AUSTIN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT INTERNAL AUDIT DEPARTMENT SPECIAL EDUCATION AUDIT PROGRAM

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1 SPECIAL EDUCATION GENERAL: Texas Administrative Code Special Education Services shall be provided to eligible students in accordance with all applicable federal law and regulations, state statutes, rules of the State Board of Education (SBOE) and Commissioner of Education, and State Plan under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). AUDIT OBJECTIVES: 1) Comprehensive policies and procedures for the Special Education department have been established. 2) 3) The district is in compliance with all laws and regulations involving the delivery of instructional or related services to students with disabilities. Determine that appropriately trained personnel are involved in the diagnostic and evaluation procedures and that those personnel routinely serve on district Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committees. 4) 5) Determine that specific eligibility criteria established by state and federal agencies have been adhered to with regard to students with disabilities. Determine whether student records are properly safeguarded. AUDIT PROCEDURES: 1) General Obtain: i. Policies and Procedures ii. Prior Audit Reports iii. External Auditors Management Records iv. Federal and State Laws governing Special Education v. Job Descriptions and Organizational Charts vi. Regulatory Examination Reports vii. Contracts and/or Agreements with Other Entities

2 SPECIAL EDUCATION Review policies and procedures to determine adequacy. Ensure that policies and procedures have been communicated to appropriate personnel. Review prior reports to determine whether corrective action has been implemented for noted deficiencies. d) Review Job Descriptions and Organizational Chart. Become familiar with all laws and regulations regarding students with disabilities. Determine that adequate records are generated and maintained for students with disabilities. Determine if Key Performance Indicators (KPI) exist and if so, how they are being utilized. 2) Special Education Personnel The No Child Left Behind Act and IDEA require each state to require all teachers (including i. Determination of "Highly Qualified" Status documentation or separate High, Objective, Uniform, State Evaluation (HOUSSE) is on file for the teacher. ii. The LEA must submit the Highly Qualified Teacher Compliance Report to the TEA electronically at the beginning of the school year. iii. The principal of each Title I, Part A campus must annually attest in writing whether the campus is in compliance with teacher and paraprofessional qualifications. A teacher who holds a special education certificate or an endorsement may be assigned to i. Persons assigned to provide speech therapy instructional services must hold a valid Texas Education Agency certificate in speech and hearing therapy or speech and language therapy, or a valid state license as a speech/language pathologist; ii. Teachers holding only a special education endorsement for early childhood education for children with disabilities must be assigned only to programs serving infants through grade 6; iii. Teachers with secondary certification with the generic delivery system may be assigned to teach grades 6-12 only; iv. Teachers assigned full-time or part-time to instruct children from birth through age two with visual impairments, including deaf-blindness, must be certified in the education of children with visual impairments; and

3 SPECIAL EDUCATION v. Teachers assigned full-time or part-time to instruct children from birth through age two who are deaf, including deaf-blindness, must be certified in education of children who are deaf and severely hard of hearing. Paraprofessional personnel must be certified. d) Test a sample of the Special Education Personnel and verify the certification and job assignments. 3) The Initial Assessment- Full and Individual Evaluation (FIE) Document parents consent for evaluation. Document whether the child meets the criteria i. Child was between the ages of 3 through 21 ii. Categorized with one or more disabilities iii. Education needs of the child d) Document whether the FIE and resulting report were completed no later than 60 calendar days from the day the school receives the signed, written consent. A Review of Existing Evaluation Data (REED) is required as part of an initial evaluation, if appropriate. The individualized education program (IEP) team and other qualified professionals must i. Review existing data on the child, including (1) Evaluations and information provided by the parents of the child; (2) Current classroom-based, local, or State assessments, and classroom-based observations; and (3) Observations by teachers and related services providers; and ii. On the basis of that review, and input from the child s parents, identify what additional data, if any, are needed to determine (1) Whether the child is a child with a disability ; (2) The educational needs of the child; (3) The present levels of academic achievement and related developmental needs of the child; (4) Whether the child needs special education and related services. The term "related services" means transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as may be required to assist the child with a disability to benefit from special education.

4 SPECIAL EDUCATION The group that collects or reviews evaluation data must include (and be documented), but is not limited to the following members: i. A licensed specialist in school psychology ii. An educational diagnostician iii. Other appropriately certified or licensed practitioner with experience and training in the area of the disability; or iv. A licensed or certified professional for a specific eligibility category as specified in the applicable specific eligibility category framework(s) of FIE The group must not use any single measure or assessment as the sole criterion for determining whether a child is a child with a disability or determining an appropriate educational program for the child. Assessments and other evaluation materials used to assess a child under this section must be: i. Selected and administered so as not to be discriminatory on a racial, cultural or sexual basis; ii. Provided and administered in the language and form most likely to yield accurate information on what the child knows and can do academically, developmentally, and functionally, unless it is not feasible to so provide or administer; iii. Administered by trained and knowledgeable personnel; and iv. Administered in accordance with any instructions provided by the producer of such assessments. h) The child must be assessed in all areas of suspected disability, including, if appropriate, health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status, and motor abilities. Test a sample of FIE to verify that it was done in compliance with the legal framework. This can be done in conjunction with ARD Committee Meeting testing. 4) Each school district must establish an admission, review and dismissal (ARD) committee for each eligible child with a disability and for each child for whom an FIE is conducted. The ARD committee should be composed of the following: i. Parents of the child; ii. Not less than one regular education teacher of such child, if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment;

5 SPECIAL EDUCATION iii. Not less than one special education teacher of the child, or where appropriate, not less than one special education provider of such child; iv. A representative of the local educational agency (LEA) or school district; v. An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results (can be one of the other members); vi. Other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, at the discretion of the parent or the LEA; vii. The child with a disability, whenever appropriate, when the purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of Transition Services and in compliance with the Adult Student framework; viii. A teacher who is child with a disability, whenever appropriate, when the purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of ix. A teacher who is certified in the education of children with visual impairments for the child with a suspected or documented visual impairment including suspected or documented deaf-blindness x. A member of the language proficiency assessment committee when determining participation in State and District-Wide Assessments for an English language learner, to address the child's language needs; and xi. A representative from Career and Technical Education (CTE), preferably the teacher when considering initial or continued placement of the child in CTE. Test a sample of ARD/IEP to verify proper individuals were in attendance. This can be done in conjunction with ARD Committee Meeting testing. 5) Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Committee Meeting The ARD committee must meet to develop an individualized education program (IEP) within 30 days of a determination of eligibility. d) As soon as possible following development of the IEP, the local educational agency (LEA) must ensure that special education and related services are made available to the child in accordance with the child s IEP. The ARD committee must review the child's IEP periodically, but not less frequently than annually, to determine whether the annual goals are being achieved. The ARD committee must determine the child's placement at least annually.

6 SPECIAL EDUCATION In selecting the LRE, the ARD Committee must consider any potential harmful effect on the child or on the quality of services that the child needs. The IEP must be in effect at the beginning of each school year for each child with a disability. In the case of the child with a disability who transfers to a new LEA and enrolls in a new school within the same school year, the new LEA must comply with the transfer students framework. Test a sample of ARD Committee Meetings to verify they were conducted in accordance to the legal framework. 6) Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Each IEP must be designed for one student and must be a truly individualized document. The IEP must include certain information about the child and the educational program designed to meet his or her unique needs. Present levels of education performance. i. The IEP must state how the child is currently doing in school. ii. The statement should include how the child's disability affects his or her involvement and progress in the general curriculum. The ARD committee must include in the child's IEP a statement of measurable annual academic and functional goals designed to: i. Meet the child's needs that result from the child's disability to enable the child to be involved in and to make progress in the general education curriculum; and ii. Meet each of the child's other educational needs that result from the child's disability. The IEP must state when services will begin, how often they will be provided, where they will provided, and how long they will last. d) The ARD Committee must include in the child's IEP a description of: i. How the child's progress toward meeting the annual goal will be measured; and ii. When periodic reports on the progress the child is making toward meeting the annual goals (such as through the use of quarterly or other periodic reports, concurrent with the issuance of report cards)will be provided; and iii. How parents will be informed of that progress.

7 SPECIAL EDUCATION The IEP must state what modifications in the administration of state and district-wide tests the child will need. If a test is not appropriate for the child, the IEP must state why the test is not appropriate and how the child will be tested instead. Beginning when the child is age 14 (or younger, if appropriat, the IEP must address (within the applicable parts of the IEP) the courses he or she needs to take to reach his or her postschool goals. A statement of transition services needs must also be included in each of the child's subsequent IEPs. Beginning when the child is age 16 (or younger, if appropriat, the IEP must state what transition services are needed to help the child prepare for leaving school. Test a sample of ARD/IEP to verify that IEP's are designed in accordance to the legal framework. This can be done in conjunction with ARD Committee Meeting testing. 7) Custody of Student Records Ensure that access to student records are limited to authorized employees only. Determine whether records are consistently safeguarded during and after business hours.

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