Special Education Guidelines for

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1 Special Education Guidelines for Online Schools Karl Nelson Digital Learning Department digitallearning.k12.wa.us Pam McPartland Special Education Section K12.wa.us/SpecialEd/ October 26, 2010

2 BACKGROUND

3 Online Learning in Washington 1 2% of students in the state took at least 1 online course in About 40 online school programs 66% of students (headcount) in online school programs transferred to a non resident district i for the online program

4 Statutes and Rules SSB 5410 (RCW 28A and WAC ) Passed in 2009 Set up Digital Learning Department in OSPI Funding restrictions for online courses begins OSPI approval for multidistrict online providers District policies and procedures Many online students fall under Alternative Learning Experience funding rules (WAC )

5 Online Course More than half of the course content is delivered electronically using the internet or other computer based methods. More than half of the teaching is conducted from a remote location through an online course learning management system or other online or electronic tools.

6 Online School Program Courses or grade level coursework that are delivered primarily electronically using the internet or other computer based methods. The program must have a component that features online lessons and tools for student and data management.

7 Online School Program Courses or grade level coursework that are taught by a teacher primarily from a remote location using online or otherelectronicelectronic tools. Note that access to the teacher may be synchronous or asynchronous.

8 Online School Program A sequential program a set of courses or coursework that may be taken in a single school term or throughout the school year in a manner that could provide a full time basic education program if so desired by the student. Students may enroll in the program as part time or full time students.

9 Multidistrict Online School Program A multidistrict online school program is one where a school district provides an online school program to students who reside outside the geographic boundaries of the school district. Multidistrict online school programs serve 10% or more non resident students (students from otherdistricts enrolled under theinterdistrict student transfer provisions of RCW 28A ) )

10 TASK FORCE

11 Task Force for Online Learning and Students with Disabilities bl Why the task force? Clarification of alternative learning experience law as it applies to online learning Number of non resident students applying for on line learning programs Assurance of non discriminatory practices Sharing of processes Need for guidance for online schools Need for guidance for school districts

12 Task force members from: OSPI Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights Puget Sound Educational Service District Attorney General's office School districts Online learning providers

13 digitallearning.k12.wa.us/about/districts/special_education GUIDELINES FOR ONLINE SCHOOLS

14 Guidelines cover: Recruitment Admission i Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

15 Recruitment A public school district that operates an online school program must not discriminate against students based on disability in recruitment.

16 Admission Two ways for a non resident student to enroll: Choice Inter District Agreements

17 WAC Student must be: Choice Accepted by the non resident district Released by the resident district Appeal process available. Upon transfer: Non resident district is treated as resident district under apportionment rules and is responsible for student FTE collected by non resident district

18 Communication with Parents Online programs should make clear to parents that students remain a resident of their district of residence until the non resident district offering the online program accepts the student and theresident district releases the student.

19 Eligibility Criteria Neutral on their face with respect to disability; Educationally justified; Applied equally to both disabled and nondisabled students alike; and Subject tto modification when necessary to avoid discriminating against a student on the basis of disability, unless the district can demonstrate that making the modification would fundamentally alter the nature of its online school program.

20 Criteria Example A district dst ctcan establish s specific c reading, writing gand math achievement criteria for admission to its online school program, as long as the criteria are justified dby the nature of its online school program, applied equally to all applicants, and subject to modificationwhen necessary to avoid discriminating against a student on the basis of disability, unless the district can demonstrate that making the modification would fundamentally alter the nature of its online school program.

21 Denying admission Because online programs should not have the same limited capacity issues as a physical, bricks and mortar classroom, the online program should not use the district s brick and mortar based classroom size as a basis for denying admission.

22 Denying admission When considering admission of a non resident student, a district must not discriminate against a student based on disability in admission. The district cannot categorically deny admission to a student under school choice based on disability, or deny admission to a disabled student solely because thestudent needs special education or related aids or services.

23 Denying admission Nor maythe district askthe parent to revoke consent for special education services as a conditionofacceptance of acceptance. Thedistrict must provide disabled students an equal opportunity to meet any appropriate minimum eligibility criteria for admission, consistent with the mission of theonline school program and Section 504.

24 Appeals Parents may appeal a denial of acceptance by a non resident district or appeal a denial of release by a resident district. Each district has procedures for processing such denials. After that process has occurred, the parent may request a due process hearing from OSPI. The student remains a resident of their district until a non resident district accepts a student and through any appealprocedures procedures.

25 Inter District Agreements Voluntary contractual relationship between ee two districts to provide services. Examples: Resident district could contract with non resident district to provide online courses. Non resident district who accepted a student could contract back with districts to provide special education services. No parental right to appeal a district s refusal to enter into an inter district agreement.

26 FAPE: FREE APPROPRIATE PUBLIC EDUCATION

27 Responsibility Once a district has accepted a student for its online program through the non resident transferprocess process, thatdistrict islegally responsible for providing special education and related services to the student.

28 Providing FAPE Responsibilities include: IEP meetings, delivery of services, including related services, revision of IEP, when student not making progress (in addition to other ALE requirements). Reevaluations For students not eligible for special education Ongoing child find obligations for any student who is suspected of having a disability.

29 Providing related services Some methods for delivering related services can include: contracting with the student s s resident district, contracting with another district that is located close to the student s s physical location, or contracting with private providers, or determining whether some services can be provided using teletherapy.

30 Safeguards Parents ae tsof special education children enrolled edin non resident district online programs possess all of the procedural safeguards provided by the Individuals d with Disabilities bl Education Act and Section 504 to address the district s obligation to provide a free appropriate public education. Districts should make sure they are following all requirements for any studentin the online program to address identification, evaluation, placement and the provision of FAPE.

31 Relevant Links Digital Learning Department, OSPI Special Education, OSPI p// / p / Special Education Guidelines Approved Online Providers Criteria and Assurances Virtual K 12 Public School Programs and Students With Disabilities 12PublicSchoolProgramsandSwD IssuesandRecommendations.pdf

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