Family Communication During School Closure

  • 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 

Special Education Overview

  • What if I am concerned about my student?

    First, talk to your student’s classroom teacher about your concerns.  Every school has a process in place to provide help when there are concerns about student learning. You may also talk to the counselor, psychologist, or administrator from your school. One outcome of that process might be a referral for a special education assessment. 

    If you have concerns about a student who is not yet school age, please contact Early Childhood Education at 206.393.4250.

    Accessing Special Education Services

    Birth to Three

    Preschool (Three-Five)

    School Aged (K-12th grade):

    Referral:

    The referral process begins when a teacher, parent and/or agency suspects a student in the general education program has a disability that may be impacting their learning. Members of the SST Team have 25 school days to determine whether to evaluate.

    It is important to note that parent(s) must be notified and offered an opportunity to participate in all meetings with respect to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, and provision of free and appropriate education for the student. Interpreters are available, if needed.

    The Evaluation Process:

    Parent consent is required to conduct an evaluation to determine whether the student requires special education services. The evaluation will be completed within 35 school days from receipt of your written consent.  All areas of suspected disability are assessed using a variety of assessment tools.  The evaluation team, including parents, then meets to discuss the results and determine eligibility.  Eligibility is based on whether the student has a disability, whether it has an adverse educational impact, and whether the student needs specially designed instruction.  Parents will be provided a copy of the evaluation report.  Students eligible for special education are reevaluated at least every three years. A reevaluation occurs to determine continuing need for special education services.

    The Individual Education Plan (IEP):

    An annual Individual Education Plan will be developed for each student determined eligible for special education services.  The IEP team consists of parents, at least 1 general education teacher, special education teacher and other service providers, a school district representative, and the student whenever appropriate. The initial IEP will be developed within 30 calendar days of initial eligibility. Parents will be provided a copy of the IEP.  IEPs are reviewed and updated at least once a year.

    Placement:

    A continuum [insert link to continuum of services] of special education services is available to meet individual student needs.  Students are educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE) in which they will be able to progress toward their IEP goals.  This means that students with disabilities will be educated with students without disabilities to the maximum extent possible given their unique learning needs.  

    Private School Students:

    Students attending a private school can be referred for special education through the  school district in which the private school is located. IEP services are provided in the school district of residence.  Additionally, in certain circumstances, private school students with disabilities can access an ISP (Individual Services Plan).  Please contact the Student Services Coordinator, 206-393-4361 if you suspect your child attending a private school in Shoreline has a disability and may be in need of services.

    Transfer students:

    When you move to Shoreline from another district, please notify your new school if your child has an IEP.  The School Psychologist will request records from your previous district and process the transfer.  The team will determine most appropriate services and placement based on information from the previous school district.