IEP Task Force in Delaware To Begin September 4th, Lt. Gov. Matt Denn Will Chair Group #netde #eduDE @TNJ_malbright

The IEP Task Force, which came out of Senate Concurring Resolution 63 in Delaware, will begin their meetings on September 4th, at 4:30pm.  The purpose of the task force is to improve the IEP process in the state of Delaware.  The meetings will occur in Dover, with video conferencing available in Wilmington.  No locations have been designated for both locations as of yet.  The members of the task force have not been released, but the legislation states it will include the following:

  1. Two members of the State Senate, a member of the majority party appointed by the Senate President Pro Tem and a member of the minority party appointed by the Senate Minority Leader;
  2. Two members of the House of Representatives, a member of the majority party appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and a member of the minority party appointed by the House Majority Leader;
  3. The Secretary of Education or his designee;
  4. The President of the State Parent Teacher Association or the President’s designee;
  5. The chair of the Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council or the chair’s designee;
  6. Three representatives of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Exceptional Citizens, to be selected by the chair of the Council;
  7. The Governor or the Governor’s designee;
  8. The Lieutenant Governor or the Lieutenant Governor’s designee;
  9. A representative of the Delaware State Bar Association, to be selected by the President of the Delaware State Bar Association;
  10. The President of the Delaware State Education Association or the President’s designee;
  11. Two representatives of the Delaware Association of School Administrators, to be selected by the president of that organization;
  12. Two persons who teach special education in Delaware public schools, to be selected by the task force chair;
  13. Two persons who provide services to children with disabilities in Delaware public schools, to be selected by the task force chair;
  14. One non-attorney who advocates for parents and children in IEP proceedings, to be selected by the task force chair.
  15. Three parents, one from each county, each having a child who has had or currently has an IEP, to be selected by the Senate and House Task Force members.

This notice was written on Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn’s public Facebook page:

During my tenure as Lieutenant Governor, I have made improving the services we provide to children with disabilities a top priority. We have had some notable successes, but there is still an awful lot of work to be done. Last June, I worked with legislators to create a task force focused on improving the way that Delaware schools prepare individualized education plans for students with disabilities, and Senate President Patricia Blevins has asked me to chair that task force. Our first meeting will be on September 4th at 4:30 p.m. – we have tried to schedule it to allow parents and school employees to attend. We will soon be announcing meeting locations (the first meeting will be held in Dover with a videoconferencing hook-up in Wilmington), and each meeting will allow members of the public to offer comments at the end of the meeting. If you have an interest in this subject, I encourage you to put it on your calendar and plan to attend. If you can’t make it to the meetings, audio recordings of all the meetings will be posted on the Lieutenant Governor’s office web site.
 
I think this task force can do some good work if they do not solely concentrate on tailoring IEPs to Common Core and Smarter Balanced Assessments.  I’m sure the topic will come up, but there are far more important things to look at with special education in Delaware.  As many special needs parents know, schools do not always do the right thing when it comes to IEP implementation, or even IEP approval.  While DOE input will be needed, parent input will most likely be more important due to the complexities of the IEP process.  For schools, it is a professional matter as part of their business day.  This isn’t to say they don’t have personal feelings about it, but at the end of the day, it’s their job.  For parents, it is deeply personal and can change the outcome of a family’s life.
 
I strongly encourage all special needs parents in the state of Delaware to make it to these meetings.  We all need our voice to be heard.  If you are unable to attend, I will be more than happy to send any messages to the task force as I will be at each and every meeting.  Feel free to email me at kevino3670@yahoo.com or leave messages on my Exceptional Delaware Facebook page.  If you have specific examples of how the IEP process has worked out for you or your child, please include that information.  All information will be protected and kept anonymous if you choose.
 
The final report is due to the Governor in January, 2015.  The group is planning to meet twice a month.  From what I am hearing, public comment will be available at the end of each session.