FAQ: Special Education Services
The questions on this page were submitted before and during to a virtual Coffee with the Superintendent that took place on October, 26, 2020. Questions have been categorized for ease of reference. In addition, our Special Education Department staff have provided further clarification and additional information to those questions. If you are unable to find the answer to your question or you need additional clarification, please contact your student’s IEP case manager, building principal, or the Special Education Department.
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has implemented a provision that allows school districts to count synchronous and asynchronous instruction towards instructional minutes. This means that any specially designed instruction, whether it is provided in-person or at home count as IEP minutes. This means specially designed instruction, including in-person instruction, synchronous remote instruction, or asynchronous learning activities provided for students to complete at home, is considered as IEP minutes. Please know that staff across our district are working to meet every student’s needs.
This information may change should new data and guidelines become available.
- Special Education Services
- Safety Precautions
- In-Person Behavior Tech Services at Skyview Middle School
- Adult Transition Program (ATP) Services
- Twice Exceptional
- Technology and Access
- Progress Reports and Data Collection
- Return to In-Person Learning
- Recovery Services
Q: I have concerns about my child with a 504 and ADHD - how can this be accommodated?
A: Parents/guardians should reach out to their student’s classroom teacher and if that isn’t sufficient, contact the school’s 504 Coordinator. 504 Coordinators may vary by site and the building principal can refer the parent/guardian to the correct individual if needed.
Q: Many of our elementary school students are receiving services through additional Zoom meetings. While this helps them get their services, it does create an additional burden on the student by having to engage in even more online time. This is overwhelming to many students, who already struggle with the regular amount of online lessons. Would the district be willing to look into a different service model to help reduce the need to increase online time in order to give needed services?
A: For students with disabilities the school is following the services outlined in the IEP (Individual Education Program). If a parent/guardian desires changes in services, including reduced contact time, please reach out to your IEP case manager to discuss possible changes.
Q: My kindergartner is unable to stay engaged in learning from a computer. How are you going to meet his learning needs and other students like him?
A: IEP teams are always willing to continue to dialogue with families regarding possible alternative ways to try and meet the needs of students given the remote parameters currently in place.
Q: Is it okay for my child to skip PE, music, and library Zoom sessions, or do I have to call an IEP meeting to make this change?
A: Parents/guardians can contact the IEP case manager and the principal and let them know of your decisions/choices and they can adjust your child’s schedule accordingly.
Q: Northshore contracts with YMCA. YMCA LEAP program operates in Northshore’s property and helps children attend online school. Why doesn’t Northshore provide a paraeducator in YMCA LEAP program location to support a child, who has need of paraeducator support in IEP?
A: At this time, the District is not providing district special education paraeducators at agency run childcare sites due to safety. When COVID numbers stabilize, we will revisit this option.
Q: What about in-home services?
A: There is a significant liability for both the staff member and the family to have someone in your home.
Q: Our high school students receiving special education services/academic labs have precious few years/months left in K-12 education and the time left is slipping away. How can we ensure that our high school students aren’t left behind?
A: The District is exploring the possibility of peer tutoring academic labs where a staff member may be present but the experience is based on peer tutoring and advertising those time slots. If we have an identified need for high school students who may need special education services or more academic supports we can also explore that same model.
Q: What are the considerations for doing one-on-one services for speech and occupational therapy and physical therapy (OT/PT)?
A: OT/PT and speech services can be delivered virtually in small groups or one-to-one. If you have questions about services, please contact your school team.
Q: Do teachers have information about the existence of special plans in place for the students?
A: Case managers have uploaded IEP at a Glance to the student’s electronic file in Synergy so that the staff who work with them directly have access to the key components of their IEPs.
Q: We’ve heard that intervention specialists aren’t supposed to schedule during existing class time. This means that our students have a net of more contact/fewer breaks than do general education peers. These breaks are arguably more needed for children with special needs. In lieu of declining the specialist time, can the parents request specialist/intervention services during general ed?
A: It comes down to scheduling, which varies at all levels. Ask your student’s teacher and case manager if it is possible. We understand one size doesn’t fit all.
Q: For the families who choose not to send their child back to school until the infection rate is much lower and/or there’s a vaccine - how will learning work for those children if their special education classroom returns to school, such as low-sensory classroom and students who remain in remote learning?
We have been planning for hybrid for some time. That includes considerations for students who are receiving special education services. As our plans are more defined, we will communicate them.
Q: Will there be any thought given to allowing a combination of homeschool and distance learning? Especially for those parents that are both full-time employees.
A: A combination of the two is hybrid, and we're hoping to get to hybrid when the data gets better.
Q: Are schools given a choice as to whether they engage in synchronous instruction or is there a district-wide expectation?
A: It is a directive that teachers engage in synchronous, real time instruction. Unless there's some unusual extenuating circumstance, like the health of the teacher, it would be an expectation. Please contact the principal with your concern.
Q: What are your health and safety protocols for returning to school and will teachers have proper PPE supplies to meet the guidelines?
A: We continue to assess the needs of educators and students as protocols are provided by the CDC, our state leaders and local health officials.
- All staff will be required to wear cloth masks unless they are unable to wear a mask due to medical condition or disability or due to communication reliant on facial markers or expression. Staff who are at higher risk of transmission due to increased contact levels will be provided with the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appropriate to their risk of transmission (KN95 masks, face shields, gowns, gloves, etc. as appropriate). Students will be required to wear a face mask unless there is a medical condition or disability that makes wearing a facial covering inappropriate. Specific situations regarding unique PPE requirements on the part of the student or staff will be determined on a case by case basis in consultation with the building COVID-19 supervisor.
- Daily cleaning will occur on a scheduled basis with a deep cleaning on Wednesdays between different groups of students. High touch areas will be disinfected nightly. All classrooms will be provided with disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer that have been approved by the EPA for effectiveness and low toxicity.
- Ventilation will be set to maximize outside air flow and run continuously throughout the day. HVAC filters that provide the maximum filtration recommended for the HVAC equipment of the building will be used and changed monthly.
- Students who are 3 and 4 years of age have the option to wear masks, but will be encouraged and taught to wear masks while at school. Students who are 5 and older must wear masks. There are some situations where a student’s disability may make it difficult to wear a mask and they are therefore exempt. These exemptions include: a.Those with a disability that prevents them from comfortably wearing or removing a face covering; b.Those with certain respiratory conditions or trouble breathing; c. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing, and those who provide instruction to such people, and use facial and mouth movements as part of communication; and d. Those advised by a medical, legal, or behavioral health professional that wearing a face covering may pose a risk to that person. Students will be provided instruction in the proper use of wearing a mask.
Q: How much is the District reaching out to the experts in the field? It is not reasonable to think that the virus will be contained. It will never be contained (scientifically speaking). It's more realistic to look at the rates of infections (and the recovery rates + capacities of hospitals managing the sick population).
A: The superintendent is in weekly meetings with both the Snohomish County Health and King County Health. The chief medical officer for Snohomish County clarified that when the community transmission rate rises, there's a lagging data point of one to two weeks before hospital admissions rise. And then there's a lagging week to two week data point of increasing deaths. We would still need a good four weeks of stable suppressed activity in the community, to contemplate moving forward with opening. This is in addition to other considerations listed on the Decision process page our website.
Q: Because there is currently space, is it possible to spread out our students across the Skyview campus so they can access their BTs 5 days a week?
A: At this time, we are following the model of Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday for students being provided agency Behavior Technician support onsite. We are not able to increase the number of days as teachers are also on campus utilizing their classrooms. We are continuing to plan for adding more students/groups in various ways and at other locations.
Q: Even though ATP is planning on providing in-person services again, I am not comfortable sending my student because of their medical complexity. Is it possible to receive some in-home services instead?
A: Parents/guardians do not need to send their students if they do not feel comfortable doing so especially if there are complex medical issues. The District has been provided guidance that staff should not go into the home to provide services due to safety concerns to both the student and staff. Students will be able to continue with remote learning.
Q: Will the Northshore School District extend special needs services time from age 21 to 22 for students who do not currently have adequate services?
A: All students served by Special Education will be considered for recovery services. This includes students who are graduating and/or aging out at 21 years of age. Recovery services can be provided post ATP graduation date for students who age out of the school system.
Q: Is it possible for the students in their last year to have an extra semester or an extra school year to complete this very important part of their education? And is there someone we should advocate with on the state and national level?
A: Advocating for additional funding with OSPI to cover the cost for an additional year of special services past the age of 21 would be helpful. Advocating to cover the cost of recovery services would also be helpful. The District is required to offer them, but without any additional resources. This includes services for students 21 and over who have aged out of ATP.
Q: I have a child with a 504 for ADHD however would qualify for HiCap with accommodations. How can I best support my child and what discussion would you recommend with school/teachers?
A: The District works to support our twice exceptional students, which are those who may have a 504, or a special education accommodation need, and are testing into a highly capable program. The recommendation is that you meet with the teacher and principal. Amity Butler is the Director of Accelerated Models and Programs and could support you in that journey. The District is also working on providing some online math supports for single qualified math students this year.
Q: How can the District help parents to subscribe to mainstream mobile apps for speech, which require a monthly subscription fee? Does Northshore have any collaboration with providers of those apps, which may help to reduce monthly subscription fees?
A: The district speech language pathologists (SLPs) utilize many apps in the delivery of communication services. We can certainly provide parents/guardians with information about apps they can also use at home. Parents/guardians should contact their SLP for information.
Q: When in-person, data would be collected by the special education staff along with teaching staff to support IEP progress or lack thereof. What data points and categories can parents or guardians take on to help with IEP tracking where education is not working - behavior demonstrating avoidance, behavior exhibiting aggression, dyslexia, etc., all those actions that identify students who are rapidly falling behind?
A: Case managers are tracking progress on goals by utilizing a variety of tools, which can include curriculum-based measures, assigned work, observation, attendance and access etc. Progress will be indicated on the IEP goals by the dropdown options in the document: Emerging skill; Insufficient Progress; Mastered Goal; New Goal; Sufficient Progress.
It is important to remember that the provision of special designed instruction (SDI) includes both synchronous and asynchronous instructional minutes. This means specially designed instruction, including in-person instruction, synchronous remote instruction, or asynchronous learning activities provided for students to complete at home, is considered as IEP minutes. As a result, parents/guardians and case managers may need to work in concert regarding measuring student progress.
Q: What are the objective criteria that we need to achieve to return to in-person learning?
A: We continue to be mindful of the community transmission rate, ICU bed space and available staff as well as other considerations, many of which are listed on the decision process webpage. Since late October, the cases in Snohomish and King counties continue to surge.
Q: Why was the Functional Skills and Academics Program (FSA) excluded from moving to in-person learning? Despite increasing case numbers, FSA class sizes lend themselves to being able to have social distancing?
A: The District is continuing to plan for onsite services for students served in the FSA program. FSA services were not excluded, but paused. Once guidance from the health departments, along with returning, we can bring students on campus. When it is announced for their return parents/guardians will be notified and services initiated.
Q: Young children have very low transmissibility of COVID-19 if they become infected. They also are the ones that need in person learning. What is going to be done for these kids that are unable to learn with e-learning?
A: We have a number of young children who are online and doing well in both reading and math. Understand that current reports indicate students’ rate of infection is lower, however, many of the staff who teach them are in the high-risk category. We also have to be responsible to the health department recommendations, which are staying the course with small groups, but asked us to ‘pause’ on implementing more grade levels. Many districts are doing the same until the end of Jan. 2021. The decision to bring students back heavily depends on how we manage to contain the virus, vaccines, contact tracing and a variety of other considerations.
Q: Has the staff been surveyed regarding their willingness to go back in person?
A: Yes, they have been surveyed.
Students will be considered for recovery services once students return to school. Recovery services will be dependent upon a student’s progress towards IEP goals. If a student is making progress toward meeting the IEP goals, then there would not be a need for recovery services. If a student is not, then recovery services can be considered in those areas. Recovery services will be considered in the context of an IEP team meeting.
Recovery services will generally be provided outside of a typical school day. This could mean tutoring before or after school, during breaks such as winter break or spring break, or during the summer when school is not in session. The amount of services is completely dependent upon student need rather than missed instructional time.
Q: Is there any plan or discussion for additional services, support, or funding for the students who have fallen even further behind because they haven’t benefited from distance learning? How will the District deal with noncompliance on IEP’s? Most specifically the number of hours of specialized instruction our kids should be getting and are not. How will this discrepancy be remedied?
A: For each student served with an IEP, their individual needs will be considered once back in session to determine the need for recovery services. IEP teams are always willing to meet with families to determine if there are any other possible alternatives to increase student access and engagement.
It is also important to remember that the provision of special designed instruction (SDI) includes both synchronous and asynchronous instructional minutes. This means that any specially designed instruction, regardless of whether it is provided in-person or at home count as IEP minutes. Specially designed instruction may be in-person instruction, synchronous remote instruction, or asynchronous learning activities provided for students to complete at home.
Q: Does Northshore reimburse the cost of private service providers during the time Northshore does not provide services written in IEP? Is there a possibility for students needing PT, OT, SLP, dyslexia tutoring and other services best done in person, to have the option to be given through private professionals/organizations that are currently open for services?
A: The IEP team would need to determine the need for private services through the evaluation and IEP processes.
Q: Will access to receiving compensatory services (or for extended school year) be solely based on remote learning minutes received (or not received) or are there models being considered that allow access to services to all/majority of students with IEPs (acknowledging that regression is happening to everyone but understanding that the gap is bigger with these students).
A: Students will be considered for recovery services once students return to school. Recovery services will be dependent upon a student’s progress towards IEP goals not on a minute-to-minute correlation. If a student is making progress toward meeting the IEP goals, then there would not be a need for recovery services. If a student is not, then recovery services can be considered in those areas. Recovery services will be considered in the context of an IEP team meeting.
Q: Who provides recovery services?
Recovery services will typically be provided by qualified district special education staff.
Q: Does Northshore perform evaluation for IEP or 504?
A: Yes, the District is continuing to evaluate students for services although on a limited scale due to safety protocols.
Timelines remain the same. If the student’s initial evaluation cannot be completed virtually due to requiring in-person testing, you may be asked to file an extension until we are able to schedule the student for in-person testing. Reevaluations can be done virtually through a review of existing data unless the student requires in-person testing.
How is the District conducting comprehensive evaluations within the legal timeline of 35 school days?
A: Timelines are still in effect. Reevaluations can be completed with a file review using existing data. If a student needs in-person testing the team would complete the evaluation to the greatest extent possible using existing data and then when students return to school in person additional testing can be conducted. We also have a team of evaluators currently working to schedule in person testing and are scheduling students through that process. Initial evaluations can be extended if parents/guardians agree.
Q: If we get outside evaluations for dyslexia and speech, can those reports and findings be incorporated into the IEP without a need for an academic evaluation?
A: All outside evaluations will need to be considered by the evaluation team through an assessment revision process. Through that process teams would decide whether to include any findings into the IEP at an IEP meeting.