To better communicate with parents and future IEP teams about reasons for any changes to student services, including changes to mental health services and student placements, South East should develop a process to ensure that IEP teams record these reasons in student IEP documents.
The SELPA conducted a Training of Trainers on Prior Written Notice (PWN). The training aimed to provide information to attendees on how to better document changes on students' special education and related services, including changes to mental health services and placement. The training included guided practice on writing PWNs in different scenarios.
The training activities specified in this response, along with the efforts described in South East's six-month response, demonstrate that the SELPA has fully implemented the recommendation.
The South East SELPA developed a Prior Written Notice resource guide. The resource guide has been distributed to LEA Special Education Directors. PWN trainings scheduled Fall 2016.
South East has partially implemented the recommendation through the development of its Prior Written Notice (PWN) resource guide, which explicitly requires LEAs to provide notice to parents when the provision of a free and appropriate public education involves a change to services, including other notice triggering examples. The resource guide discusses the elements of a PWN, including a description of the action proposed or refused by the LEA and an explanation of why the LEA is proposing or refusing to take action. The resource guide also states that an IEP may be used in lieu of a PWN, but that all elements of the PWN must be included. As we state on page 29 of our report, we believe that it is important for the student's IEP document to stand on its own and contain clear reasons why services are removed. Whether South East trains its LEAs to include the required PWN information in the IEP document or attach the PWN to the IEP document, we believe this is a reasonable approach so long as the reasons for any changes to student services, including changes to mental health services and student placements, are included in the student IEP documents.
The SELPA is working with legal counsel in creating a procedure/process on how IEP teams can document reasons for any changes to special education services, including educationally-related mental health services, and placements.
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.
†Response Type refers to the interval in which the auditee is providing the State Auditor with their status in implementing recommendations made in an audit report. Auditees must submit a response regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year or subsequent to one year.
*Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.