Sunday, March 7, 2010

Your Role as LEA Representative - Part 3

In this final installment of LEA protocol, I present a scenario where you - as building Principal - legally must be there as LEA at a student's IEP meeting. You cannot send a surrogate, lest you expose yourself to legal action on the part of the student's parents.

In this scenario, "Matt" has an emotional disturbance, and his IEP calls for 100% self containment in a special education setting. Additional staff are needed to maintain the safety and welfare of students and staff. Matt's parents are asking for a functional behavioral assessment, a behavior intervention plan (BIP), individual psychotherapy, recreational therapy, parent training, and a personal assistant. In this case, it would be very inappropriate for a building-level counselor to be an LEA representative for this IEP. Matt's IEP requires a much greater level of supervision than does Meredith's (see yesterday's post), requires complete delivery of the general ed. curriculum in a fully segregated setting, and requires a great deal more resources which a building-level counselor cannot commit. In this case, the building Principal and the Director of Special Services should both be in attendance at the meeting, either of which could be designated as the LEA representative.

As you can see, each IEP requires very different levels of supervision, curricular knowledge, and resources. Case managers must carefully consider each of these criteria as they select an LEA for their IEP's.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Your Role as LEA Representative - Part 2

Last month, I gave you three criteria that LEA representatives must demonstrate to be in compliance with the law during the IEP process. This month, I will educate you on how to use this knowledge to your advantage in selecting someone to "fill your shoes" at an IEP meeting. In a perfect world, the Principal would have enough time in his/her day to attend every IEP meeting. We both know that this is not realistic. I will give you two scenarios - one where you could send a qualified surrogate to be the LEA, and a scenario where you should be there in the LEA role:

In scenario one, a counselor may be an LEA representative for a student, "Meredith", who has a speech impairment. Meredith's IEP calls for 30 minutes of speech therapy per week. Criteria #1 (supervision) for this IEP requires nothing more than knowing who Meredith is, assisting with the scheduling if necessary, and alerting the building level or central office administration if any problems arise during the IEP meeting. The counselor is there to simply affirm that the district hires speech pathologists (which is obvious), that Meredith is going to be scheduled for speech therapy (also obvious), and that this is a very common, typical service for our district to provide. In other words, the obvious is going to happen; Meredith is going to get speech therapy. This fulfills criteria #1. Criteria #2 is also met by virtue of who a counselor is and what they do in a building on a daily basis. One does not have to be a curriculum specialist in order to fulfill criteria #2. A general knowledge of what goes on in the classrooms in the counselor's building is sufficient. Criteria #3 is also met because building counselors know that we hire speech pathologists to provide speech therapy to kids who have speech impairments. So, all three criteria are met. In this case, a building-level counselor can serve as an LEA representative. There are also other situations in which it might be appropriate for a building-level counselor to be an LEA representative. Each situation is different! My next post will outline a scenario where you as building Principal MUST be there as the LEA representative.