Dear PWCS Parent/Guardian(s),

During this period of school closure there have been many questions asked by parents of students with disabilities.  Below are some of the questions we have received and responses to those questions at this time.  It is of utmost importance to us that you know we are here during this challenging time to support you, our students, and our staff.

Child Find

  • Can a referral for special education (IDEA) or Section 504 be made during the school closure?

    Yes. If a referral request is received by the school, an intervention meeting will be scheduled to consider the request, discuss current and/or recommended interventions, and determine if an evaluation for IDEA or Section 504 is needed.

  • Will I be able to participate in the intervention meeting?

    Yes. To ensure social distancing necessary for the health and safety of families and of staff, a phone or video conference will be scheduled in collaboration with you at a mutually agreed upon date and time.

Evaluations

  • The school has requested consent to conduct an evaluation. How will I receive those documents and how do I give consent?

    Proposed documents can be provided to the parent electronically or, if needed, by regular mail. PWCS is currently exploring options for electronic signature through our current web-based platform. However, parents continue to have the option to provide consent by returning signed forms to the school by regular mail or by scanning the signed form and emailing it to the school as a PDF attachment.

  • How will the evaluation(s) be completed for my child?

    If an evaluation cannot be completed because it requires face-to-face components or observation, it will be delayed until the school division re-opens. Evaluations that can be completed by phone or in writing, such as a social history or rating scales, will be completed. Please know that the health and safety of our students and staff is our utmost concern.  Also, please see the first question in 'Eligibility'.

Reevaluations

  • Will a re-evaluation be completed for my child as required every three years?

    Teams will honor timelines for re-evaluations whenever possible and will utilize phone or video conferencing to ensure social distancing necessary for the health and safety of families and of staff.  School staff are currently contacting parents to schedule a mutually agreed upon time and date for any upcoming re-evaluation meetings.

Eligibility

  • What will happen if evaluations are not completed within the 65 business days required in the eligibility timeline?

    If an evaluation cannot be completed because it requires face-to-face components or observation, but sufficient information is available to make an eligibility determination, the team should make the determination based on available information and provide Prior Written Notice indicating the reason any evaluation was not completed.

    If sufficient information is not available to make an eligibility determination, the parent and PWCS can agree in writing to extend the 65-business day timeline for administration of any incomplete evaluation(s). If there is disagreement with extending the eligibility timeline, an eligibility meeting will be held within the required timeline.

  • How can I obtain copies of any completed evaluations and participate in the eligibility meeting?

    Prior to the scheduled meeting (by phone or video conferencing), any completed evaluations will be provided electronically or by mail, if requested.

Individualized Education Programs (IEPS), 504 Plans, and Individual Service Plans (ISP)

  • Will the extended school closure impact timeline requirements for annual and initial IEP and Section 504 plan meetings?

    Teams will, to the extent possible, comply with all deadlines and schedule required IEP and Section 504 plan meetings using distance technology such as telephone or video conferencing. Required team members, including the ESOL teacher when required, will participate.

  • Can I still request an IEP or Section 504 plan meeting? How do I make that request?

    Yes. Parents may make IEP or Section 504 meeting requests to their student’s case manager or school-based administrator at any time.

  • How can I meaningfully participate in the meeting?

    To ensure social distancing necessary for the health and safety of families and of staff, schools will use distance technology (such as telephone or video conferencing) to hold IEP and other meetings with parents.

    In addition, the native language of the parent(s) or other mode of communication used by the parent(s) will continue to be considered when planning for meetings. Free language professional interpreters, sign-language interpreters, and cued language transliterators continue to be available to help our families understand important information about their student’s education. Translations of many important documents and information in the seven most-commonly requested languages in our area—Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Farsi, Korean, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese – continue to be available. We are confident that these options will allow parents an opportunity to participate meaningfully in meetings.    

  • Will IEPs and Section 504 plans developed this school year reflect the extended school closure and/or compensatory services?
  • The Governor has closed all K-12 schools, public and private, for the remainder of the school year. PWCS is providing optional learning resources for all students while schools are not in session, but no new instruction. Parents/guardians can request a review of their child’s IEP once school resumes to address any impact from the extended school closure and the need to reassess services.

  • My child is parentally placed in a private school. Will he/she continue to receive the services in his/her Individual Services Plan (ISP)?

    Due to the extended school closure, these services are discontinued. An ISP for 2020-21 can still be developed and your student’s base school and/or related service provider will contact you to schedule this meeting prior the beginning of the new school year. 

Specialized Instruction

  • How does the Continuity of Learning Plan address the needs of students with disabilities?

    As we ensure the safety and well-being of students, PWCS can no longer offer its students an instructional day and services on IEPs, 504 plans, gifted education plans, and required EL services as it does when schools are open for instruction. In the place of instruction, our schools and team members are implementing a Continuity of Learning Plan to provide students with optional opportunities to learn, to challenge themselves, and to review and retain past lessons. All teachers are working collaboratively and using proactive strategies to engage all students including our English learners, special education, dually identified, and twice exceptional students by providing supports as needed and given the limitations of virtual learning under these conditions.

    Each general and special education teacher, including specialists/related service providers, have designated weekly virtual office hours to connect with students and parents, answer questions, and provide academic support, if needed. These office hours are advertised on school and/or individual teacher websites. In addition to available virtual support at specific communicated times, teachers of students with disabilities continue to co-plan for supports, scaffolds, and accommodations, as possible, under the current school closure conditions for their students. Teachers who serve small groups in the special class setting also continue to plan and provide review learning activities and resources that support student needs.  As part of the Special Education Home Learning Resources website , specific resources for preschool, related services, areas of need, and students participating in the aligned standards of learning (ASOL) are available.

  • Will special education teachers and/or related service providers work directly with my child on his/her IEP goals?

    Special educators and related service providers will continue to make contact with students/families once per week (twice per week at the elementary level) at a minimum. They are also employing multiple options to support students and families participating in the optional learning activities, designed for students of all ability levels, offered as part of our continuity of learning plan, if needed. This may include modeling, reviewing, and consulting through an individual or group session by phone or video conferencing. They also continue to plan and/or co-plan for supports, scaffolds, and accommodations for the optional learning activities provided, compile resources based on student needs, and maintain virtual office hours for direct support and consultation.

    Specific questions regarding availability and virtual office hours can be addressed directly with your student’s case manager or related service provider(s).

  • My student has been receiving homebound or home-based instruction. Will he/she continue to receive services?

    Due to public health and safety concerns, instruction within the home or previously agreed upon setting is not possible. The teacher of record at the base school during the period of homebound or home-based instruction is the point of contact during the extended school closure and can provide support regarding the extended optional learning activities available.

  • Will special education, homebound, home-based, and/or related services accumulate during the closure and be “made-up” at a later date?

    Given the school closure has caused educational services for all students to pause within the Division, there is no accumulation of services. Parents/guardians can request a review of their child’s IEP once school resumes to address any impact from the extended school closure and the need to reassess services.

  • What additional activities or resources are available to support my child’s learning?

    As part of the Special Education Home Learning Resources website , specific resources for preschool, related services, areas of need, and students participating in the aligned standards of learning (ASOL) are available.

Extended School Year (ESY) Services

  • Will the extended school closure impede the IEP team’s ability to make a determination on whether Extended School Year (ESY) services are required for my student?

    No. The determination of ESY services by the IEP team is based on the consideration of several factors and the IEP team must determine whether the benefits the child gained during the regular school year will be significantly jeopardized if the student does not receive ESY. Based on this analysis, if ESY is determined to be required, these services, at no cost to the parent, will vary in type, intensity, location, inclusion of related services, and length of time, depending on the individual needs of the student. These services are distinct from enrichment programs, summer school programs, and compensatory services and are not simply an extension of time.

  • Will the extended school closure impact the provision of ESY services scheduled for the summer of 2020?

    PWCS will continue to plan for the delivery of ESY services during the summer of 2020; however, based on the status of the extenuating circumstances of COVID-19, and any required public health and safety measures, there may be an impact that PWCS will communicate as soon as possible.