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The Special Ed Advocate

Preparing for Your Child's Compensatory Education Meeting, Part 1
by Pamela Wright, Wrightslaw.com

Today's issue is a 4 minute read (1,018 words).

Quality special education services are intensive and expensive. Resources are limited. If you have a child with special needs, you may wind up battling the school district for compensatory education services.

As your child's advocate, you need knowledge and skills. You need to learn all you can about compensatory education now.

You will need to use the data you collect and your written observations to make your child's case for comp ed. In this issue of The Special Ed Advocate, you will find the information (tools) you need:

  • "Frequently Asked Questions About Compensatory Education" by the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA);

  • Wrightslaw Training Programs Resume - CO, GA, UT

  • Federal Guidance on How to Implement the IDEA During COVID-19 Pandemic

  • More Resources from Wrightslaw

We suggest that you print these documents (print makes it easier to highlight and write margin notes), review them, and file them in your Legal Resources folder.

Strategy: Bring your Legal Resources folder - with all the Sticky Notes and highlights - to the meeting about your child's comp ed. This shows you are serious and have taken the time to educate yourself.

Please invite your friends and colleagues to subscribe to The Special Ed Advocate.

Let's learn something new today!

1. Compensatory Education: Answers to Eight Frequently Asked Questions by the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates

During the school closure, did the school continue to provide the special education and related services in your child's IEP? Did the school find a way to provide your child with a free appropriate education (FAPE)?

thoughtful woman

If the school did not or could not provide the services in your child's IEP and your child lost knowledge and/or skills (regressed), the school needs to provide compensatory education services to reverse these losses.

When school reopens, you should expect the IEP team, which includes you, to schedule a meeting or meetings to determine if your child is eligible for compensatory education. If he is eligible, the IEP team will decide what compensatory services your child needs, and will develop a written plan to provide compensatory education.

As your child's advocate, you need knowledge, skills, and tools. You need to learn all you can about compensatory education now.

In Compensatory Education in the Time of COVID-19 (6 pages), the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) answers eight very important questions.

These questions and answers will help you identify obstacles and pitfalls you may encounter. Study these questions and answers carefully, especialy the answers to Questions 3, 4, 7.

  1. What is compensatory education?

  2. How is the amount of compensatory education awarded?

  3. How do we manage claims that the remedial education planned for all students will suffice for students in special education?

  4. What if the school district argues that all students suffered from a reduction in resources generally because of school closings?

  5. Will all children with IEPs be entitled to compensatory education because they lost the in-person teaching expected in their IEPs?

  6. How will school districts determine which children get compensatory education?

  7. What if the schools argue that they have a reduced funding environment that makes it hard to provide FAPE?

  8. What are the options for special education dispute resolution in COVID-19 compensatory education from the states or at a statewide level?
Download Compensatory Education in the Time of COVID-19 (6 pages) from the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA).

More Good Stuff from COPAA:

Position Statement on Provision of Compensatory Education In Response to Lost Education as a Result of COVID-19

Protecting the Rights of Students with Disabilities as States and Districts Reopen Schools (includes info about re-opening schools from organizations representing teachers, health and safety, etc

2. Wrightslaw Training Programs in CO, GA, UT

Several Wrightslaw programs were rescheduled in the Spring. New dates are below. If you don't see a date for a rescheduled program, check the Schedule Page for check the back for updated info.

We are also scheduling new programs. Learn more here.

3. U.S. Department of Education Issues New Guidance About How to Implement the IDEA During COVID-19 Pandemic

As you prepare for a meeting(s) about compensatory education, you need to know what the U.S. Department of Education is telling states and school districts to do.

On September 28, 2020, the US Department of Education issued two new Guidance Publications.

Guidance on How to Implement the IDEA During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Office of Special Education Programs, 6 pages) is a FAQs document with answers to seven questions about implementing the IDEA during the COVID-19 pandemic. Questions include:

  • start date of IEPs;
  • required IEP team members;
  • amending the IEP;
  • Extended School Year services;
  • exceptions to timelines to conduct initial evaluations, initial IEPs and annual IEPs; and
  • how to conduct reevaluations for eligibility when school staff can't conduct in-person meetings or evaluations.

The Office of Special Education Programs advised "as school districts and officials ... grapple with challenging decisions, administrators, educators, and parents may need to consider multiple options for delivering instruction, including special education and related services, to children with disabilities."

Download Guidance on How to Implement the IDEA During the COVID-19 Pandemic

* * * * * * * * * *

On September 28, 2020, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued Questions and Answers for K-12 Public Schools During COVID-19 (13 Qs and As, 9 pages)

The Office for Civil Rights is reporting that states and school districts are evaluating COVID-19 developments in an effort to decide how to provide educational services for students.

There are glitches: "States and school districts . . . have also had months to plan and develop systems and processes to ensure the provision of high-quality instruction and educational services moving forward."

OCR expects ". . . any phase-in plans designed and implemented will provide the full benefit of educational opportunities for all students and will meet the requirements of Federal civil rights laws."

Download Qs and As for K-12 Public Schools in the COVID-19 Environment .

4. More COVID-19 Resources from Wrightslaw

Parent Advocacy: Good Documentation is Essential to Your Success

Worried about Regression? Is it Time to Consider a Different Plan for Your Child's Education?

How to Prepare for IEP Meetings, Provide Information and Share Concerns

Revised: 10/08/20

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