Requirement: Kent County Public Schools will follow the established Special Education protocols.
The KCPS is fully open and all students are entitled to services under IDEA, 504, and Title II ADA. In order to ensure that all requirements of IDEA, 504, and Title II ADA are being implemented, the KCPS is actively locating and assessing students to determine if a child is eligible for special services under IDEA, 504, and Title II ADA.
The KCPS is following all requirements of IDEA in locating and assessing students with disabilities. No amendments were made to IDEA, therefore, all timelines as outlined in IDEA are being followed for child find referrals, initial and re-evaluations, IEP development, and annual review meetings. The KCPS is offering face to face IEP team meetings that include required team members and parents with a virtual option at parent request. The KCPS has purchased technology equipment to ensure that all team members are active participants for virtual meetings and that all members are heard.
MEANS TO ADDRESS THE IMPACT OF LOSS OF INSTRUCTIONAL TIME
In order to address the impact of loss of instruction time for students with disabilities, all students that receive special education services were considered for compensatory education/recovery services. School based IEP teams worked together to organize and analyze data for each child to determine if there was a lack of progress and if compensatory education/recovery services needed to be provided.
Special Education teachers considered data that was collected through intervention data, formative and summative assessments, Informal reading inventories, and progress monitoring of all IEP goals. If supplementary aids and services and/or goals could not be implemented through virtual instruction, teams analyzed the impact it had on a child’s rate of progress to review at IEP meetings and with parents for consideration of compensatory education/recovery services. All parents were called and teams shared the data they gathered and made a recommendation if compensatory education/recovery services were or were not being recommended for their child. If parents agreed with the recommendation, a PWN was provided to all parents and formal IEP meetings were held if parents had additional questions, wanted to discuss the recommendation further, or disagreed with the recommendation made by the team. Parental input was a key in all decisions made by the teams to recommend or not recommend compensatory education/recovery services.
Compensatory education/recovery services were not part of the Extended School Year (ESY) decision and were not provided during scheduled ESY services. Compensatory education/recovery services were provided during summer through acceleration academies and recovery programs. All teachers who worked with any child who was entitled to compensatory education/recovery services had copies of the students IEP to implement in their classes. Special Education teachers worked collaboratively with general education teachers and Instructional Assistants who worked with the students to ensure that compensatory education/recovery services were provided to all students. A few students were provided compensatory education/recovery services throughout the summer months outside of KCPS recovery programs due to not enrolling in these programs. For some students, compensatory education/recovery services will be provided in the fall upon return to the school building. After all compensatory services have been provided, the IEP team will hold an IEP meeting to review data and progress on all IEP goals.
In compliance with the Ready to Read Act and early identification of reading disabilities or delays, Special Education teachers are participating in Orton Gillingham training to become certified in supporting a multi-sensory approach to reading and provide early reading interventions.
IEP MEETINGS AND ASSESSMENTS
KCPS held virtual meetings during the 2020-2021 school year. Many parents reported that they felt offering a virtual participation option supported them being an active participant in their child’s IEP meeting. Parents did not have to take time from work, travel to schools for meetings, and lose time from their job or pay. A lesson learned during the COVID 19 pandemic was that parents wanted this option to continue for the next school year. Therefore, the KCPS IEP teams will continue to offer a virtual option for parents to participate if they cannot attend a face to face meeting.
All assessments and evaluations were conducted through face to face administration during the 2020-2021 school year. KCPS followed all IDEA requirements for evaluations and timelines. Families and staff are required to wear masks in school settings for face to face IEP meetings.
INTERVENTIONS IN STUDENT LEARNING
All students receiving special education services were offered to continue interventions throughout the summer to help recoup lost learning during the COVID 19 pandemic. Two special education teachers are monitoring and checking on students progress through interventions such as Imagine Math and Imagine Math Facts. These are both approved tier 3 interventions that have access to live teacher help, data collection, and progress monitoring. While these interventions are computer based, our special education teachers connect with parents and students to ensure that the program is being completed with fidelity throughout the summer.
Our special education teachers are working collaboratively with their general education partners and instructional assistants to deliver specially designed instruction that will help our students with disabilities reach the grade level standards. This instruction will be carefully planned for each student with an IEP to address the goals and objectives outlined in the IEP, along with providing all supplementary aids and services, to help narrow the gap between students with and without disabilities.
Students with disabilities may require additional supports around Social Emotional Learning (SEL). The school social workers and school psychologist are monitoring all special education students to determine if additional support is needed in the area of SEL. Some students who receive special education services have not been in school for the past 18 months and may have experienced additional traumatic experiences which could impact a student’s ability to participate and make progress in the educational environment . The Supervisor of Special Education is meeting with each Case Manager to review the current Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) to determine if the BIP is still appropriate or if a new FBA is warranted. Through IEP team meetings, the team is meeting with parents and authorizing FBAs to collect new data if the BIP is not addressing the child’s needs.
All BIPs require data to be collected. This data is reviewed with the Supervisor of Special Education, social workers, and school psychologists to ensure that progress is being made and appropriate counseling services or school based mental health services are being provided. The KCPS also is working closely with the Kent County Local Management Board to convene the Local Care Team as needed for children.
All data collected will be analyzed to help drive each child’s educational program. The data will be used to form appropriate Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP). Professional Development will also be provided to all special education teachers on writing appropriate PLAAFPs to drive IEP goals and objectives and instruction in the classroom.
Data that is collected will be included in progress reports to show that the student is making adequate progress towards IEP goals and towards grade level standards. Data will be collected from informal assessments, formative and summative assessments, observational data, interventions, and state assessments. This information will also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and if students are applying what they have learned in their classrooms.
Through the SST process, new procedures have been developed and outlined to address disproportionality of referrals to the special education team. Currently, the KCPS has disproportionally identified African American/Black students in the category of Specific Learning Disabilities. This process includes more intense progress monitoring of interventions prior to referring to the IEP team, written forms and outlines of how to conduct SST meetings, professional development and coaching on conducting SST meetings and progress monitoring.
PAATH PROGRAM (PROMOTING ADULT ACHIEVEMENT THROUGH TRANSITION AND HEALTH)
Students, ages 18-21, in our PAATH Program in collaboration with Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties will return to Chesapeake College this fall for face to face programming. Students will continue to receive all components of the program, including life and wellness, work based learning, employment skill training and career development. These students will also have the opportunity to participate in our Work Learning Programs as well.
Transition Planning and Programming
• All students ages 14 and up will continue to receive face to face interviews and participate in transition assessments to drive their transition planning process. Additionally, students will meet with the Transition Facilitator to discuss the assessments and receive coaching to learn advocating skills for themselves and their career goals and needs.
• Case Managers will continue to work with students to complete transition activities outlined in the student’s IEP face to face or virtually if necessary.
• KCMS will offer an elective that focuses on career awareness and development to introduce students to the world of secondary transition to recover any lost learning on transition activities in IEPs.
• The Division of Rehabilitative Services (DORS) is now allowing face to face services. KCPS will continue with Pre-Employment Transition Service (PRE-Ets) programs at KCHS which include Work Readiness and Work Based Learning. Paid Work Based Learning Program between KCPS and community partners has resumed and we are continuing to partner with local employers in Kent County to employ our students with appropriate job coaching as needed.
• In collaboration with the KCPS Career Technical Education (CTE) Department, a virtual job shadowing program will be offered to students to help individuals shape their career goals in their area of interest.
Services Plans and Parentally Placed Private School Students
Students who are placed in private or parochial schools by parents may be eligible for services as outlined in the approved Parentally Placed Private School Students (PPPSS). These students will receive their services as outlined in their approved service plan in person as determined by the IEP team and outlined in their service plan. If the private school is not open for in person services or allowing outside community partners in their buildings, services may be provided at the child’s home school or through a virtual platform.
INFANTS AND TODDLERS
All infant and toddlers services are being offered in the natural environment (community settings, homes, daycares, or head start). All evaluations are being offered face to face. Some parents have found the virtual option for case management and through the use of the coaching framework beneficial for their families and this will continue, however, face to face services will also be offered. Agencies are referring children at appropriate rates and public awareness activities have resumed. Compensatory education/recovery services were also considered and proposed for Infants and Toddlers families if progress was not adequate during the COVID 19 pandemic.
Currently, providers do not have to complete COVID19 screeners before going into homes, however, the providers are calling parents to ensure that families are healthy and have not been exposed prior to going into the home. Masks are encouraged for all children over 2 and families and providers are asked to wear masks. When possible, service coordinators and therapists are still encouraging families to meet outside to provide services.
KCPS will ensure measures are taken to minimize the impact on distance learning for all special education students and families.