Frequently Asked Questions Related to the District's Virtual Opening
***SPECIAL NOTE: Our office will be emailing IEPs and amendments if there is an email on file. This is an additional safety measure to limit handling of the IEP by multiple people. If you need accommodations (i.e. interpreter, note-taking, physical adaptation) to meaningfully participate in your student’s IEP or evaluation meeting, please notify your student’s case manager least 3 days prior to the date of IEP meeting.
Given the Board's decision on 11/9/20 to return students to virtual instruction, how will special education services be provided?
Services will be provided as indicated on Form G for a full district closure. If adjustments need to be made, it can be done via agreement between the guardian and parent and documented on the communication log. Our department is currently working with district and building administration to identify resources needed to provide in-seat services and/or supervision for special education students who are not in district classrooms and not making progress toward their IEP goals as these students typically access the general education classroom for the majority of their day. The district recognizes the need for this support and will make every effort to provide this opportunity if staffing is available.
Will the 11/9/20 Board decision affect district classrooms who have been attending in-seat 5 days/week?
Yes and no. We will continue to provide in-seat instruction in district classrooms who were open at the start of the 20-21 school year. Your child will continue to come the same number of hours and days of the week, i.e., 5 days with an early out on Wednesday. However, if your child had time in the regular education classroom, they will now attend those classes virtually.
If I enrolled my child in a virtual education option through CPS, how will this affect the IEP?
The IEP must be amended to address the individualized educational needs of the student in the virtual environment, i.e., goals, services, accommodations, etc.
If I enrolled my child in in-seat instruction through CPS, how will my child's remote learning needs be addressed when the building or district is fully closed or open in another model of instruction?
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) created a new form they've titled Form G Distance Learning Plan. The purpose of this form is to support individualized student planning for the delivery of special education and related services on days when school facilities are closed.
If I enrolled my child in virtual education through CPS, would Form G need to be added to the IEP?
Likely not, unless services offered were in some way only deliverable if the building were open. If this is the case for your circumstance, your case manager will discuss the need to add Form G to the IEP.
Is Form G part of my child's IEP?
Yes, the IEP should be amended and prior written notice provided to the parent to add form G.
What if the case manager, LEA and I cannot agree to services in a remote learning environment (Form G)?
An IEP team meeting should be called with all required team members. The IEP team will need to determine appropriate services defined on Form G and provide prior written notice to the family before changes can be implemented.
What information is included on Form G?
Parents and staff are tasked with identifying the priorities needed for the student during closures (i.e., technology, instructional materials, instructional supports available in the home, training needed for parents in order to support distance learning in the home) as well as a communication plan to identify who, when and how staff members will be communicating with the parent. Additionally, Form G identifies what services, supports and accommodations will be provided during short- and long-term closures as well as a plan for monitoring progress toward goals identified in the IEP. If the LEA, parent and case manager determine a goal revision is appropriate, the IEP goal page would be amended as this information would not be included on Form G.
What can services look like in a distance learning environment?
Educational instruction can be "synchronous" (live online meetings when the whole class or smaller group gets together) or "asynchronous" (learning that does not happen "live," can occur in different times and spaces specific to each learner). In an asynchronous learning model, the educator designs a learning path which each student engages in at their own pace. Examples of asynchronous instruction include pre-recorded video lessons, written instruction and assignments designed for the student to acquire new learning on their own, etc. Many families prefer this method as it allows the student and families to engage in the instruction on their own time versus being tied to a specific schedule and screen throughout the day.
Will I have the choice between synchronous and asynchronous services for my child?
The short answer is yes; however, it is important to consider the unique learning needs of the child, family situation, technology constraints, and screen time appropriate for the specific age of the student. Families will likely prefer one method over another method for some or all of their services given their unique situations. There are also families who may be in a situation where technology is not available. In these cases, teams may need to plan for asynchronous instruction and utilize more frequent phone calls to meet the instructional needs of students.
What if the online services agreed upon and documented on Form G are not working for my child?
Services providers and therapists will work closely with the family to create a distance learning plan that can be revised and modified, as needed, to help support student growth. DESE has indicated revisions can be made to Form G without amending the IEP if the parent and service provider agree.
If the district fully reopens (5 days per week), what will my child's services look like?
Your child's IEP will be implemented as written. The services and goals identified on the original IEP will not be changed when Form G is added unless changes are appropriate and agreed upon via amendment.
I've heard some special education students will be attending school in-seat even if the district is closed. Is this available to my child with who also has an IEP?
Students identified to receive their services in-seat require services in a highly specialized district classroom. The district is offering this service given the unique learning needs of these students which make virtual learning incredibly difficult. Currently, this is the only in-seat option available for face to face services while the district is fully closed.
My child is in a highly specialized district classroom. Is there a virtual education option available for them if I do not want my child to attend in-seat?
This summer, coordinators and educators developed distance learning curricula to support students should the building and/or district close due to health department guidelines. Parents of students who access alternative learning standards can opt into this CPS distance learning option as an alternative to CPS Virtual classes.
- What will this distance learning look like?
o Will there be scheduled times all students in the classroom will be expected to Zoom in?
Yes, there will be an expectation that students participate in a minimum of 30 minutes of the pre-planned lessons. Additionally, there will be assigned daily online times the special education teacher will meet with students to work on skills specific to the student’s IEP goals. These times will be pre-arranged with the family and could be individual or in a small group setting. All special education and related services will be provided during the typical school day.
o What if we need a more flexible schedule and cannot Zoom in at the designated time?
Lessons are pre-planned and scheduled for specific times of the day. If you are concerned about a pre-planned schedule, contact your student’s special education teacher to problem-solve.
o Could my child still have access to the general education classroom?
All special education students will continue to have access to all available online general education courses as appropriate. A CPS teacher will be available for questions and troubleshooting. In addition, the school media specialist will also be available to assist families with online tools and resources. We are happy to work with families to discuss this further.
Will the district consider the need for additional supports and services due to the impact of the COVID-19 school closure?
At this time, more information about student progress toward IEP goals during the school closure is required to make decisions regarding whether any additional specific supports and services are needed. It should be noted that while specific services and supports are unable to be determined without current progressing monitoring data, careful consideration to the needs of student and his/her/their family have been made when developing the distance learning plan. Additionally, the district is providing asynchronous learning to everyone and synchronous learning to all those electing to participate in this option. The district has provided a device to all students K-12. Plans have been made to increase internet capability district-wide, however, there are some locations which have limited internet capabilities, even with a district provided hot spot. In these circumstances, the parent and LEA will determine a plan to provide new learning and feedback opportunities to support the students continued progress towards goals. Once sufficient data if collected to determine if the student is making meaningful progress toward the goal, the district can consider whether additional services and support are required to address any COVID related impact from school or district closure.
How will special education evaluations be handled this school year?
Unless there is a state or local mandated closure of buildings, we will evaluate students in a one-on-one setting in a CPS building if formal assessment is needed. Safety protocols, such as sanitizing, face masks and/or shields and social distancing, when possible, will be utilized. If a student is enrolled in virtual education and the guardian is uncomfortable with the student coming to school to participate in assessment, the evaluation team will work with the parent to consider appropriate informal assessments. Upon the student's return to school, the team may consider reopening the evaluation to conduct a more robust evaluation with formal assessment.
How will the district handle IEP and Evaluation timelines?
The district will adhere to all IDEA timelines for IEP and Evaluations. While we allowed for extension of IEP and Evaluation timelines at the guardian's request due to wanting to meet in person this Spring, we will no longer continue this practice during the 20-21 school year.
Will outside agencies be allowed to come into the building?
The district will be limiting the number of non-CPS individuals allowed in buildings. Due to this practice, the district will work with families and agencies to determine alternative options for meetings, if possible.
Will IEP and Evaluation meetings be in-person?
This year, for the safety of everyone, CPS will be encouraging the use of Zoom and/or conference calls to hold IEP and evaluation meetings. If a parent/guardian wants to attend in-person for the meeting, typically, the case manager will be the only in-person attendee with the parent and anyone the parent invites to the meeting. All other CPS staff will participate in the meeting by Zoom or by phone. Anyone participating in-person will follow safety measures, i.e. masks, social distancing, sanitizer, etc.
When should I hear from my child's case manager?
Case managers begin contacting parents prior to the first day of school. Please contact your building's special education department chair if you do not hear from your child's case manager as the department chair can provide this contact information to you. A list of current building department chairs can be found on the special services website.
I have questions related to the special education process and/or my child's IEP. Who should I contact?
We highly recommend you start with talking with your special education case manager. If you continue to have questions and concerns related to special education which the case manager is unable to address, please contact the building level department chair and/or process coordinator assigned to your building. If the building is unable to resolve your concerns, please contact the district special education office or email your questions to email@example.com.