Instead of a regular Tuesday to-do list, my only assignment is for you to read this and consider becoming a Peer Monitor for BSE.
On Monday I spent the day at the King of Prussia Pattan Office. I have signed up to be a Peer Monitor with the PA Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education…to monitor special education compliance. It’s a mouthful. But basically it’s a state program to monitor the public school districts and charter schools to make sure that they are in compliance with state and federal special education laws.
Now, if you want to be a Peer Monitor, you still can. However, to be in the program you MUST attend one of the training sessions. There are two left–one in Harrisburg and one in Pittsburgh. Check the Pattan Training Calendar for dates, because they are soon! If you miss them this go-round, no worries you can sign up next year. They offer the trainings annually (I think). This is just for Special Education in public and charter schools in Pennsylvania, see your specific state’s programs if you are not here.
Now, on to the program and the training. For me, overall, I left feeling a little jaded. I mean, a team of peer monitors goes into a district to monitor them for compliance. However, the district knows this ahead of time and can prepare. And, the monitors speak with families, students, teachers and audit special ed files–that the district chooses ahead of time. That doesn’t seem right, because of course the district can pick files that they know are decent and compliant and present families that are happy with services. Still, I signed all the paperwork and the contracts to do this, for two reasons: One, maybe I’m wrong and I shouldn’t pass full judgment on the program till I’ve done it; and two, I believe the only way to facilitate change is to be a part of it…so I have to go check it out, right?
The training today just explained the program and what to look for in files. Pretty dry material for a sunny summer day, but there were a few good takeaways. Since I had my tablet with me, at some points when the guy from the Bureau of Special Ed was speaking, I video’d him to put here. Oh yes I did. Apologies in advance if you go to any future state trainings and have to hand over all your devices, lol. Or sign something that says you agree to not photograph or film anything. I don’t think I did, so I grabbed this, to have it straight from the horse’s mouth.
60-day special education evaluation timeline
This is interesting. How long does a school have to complete an evaluation? 60 days, we all know that. But defining that end point has been difficult. Here, you can hear him saying it–From the time a parent signs the Permission to Evaluate/Reevaluate form, to the time a parent has a written evaluation report in hand–is 60 days. This is only a 30-second video and he says it starting at around :10 or :12–
10 day Prior Written Notice or IEP invitation
I’ve written about Prior Written Notice and the 10 days a bunch of times. District is supposed to give you 10 days written notice to attend an IEP meeing. You can, however, waive the 10 days notice. But look at this video, again, it’s quiet so turn it up, but he says–the 10 days notice should not just be an IEP meeting invitation, but also the draft IEP and whatever evaluation reports have been done. Huge, this is huge, I tell you! When have you EVER received an IEP draft 10 days before the meeting?
Those were my two takeaways that I will really be using with my clients and for advice on here.