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    Special Education Coronavirus Response FAQ

    How will the district be providing services and supports to students with disabilities during the school closures?

    According to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) "There is not an expectation that Individualized Education Program (IEP) services would be delivered exactly as the IEP states." During school closure, staff are working to provide services to students and families to support continuous learning. This means staff are focused on providing resources and modifications to students so that they make reasonable and measurable progress on their IEP goals.

    Many teachers are providing digital small group sessions, one-on-one check-ins, sharing resources tailored to a student's individual IEP goals, and communicating regularly with families. Services and support may be provided in different ways, depending on the unique need of each student. We are not expecting services to look exactly as they did when school was held in a brick and mortar building. Students cannot be served in their homes currently. For students with significant needs, "examples of behavioral supports that could be implemented in the home include parent/caregiver behavioral coaching, or coaching and support around interventions such as: 'first, then choice boards,' activity schedules, functional communication strategies, implementation of reinforcement contingencies, etc."

    Additionally, the Special Education department is in contact with staff and principals to provide guidance on how general education teachers, IEP case managers, special education support staff, and other related service providers can support their students. Special Education staff are also at the table with Teaching and Learning colleagues to ensure all teachers are using best practices to support learning for all students.

     

    What if my child has not heard from their teacher?

    If you or your student have not been contacted by your student’s teachers or service provider, please notify the school principal. All staff have been made aware of the expectation to communicate regularly with students and families.

    What are Continuous Learning Plans and how are they supposed to be used?

    OSPI has created a Continuous Learning Plan template to assist districts in documenting decisions about services, timelines, and other considerations for individual students during school facility closures.

    Seattle Public Schools has modified this template slightly to be as user-friendly as possible. We have co-designed our Continuous Learning Plans with our Seattle Education Association (SEA) colleagues. These Continuous Learning Plans act a temporary tool to help focus services and supports that can be most beneficial for student's learning objectives. These plans include information about which IEP goals will be targeted during school closure and how, and how often, report services will be provided. This document bridges the time between school closures and the time when brick and mortar buildings re-open. These Continuous Learning Plans will not replace or necessarily amend IEPs or modify the IEP goals but they will provide a standardized way to record necessary modifications made during school closures. Families may request to participate in the development or review of the Continuous Learning Plan for their student at any time.

    Your case manager is your primary point of contact for developing the Continuous Learning Plan. Please contact your case manager if you have any questions, or if you would like to discuss your student's plan.

    What supports is the district offering my family?

    Special Education staff have also assembled specific resources that are accessible and appropriate for students receiving special education services. Those resources include social emotional learning, study skills and organization tools, functional life skills, recommended daily schedules to build routine, and occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech language therapy supports. Learn about the various special education-specific resources.

    How is the Special Education department communicating with families?

    The Special Education department is committed to providing information to families. In addition to the regular communications to families from the Office of Public Affairs, schools, and individual teachers or service providers, we will be providing specific information to families of students who receive special education services weekly on Fridays. Those communications will be via email and added to the Special Education department webpage. We will be providing translated home language communications of the weekly emails released on Fridays to multilingual families the following Tuesday.

    If families are not receiving communications from the Special Education Department, please email spedcommunications@seattleschools.org.

    What if my student has an annual IEP meeting due during school closure?

    Seattle Public Schools will follow legal timelines according to OSPI with any current IEPs and reevaluations during this time. Meetings may be offered online or via conference call, and reevaluations will be handled on a case-by-case basis by individual IEP teams.  

    What if I want to hold an IEP meeting?

    Please notify your student’s case manager or notify us at specialed@seattleschools.org. Families have a right to request an IEP meeting at any time. 

    How is the district handling initial evaluations during school closure?

    School psychologists have been preparing to hold initial evaluations remotely, for students who may qualify for special education services. All decisions around whether to complete an initial evaluation will be made on a case-by-case basis.  

    What about Extended School Year (ESY) services?

    The Special Education department is, at this time, planning for remote ESY services this summer to prioritize the health and safety of our students and staff. Staff have been given access to an adjusted ESY protocol, as slight modifications have been made to accommodate remote conditions. As before COVID-19, ESY considerations are made based on evidence and individual IEP team decisions.

    What might services look like when we return to school?

    Due to the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting school facility closures, we will need to reassess when normal school operations resume. All students will be returning to school with variable skills and mastery of standards. We will work to identify where each student is and support them in their learning to address any disruption in learning. The extent to which a student may require remedial services must be an individualized determination made by the IEP team.

    Once we have a better understanding of what school may look like throughout the rest of the calendar year, we will address requests for compensatory education. For now, we continue to await concrete guidance from the federal government. All information included here is based on our anticipated timelines and plans that may be subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If circumstances change, we will notify you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding.

    What if I have questions?

    If you have questions, we encourage you to get in touch with your student’s IEP Case Manager. You can also reach the department at 206-252-0054 or specialed@seattleschools.org.

    For more contacts, visit our Special Education Department staff webpage.