedy of ESY services. Indeed, that is the reason why the U.S. District Court in Maryland decreed years ago in a case involving the Montgomery County Public Schools that the goal for ESY decision-making should be April 15th. You cannot make this up.

Rochelle’s Special Education Tips (“Tips”) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations. Tips are based on my opinions and positions in accordance with federal and Maryland law and my over 35 years of experience in the special education legal field. – Rochelle S. Eisenberg, Esquire
Copyright © 2018 Pessin Katz Law, P.A. All rights reserved.
Tips may be reproduced for distribution within the educational institution, the individual school or school system and is for use by their staff. Additional distribution must be approved by author.
If you wish to unsubscribe from this mailing list, please e-mail Rochelle S. Eisenberg at reisenberg@pklaw.com, put “unsubscribe” in the subject line and your name will be removed.
10500 Little Patuxent Parkway
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Columbia, MD 21044
410-938-8800
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Special Education Tip – You Are Not the White Rabbit – 2018-87

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Rochelle’s Special Education Tips

You Are Not the White Rabbit
Time Is Not Your Problem

It is the obligation of the school system to implement the IEP. If a student needs three one-half hour sessions per week of speech and language therapy, it is up to the school system to provide the services each week. Never, never, never say to a parent that you cannot fit the therapy into your schedule. While it may be true, it is up to the school system to get a therapist to the school to provide the therapy. As soon as such a statement is made, you can expect the parent to have these thoughts: (1) They are not going to implement the IEP and (2) They do not care about my child. The timing problem should be between the therapist and school system administrators and not brought to the attention of the parents.

Rochelle’s Special Education Tips (“Tips”) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations. Tips are based on my opinions and positions in accordance with federal and Maryland law and my over 35 years of experience in the special education legal field. – Rochelle S. Eisenberg, Esquire
Copyright © 2018 Pessin Katz Law, P.A. All rights reserved.
Tips may be reproduced for distribution within the educational institution, the individual school or school system and is for use by their staff. Additional distribution must be approved by author.
If you wish to unsubscribe from this mailing list, please e-mail Rochelle S. Eisenberg at reisenberg@pklaw.com, put “unsubscribe” in the subject line and your name will be removed.
10500 Little Patuxent Parkway
Suite 650
Columbia, MD 21044
410-938-8800
information@pklaw.com
www.pklaw.com

Special Education Tip – I Heard it Through the Grapevine – 86-2018

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Rochelle’s Special Education Tips

I Heard it Through the Grapevine
If It Is Not In the PWN You Will Have a Hard Time Proving It Happened

When you develop the Prior Written Notice (PWN) be sure to document what happened, in English. If you feel compelled to use educationalese, also add interpretive language in layperson’s English. Be clear. After you write the document, step back and read it. Pretend you were not at the meeting. Would you know what occurred at the meeting based on what you wrote in the PWN? Some IEP teams keep both the PWN and accompanying Minutes, which are helpful when you cannot figure out how to fit a summary of the meeting into the PWN. An administrative law judge is more likely to believe a witness who confirms what was written in the PWN or Minutes instead of someone who cannot recall exactly what occurred at an IEP team meeting. The same principle holds true for 504 Minutes.

Rochelle’s Special Education Tips (“Tips”) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations. Tips are based on my opinions and positions in accordance with federal and Maryland law and my over 35 years of experience in the special education legal field. – Rochelle S. Eisenberg, Esquire
Copyright © 2018 Pessin Katz Law, P.A. All rights reserved.
Tips may be reproduced for distribution within the educational institution, the individual school or school system and is for use by their staff. Additional distribution must be approved by author.
If you wish to unsubscribe from this mailing list, please e-mail Rochelle S. Eisenberg at reisenberg@pklaw.com, put “unsubscribe” in the subject line and your name will be removed.
10500 Little Patuxent Parkway
Suite 650
Columbia, MD 21044
410-938-8800
information@pklaw.com
www.pklaw.com

Special Education Tip – Since You Cannot Please Everyone – 85-2018

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Rochelle’s Special Education Tips

Please Please Me
Since You Cannot Please Everyone, Please Just Follow the Law

This week’s Tips is going to repeat a familiar piece of advice: You cannot always comply with a parent’s wishes. Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree and develop a defensible IEP. For instance, if a student needs a reading intervention and the parent does not want to take the child out of any classes in order to receive the intervention, you are just going to have to advise the parent that the intervention needs to be implemented even though the child will have to miss some general education class time. Because you know what will happen if you do not implement the intervention. The parent will develop amnesia and claim two years later that you never offered the intervention. And isn’t it coincidental that the amnesia occurs at about the same time that the parent secures legal counsel? Just saying.

Rochelle’s Special Education Tips (“Tips”) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations. Tips are based on my opinions and positions in accordance with federal and Maryland law and my over 35 years of experience in the special education legal field. – Rochelle S. Eisenberg, Esquire
Copyright © 2018 Pessin Katz Law, P.A. All rights reserved.
Tips may be reproduced for distribution within the educational institution, the individual school or school system and is for use by their staff. Additional distribution must be approved by author.
If you wish to unsubscribe from this mailing list, please e-mail Rochelle S. Eisenberg at reisenberg@pklaw.com, put “unsubscribe” in the subject line and your name will be removed.
10500 Little Patuxent Parkway
Suite 650
Columbia, MD 21044
410-938-8800
information@pklaw.com
www.pklaw.com

Special Education Tip – The Geometry of Endrew F. – 84-2018

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The Geometry of Endrew F.
The New Angle Used by Advocates

Leave it to the parents’ attorneys and advocates to create a new “gotcha” out of the Supreme Court’s 2017 decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. The new angle is that of measuring goals and objectives. It is rare that you set a “100% of the time goal” for anything. Why? Because no one is perfect. Plus, you want the goal to be reasonably achievable in a year. At a recent IEP meeting, a parents’ attorney and two advocates (did your parents bring an attorney and two advocates to their parent-teacher conferences?) argued that the school’s IEP team was not individualizing the IEP because the team proposed measurement at 80%. Never mind that the student was starting at 40%. The claim was that the school system “always” uses 80% and therefore there is no individualization. Endrew F., of course, requires that the goals and objectives be reasonably calculated to enable the student to make progress appropriate in light of the student’s circumstances. The school team explained that 100% is not achievable as it demands perfection and that 100% for a student at 40% was not a readily achievable goal. The response of the attorneys and two advocates was to repeatedly accuse the school team of treating the student like all others and failing to individualize the IEP. The reference to Endrew F. was not used, but anyone familiar with the decision understood the motivation behind the argument. The school team held firm, but it is hard to do when being accused of failing to consider the parents’ input. One advocate in that meeting also kept arguing that by refusing to go to 100%, the IEP team was failing to allow the parents to be equal participants. The answer to that is that parental participation means that the parents’ views must be considered, but not necessarily accepted.

Rochelle’s Special Education Tips (“Tips”) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations. Tips are based on my opinions and positions in accordance with federal and Maryland law and my over 35 years of experience in the special education legal field. – Rochelle S. Eisenberg, Esquire
Copyright © 2018 Pessin Katz Law, P.A. All rights reserved.
Tips may be reproduced for distribution within the educational institution, the individual school or school system and is for use by their staff. Additional distribution must be approved by author.
If you wish to unsubscribe from this mailing list, please e-mail Rochelle S. Eisenberg at reisenberg@pklaw.com, put “unsubscribe” in the subject line and your name will be removed.
10500 Little Patuxent Parkway
Suite 650
Columbia, MD 21044
410-938-8800
information@pklaw.com
www.pklaw.com