Special Education Corner

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August 26, 2020

Dear DCSD Parents and Guardians,

It is incredibly important to us that each of our students, whether attending via our hybrid model, or eLearning model, receive the highest quality education possible. This includes our students with disabilities and those on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). The Douglas County School District (DCSD) continuously strives to ensure that each of our students have access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

Our schools are working to finalize caseloads for our special education teachers so that school teams can best support their students with IEPs whether they are attending school via the hybrid learning model or 100% eLearning environment. Special service providers such as speech language pathologists, mental health providers, occupational therapists, etc. will serve their caseloads that may include both hybrid and 100% eLearning students.

DCSD special education providers will reach out to parents/guardians, if they have not already done so, to schedule services that may occur during at-home learning days for students in the hybrid model, and for students with IEPs that selected 100% eLearning. There may be some differences in the way services are provided, including the delivery of services virtually through technology, where appropriate. IEP teams will discuss options with parents and document how services will be provided in a prior written notice (PWN) that will be issued to the parent or guardian. IEP teams and schools will continue to collaborate with parents to address any questions or concerns to ensure your child receives the support they need to receive a high quality education.

Whether your student is in the hybrid or 100% eLearning model, IEP meetings will continue to be scheduled as they would if students were attending school 100% in-person. IEP teams can meet virtually, with a blend of some participants in-person and some virtual, or fully in-person as long as school health and safety guidelines can be met. Special education evaluations and reevaluations will take place in accordance with required timelines.

School counselors from neighborhood schools will continue to oversee Section 504 plans for students in the hybrid and 100% eLearning models. Counselors will share Section 504 plans with eLearning teachers where applicable. Section 504 meetings will continue to be held in accordance with required timelines. Section 504 accommodations will be afforded in both hybrid and eLearning environments and tailored to the online learning environment where applicable.

We realize this school year is unlike any we have experienced. This may create some anxiety for parents as well as students. DCSD staff are welcoming their students (whether they are in the hybrid or eLearning model) while supporting their social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs. Building relationships with students is key to supporting learning and our staff will focus on relationship building during the initial weeks of school. Maintaining and strengthening these relationships is a top priority for staff throughout the school year.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can do anything to make the Road to Return easier for your family.

Sincerely,

Nancy Ingalls
nancy.ingalls@dcsdk12.org
Personalized Learning Officer

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In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District’s Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Ted Knight, Assistant Superintendent, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, complianceofficer@dcsdk12.org, 303-387-0067. Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.