Sunday, October 10, 2010

IEP Laws That Govern Meetings and IEP Development ~~~Know Before You Go!

(All of the links plus others found within this posting can be located

We have heard some disturbing stories regarding the handling of IEP meetings at MVRCS from both parents and teachers. One reader recently posted a comment about Kathy Kinnon not permitting a parent to have a friend, relative or associate attend the meeting with them. This is very much in violation of the laws and should not have occurred (see IDEA regulations @ **). We have also heard from parents who went through the effort and expense of having their child independently evaluated only to be told that the school would not implement any of the evaluators recommendations or necessary services ('That is how we do it here, you knew that when you enrolled your child here" - another violation). The school has been cited by the DESE of not meeting the required time lines regarding referrals, evaluations and meetings. One of the instances we are most concerned with is the lack of communication, collaboration, and support between classroom teachers and special education staff. It would appear that the school is not prompt in providing the required support and documents (specifically IEP's) to new teachers or teachers who are re-assigned. Unfortunately, because not all specialist and teachers have experience or formal education in teaching, they may not appreciate what an IEP is or it's importance. To assist parents in ensuring their children receive the services and accommodations needed to succeed, we have (and will continue to add to it as we come across other issues) copied the laws that govern the violations we have heard of.  Please be sure to contact us with other issues or concerns that you may have knowledge of. 

NOTE: IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH YOUR CHILD'S PROGRESS OR HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS, BY LAW YOU ARE ENTITLED TO SCHEDULE A REVIEW OR MEETING (AND POSSIBLY HAVE YOUR CHILD RE-EVALUATED) AT ANY TIME. YOU ARE NOT RESTRICTED TO ONCE A YEAR BUT RATHER THEY MUST OCCUR AT LEAST ONCE PER YEAR. Should you desire a new meeting or to discuss your child's progress, we suggest contacting Kathy Kinnon directly either by phone at 781 388-0222 x3821 or email at Kathy Kinnon's Email.

Should you encounter resistance or have additional questions regarding information you have been given, you should contact 

1. Joel Krakow at (781) 338-3747or email him at

2. Contact us and we will provide you the name of our contact at the DESE.

We can not stress enough, have an advocate or attorney represent you if possible (see the new links page with non-profit advocates and legal agencies), but at the very least, TAPE THE MEETING, PRINT OUT THIS PAGE, and BE PREPARED USING THE QUESTIONS & WORKSHEETS WE ARE GATHERING. (See statistics regarding appeals at the end of this post)

 Mass Laws and Regulations - 603

28.04: Referral and Evaluation

(1) Referral for Initial Evaluation. A student may be referred for an evaluation by a parent or any person in a caregiving or professional position concerned with the student's development.
(a) When a student is referred for an evaluation to determine eligibility for special education, the school district shall send written notice to the student's parent(s) within five school days of receipt of the referral.
(b) The notice required by 603 CMR 28.04(1)(a) shall meet all of the content requirements set forth in M.G.L. c. 71B, § 3, and in federal law and shall seek the consent of a parent for the evaluation to occur, and provide the parents with the opportunity to express any concerns or provide information on the student's skills or abilities.
(c) School districts shall provide the student's parents with an opportunity to consult with the Special Education Administrator or his/her designee to discuss the reasons for the referral, the content of the proposed evaluation, and the evaluators used. (2) Initial Evaluation. Upon consent of a parent, the school district shall provide or arrange for the evaluation of the student by a multidisciplinary team within 30 school days. The assessments used shall be adapted to the age of the student and all testing shall meet the evaluation requirements set out in state and federal law. The school district shall ensure that appropriately credentialed and trained specialists administer all assessments. (3) Annual reviews and three-year reevaluations. The school district shall review the IEPs and the progress of each eligible student at least annually. Additionally, every three years, or sooner if necessary, the school district shall, with parental consent, conduct a full three-year reevaluation consistent with the requirements of federal law.
(e) Whenever possible, the independent education evaluation shall be completed and a written report sent no later than 30 days after the date the parent requests the independent education evaluation. If publicly funded, the report shall be sent to the parents and to the school district. The independent evaluator shall be requested to provide a report that summarizes, in writing, procedures, assessments, results, and diagnostic impressions as well as educationally relevant recommendations for meeting identified needs of the student. The independent evaluator may recommend appropriate types of placements but shall not recommend specific classrooms or schools.
(f) Within ten school days from the time the school district receives the report of the independent education evaluation, the Team shall reconvene and consider the independent education evaluation and whether a new or amended IEP is appropriate.
(1) Convening the Team. Within 45 school working days after receipt of a parent's written consent to an initial evaluation or reevaluation, the school district shall: provide an evaluation; convene a Team meeting to review the evaluation data, determine whether the student requires special education and, if required, develop an IEP in accordance with state and federal laws; and provide the parents with two copies of the proposed IEP and proposed placement, except that the proposal of placement may be delayed according to the provisions of 603 CMR 28.06(2)(e); or, if the Team determines that the student is not eligible for special education, the school district shall send a written explanation of the finding that the student is not eligible. The evaluation assessments shall be completed within 30 school working days after receipt of parental consent for evaluation. Summaries of such assessments shall be completed so as to ensure their availability to parents at least two days prior to the Team meeting. If consent is received within 30 to 45 school working days before the end of the school year, the school district shall ensure that a Team meeting is scheduled so as to allow for the provision of a proposed IEP or written notice of the finding that the student is not eligible no later than 14 days after the end of the school year.

**1. Identify the members of the IEP Team.

The public agency (school) must ensure that the IEP Team for each child with a disability includes:
• The parents of the child;
• Not less than one regular education teacher of the child (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment);
• Not less than one special education teacher of the child, or where appropriate, not less than one special education provider of the child;
• A representative of the public agency (who has certain specific knowledge and qualifications);
An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results and who may also be one of the other listed members;
• At the discretion of the parent or the agency, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate; and

• Whenever appropriate, the child with a disability.

7. Require that the IEP be accessible to teachers and others responsible for its implementation.

Each public agency must ensure that:
The child’s IEP is accessible to each regular education teacher, special education teacher, related services provider, and any other service provider who is responsible for its implementation; and
Each teacher and provider described in this provision, is informed of his or her specific responsibilities related to implementing the child’s IEP and the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided for the child in accordance with the IEP.
[34 CFR 300.323(d)] 

11. Add a new provision for amending the IEP without another meeting.

In making changes to a child’s IEP after the annual IEP Team meeting for a school year, the parent of a child with a disability and the public agency may agree not to convene an IEP Team meeting for the purposes of making those changes, and instead may develop a written document to amend or modify the child’s current IEP.

If changes are made to the child’s IEP in accordance with 34 CFR 300.324(a)(4)(i), the public agency must ensure that the child’s IEP Team is informed of those changes.
[34 CFR 300.324(a)(4)] [20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(3)(D)]

Changes to the IEP may be made either by the entire IEP Team at an IEP Team meeting, or as provided in 34 CFR 300.324(a)(4), by amending the IEP rather than by redrafting the entire IEP. Upon request, a parent must be provided with a revised copy of the IEP with the amendments incorporated.
[34 CFR 300.324(a)(6)] [20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(3)(F)]

13. Provide for the review and, as appropriate, revision of the IEP.

Each public agency must ensure that, the IEP Team reviews the child’s IEP periodically, but not less than annually, to determine whether the annual goals for the child are being achieved and revises the IEP, as appropriate, to address:
Any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals and in the general education curriculum, if appropriate;
• The results of any reevaluation;
• Information about the child provided to, or by, the parents, as described under 34 CFR 300.305(a)(2) (related to evaluations and reevaluations);
• The child’s anticipated needs; or
• Other matters.

In conducting a review of the child’s IEP, the IEP Team must consider the special factors described in 34 CFR 300.324(a)(2) (development of the IEP).

A regular education teacher of the child, as a member of the IEP Team, must, consistent with 34 CFR 300.324(a)(3) (participation of regular teacher in development of the IEP), participate in the review and revision of the IEP of the child.
[34 CFR 300.324(b)] [20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(4)]

4. Revise procedures for reevaluations.
A public agency must ensure that a reevaluation of each child with a disability is conducted in accordance with 34 CFR 300.304 through 300.311:
  • If the public agency determines that the educational or related services needs, including improved academic achievement and functional performance, of the child warrant a reevaluation; or
  • If the child’s parent or teacher requests a reevaluation.
IDEA Laws - Re-Evaluation Meetings
A reevaluation conducted under 34 CFR 300.303(a):
  • Revise procedures for reevaluations.

    A public agency must ensure that a reevaluation of each child with a disability is conducted in accordance with 34 CFR 300.304 through 300.311:
  • If the public agency determines that the educational or related services needs, including improved academic achievement and functional performance, of the child warrant a reevaluation; or
  • If the child’s parent or teacher requests a reevaluation.

******A bit off topic but to stress the importance of obtaining an advocate or attorney (and to our opponents, we are neither and that is not an ulterior  motive) check out these statistics. If we understand it correctly, although 7252 parents or schools contacted them regarding a rejected IEP, action was only take on just over 1400 of them?:


Rejected Individualized Education Programs

During FY'09, the BSEA received 7,252 rejected IEPs, a decrease of 149 over the past fiscal year.


There were approximately 846 mediations concerning special education and Section 504 matters, conducted by eight BSEA mediators during FY'09, a 6.6% decrease over the prior year. Approximately 84.5 % of the mediations resulted in written agreements.


There were 609 hearing requests received by the BSEA during FY'09, (representing a slight decrease from 618 requests in the prior year), the vast majority of which were either resolved prior to proceeding to the formal hearing or subsequent to the commencement of the hearing but prior to concluding the process.
The seven 1 full-time BSEA hearing officers conducted full hearings resulting in 48 decisions.
In addition to the 48 decisions, at least 35 substantive written rulings were issued by the hearing officers.

Representation and Prevailing Party (this is where it is really  disheartening!)

Of the 48 decisions noted above, parents prevailed in 6 (approximately 12.5 %), school districts in 36 (75%), while 5 decisions (approximately 10.5 %) involved mixed relief and 1 decision (approximately 2 %) involved relief against another state agency, or a dispute between two or more school districts.

Statistics with respect to outcome in relation to representation are as follows: (READ: GET AN ADVOCATE OR ATTORNEY!)
Of the 6 cases in which parents fully prevailed, parents were represented by counsel in 3, appeared pro se in 2, and were represented by a lay advocate in 1; the school district was represented by counsel in all 6 matters.
Of the 36 cases in which school districts fully prevailed, the district was represented by counsel in all 36 cases; parents appeared pro se in 25, were represented by counsel in 9 and by an advocate in 2.


  1. I've read those state before but didn't see the 7252 rejected IEP's that came across the DESE. I'd be curious to see what happened to all of the IEP's that weren't resolved in any of the above methods - did they just go away?
    These laws would be awesome to have on hand in case Queenie tried to pull a fast one.
    Does anyone have the law or wording that addresses the parents being told 'that isn't how we do things here' or whatever it is they say to parents? For example, when a parent has an outside evaluation and comes in with a list of accommodations from the outside evaluator, I'm sure the school doesn't have to accept all of them, but do they have to pay attention to it or can they just reject all aspects of it? Does anyone know?

  2. From what I have seen/heard, parents of students with IEP's would be wise to email each and every teacher and specialist that is responsible for any of the accommodations or goals within their childs IEP to ensure they have a copy of it AND understand the implications for their child. Some of these teachers have NEVER worked with any learning disabilities before and may not appreciate how a non-verbal learning disability may present itself within their class. Also, if you email them (as opposed to calling) you have proof of the conversation and that they have a copy of the IEP. Just a thought...

  3. This post highlights the need for a parent to get information from more than one person in a school district. Is it legal for a school district to carefully train personnel what not to say or give 'keyhole' access to parents - only to specific personnel?

  4. All schools do train personnel to some degree on what they can and can not (or should not say) but none to the degree that MVRCS does. Teachers at MVRCVS are not permitted to make suggestions or recommendations to parents, or give too much information (heavens forbid it contradict what the school has told them, it might cause Kathy Kinnon grief).
    The training for other districts is the fear that a teacher may give parents too much information towards the child being out placed (at the schools expense) if the school can't provide an education to the child (severe behavioral, emotional, lD's). MVRCS doesn't have that problem as if the school were to determine it couldn't provide an adequate education, the child would then be referred back to the sending district school (I believe that is how it works).
    For MVRCS it is more about control and ego as they don't want anyone to question their ability to educated children (hence the use of systematic elimination and/or trying to push certain students out). Teachers at MVRCS aren't permitted to send a NOTE home or newsletter home unless it is approved by the administration. Teachers in the public schools don't have to do that, the schools know (or hope) that they hired competent, qualified teachers who know what should or should not be said.
    The other part of this is that when teachers are qualified with teaching degrees and/or certified, they've taken the required courses in special ed that educate them on different special ed issues, one of which being the legalities they'll face as teachers. Just another reason to push for quality, qualified teachers.