This post will deal with Special Education, two words that can strike fear into the hearts of teachers and administrators alike. As an administrator, you are qualified to be an LEA Representative (Local Education Agency Representative) at IEP meetings to determine the accommodations and/or modifications made to a student's Individualized Education Plan. This post will give you input as to when you are ACTUALLY needed in an IEP meeting, and when you could send a representative to stand in for you (like a counselor, for example).
There are three criteria listed in the Special Education Standards Manual to be an LEA Representative. Like everything else in a public school, there is a "hierarchy of need" for an LEA Rep. This is the important part that must be considered when choosing who should be an LEA Representative and who shouldn't. A counselor may be an LEA Rep. in some cases. However, it may be very inappropriate for that same individual to be an LEA Rep. in a different situation. The greater the needs of the student, the farther up the hierarchy one must move to choose an LEA Representative. Counselors, process coordinators, assistant principals, principals, directors of special services, etc. can all serve as LEA Representatives under the appropriate circumstances. School-based mental health clinicians cannot be LEA Representatives in any circumstance.
The three criteria are as follows:
1. Is qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education
2. Is knowledgeable about the general curriculum
3. Is knowledgeable about the availability or resources of the public agency.
Next week in Part 2 of this post, we will examine some examples of situations where you are needed, and examples of situations where you aren't! Don't forget to tell your teachers to visit www.newteacherhelp.com to get the information they need to accelerate their development as teachers in your building!