Special Education services during the COVID-19 closure

  • The Special Education department is offering six weeks of remote summer enrichment for students receiving special education services using our online digital tools, as well as up to 1 hour a week of Zoom tutoring sessions with a special education teacher. Sign up here.

  • Special Education Closure Support Hotline

    The special education department now has a closure support hotline for parents: 509.354.7881. If you have questions or concerns regarding special education services for your child please give us a call and a member of our staff will get back to you promptly. 

    Updated Parent Message- Keep Learning!

    Parents and Guardians,

    I want to thank everyone for your patience and understanding as our special education staff have been working to develop ways to deliver special education services remotely. While the school closure has been difficult for all families, we recognize that students with disabilities and their families have been significantly impacted by the loss of learning time. Over the next 7 days our special education staff will be personally reaching out to over 5,000 families to discuss special education services through the end of the school year. As parents and guardians, you play a vital role in determining what those services will look like. While the services won’t be able to look like they do during the traditional school day, we will do our best to ensure your student has continuous learning opportunities designed to help them work towards their IEP goals. Special education case managers will also be working with your student’s general educations teacher(s) to make sure the learning activities they provide are in alignment with your student’s IEP.

    Below are Frequently Asked Questions that we hope answers some of the questions you may have. There will also be two Question and Answer sessions this week for families who have students who receive special education services.  Links to the virtual Q and A sessions will be posted on the website and emailed out Tuesday. We look forward to seeing you there.

    Virtual Question and Answer Sessions:

    • Wednesday, April 22, at 2 p.m.
    • Thursday, April 23, at 7 p.m.

    We are also in the process of setting up a parent hotline that will be up and running later this week. In the meantime, if you have any questions please feel free to send me an email or give me a call.

     

    In partnership,

    Becky Ramsey

    Director, Special Education

    beckyr@spokaneschools.org

    509-354-7296

     

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    How will SPS address special education services for my student?

    • Special education teachers and related services providers will be spending the next 7 school days collaborating with teachers (special ed and general education), service providers and parents to create a Continuity of Services Learning Plan for each student.
    • These plans will address each goal area on your student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and how services will be delivered during the closure.
    • Parents and special education/general education teachers will work together to determine how much work and what level of work each student will be expected to complete in a week.
    • If your student receives a related service such as speech, OT, or PT your child may receive services through a consult model (delivered by the case manager) or directly (delivered by the SLP, OT or PT). The IEP team will determine the best method of service delivery based on each student’s need.
    • Special education case manager will be connecting with families and students weekly to check in and see how learning is going. This is a time for parents to collaborate with their student’s case manager if there are concerns with their student’s needs being met or the learning activities being assigned.

    What are the expectations for preschool/elementary students?

    • Special education/general education teachers and providers will work with parents to determine the appropriate amount of time for each student to spend on learning each day/week. Below is the suggested amount of learning time per day for students based on grade level. The suggested times are based on guidance from the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).
    • Recognizing each student’s needs are different the amount of time spent on learning each day might be less or a little more than the recommended time. As parents you know your child best and know how much is best for them. Also know that while this is the recommended daily amount of learning time it can also be broken into weekly learning time as well.
    • Special education and general education teachers will be holding 30 minute weekly live meetings. The meetings will focus on student well-being and social emotional needs. There will also be opportunities for academic support as well.
    • Please let your special education case manager know if you would only like one live meeting with the General Education teacher each week or live meetings with both the Special Education and General Education teachers each week when you discuss your student’s learning plan. We know that many families are juggling multiple student schedules and want to make sure we are supporting families as much as possible.
  •  What are the expectations for secondary students?

    • Special education and general education teachers and providers will work with parents to determine the appropriate amount of time for each student to spend on learning each day/week. Below is a table from OSPI with the suggested amount of learning time for middle and high school students per class period.
    • Recognizing each student’s needs are different the amount of time spent on learning each day might be less or a little more than the recommended time. As parents you know your child best and know how much is best for them. Also know that while this is the recommended daily amount of learning time it can also be broken into weekly learning time as well.
    • Special education and general education teachers will be holding 20 minute weekly live meetings per subject they teach. If your student receives math, reading/writing, or behavior support in a resource class the day they receive communication and have a live meeting are listed below.
    • The meetings will focus on student well-being and social emotional needs. There will also be opportunities for academic support as well.
  •  How will direct Speech, OT, and PT services be delivered?

    • Direct services can be delivered a couple of ways and our providers will work with each family to determine what works best. Service providers can work with parents and advise them how they can practice skills with their child at home. Service providers can also provide services via Teletherapy. Our district has purchased Zoom Healthcare, a HIPPA compliant online platform. If you need access to a laptop and WIFI let your child’s case manager know and we can get you signed up for both.

    What types of learning activities can I except for my child?

    • Learning activities will support each student’s IEP goals. These activities can be provided through SPS online digital learning tools, packets, or activities already provided by the general education teacher if they align with your students IEP goals. Activities can also include live tutoring sessions to assist students with work assigned by their general education teacher.

    Will the district continue to hold IEP meetings?

    • OPSI has suggested that if all members of the IEP team can participate either over the phone or virtually then districts should move forward with the meeting. If you would like to wait until we can have in person meetings just let your child’s case manager know and we can wait until we return to school. We understand that parents may want to wait until we can have an in-person meeting.

    Will the district continue conduct re-evaluations?

    • OSPI has suggested that if there is enough information to determine that the student is still eligible for special education without the need for in-person testing we should move forward with the re-evaluation to keep things current. If parents would like additional in-person testing, we can re-open the re-evaluation when we return to school.

FAQ for Families of Students Receiving Special Education Services

What is the plan for ensuring seniors graduate?

The State Board of Education (SBE) is currently drafting new guidance on graduating seniors. One of the current solutions is for teachers to use “Pass” (P) grades for seniors. The SBE is working on a method to waive credits for seniors as well.  

Are we asking the state to help with additional funds that might be needed to help gets kids the support they need due to regression?

Conversations surrounding funding are currently taking place at the district and state level.

Will work be graded during this closure?

Teachers will determine when it is appropriate to provide feedback and assign grades to individual assignments. Students overall grade(s) will not be negatively impacted during the school closure. 

What are the efforts to consider the trauma response when kids do return to schools?

Students will be assessed on an individual basis for supports that are in addition to school-wide services. Our school counselors are reaching out to students to offer support via telephone, and video conferencing during the closure. If you have concerns about your child, please reach out to your school counselor for support.

Will translators be available to send IEP invites to families who do not speak English? Will they also be available during the IEP meetings?

Yes, our bilingual specialists are available to translate emails and phone calls as needed. If we do not have a specialist available for a language our district as access to language line.

Will extended school year services (ESY) services be available to our students following this closure?

In general, ESY services are intended to help maintain skills, not provide new learning. IEP teams will meet once school is back in session to determine the need for ESY or compensatory services on a case by case basis.

When school resumes, how will the district note student regression?

IEP teams will meet when school re-opens in order to evaluate regression and determine next steps.

How does a student get services if they have just transferred to the district but is not enrolled in a school yet?

Please call Jeannie Brown (509) 354-7393 and she will help get your student registered.

If the parent does not have ability for Zoom, can they be on the phone on speaker and the special education teacher and general education teacher on zoom?

Yes, the parent could participate by phone as in any other IEP meeting, if the technology makes it equitable across participants. Some online platforms, such as Zoom, have the ability for participants to call in to the meeting.

With IEP meetings being held over Zoom, are parents still able to have their support system attend including advocates, and friends?

Yes, parents are welcomed to extend the invite to whomever they would like to attend the virtual IEP meeting.

I do not have a computer or internet at home. How can my child access the district online resources?

Laptops will be available for students to check out based on need and availability. Internet access will be supported by providing hotspots and coordinating with community partners. Check the SPS website March 17 to learn about the check-out process. 

My child has a district assigned assistive technology device. Can we take it home during the closure?

Starting Monday March 23rd, you make pick up your student’s device at the school during the school’s posted office hours. The device will be available for pick up along with a device check-out form.

  • These FAQs will continue to be updated as the Special Education department receives new information. Please email any questions or comments to beckyr@spokaneschools.org

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