Special Programs Guide – Launch to Learning 2020-21

UPDATE 9/24/2020
Meeting Services Recommendations
Instructional and Related Services

INTRODUCTION

OUR COMMITMENT
In conjunction with the Launch to Learning in LISD guidance, Leander ISD will ensure that students with disabilities have access to a free and appropriate public education. To the greatest extent possible, each student will be provided the specialized instruction, support, and related services identified in the student’s RTI plan, individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan.
Special Programs Family FAQ Document
GENERAL GUIDELINES
Students with disabilities will follow the same guidelines and protocols with special consideration given to meet their individual needs.

Special education instructional and related services will be provided in accordance with the ARD/IEP either virtually or face-to-face.

Transportation for 100% Virtual Empowered students taking on-campus courses will not be provided, except as documented through an ARD/IEP if the student is eligible for special education transportation as a related service in order to access their special education services.

When we return to in-person instruction, we will work to minimize potential exposure to our most vulnerable students. ALL Leander ISD employees will follow Health and Safety Guidelines, see COVID-19 Health Response Handbook and the Employee Health Protocol.
FACE-TO-FACE vs. 100% VIRTUAL EMPOWERED LEARNING
Individualized Education Plan
Please note that as we move into the 2020-21 school year, Face-to-Face will follow the IEP as written. If a student is being educated via the Virtual Empowered Learning Environment, instruction will be delivered through synchronous lessons with supporting asynchronous opportunities. If adjustments to services to allow synchronous and asynchronous delivery is made, an amendment will be generated to reflect the adjustments. Should such changes result in a change in instructional arrangement, a revision ARD will be held. Parent communication and collaboration will occur throughout this process.  

MEETING SERVICES RECOMMENDATIONS

GENERAL MEETING GUIDANCE Update 9/24/2020
Until further notice, the recommended practice is to conduct 504/ARD meetings virtually in an effort to follow safety guidelines and due to space limitations for physically distancing. If a parent wants to attend their student’s 504/ARD meeting in person, all health/safety and visitor’s guidelines have to be followed, see COVID-19 Health Response Handbook.   

We must provide FAPE (a Free Appropriate Public Education) as well as protection from discrimination because of their disability.  This is important to remember regarding access during our virtual learning environment.
Specific to 504
The campus 504 Coordinator is the go-to resource for understanding or clarifying an accommodation or 504 plan. Regular collaboration is key to student success in a virtual learning environment.

504 Meeting Guidance Document
Specific to Special Education
The Tracking Teacher is the primary go-to resource for understanding or clarifying an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Regular collaboration is key to student success in a virtual learning environment.

Virtual ARD Meeting Guidance
LISD ARD/IEP Guidance
Specific to Visual Transition Planning (Special Education)
Leander ISD has a variety of visual transition planning meetings:  

● VISIT (Visual Interactive Support in Transition)
● ACT on Life (Adult Centered Tool focused on LIFE)
● PCP’s (Person Centered Planning)
● Plan for Life 
● AEPT’s (Adult Employment Profile Tool) 

This brochure explains the purpose of each meeting. Meetings will be facilitated by neutral facilitators. In order to put a transition planning meeting into action, please submit a Request Form. Transition planning may start as early as when a student is in Elementary. Whether this meeting is in person or virtual, the purpose of the meeting is to support, guide, and increase student voice and their involvement in self-determination.  
Specific to RTI
The RTI Campus Coordinator is the person on your campus to inquire about specifics on the process for RTI. It is expected that there will be regular meetings to discuss student progress for those assigned to Tier 2 and Tier 3 instruction whether the district is conducted virtually or in-person.

FACE-TO-FACE PROTOCOLS

GENERAL GUIDANCE
All staff will be asked to give their specific schedules to campus administration to further aid in contact tracing.

Refer to the COVID-19 Health Response Handbook. We have included a few additional reminders and suggestions for Special Programs on the topics of:

● Utilization of Space
● Sanitization of Space
● Scheduling
● Hand Sanitization and Use of Gloves
● Supporting Positive Choices/Behavior 
● Transitions 
FACE COVERINGS
Students in 3rd-12th grade will wear a face covering, if able. Staff will make a good faith effort to ensure face coverings are worn for younger students as well. Knowing this is difficult for some students, we will continue to encourage wearing face coverings for the safety of all students and staff.

100% VIRTUAL EMPOWERED LEARNING

GENERAL GUIDANCE
For detailed information regarding 100% Virtual Empowered Learning, please see the general guidelines located in the Leander ISD Launch to Learning site. 
CONFIDENTIALITY CONSIDERATIONS
Keep student information private. Be mindful of this during group video conferencing and do not share student progress or information specific to a student’s ability via group sessions. 

Only include email addresses in BCC when emailing parents.

All social media posts must comply with Leander ISD’s Acceptable Use Policy, including pictures and videos of students. Do not post pictures on social media with students in the photo or video. Do not record videos with students present. Videos created for asynchronous learning should be of the teacher/IA only. 

Include a statement to all parents: In order to protect the confidentiality of your child as well as others, refrain from taking pictures, videos, or sharing information about other students. 

Collaborate and communicate with parents about virtual sessions and confidentiality.

INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAMMING EXPECTATIONS

GENERAL EXPECTATIONS OF ALL TEACHING STAFF
● Maintain a culture of inclusion. 
● Individualize learning and daily schedules for each student based on their IEP, RtI, or 504 plan.
— Provide technology and instructional support to parents as needed. 
● Maintain communication with families and utilize the Parent Communication Log.
● Plan engaging learning opportunities that are hands-on and effective for student learning.
● Balance live learning (synchronous) and independent learning (asynchronous) opportunities for students. 
— Ensure student access to platforms for lesson participation.
● Consider and coordinate the delivery of instructional materials.
● Create a plan for students that are having connectivity issues. 
● Keep sub plans available at all times in case of absence/illness.
● Staff should refer to additional guidance from your Coordinator or Lead.

DOCUMENTATION OF SERVICES

SPECIAL EDUCATION
Staff is responsible for viewing, signing for, and implementing each student’s accommodations via Frontline SEI (eSped DocuShare).

ARDs should focus on documenting services for a virtual learning plan that describes the special education and related services that will be provided through Virtual Learning. Teachers, Related Services/Itinerant Instructional Staff, parents, and the student should virtually collaborate to determine the services needed to support the student.  This collaboration should be an ongoing process.

ARD Revisions should be conducted when a student’s services are not adaptable to a virtual learning environment and there is a need to either suspend or add services.

Service providers will need to monitor each student to ensure progress on the TEKS as well as on their IEP goals. Additional Amendments and/or virtual ARD meetings may be necessary if a student begins to struggle and cannot remediate.
504 PLAN
Staff is responsible for viewing, signing for, and implementing each 504 student’s accommodations Frontline SEI (eSped DocuShare). 

Keep disability information/accommodations CONFIDENTIAL at all times. This includes assignments posted on virtual platforms.  Communicate with students individually on assignments that have accommodations.

Keep track of the accommodations that were appropriate for virtual and “in-person”.  This information will be helpful during 504 meetings and teacher feedback will be important.
RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION (RTI)
Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. RTI is designed for use when making decisions in general education, guided by student outcome data.

Staff will document progress to ensure student needs are being met and expected progress is occurring. A variety of data types will be used to capture present levels in order to make informed decisions about educational goals and placement.

Staff will document progress on RTI goals and objectives in Eduphoria Aware unless otherwise directed.  

PROGRESS MONITORING

GENERAL GUIDANCE
Whether face-to-face or virtual, special program teachers should routinely review the progress of each student on their caseload based on RTI/504/IEP goals/objectives. Teachers should monitor a student’s ability to access and make progress on the general education curriculum by leveraging data based on a variety of sources including grade books, data collection, teacher feedback, etc. and respond accordingly. Student progress on goals will be communicated with parents regularly via conferences, pre-ARDs, etc. as well as reported at the end of each grading cycle.

Once campus buildings reopen, if a family decides to enroll their child in virtual learning, the Special Programs teacher should review the 504/IEP to determine whether the plan is fully applicable to the student’s home learning needs. If not, a 504/ARD meeting should be convened to review and adjust goals/objectives, accommodations/modifications, and related services as appropriate.

If a student is showing a lack of progress throughout the year, teachers should consider if additional supports (accommodations/modifications) may be needed for each student to continue to progress in the general education curriculum and on their IEP goals/objectives.  Special education teachers and parents should communicate to consider adjusting support and services through either an amendment to the student’s IEP or request to convene an ARD/IEP committee meeting to discuss recommended revisions.  

In some circumstances, the unexpected school closure may have prevented the school from implementing all of a student’s instruction and services outlined in their IEP.  An ARD committee should review which services listed in the IEP were temporarily reduced or suspended and consider whether there is a need for compensatory services when a student returns to 100% instruction as outlined in TEA guidelines. Decisions on whether to provide compensatory services will be documented in the student’s IEP and summarized in a prior written notice to parents.
GENERAL GUIDANCE Update 9/24/2020
Itinerant staff serving more than one campus will need to prioritize campus visits, when possible, by day in order to decrease the contact with more than one campus per day. 

Provide indirect services virtually when possible for all students, in accordance with IEP/504/RTI plan.

Provide direct service minutes in alignment with the IEP schedule of services.

Provide direct services for both 100% Virtual Empowered Learning Students, as well as face-to-face students (when campus buildings reopen) during the school day when appropriate.

When campus buildings reopen, adhere to district expectations for PPE (see Face-to-Face Protocols) and scheduling to minimize cross-contamination;

Maintain assignments, activities, and videos of lessons in the virtual platforms used (Seesaw/Google classroom). 

Maintain accurate contact/service logs, documenting minutes provided.

Special Programs staff are expected to continue documentation of parent communication and attendance.  

● Special Education Itinerants continue to use Parent Communication Log. 
● SRP/Dyslexia refers to individual guidance 
● Homebound refer to shared Google drive

Continue to document services through MSB/Shars.

You will be asked to work with your district lead to manage and schedule caseloads (face-to-face and 100% virtual empowered learning students). More information on related services to be provided by your Lead. 

EVALUATION GUIDANCE

SPECIAL EDUCATION EVALUATIONS
Students that are referred for evaluation by parents and school teams will follow typical timelines as established in state regulations. Data on school performance prior to COVID-19 school building closure and virtual instruction will be reviewed to determine if a disability is suspected despite general education interventions.

When consent for evaluation is discussed with parents, evaluators will share what information is needed to complete the evaluation and the method for obtaining the information at this time (e.g., parent interview by phone or video conference, checklists or questionnaires sent by email, face-to-face assessment with the student using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), etc.)

Evaluations will be completed with PPE and by appointment only while school buildings are closed. A plexiglass divider will be used between evaluator and student for the majority of face-to-face assessments. Evaluations typically administered in a multidisciplinary team will be modified to allow for social distancing to the greatest extent possible. 

Procedures for evaluations through the use of PPE and remote assessment options continue to be developed as best practice guidance is received and reviewed. Parents can discuss the limitations of current virtual assessment options with their student’s evaluator if they have any questions or concerns. 

Parents have the option of declining face-to-face evaluation at this time through the Limited Revocation of Consent process. Additionally, parents have the right to revoke consent for any evaluation as outlined in the Procedural Safeguards and Evaluation Consent process.  
GENERAL EDUCATION DYSLEXIA EVALUATION
General education dyslexia evaluations will resume in August. All established protocols for use of PPE during evaluations will be followed by evaluators. 
CHILD FIND
Child Find continues to locate, identify, and evaluate children with suspected disabilities. We work closely with evaluators to schedule and conduct Notice and Consent meetings and gather information for evaluations. The Child Find Department in Leander ISD also facilitates initial ARDs for Early Childhood children found eligible for services.  We hold transition meetings for children that have been receiving Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) prior to age 3.  

HOMEBOUND, VISUAL IMPAIRMENT/ DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING (VI/DHH) AND IN-HOME TRAINING

HOMEBOUND
Homebound services are for students who will be confined to their home or hospital for a minimum of four weeks during the school year, for medical reasons only. Homebound instruction is not a substitute for virtual empowered learning.  It only applies where a student would not otherwise be able to attend in-person instruction at the campus, if available.

Students who are not accessing the “in-person” option for school due to the unforeseen health crisis (COVID-19) should access the virtual empowered learning option.
VISUAL IMPAIRMENT SERVICES/DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING (VI/DHH) Update 10/1/2020
Due to the unforeseen health crisis (COVID-19), all Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) services were delivered via a virtual format until LISD’s Phase-in began on Sept 8, 2020. Beginning Sept 8, services for ECI resumed services, in the home or in community settings pending approval of the daycare/setting or family. Staff guidelines for safety measures due to Covid-19 while providing these services can be found on the staff addendum. Families may request services continue virtually and the individual delivery method should be considered by the ARD team.
IN-HOME AND PARENT TRAINING Update 9/24/2020
In-Home Training and Parent Training are Special Education services based on specific needs as determined by an individual student’s ARD committee. Due to the unforeseen health crisis (COVID-19), all In-Home Training and Parent Training was delivered via a virtual format until LISD’s Phase in began on Sept 8, 2020. Beginning Sept 8, services documented in ARD are to be individually considered for delivery virtually, the home, community, or school setting. Staff guidelines for safety measures due to Covid-19 while providing these services can be found on the staff addendum. Families may also request services to continue virtually.  

ADDITIONAL LAUNCH TO LEARNING 2020-21 GUIDANCE

Updated on October 1, 2020

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