Family Communication During School Closure

  • June 10, 2020

    Dear Shoreline Families of Students in Special Education,

    As we move into the final days of this school year, we are incredibly grateful to all of you. We recognize the challenges, fears, and anxiety the pandemic and the resulting school closure and community challenges have had on all of us. Despite this, parents and staff across our system have continued to provide feedback, work incredibly hard to meet students' needs, to keep each other safe and connected, and to remain positive. We are proud, humbled and honored to lead this community and will continue to do the work needed to meet each and every student's needs as we move forward.

    There have been significant impacts over the last three months that we want to acknowledge as we near the end of the 2019-2020 school year:

    • The school closure has not been predictable and has disrupted everyone’s sense of safety and what is “normal”. Communication has been particularly challenging in this remote environment and we are working to get better at that.
    • Special needs families have been working extremely hard to meet not only the learning needs of their students, but also their medical, social/emotional, child care, and respite needs during this pandemic.
    • Our teacher, SLP, OT/PT, vision, hearing, specialist, behavior technician and paraeducator staff have been working remotely with and for students with IEPs. The district’s Special Education Continuous Learning Plan provided the overall foundation for each individual student’s Continuous Learning Plan that providers collaborated on with families to outline the support provided during this time.
    • Annual IEP and 3-year reevaluation meetings that could be held remotely occurred to the greatest extent possible.
    • Students requiring ESY (Extended School Year) services through their IEPs have been contacted regarding the remote ESY services. This parallels Shoreline’s remote learning plan for summer school.

    Our next steps in planning for the reopening of schools will be under the guidance of OSPI and the Department of Health. We are capturing the strategies that have benefited students and families and are seeking additional supports in our efforts to provide special education services to our students. As we gain clarity on the guidelines for the safe reopening of school, we will share that information with families and staff members. Our planning will address the instruction needed to allow students to make progress on IEP goals, address evaluation needs, and begin the rescheduling of any delayed meetings. IEP teams will be using the student Continuous Learning Plans from this spring to inform their work upon return in assessing student needs.

    We are absolutely committed to doing our very best in meeting student and family needs in whatever environment we return to this fall.  We endeavor to improve services and outcomes, despite the barriers brought on by remote learning.  Please contact your service providers or a director if you have a question that has not been addressed or input in regard to Continuous Learning Plans and the reopening plans for the district.

    Thank you for your continued partnership and support throughout these challenging times.

    Amy Vujovich, Director of Student Services                                                   

    Scott Irwin, Director of Secondary Student Services

    Hillery Clark, Director of Early Learning

      


    May 20, 2020

     

    Dear Shoreline Families of Students in Special Education,

     

    As we move into the third week of our Remote Learning plan Phase 4, many students are connecting with classroom teachers, seeing their peers as they participate in classroom Zoom meetings, accessing learning materials and engaging in learning at home in a whole new way. Some students and families are thriving in this situation, while others are struggling. The range of needs, emotions and supports needed during this time is great - staying connected, asking for help, celebrating success where you can and giving everyone a measure of grace during this unusual and stressful time is critical. Please reach out to your student’s providers, teachers, and school staff if you are in need of additional support - we are here to help!

     

    Below are a few updates as we move through spring:

     

    Continuous Learning Plans

    Your student’s provider(s) should have connected with you to collaboratively define the plan for supporting your student’s special education needs during this school closure. If you have not yet responded or connected with your student’s special education provider, please do so. Providers are here to support you and your student in accessing instruction during this time.

     

    Shoreline SPED Continuous Learning Plan

     

    Provision of FAPE during the closure:

    OSPI guidance is clear that there is not an expectation that Individualized Education Program (IEP) services will be delivered exactly as the IEP states during the school closure. IEP Case Managers and providers have been contacting each family to develop a Continuous Home Learning Plan, which outlines the continuous learning resources and activities specific to each student’s needs during the school closure. This Continuous Home Learning Plan is what teams are following for services and outlines the provision of FAPE during this school closure.

     

    Federal guidance is clear that the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) looks different when schools are closed than it does when school is fully open. We are not set up for and staff are not trained to provide SDI in a remote learning environment at this time. We do not expect staff to provide specially designed instruction while schools are closed.

     

    We continue to update our Shoreline Special Education Website as we learn more and refine our practices and procedures during this time. The pandemic and the resulting implications were not anything that IDEA, OSPI nor Shoreline schools were prepared to address. We are doing the very best we can in light of the current situation we find ourselves in. We appreciate all your collaboration and support as we all learn how to do this together!

     

    Amy Vujovich, Director of Student Services

    Scott Irwin, Director of Secondary Student Services

    Hillery Clark, Director of Early Learning

     


     

    April 28, 2020

     

    Dear Shoreline Families of Students in Special Education,

     

    We hope this communication finds all of you safe and healthy. In addition, we are hopeful that you are finding new ways to connect with others beyond your four walls. Whether it is through letters, phone calls, organizing Zoom play dates, front yard conversations, or other ways, we hope you and your family members are finding ways to maintain social relationships during this time.

     

    We wanted to connect again with all our families and update everyone on the recent OSPI guidance for students in special education and what this means for students in Shoreline. Shoreline special education staff were recently trained on the new guidance and will be reaching out after spring break with more specifics.

     

    OSPI Guidance Over the past month, OSPI released guidance to all school districts:

    Continuous Learning 2020 (4/1/20 page 6) defines “continuous learning” for all:

    • establishing and maintaining connections with students and families to provide learning materials and supports using a variety of modalities (e.g., email, phone, printed learning materials, and available online platforms)

    Supporting Inclusionary Practices during School Facility Closure guidance (4/7/20) defines additional expectations for special education:

    • Development of District Special Education Continuous Learning plan
    • Documentation of individual student-level Special Education Continuous Learning Plan (not an IEP or amendment)

     

    Shoreline Special Education Continuous Learning Plan This plan has three main areas of focus, illustrated below:

    Shoreline Special Education Continuous Learning Plan

    In the Shoreline School District, we are offering continuous home learning resources and activities for all students, including students eligible for special education. During the school closure, we are using such methods as:

    • printed learning materials
    • phone contact
    • email
    • technology-based virtual instruction
    • or a combination to meet student needs

     

    OSPI guidance is clear that there is not an expectation that Individualized Education Program (IEP) services will be delivered exactly as the IEP states during the school closure. Shoreline Special Education IEP Case Managers will be contacting each family after spring break to develop a Continuous Home Learning Plan, which will outline the continuous learning resources and activities specific to each student’s needs during the school closure.

     

    Shoreline Special Education Website

    We have recently updated our Shoreline Special Education Website - check out the new links on the left navigation bar:

     

    Thanks for all you do each and every day and we look forward to our continued partnership to support your student,

     

    Amy Vujovich, Director of Student Services

    Scott Irwin, Director of Secondary Student Services

    Hillery Clark, Director of Early Learning

     


     

    April 9, 2020

     

    Dear Shoreline Families of Students in Special Education,

     

    It is hard to believe that it’s been less than a month since everything was “normal” - we miss our families and students and are continuing to adjust to these new routines and expectations. You can find past communications on our Special Education webpage here. We are again reaching out to update and connect with our families of students in special education. 

     

    Our priority continues to be the health and safety of our kids, families and staff. At the same time, we are acutely aware of the need to continue learning supports for every student. While this is a challenging time for everyone, we know that it can be even more so for those who have family members with special needs. Please contact your student’s IEP case manager, building administrator or any of us if there are ways we can support you.

     

    Given the recent news this week of school remaining closed through the end of the school year, we are working hard on defining what that means for all students, including those with disabilities.  We are working hard to understand the new OSPI guidance regarding continuous learning and supports for students with disabilities. We will continue to communicate with our families as that guidance is clarified. 

     

    Continuous Learning

    The school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic means that IEP services may not be delivered exactly as the IEP states. The Special Education Department is working closely with the Teaching and Learning Department to ensure continuous learning opportunities for all students. As detailed on the Shoreline Schools Home Learning Resources page, we are in Phase 2 of our plan which includes: 

    • Continued access to paper packets 
    • Online/video lessons allowing students to access the online/video session at any time, taking into account the varying schedules and responsibilities of our students and families during this national crisis
    • The Special Programs and the Additional Resources sections include additional materials and lessons on the Home Learning Resources Page
    • In preschool, learning is a bit different. Families will continue to access SeeSaw and Ready Rosie. There is also a Home Learning Preschool Resources link on the Edwin Pratt website for additional resources that will be continually updated.
    • At the High School level, things are also naturally a bit different due to the need to accrue credit. Required senior courses resumed coursework the week of March 30 and all courses in grades 9-12 resumed coursework the week of April 6.  High school students can expect to hear from their teachers through Canvas. 

    The longer we are away from school, the more important it becomes to engage with students via emails, online chats, zoom meetings, or other means.  While much of our plan is about learning, we all know that it is the human connection that is so important to our students and families. 

    • Expect your special education providers to reach out to you regularly 
    • Expect your student’s teacher to contact you at least weekly to make connections, support you in helping your student access the learning opportunities and provide feedback and guidance. 

    We are working hard to support you and your student in the best way we know how within the limitations of a remote environment.

    IEP and Reevaluations

    We will follow legal timelines according to OSPI with any current IEPs and reevaluations during this time to the extent possible

    • If your student’s IEP or reevaluation is due during the closure, the IEP Case Manager or School Psychologist will contact you to determine if an IEP meeting is feasible during the school closure.
    • IEP and reevaluation meetings can occur remotely or by phone.  If you do not wish to have a remote or phone meeting, please let our staff know and that meeting can be scheduled once school is back in session. 
    • Initial evaluations are on hold at this time and will be held once school is back in session.

    One thing we have learned is that we don’t always have all the answers!  As we work to adjust to this situation, we invite you to share your questions and suggestions for solutions at this link.  We are better when we work together and hope that by partnering together, we will emerge from this stronger. 

     

    With great appreciation for you all, 

     

    Amy Vujovich, Director of Student Services

    Scott Irwin, Director of Secondary Student Services

    Hillery Clark, Director of Early Learning

     


     

    March 30, 2020

     

    Dear Shoreline Families of Students in Special Education,

     

    As we continue to work on guidance and expectations during this closure, we are keeping our special education students at the forefront of our planning.  We hope you and your families are safe and doing well.  

     

    As always, we are looking forward to partnering with you during these uncharted times.  To help continue this partnership, school staff and your child’s special education provider(s) will be connecting with you over the next few weeks to talk with you regarding your student. This will be an informal check in to reconnect.

     

    Following state and federal guidance, we are working with staff to communicate with you regarding IEP and re-evaluation meetings that are due during the weeks of school closure. These meetings will occur virtually or via the phone. Staff will be trained on how to lead, and document these meetings, and will start scheduling upcoming meetings with you soon. Special education staff will also be rescheduling IEP and re-evaluation meetings that were canceled due to school closure.

     

    Over the past week, you should have received district communication regarding the Shoreline Home Learning Resources.  The resources provided are intended to give some possible schedules and learning activities that you can engage in at home.  Over the next several weeks, there will be different levels/phases of instruction being shared through the district. Special education staff will help support access and differentiation for these learning activities for your students. 

     

    We appreciate all you are doing and look forward to partnering with you in new and different ways in the near future!

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Amy Vujovich, Director of Student Services

    Hillery Clark, Director of Early Learning 

    Scott Irwin, Director of Secondary Student Services 

     


     

    March 18, 2020

     

    Dear Shoreline Families of Students in Special Education,

     

    In this unprecedented time, we want you know that we care for you and hope you and your families are safe. This letter is to provide you with an update of our planning for special education students, recognizing information is changing rapidly and guidance is continuing to evolve.

     

    We recognize the significant impact this extended closure will have on our entire community, students, families, and staff. Closing Shoreline Public Schools for a minimum of six weeks mid-year is unprecedented. There remain many unanswered questions that we are quickly working to address and we will continue to communicate as we have answers. At this time, we are prioritizing the health and safety of your students and our community.

     

    What we can say with certainty is that we care deeply about your student(s) and recognize families of students receiving special education services will be uniquely impacted by these closures. We are considering our families in all response planning and will continue to make decisions with your student(s) and family in mind.  

     

    Special Education staff are working diligently to provide updates to our teachers and our families, and are in regular contact with other districts, and state and federal organizations. As we learn more, we commit to continued regular communication with you on the decisions and guidance that impact your student. 

     

    You can find additional updated information at the district webpage here: https://www.shorelineschools.org/Domain/1960

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Amy Vujovich, Director of Student Services

    Hillery Clark, Director of Early Learning 

    Scott Irwin, Director of Secondary Student Services