To ensure that it complies with federal and state requirements, South East should develop a process to ensure that IEP teams record, in student IEP documents, the rationale for residential treatment and any potential harmful effects of such placement.
The South East SELPA conducted a PWN training to assist districts in documenting rationale for residential placement in addition to creating a PWN Resource Guide.
The South East SELPA IEP Resource Guide includes sample potential harmful effects statements. The Resource Guide has been disseminated to LEA members and posted on the SELPA website and web-based IEP system.
The training activities referenced in the response, along with the efforts described in South East's six-month response, demonstrate that the SELPA has fully implemented this recommendation.
The South East SELPA developed the IEP Resource Guide and the PWN Resource Guide. Both guides are available on the web IEP system. Additional training scheduled for Fall 2016.
South East's IEP resource guide directs IEP teams to where in the IEP document they should record the consideration of any potential harmful effects of all placements, including residential, and provides a partial list of examples of potential harmful effects that IEP teams may consider. The resource guide also directs IEP teams to where in the IEP document they must include the rationale for why not all special education services are provided at the student's school of residence. However, the resource guide does not provide a full explanation of what that rationale should include. South East's Prior Written Notice (PWN) resource guide provides a clearer description to LEAs that the purpose of the PWN is to provide sufficient information to ensure the parent understands the rationale behind an LEA's decision making regarding a particular proposed or refused action, including placement in residential treatment. We are satisfied with South East's approach to use both the IEP document and the PWN to record the rationale for residential treatment and any potential harmful effects of such placement, as long as IEP teams avoid using vague or incomplete statements about the rationale for residential treatment in the IEP documents, as we describe more fully in the section starting on page 36 of our report. Moreover, as with other changes to student services that are documented in a PWN, South East should train LEA staff to attach the PWN to the IEP document to ensure the required elements are included.
The SELPA is working with legal counsel in creating a procedure/process on how IEP teams can document the rationale for residential placements and any potential harmful effects of such placement.
The procedure/process will be presented to the South East Consortium SELPA Operations Committee comprised of special education directors from each local education agency that make-up the South East Consortium SELPA. The procedure/process will also be presented to the Executive Council of Superintendents for approval. After approval, the procedure/process will be disseminated to all special education staff and IEP teams within South East Consortium SELPA.
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.