Yes, even in the wake of huge ACLU announcements against the state of Delaware, life must go on, so here we are again. This is the 2nd to last meeting of the already scheduled IEP Task Force Fall 2014 session, but the group may continue after the report to Governor Markell.
Denn explained this is the last chance to really get anything included in the report. Tracy Bombarra mentioned standards based IEPs based on a comment by Ruth Lavelle. Lavelle had said the task force shouldn’t make a comment about it but Bombarra thinks it is based too much on Common Core. Eastburn said if nothing is written in stone about standards-based IEPs, it won’t be the same for every district. More of the same discussion from the last meeting from Sarah Celestin. You can say it all you want DOE, but the result is still the same, common core for the IEP. All the other things she is mentioning are already included in the IEP.
Denn mentioned something about his grandmother to the effect of “Don’t open up the can of worms”. He said he can talk a lot about this and what is and isn’t appropriate to be put into an IEP. Eastburn brought up being at an IEP meeting as an advocate and being told a service doesn’t have to have an educational outcome. Mieczkowski disagreed.
Liz Toney asked what the likelihood of getting an extension would be for the task force to which Denn replied it is very high. She suggested omitting any mention of Standards-Based IEPs in the report so the task force can discuss it further. Many members of the task force debating on the issue. Ruth Lavelle said life skills should already be in an IEP. I think Denn gets what the controversy is with Standards Based IEPs.
Bill Doolittle talked about the IEP draft being shared with parents. If it has been broadly shared with the whole team, then the parents should receive a copy. Eastburn said it should go out with the 10 day notice of meeting.
Mitch is worried about the legality of parents seeing things written down, like goals and services, written ahead of time. She feels parents should be a part of the discussion. I agree with this, but the easy solution is to put DRAFT on the copy and a little disclaimer indicating this is not a final copy. Doolittle just said the same thing. More back and forth. Not a lot of team unity here on these topics.
Marissa Band brought up having questionnaires sent home to parents and vice versa. I had to step out to get my son’s Legos he left in the car. Yes, my son is here, and yes, he may give public comment…
There is talk about bringing up the subject of IEP denials when the IEP Task Force reconvenes after the Governor’s report. Many members think it is an important topic of discussion.
There is now talk about the fiscal notes attached to any bill associated with this document. Someone said things cannot be mandated to a district without the funds available to implement them. Now there is talk about Parent Councils within each district. Someone said to have PIC back this and be at these meetings. I highly disagree with this idea. PIC doesn’t have the resources to do this. Surrate from PIC said there are programs through University of Delaware to address the types of issues. Someone brought up Fran Fletcher, a facilitator who provides these types of services at IEP meetings. She also provided mediation services. Luckily, Fran is in attendance as a member of the public. She is giving details about what she does. She stressed mediation is a legally binding document, but doesn’t have to be an outcome of a due process complaint, it can happen before. Fran explained it takes a lot of time to talk with the parents. She stressed they are not an advocate, but refers parents to PIC for this type of service.
Denn brought it back to the Parent Council discussion. Denn stressed it was of a support vessel for parents to utilize, and not a “this is what you have to do at an IEP meeting” type of intervention. Eastburn asked how many families PIC serves in each county. PIC was unable to provide the county breakdown information.
Task force is winding down, going over the wording in the draft (which will be updated when the task force website is updated with tonight’s info in the next few days).
More service provider talk about whether or not to send parents information about exact dates and times when services were provided. Going on and on. Denn said this should be provided in summary form, like “Your son received 5 out of 9 sessions.” He said parents have the right to request exact information at that time.
The highlight of the evening came at the end of the meeting, after Fran Fletcher gave public comment about training parents who may be on the parent councils to give potential advice to parents about the IEP process. This was when my son actually gave public comment. Confession time. I asked him if he wanted to do it, and he said yes, but he didn’t know what to say. I told him to speak from the heart, but he still wanted help. So I wrote most of it, but he helped out with a little bit. I’m sure you will be able to figure out which is which. I did have to “announce” him as he was nervous, but he did a good job! This is what he said:
I think the DOE needs to monitor when charter and public schools decline IEPs. I’ve had this happen to me and it was not fun. The ACLU is already filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights for schools not letting kids like me go there. When kids like me don’t get services, it takes a long time for us to catch up and learn.
Let me stress again, he wanted to do this. He knows about my blog, and he actually knows who a lot of the key players are, like Murphy, Markell, and the DOE. When I told him someone from the DOE was speaking about standards based IEPs, he said “Do they know Mark Murphy?” I said they probably do. Unfortunately, we all know who Mark Murphy is….