Fostering Together 4: Ask an Ombuds

– We’ve recorded our
first three in this series of a partnership between
Fostering Together and OEO. And the other three are posted
both directly on our website and also on our YouTube channel. If you go to the website, that’s where you’ll also
find the PowerPoints. And like I said, I’ll send out the materials
for this afterward, and we’re recording for tonight
so other folks can sign in. And again, I just wanna start
with a big thank you to Jill for helping facilitate this
partnership and this series, and helping to gather
questions for tonight. So we last year did our series
of Ask an Ombuds webinars where we invited folks to
send questions in advance, and so we did that again
with this particular focus. So thank you to everyone
who sent questions. Thank you to everyone who’s signing on. And I do get clearly the
sense year after year that, you know, a lot of
questions are similar. Certainly there’s some different ones that come up now and then, but many folks have similar questions. So last item, we have an
hour and a half for tonight. If you get tired midway and
you need to go take a break, get something to eat, please do. Or if you wanna eat while
you’re listening, please do. I have thought about it, and
I think there may be a way, as we get toward the end, especially if we have some good time, that I could make it so
our attendees could talk or raise a hand. We might have a little bit of
technical fidgeting with that, but we can try to make it happen. I would just encourage,
remember we are recording and it’s gonna go up on
our website and live there, so feel free. And you of course are welcome to use chat and/or the Q&A feature to
ask questions as we go along and as we get to the end. Okay, so today, you know, I’m Rose Spidell with the Office of Education Ombuds, and we’re a small state agency. We’re more than a decade old now and work on addressing the opportunity gap in K-12 public schools. We know that foster youth,
the ones that you all support and love and care for, are some of those who unfortunately
fall into those cracks and gaps in our systems
that haven’t filled in yet, to wrap around and get in the sport, as many of them as needed. So how do we make that better? How do we improve outcomes for kids? You asked a lot of important questions about how to do that, and the first one that I
wanted to start with today was, this seems like a central question that came up in our last one, which is, I had a scenario looking at
a student who was struggling and the school was
responding to his behavior in inclusive discipline, and there were questions
about, what’s going on here? Could this be a dynamic of
whether or not there’s a need for more trauma-informed or
trauma-sensitive response on the part of the school? And someone said, well, great, so what if there is a need for that? What are the resources? What could I do, say, if
I were a foster parent and I’m supporting this young person, and I’m realizing that they’re in a school that hasn’t yet really
had a lot of training on how to approach things
in a trauma-informed way, or hasn’t quite gotten
where we need them to be? What can I do, what can
I offer to this school, what could I ask for from them? So that’s the first question. We’re gonna look at how
do you get a district to pay for outside testing? Does a school district need to
provide support for a student who speaks only Spanish? What do you do about a teen
who’s been moved around so much that you just don’t even
really know what they know? Where they’re at academically. How can you get a snapshot of that? What about a kid in elementary school that’s fallen behind quite awhile now, but we’re hearing they don’t
qualify for an IEP or 504? We don’t have sort of a
specific, clear diagnosis. And then we have another several questions that hopefully we’ll get to some of these, especially those first two on this screen. How do we help kids, especially teens, navigate districts’ or schools’
different kinds of responses to behavior escalations, especially if you have a child who’s been experiencing trauma, they might be triggered, and especially if a district’s response is or feels very punitive or controlling? That sometimes triggers
further escalation, and what can we do to support teens who are trying to navigate that? And then, what if you’re
working with a young person, they’ve been moving from school to school? You worry and wonder if a disability might be playing into their
challenges with school, whether it’s academic or social behavior, but the school’s saying, hey, look, this is a kid who’s just
experiencing trauma. Let’s just give him some time. We don’t wanna rush to label as disabled or as a child with a disability. So how can you navigate that conversation? And then also kind of following on some of our earlier conversations, what if it just seems
pretty clear that educators are not following the
rules that are there? What are the ways to seek accountability or consequences for the educators? And then, lots of changes
now in discipline policy and how to engage with that. Alright, the trauma-informed schools. First thing I’ll say is
I certainly am not the, very far from the most
well-informed on this piece, but I will say that in a
lot of different meetings, work groups, et cetera, people really are talking about this. Now, again, a lot of times
there’s a critical distinction between talking about and really doing and shifting practice. But starting with this
idea that I looked at, the SAMHSA kind of description
of what it really even means to be trauma-informed, because I think that’s often
a critical starting point to not jump over, which is,
if I say to my child’s school, has your staff been trained
on trauma-informed practices, and they say yes, if I were to ask, then what does trauma-informed
practice mean to you, would we come up with the same idea, understanding, or definition? So here, SAMHSA describes it as a program organizational system that realizes the
widespread impact of trauma, understands paths for recovery, recognizes signs and symptoms of trauma that here might be in
students and also families, responds by integrating knowledge about how to infuse that
trauma understanding into policies and procedures, and also seeks actively to
resist re-traumatization. So there’s a whole lot more there. But what are some more
sort of specific ideas, if you are that person who wants to engage your school community or
your district community about increasing the competency, the comfort level, the capacity and the understanding of the educators and adults
to understand and respond in a trauma-informed or
trauma-sensitive way? And I think about these
things in the sense of, if we wanted to start this
conversation with the school, or often what we might find,
and I think increasingly so, if we wanted to join a
conversation that maybe has started in bits and pieces and has
different people looking at it, some resources going towards it, maybe some pockets of focus, how can we do that? Who would we talk with,
who would we start with? And here on this slide,
I’ve listed some folks who I think, by their position, might invite that
conversation potentially. But I also, so we have foster care liaison, so every school district now, under the federal Every
Student Succeeds Act, must identify a foster care liaison, so someone who, within the district, that’s familiar with protections
for students in foster care and can kind of help navigate that. So maybe the foster care
liaison at the district level. The school building principal. A school social worker, school counselor, school psychologist, or
other district leaders. And in a conversation recently
that actually happened at the state work group on social-emotional learning, it’s the work group that’s being facilitated
right now by OSPI, I was having a conversation
with folks about this. Number one, there’s a social
worker who’s on the committee, and I’m starting a
conversation to see if we might come back at some point
later this year or next and offer up some more specific
conversation and training around ways that families can initiate this conversation with schools, and resources, specific resources that you can ask the
school to look at with you. But think also, if you
were gonna wanna try to start this conversation or
just see where things are at within your school community, you might start with someone
who has one of these titles or formal roles. But you might also just kind of think, kind of imagine the meetings you’ve had, the conversations you’ve had, and it might be a teacher, it might be someone with a
role that’s not so specific, but just really seem to get it, seem to have interest and/or experience. Because sometimes if you
find a champion of that idea, of that resource, whatever their role is within the school, they can introduce you to
others who are interested. They can join you in introducing the idea in a request to someone who
is in a leadership position, like the principal. So I would think about,
maybe jot down a note of one or two people that you might call. You might be cold calling someone
in one of these positions, like maybe cold calling
the foster care liaison, say, hey, I’m taking care of a child who’s at this elementary school, and I’m wanting to have this conversation about how to make sure that the adults that are surrounding this child understand the impact of trauma and how to support this
child in a positive way. What do you think, can we talk about that? So sometimes it’s just about
starting the conversation. The next thing I think about is, how would you start that conversation? And I do think there’s
benefit to acknowledging that there might already
be stuff happening. I say that in part because
our state legislature this year is considering a number of bills that would put trauma-informed training, or training on trauma-informed practices into a lot of different places
within our education system. For paraeducators, for
certificated teachers, for general school staff,
to just really understand and appreciate what it means
to have trauma-informed or trauma-sensitive practice. Now, just because it goes into legislation doesn’t mean that it happens. But one thing I will say is, things like that don’t
usually go into legislation until there have already been
some leaders in the field pushing this forward and
championing it as a need. And so, indeed, I think if you’re able to start that conversation with someone within your school or district, you might find someone
who’s started to connect and could join you in that push for more. The other thing I would think about here, and I earlier mentioned that I had some of these conversations at the social-emotional
learning work group, is to think about where you
might sort of capitalize, kind of build on, what
the district might be already investing in. So there’s often so
many connecting points, so if a district is talking a lot about social-emotional learning, you might be able to find out, are they thinking about making sure that the approaches on
that are trauma-informed? So could you engage
the conversation there? Or as districts are, if
they’re talking about revising and reviewing
their discipline policies, I really hope that they
are all thinking about, how do I make sure these
discipline policies are trauma-informed? So in other words, can we
build a discipline policy that from the outset recognizes that some of the kids that are
here in our school buildings might engage in behaviors
that are reflective of having had a traumatic experience, and respond to the context
and the environment? What would we do if we
were gonna build a policy that had that from the beginning? And one of the things
I would say, too, is, if you’re having these conversations, if there’s any way you
can bring it together as a group voice. So in my field sometimes,
I’ve heard some people say, when I’m advocating for
an individual child, whether it’s around a
child with disabilities or a child in foster care, or a child who’s experiencing
discipline or bullying, sometimes the tendency of
a large system is to say, we are only talking about
this individual child, and we are only talking about this individual particular circumstance. This one incident, this one child, this one group with this one team. And to be honest, that can
make it difficult, right, I’m sure you know this, to shift the overall culture,
shift the dynamic, right? So you’re advocating with
that individual child and then you bump up
against a discipline policy that hasn’t taken into account the reality that your child and others are there and have been impacted by trauma. So you won’t in that individual case probably be able to rewrite
the discipline policy. But maybe after you get
that situation resolved, and in all your free time
with all your free energy… I say that a little bit sarcastically ’cause I know that you’re
already carrying a lot. You connect with others, whether it’s an organization, or a group of families, someone in the community
that says, you know what? There’s a better way to do
this from the beginning. So I think about corrective voice. Connecting to ongoing efforts. How can I help build this? And then what about some specifics? I tried hard to resist the
urge to populate this slide with about eight different
links and resources, and so I picked out just two. And this is where I wanna try to actually switch over and navigate to some of these resources directly. So let’s see if I can do this. I’m gonna hit New Share, and we’re gonna look at, we’re gonna look at the websites, and we’re not at the right one yet, but we’re gonna go right
to Learning and Teaching. Now, can folks there, can
you see the OSPI website? Yes, yes, yes, the
PowerPoint will be available to view after, yeah, absolutely, and I’ll have those links in there. So can folks see, did
I do this share right where you’re looking at
the Compassionate Schools: The Heart of Learning and Teaching? Okay, great. So this is one resource on, it’s focused on training the
adults within a school setting to provide support for students who have been impacted by trauma. I shared this one because it’s
local, it’s Washington State. It is based out of OSPI. There’s options here, right? You can go on the website, and if you had a conversation
with folks in your district, it’s possible if we
click on Resources here, there’s training materials online. So they can be accessed that way. You can also, gonna head back, gonna highlight, to the left of the screen
here is Contact Information. So OSPI does have this
one person, Ron Hertel. He’s been the lead around this issue, and he does go around
and do trainings on it. This is one of many more, I think, within your school and district community. You might find other
trainers, other resources. ‘Cause again, this is,
I think it’s growing in awareness and familiarity. This could be a place for you to start. Could be a helpful resource. It might be that your district has already done some work with this, or they would be open to it. The other resource that I wanted to share, before we go back to the PowerPoint, is a resource from SAMHSA. That is a long acronym
that I don’t remember, but it is a really important agency that shares out a lot of
resources around mental health. Somebody will remember
it better than I do. They have a number of different resources. This one I found on the website of And this is their concept of trauma and guidance for trauma-informed approach. The reason I highlighted this one is, if you really wanna dig in, and you wanna have a conversation, and let’s say you get some
building leaders and principals, maybe someone at the district level, to work with you and say,
let’s figure this out, this resource, and again,
I’m sure many others, includes some information
and some kind of checklists and some touchstones to
check and review and see, do we have all the pieces in place, right? So it’s training for adults, but it’s also looking at policy. So I scroll down a ways, we’re gonna find some
sections that, for example, Sample Questions to Consider When Implementing a
Trauma-Informed Approach. And it looks at a number
of different domains. This gets pretty complicated, right? But it’s the kind of
resource that’s out there. And what I would say is, if you have that opportunity to dig in and engage with the school community, connect to those local
resources, connect to the state, and find something, whether
it’s this one or another one, that reminds you to check
all these different areas, policy, practice, training, other ways to put messages
up around that are visible, communication back and forth
between families and schools. There’s a lot of elements when you wanna do this
systemically and do it well. Let’s go back to our PowerPoint. Okay. Trauma-informed schools. I just wanna pause. Are there folks who
have a favorite resource around trauma-informed practice or engaging with schools on this, or someone that’s just
absolutely your go-to? If you have that and if
you’re open to share, if you could type it into chat, we can share it out to this group, and otherwise, I think
be each other’s supports in this as you connect and
continue the conversation. If you’re interested in policy, you might try to find some
groups that are engaged at the policy level, ’cause there are conversations
about whether and how our state should invest
resources, more resources in supporting our schools to become more trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive. Alright, so again, if you
have your favorite resource, or a follow up question on this, please put that in now. And then I’m gonna go ahead and
go on to this next question. It is excellent. So the next question is around
independent evaluations. And thank you for the comment. Learning about the foster
liaison was crucial. And that foster liaison, I would say, it’s a new role, right? And so it’s gonna be taking shape. The other thing is that each
district is figuring out who is gonna fill that role, and that person I would bet
for almost all districts, maybe not all of them, but for most, that person is also, probably has another job, right? And so how are they gonna fill that role of foster care liaison? What are gonna be their priority issues? Engage that conversation if you can, and if you are, again, if
there’s a group of you, a group of foster families
that serve kids in your area, and you could invite
the foster care liaison to have lunch with you one day, so that you all know names and faces, so you have contact information. The foster care liaison may
say, this is my priority, but I wanna hear from you as we go along. Or they may say, while
your asks and your ideas are really critical, I just
don’t have the resources. And then you might be able to go with the foster care liaison to the superintendent or to
the school board and say, we need this. So, and thank you for the comment. A teacher, and understanding
this conversation when it comes to behavior, this is so critical because, if we don’t understand
the behavior I think it influences and informs a
lot of the changes recently, we just keep doing the same thing and not getting good results, and so there’s just this
desire to see kids succeed, and that means that we have
to kind of shift our approach sometimes on these things as adults. The fostering together liaison can also connect people
to schools, so yeah. So you’ve got some resources there. Let’s dig into this
independent eval question. And let me just actually
though, before I do, so we have, Jill shared, “The fostering together liaison can connect people to the schools.” Jill, can you let us
know, if you have a chance to type a little bit more, is
the fostering together liaison someone that works outside of
the school, sort of separate, and that would be
someone who’s in addition to the foster care liaison who works for the school district? So that’s a question back to Jill, see if she has a chance to answer. In the meantime, what
if you have a child who has a complex set of needs,
and they include disability, and they’ve been evaluated, the school district did their evaluation, and you’re just really not seeing it as giving accurate or complete
information about this child. We do hear that sometimes families worry that the evaluation of a child
that a school district does might be unfairly, gonna take
an unfair view of the child as willfully misbehaving as
opposed to really understanding the complex factors that play into that. And so it’s not uncommon to hear, how can I get an independent evaluation or an outside evaluation for this child? Especially, again, if their
needs are really complex. So I can think of two
ways, there may be more. The first way is, and here we’re thinking about special education specifically, is that when a district
agrees to do an evaluation to see if a student
needs special education, or even if you’re doing a
reevaluation for a student who has had special education
services for awhile, and you’re doing the
periodic three-year reeval, or an early reevaluation, and in some situations you
can have that conversation with the school district before the evaluation process starts, to say, is this a child
whose needs are so complex, or specialized, or unique,
that we need someone with specialized training or experience to do an evaluation? Is this the kind of evaluation
that a school psychologist, while generally trained and able to do most of the special ed evaluations, doesn’t have that experience or expertise? That certainly might come up if a child had a medical condition that the team really needed to understand in order to be able to
understand how that influences the educational performance. And let me point out
here that that might mean information about a child’s
mental health situation, right? So the special ed rules, when you’re looking from the outset, say two things that
potentially apply here, which is one, the evaluations have to be done by trained
and knowledgeable personnel. Again, that’s usually
the school psychologist, occupational therapist,
speech language pathologist, other folks who work
for the school district. In some cases, there may
be a student with needs and situations that mean we need a very specialized
kind of evaluation, and in that case, the district, it’s not an independent evaluation, but the district can contract with someone outside of the district to do the district’s own
part of the evaluation, to do their own evaluation. The other time, again, is
that there might need to be a medical assessment included, and a school psychologist does
not make medical diagnoses or do medical assessments, so that might involve the district saying let’s bring in this specialized
medical professional and get this information. The other, and maybe more
common, I’m not sure, is through a request for an IEE, or independent educational
evaluation, at district expense. The definition of an independent
educational evaluation is just one that’s done by someone who doesn’t work for the district. And so, sometimes you can go
out and get that on your own, if you have insurance, or
a program that provides it, and then if you get that report, you share it with the district
and they must consider it, if it’s relevant. Or, if you want to ask the
district to pay for it, then it keys this particular process. And so I am going to do
some jumping around again. Hope you won’t feel like we’re in, we might be a little bit
in one of those shows that jump you from forward to back. As I jump, I wanna let you
know that yes, Jill says yes, the fostering together folks
know the foster school liaisons and so connect, those are
good points of connection. So let’s move back to the web. Why? Because rather than just tell you about the independent educational evaluation, I wanna show you where you
can go to find information. So we started here, but
we’re gonna open a new tab. We’re gonna go to Special Education. So if you are starting from Googling, you can just put in
“OSPI special education”. Are folks seeing that landing page for OSPI Special Education? If you’re seeing it, it
starts out with Special Ed, it has laws and procedures,
yes, excellent, okay. If you’re supporting a child who has special education services or might need special education services, this is a good website
to be familiar with. It has a lot of different
kinds of information, contact information,
resources, and specifically we’re talking about independent
educational evaluation. And in the Guidance for Families section, you can click on Evaluations right here. It’s gonna take you here, and there are three different types that I will tell you about, and one of them is that
independent educational evaluation. And then you can found out,
okay, if I ask for an IEE, the district has 15
calendar days to respond. If they say no, they must
file for a due process hearing to show that their own
evaluation was appropriate. This one I think, I skipped over a part, but I think it’s really important if you wanna ask for an IEE, is, it’s not required to be in writing, but it is encouraged
to be in writing, okay? So if you can, if you want to get an IEE, best practice is to put it in writing, and that can be an email. I’d be very clear. So the risk is that if it’s
not clear that you’re asking for an IEE at public expense, it might be interpreted differently. If you want the IEE at public expense, I would be just as clear
as, type up your email and the subject would
say “Request for IEE”. Just that simple, and
be clear in the email. So here, we have a really helpful comment, which is that, you know as
parents, you’re carrying a lot. And I really don’t mean
to be flip about that. You think about being a foster parent, you are providing space,
safety, love, care, support. And then you’re getting to know a child. And then you’re also trying to understand what are the different things that are influencing this child? If it’s a disability, then
you’re trying to understand what does that mean and what
does it mean for this child? And how can I get access
to educational support? And then if you run into problems, then it’s almost as though
you’re trying to figure out how to, like the commenter
here says, become the experts. Become the experts on what
these laws and rules are. And I think, I try to kinda keep
perspective, which is that, in my job I mostly hear when
things are not going well, or when people feel like
they haven’t accessed that support that they need. I do think, and I hope that in
some places, in many places, those things are happening
so it doesn’t come up. But when it does, then
doing this research, becoming familiar with this, can really help you get familiar
with the IEE term, right? And you get familiar with
doing the written advocacy, and you know what that phrase
was to request something. And that can make the difference, because it focuses attention right away. It really takes a lot of time, but I guess I would just say again, as you’re going through this process, hopefully there’ll be
people alongside with you. But I do say, and I try
not to be too heavy on, “You need to read this, and read that,” having a familiarity knowing that the OSPI Special Education website has this information, then you don’t need to memorize it. If you have that question,
you go back to it. The other place you can also look, and we’re continually trying to make our information more accessible, is on our own website, the
Education Ombuds website, and under our Learn About tabs. Okay, so that was our
independent evaluation. Let’s go back to our PowerPoint. I hope you’re not getting dizzy. The next question we had was, what about if there’s a
child who speaks only Spanish and needs access to education? So some young people, they might come when they’re
in Kindergarten or first grade, and speak only Spanish or another language other than English. Some young people might come
to the United States first when they are a teenager, right? And they may speak little or no English. And sometimes if you have a
newcomer who is a teenager, they may have had interrupted or very little formal education. So some of those kids are coming in, and they are immediately
being confronted with all kinds of new things, new language, new culture,
new way of doing things, new rules, right? And so there’s a lot that
we need to wrap around and support them. The question was, does
the school need to provide for a child who only speaks Spanish? And the answer is absolutely, 100% yes. So any child who is what
we call an English learner has rights, and districts have obligations to make sure that they have
access to an education. And really, the second
part of that question was, would they need to put
someone with that language in the classroom? And maybe, possibly. In some situations, schools will do that. So for example, you might
have a middle schooler or high schooler, even elementary, who is coming and
they’re Spanish-speaking, they’re just starting to learn English, but you wanna give them
access to math class, civics class, et cetera. Well, you can’t just leave them there and have them incorporate
all that academic language, much less just the English, and so sometimes schools
will assign a paraeducator, a bilingual paraeducator, to
be with them in that class and help them navigate through
the language difference, and be able to understand. I think that is a really hard thing to do. I don’t think it’s impossible. And I think in some other circumstances, they might do a mix of things. So they might pull the
student out for a bit to provide language services. They might do some of that providing the support
within the classroom. There’s some general
guidance on several points around the rights of English learners and the obligations of school districts. And they highlight some
things that I think are familiar to folks. We shouldn’t separate
them more than we need to from the general student population. Sometimes you might need to pull them out into a different setting to
give them some very targeted and intensive instruction. Both in English and in
their primary language. But in general, you wanna
give them as much access to all the other school
experiences that you can. So all those other
classes with that support. This is another area where
there’s definitely champions in different schools and districts around doing the best kind of
instruction for English learners. And there’s also been attention to this at the state legislative level of how can we equip all classroom teachers to be ready to teach with strategies that support English learners, and also support those people who are very specifically
working with these students? For this, in this slide
I’ve included the link to the fact sheet from our
US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights on the obligations to
English learner students. They also have fact sheets
around the rights of parents if they’re limited in English. But the next slide has
some links back, and again, you’re gonna find me going
back to the OSPI’s website, because there they have
been collecting resources, and they have had in the
past an advisory committee, and I think they’re continuing that. And they, especially recently, I’ve tuned in and noticed
that they’re doing a lot of proactive work to go out, share through webinars and other ways, kind of best practices,
resources, how to do this well. Because whatever school
that child lands in, whatever district, there’s an
obligation to serve the child. But some districts
definitely have developed more structures and supports to do it quickly, efficiently, effectively, while other districts are sort
of in the learning stages. So if you’re supporting a
child who’s an English learner, and you’re feeling like the supports are not adequate or sufficient, think about, if you haven’t already, reach out to your district’s
English learner department. You might think again about reaching out to some local community organizations. But also think about OSPI as a resource who potentially might be able to come in and provide some technical assistance or supports for your district. One thing I do wanna show, so again, we’re gonna flip over here, so bear with me, don’t get lost. We’re gonna show OSPI again on their migrant and
bilingual education program. And what I wanna highlight
here in all this busy-ness is that, if you look
towards the left hand side, there are different pieces. For people who are engaging
with English learners who also have a disability or are suspected of having a disability, this gets just that
other level of complex. I wanna highlight that OSPI has been, they put up some resources
from some practitioners with expertise in this, and so again, I wouldn’t say
that you would need to be comfortable and familiar
with these resources, but I would say that if you
are there and you’re asking for the evaluation for
a young English learner who might have a disability, and you’re not getting the
sense that the school’s done that before or knows
what the best practice is, let them know, hey, I heard
OSPI has this resource now. Can I connect you with that, or what do you think about
reaching out to them? Or if you call OSPI and then you say, hey, can I introduce you to them? So you don’t need to
know the details of it. But knowing that that
exists might help you share it over with the school, who could then incorporate that. All right, back we go. A current academic snapshot. So before I continue, I’m gonna, I just keep running along. So let me know if questions
come up about this as we go along, and we can
pause and kinda add some more. I think we’re going at a
pace that will allow us to just do an open Q&A,
so let’s do this one, but again, add questions if you have them. What does a foster parent do about a teen who has been moved around so much and nobody knows where
they’re at educationally, and nobody in the school seems to wanna take the time to find out? They might be two or more years behind. When I first was looking and
thinking about this question, I was thinking a couple things. One, let’s assume that this is a student without a disability, so
there’s no IEP, no 504, because if there were an IEP or a 504 and they’ve been moving around a lot, and we don’t know where
they’re at academically, we could ask the (sound garbles)
teams to do an evaluation, or an updated evaluation, right? Try to get some what
we call present levels. Well let’s assume they don’t and we’re kinda working within the general education world here. At first, I was really struggling ’cause what would we do if
this was a fifth grader, for example, or a middle schooler? And then I zeroed in on teen, so then that gave us
potentially some other tools or resources to look at. For the younger students, I
think you’re really focusing on that classroom teacher. Especially if they have only
one classroom teacher, right? If they’re elementary school and they have one primary teacher, that’s the one you’ll have
to capture the attention, maybe with the assistance
of the building principal or, again, the foster
care liaison, to say, we do need to set aside the time to capture this academic snapshot. We need to know their reading level, where they’re at with math, kind of generally where
do we dig in with them? And I say the foster care liaison because that is a person again who hopefully within that
district conversation, can focus and say, yeah we do
need to support this child. And really would be familiar with the fact that kids moving frequently, you’re gonna get some falling behind, but you’re also maybe gonna
get some strange gaps, right? Oh, they might be really strong
in this area of fractions, but they completely
missed this other piece, and so adding the next
one’s gonna be hard. So math especially you
might need to tease apart. For the teenager in high
school or middle school, they’re probably gonna
have more than one teacher, so you might be zeroing in
on a couple of teachers. A lot of times I think
English language arts and math are gonna be our two primary focuses. But you might wanna know more generally, and so a school counselor might
be someone who could help. Not necessarily do the academic assessment to see where they’re at, but to coordinate a group of
people who would look at that. There also ought to be, if they get to the end of middle school and into high school, someone who’s gonna facilitate the high school and beyond plan. The high school and beyond plan is a current graduation
requirement in the state, and it is pretty comprehensive. It really is looking beyond high school, but part of that is looking at, what have I gotten done here,
what’s my plan in high school? And even if there’s not a specific section of the high school and
beyond plan that says, let’s assess where you’re at currently, it could be a hook to get
that conversation going. How can we plan well for this student, if we don’t know where
we’re starting from? And then, I did include again another particular program page for OSPI, and again, the Foster
Care Education Program, they have their specific page, that’s where you can find a list of all the liaisons for the state. And you also can find a
list of all the state laws, state and federal laws,
applying to kids in foster care. So bear with me, I’m gonna
go over there one more time. So here, we’re gonna leave
the migrant bilingual. We’re gonna go over to foster care. Oops. There we are, in foster care. You’re gonna find a contact
list for the liaisons, and you can do a control-find
to search by district or by county. We’re also gonna look
on our left hand side, we’re gonna see the program supervisor. So if you don’t have the time to navigate all through
their different sections of this website, give them a call, send them an email. I have a question about this. Can you point me in a good direction? And then, one thing
that catches my mind is, one of the things that school districts are supposed to be doing with foster kids and the people who are
supporting them, foster families, is taking a look at grade level
progression and graduation, and so that, especially
for high school aged youth, you’re looking at, did they
finish part of a class here, can we give them part of that credit? And then add onto it here, so that when we piece
the three pieces together they get that whole semester of credit, even though they were in
a few different places. And so to do that,
you’re gonna need to know what they’ve learned and what
they still need to learn. So those would be my thoughts on the… Uh-oh, what happened here? I’m sorry. On the idea of how to help a student in figuring out the academic snapshots. Okay. So let’s do this again. Gonna go back. Okay. What about a child who has… Yeah, thanks, Jill, we lost that webpage. I am gonna ask you all, I thought maybe navigating
the website would be helpful. If you think it’s helpful
to see the website, I’ll keep doing it. You’ve now seen OSPI several times, I can just point them out to you. That is one of the go-to websites because it is our state
education department, with lots of specific resources, contact people and everything. But if you’re getting a little dizzy, you can say, let’s stay
in one place for awhile. So now I hope you’re seeing
the PowerPoint again. So we had just talked, I’m gonna circle back. So those current academic snapshots, I don’t know the specific
reference that says, you need to do this,
you need to do it now, but think about who those folks are you can engage with it,
definitely foster care liaison, all right, and take a look
at those different resources. Again, I find sometimes
having a hook for it can be helpful in a
conversation like this. Connecting it to something else, again, that high school and beyond plan. All right, so our next
question takes us back into the realm of special
education potentially, understanding disability
evaluations and things like that. So here’s a question about, what about a child, imagine
this one’s in elementary school, who’s failing and has been
behind for a couple of years, yet doesn’t qualify for an IEP or 504 because she doesn’t have a diagnosis that we can pin this on, right? So we don’t have maybe
autism, we don’t have ADHD, we don’t have a diagnosis
of whatever else, right? Just no specific diagnosis, but we’ve seen this student
struggle year after year. And my first thought on this is, well, let’s make sure
that we’re all remembering that eligibility for special education does not require any medical diagnosis. In fact, for some of them,
you’re thinking, really? So one of the categories of eligibility for special education is autism. So you think, well gosh,
in order to qualify and be eligible for
special ed under autism, you must have to have
that autism diagnosis from someone who’s qualified. The way the education
law is set up is actually not necessarily the case. So that diagnosis certainly
can be helpful in answering one of the three parts to the question for determining if the child
is eligible for special ed. But it doesn’t necessarily
mean that they are, and through the evaluation process, if there’s enough information to show that they meet the definition of that child with a disability, then they could be found eligible even without the medical diagnosis. Now, if indeed having that
clear medical diagnosis, a rule-in or rule-out, is really necessary to
get a good comprehensive look at this child and what’s influencing their educational progress, then it’s on the district. It’s on the district to make sure they can get that medical
assessment or statement. It is not on the family to
first get the diagnosis, and then get access to an
evaluation or an IEP, right? So if a medical diagnosis is needed to understand the student’s needs, then that’s part of the
obligation of the district to ensure a full comprehensive evaluation. In this situation, again, one of the things that I definitely do, so there’s two other things
I wanna say about this. One is, if I had the chance, I would ask all kinds of questions
about this young student. What are the challenges, what are other particular
academic areas of challenges, either social or emotional
or behavior issues? Has the student shown some
progress over time or not? And then, understanding
as much as we could, we might take a look at the definition of child eligible for special education, because some of those
eligibility categories, they’re not going to depend
on a medical diagnosis. Some of them, in fact, one of the areas is a specific learning disability, and one of the ways some
students are identified as having a specific learning disability is that they’ve been receiving instruction and different types of intervention, and they’re still just
not making progress. And so they need an even more specialized kind of intervention. Whatever we do here, I
have here on the slide written advocacy, written notice. This definitely would be a
time, if you haven’t already, to just say, you know what? I’m going through this process again, I’m gonna do all of my
requests in writing. I’m gonna follow up. I’m certainly gonna continue to have conversations, absolutely. Gonna make sure I do
clear written requests, and I’m not gonna stop asking until I get a clear written response. So in the last session we talked about prior written notices. They come after a decision but
prior to its implementation. There’s very specific
requirements in the rules around prior written notices. A district is obligated to give a parent a prior written notice
any time it proposes or refuses to do an
evaluation under special ed or change placement or
change services, right? And so part of the written notice is that they have to explain what the decision is and the reasons for the decision, other options considered and rejected and why they were rejected. So here, let’s do a little dance over, see if I can keep you this time. We’re gonna go back to the web. And this time, I’m actually, this is maybe gonna be the most obnoxious, I’m gonna take you right to
the special education rules. Why is that obnoxious? Well, because there is a lot there, and I have it marked on my
website, or my internet, so I can click up and
find all of them here and click back and forth. Near the top is Child with a disability or student eligible for special education, and that is where you
find all the definitions for the different categories. And if we click on that, we’re gonna find each of the different
eligibility categories that a student might fall within. Autism, there’s deaf blindness, deafness. Developmental delay, if
this child is young enough, if they’re not nine years old yet, then indeed sometimes
you’re doing an assessment not to get a diagnosis but to identify, are they significantly behind, very significantly behind in one area, or somewhat significantly behind in two or more areas of development? There’s also emotional
behavior disability, with a specific definition. Hearing impairment,
intellectual disability, multiple, orthopedic, and
then other health impairments. So sometimes this definitely comes up. You might have a young person who, there’s been suspicion
that they have ADHD, but you might not have a formal diagnosis, but you could still ask for an evaluation. The other health impairment, and again, if they
needed to pin that down, rule it in, rule it out, they could ask to make sure
that they can get access to a medical assessment. It’s having limited strength,
vitality, or alertness, right? It’s this idea that this health issue, and they do specifically identify attention deficit disorder, or attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder, is influencing negatively their academic or educational performance. Just highlight here, so it also has asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, heart conditioning. There’s a number of others. And what I’ll say is, we normally wouldn’t
think about diabetes, say, as impacting your ability to make progress in reading, right? But you’re thinking about the
kind of common understanding, and we don’t see that connection. Or maybe with epilepsy. But let’s say, if you live with and are taking care of a child who has diabetes that
has not been well treated or well managed, and it definitely can impact
their ability to stay focused, to stay alert, to stay engaged, their strength is influenced by this. And if because of that,
then they are not able to make academic progress and it’s negatively impacting
their educational performance, and then what they need is some specially designed instruction to help them gain access
to the general curriculum, they might be eligible. So the other one is the
specific learning disability, and again, that is,
sometimes it can be dyslexia, you don’t need a formal diagnosis, but it’s an example of a kind of specific learning disability. And so they would look for that. So what I would say is, think about as much as you can
understand about this child. No, it’s not your job, and indeed, alone you won’t be able to say this is their eligibility category. But if you’re able to say, here’s why I’m worried and here’s why I think
they might be eligible, I’m looking at this and
here’s what I see in them, if you’re able to point
out those connections, it might get you to a different response on the decision to evaluate or
the decision for eligibility. The other thing I, really, really in this situation, whatever the particulars, right, let’s say you have made the
request for an evaluation and you’ve done it again because
having been told no before does not mean you can’t ask again, and it doesn’t mean that the
answer again is necessarily no. So you would have written a
request, by email perhaps, that says Request for a
Special Ed Evaluation, and you would’ve said,
these are my concerns, and then you would’ve
said, please let me know if we can meet to talk
and what the next step is. You would then watch for
and make sure that you get written notice of the
decision to evaluate or not. Let’s move over to our Learn About page on supports for students
with disabilities. And here I’m gonna highlight a relatively new toolkit, right? So we went to, and we went to Learn About, and we went to Services for
Students with Disabilities. And here we’ve put in our
request for an evaluation, doing it in writing, and we’re waiting to hear back, right? They’re gonna have 25
school days to decide whether or not to evaluate. And then let’s say they agree to evaluate. And then we’re gonna go
to the evaluation meeting, and then we are gonna look
for the prior written notice. And this is a written document
from the district to you after a decision is made,
before it’s implemented. It’s required under the special ed rule for decisions on evaluation,
identification, placement. It has to include the reasons
for the decision, okay. And if you get a prior written notice, we included in here a few examples. Number one, what if you don’t get one? “Thank you for talking with me about this. “Please send me one.” Number two, you had a
meeting, now you’re waiting. “Thank you for meeting. “Please send me the prior written notice.” And then number three,
which happens sometimes, “Thank you for the
meeting and the documents “and the prior written notice. “I’m looking at it “and it does not include
certain information.” This is just an example. Please don’t be shy about
asking for a more complete or accurate prior written notice, especially around decisions
to evaluate or not evaluate. You really wanna understand
where they’re coming from, so you can then assess, you
can check in with someone else, this is not right, is there something else I can raise to kind of change this conversation? There’s no guarantee that
there would be eligibility, but by really focusing
on written advocacy, not letting go until you
get the written response with the reasons, and then trying to process
where that has left you, maybe will get you to a different outcome for this young student. So let’s go back to our slide show. So again, you shouldn’t
need a medical diagnosis. Think about the different
definitions for eligibility and do that written advocacy. The other benefit is, if you do that written advocacy and you’ve gotten your
written notice in response and you wanted to say, hey,
what do you think about this? You could easily share that
written notice with someone, they could take a look and
say, well that makes sense, and I can see why they’re going this way, or they could say, hmm, that doesn’t seem consistent with me, let’s talk about circling back to them. So you can get input from
another person on it. All right. Navigating different responses
to escalating behavior. This one, so what if the
question is really kind of, comes in as supporting teenagers in care, and they’re in high school. Some schools, right, again, we circle back to
our earlier conversation about trauma-informed approaches, some schools really focus
first on relationship. They might have a lead person who, I don’t know how best to describe it, but it seems like some
elements of that they’re firm, and yet they very clearly
care about this person, this young person. They know them, they care about them, they’re thinking of them as someone who deserves their respect. And maybe I think one of the
elements that seems to come up when you’re dealing with
adolescents anywhere, teenagers, is this idea of who’s in control. And then, here I’m gonna go
outside my area of expertise, but if you add that you’ve
been impacted by trauma, that you’re in care, being able to maintain
control over what you can can become really important. And so, what might seem
like some little thing to an adult who’s not in that world, like, hey, the rule here
is you don’t wear your hat. I tell you to take your hat
off, you take your hat off. That’s just it. I’m the one who sets the rules, I’m the one who tells you what they are, and if you’re gonna ignore me or you’re gonna talk back to me, then you’ve got even more problems. If I approach it that way, and this is a young person who’s got a whole bunch of other stuff going on, and for whatever reason, that one issue of take your hat off just is triggering something else, that assertion of control and power sometimes can lead to an escalation that you look back on
and it just feels like there’s no way that was necessary, right? No way that was the best
outcome for everyone. And it’s not that we wanna
ignore the general rules that are set up, because we’re gonna assume
they’re there for a reason, but we also gotta appreciate
that we need flexibility to deal with the various real experiences of young people who are in schools. So what do you do, though,
if you’re in a school that feels like it has a rigid approach or a very punitive approach? What can you do? And I think sometimes there, one of the things is to think about, has the district developed a team? Again, I didn’t put it on this slide, but I would think about reaching out to the foster care liaison. Has the issue of how
schools are gonna approach discipline of foster students
come up in conversation in this district before? Does the district have a
behavior intervention team that can come in and do
some work with the school? Has there been a functional
behavior assessment? Ultimately, can we try
to have a conversation around agreeing on some shared goals that are really student-focused? Let’s help the student
get to success, right? And then what we wanna look at is, has a traditional approach or a rigid or punitive
approach to discipline helped us get closer to that? And usually the answer’s
gonna be, really, no. Because a punitive approach
often will separate the youth again from that setting, from the adults who they might otherwise be trying to form relationships with. So those questions usually lead us back to trying to really understand
the why of behavior, really try to form
relationships that can kind of give a context and a safer place to kind of do that push
and pull a little bit when those issues come up. Sometimes I think, I didn’t include it here,
but one of the resources that’s come up around
adolescent teen behavior, even younger kids, is an approach of
collaborative problem solving. It’s a particular approach, and there’s a lot resources about it. One of the keys to it is that part of the process starts
by talking and agreeing, the young person and the adult together, that the behavior that you wanna address is a problem, right? Or the fact that this behavior
is happening is a problem that you both have interest in addressing. Because if you can get the teen to say, yeah, I agree that it’s a problem that I sometimes get so
frustrated that I lash out, or I become aggressive, and I agree that’s a problem because I agree I wanna get through school and that’s just not gonna work. If you can agree on that, then if you can bring
the adult as well to say, okay, let’s commit each
other to doing some stuff that’ll make it less likely
that that will happen, and give you some tools when you do start to feel escalated. I don’t have a quick
easy answer, but, again, think about those folks
who within the school or within the district might
have that understanding and appreciation for how
trauma can impact the child. I wouldn’t be hesitant either, especially, let’s say, if you can connect with an organization, if you can connect with
a larger conversation, this situation reminds me
that data on discipline is easily accessible
now on OSPI’s website, and so bear with me for
another journey to the side, and let’s take a look. On OSPI’s website, we now, and I’m just gonna type in and so, if you wanted to do this at home, I’m gonna type, pretend this is Google, OSPI data, and here you can see it’s gonna pop right up on my screen ’cause I look at it sometimes. Discipline. They have this page called
OSPI Performance Indicator and Discipline Rates, and
it took us right to it. You can find this on OSPI’s website. And one of the elements
of what they have here is that they have now disaggregated data by different student groups,
by different behaviors, by other things. And I don’t think you are
all gonna be surprised. I’m gonna click on this Gap piece here. I’m not always sure exactly how… If we go to a district detail,
let’s choose a district. Sorry, Seattle, but you are my district, so let’s choose you. We’ll choose Seattle, well, actually, we don’t even have to. Let’s stick to statewide. But you can choose your
individual district, and I wouldn’t hesitate. It’s information, it’s
not a complete story, but it’s information. You’re gonna see up here, we have school year, we have the district, we can look at long term,
short term expulsions all together, or all of them. All behavior types, and then
we can look at subgroups. And here, you can either look
at race ethnicity breakdowns or you can look at all other subgroups. And one of the things that
we’re gonna start to see, we don’t see it yet, but in the future we’re
probably gonna start to see youth in care, so our foster care youth. One of the things this does show us is what is the overall rate of discipline? And we can see if we look at this quickly the lines that stick out to us, and we just, whoa what’s going on? Look closer. Our youth who are
experiencing homelessness, and young people receiving
special education services. And if you do choose a district, so let’s go ahead and do that, choose my home district, that’s Seattle. If you do choose Seattle, for
example, it’s gonna update. And then what it also can do is it can show you how does
your district do comparatively to statewide averages. And wow, I just noticed something different here for Seattle. The longest graph is for migrant kids. So kids who are moving. And then homeless kids. And students with special
education, and low income kids. So why are we even looking at this? Because again, if you are concerned about practice, policy, patterns, this kind of data can and should be part of an overall conversation
of looking at it. And it might not be the first
conversation you wanna have with the school community, but I think as you engage over time, and you’re finding people
who are really committed to trying to get better outcomes for kids, you really ought to be able to engage with this data, with them. I know that districts are
being encouraged and trained and led to look at their own data, and I believe very strongly that to really get good
learning from data, to really understand sort of
what might be contributing, what could we do differently, what is this telling us? Those conversations should
include families and students and community folks. Because I think it’s
that kind of thing where, if you’re right in the middle of it, it’s really hard to see yourself. So having a whole bunch
of different perspectives, looking and engaging that data together I think can lead you to more interesting and potentially more
helpful questions about what might be contributing. So this is where you’d find, again, you can Google OSPI data discipline, they have a whole bunch of
different data resources on their data and analytics page. And this is just the state level. Each district is gonna
have more specific data, different subgroups,
different school level. And data, again, it’s not a whole story, but it is a tool to kind
of take a look at that. Even if what we need to be doing is supporting each and every student, what have we actually been
doing in terms of discipline? How many of those students are out? So that is my data soapbox for now. Let’s shift back a little bit. We have a good added question here, and I know we are getting
closer to the end. So I wanna bump this one in and then we’ll move to the next one. But we have a question, what if a child who’s severely autistic, or has severe autism spectrum disorder, is turning 18 and they’re saying it’s time to go to the transition program? He’s non-verbal, he still is not using the
bathroom independently, so not potty trained, and has severe behavior issues. So what can you do if you’re
worried that transition program is not gonna be set up to
support that student’s needs, and it’s identifying a pretty significant collection of needs. A non-verbal student, my other question when I hear
that a student is non-verbal, one of the questions I often ask next is, have you or has the school
been able to develop a communications system
that works pretty well? So some students are non-verbal but they are really using an
augmented communication device, it might be an iPad
with a certain program, that they’ve been trained to use and that others with them
have been trained to use, that they use pretty regularly. Or some might use sign plus that. But if a student is non-verbal, and there really hasn’t yet
been the successful development of a communication system, whether it’s high-tech or low-tech, that’s tough, right? Imagine yourself in your body with all kinds of things going on, and you don’t have a
way to tell other people what’s going on with you, or what you need, what you feel, much less what you’re dreaming about, what you’re imagining,
what you wish for, right? That’s tough and so I
think it’s not surprising that you see behavior become the primary means of communication. And it might distill down
to those most intense needs or emotions and so
behavior issues come up. Just my first thought in a
situation like this would be, has there been a recent evaluation? Is there a good clear understanding of where this young person’s
at now, what their needs are. Start with that evaluation, and then you can have that conversation, gosh, does this roadmap
of his individual needs, does that flow right into
that transition program? ‘Cause if it doesn’t,
we need to talk about how we then create something else, find another option, build
something that meets those needs. And so in a situation like that, I definitely encourage,
feel free to reach out for some more individual conversation. Transition is one of our
strategic priorities this year, so we try to be responsive and work with families on that if we can. Yeah, ’cause I think there
should not be any sort of automatic transfer of a
student to a particular program just because they’ve
reached a particular age. Some transition programs are
the right fit for some kids, and not for all, and that doesn’t mean that the kid doesn’t still need a really robust transition program. They do have a communication device, but not functional skills. I cannot emphasize enough that sometimes a student
will have an iPad, at some point it was
written into their IEP, at some point they got that, but it just has not really
become a functioning tool. And there could be all kinds of reasons. I wanna highlight another resource, and so again, this is one to know about, but you don’t have to be the expert, but if you know about
it you can ask about it and say what about this? And that is the Special
Education Technology Center for assistive technology
in special education. Again, the Special
Education Technology Center that supports districts in
understanding, evaluating, and meeting the needs
for assistive technology for kids who receive
special education services. Oh, I just can’t help it, you know I’m going back to the web. And I’m just gonna type it in, Special Education Technology Center. I happen to know it’s at Central. I’m gonna put it in, Central, see if we get it pulled up here. Special Education Technology Center. This is a center that’s located at Central Washington
University in Ellensburg. And it was created, it’s
been around for awhile. It was what’s called
a state needs program, so our state OSPI invested in it to help give technical
support to districts on assistive technology. This really is a resource that as a parent you probably aren’t
gonna call them directly. But what you’d wanna know
is to say to the district, we need to work out this, we need to figure out
a communication system, not just that they have but
that they know how to use. So can we look at training on this, can we look at a reassessment? Is this the right device? Can we look at training for the
staff, on how to train them? My other favorite thing here is that they have webinars that
they have recorded, right? Just like I’ve been getting
in on the webinar piece, ’cause they have a lot of
information that’s useful. One of their webinars is actually around a team approach to communication, and it talks about how critical it is that if you have a young person who relies on a device for communication, it is so important that they are learning how to use that device and they’re practicing
it in the classroom, and that it can go with
them to home, right, because you want them to
have a communication system they can use at school,
at home, in the community. And so it talks about that team approach. You don’t have to memorize this place. If you just remember that
there is such a thing as a place where districts can get support on assistive technology, including those communication devices, trainings, evaluations,
that sort of thing. You can ask about it, and again, if you’re hitting roadblocks, you can call our office
and other organizations that provide support. But don’t be shy about
thinking about that and asking. Some districts will be, yes,
let’s go give them a call. Our other question, and this one, I know we’re getting closer to time, I really wanted to make
sure we hit this one because I think it probably comes up more often than we realize, and I think it’s maybe
one of those issues that, if we can be proactive and
work with school districts and with the state to
kind of really understand and help share our best
practice and information and just actually have a conversation, and I keep talking around it, but it’s this idea that
sometimes I’m hearing, well we have this child
who has experienced trauma, and they’re having a hard time in school. We don’t wanna rush to evaluate or rush to label as disabled when it might be the impact of trauma that they will work through. There’s actually a lot of
interesting stuff on this. I don’t know if anybody
here had followed but, and it’s been a couple years back, in Oakland a group actually
brought a lawsuit that said that the exposure to trauma
among the students in Oakland was so high that the district
should have acknowledged that it created a disability and that those students were
entitled to accommodations rather than just facing
straight up discipline, right? So they had a student
population with high exposure to traumatic events, and the
district’s responses sometimes were not based with accommodations and trauma-informed responses. So they were talking about,
is exposure to trauma, is that cause of disability
or is it a disability? So this relationship, this question of, is a child with high ACEs,
does that equal disability? Or could you have a child who
has been impacted by trauma and has a disability? How do you make sense of that? And one of the things I
hope that we don’t fall into is an idea that it’s
always gonna be either/or. Because I think it’s
often gonna be both/and, and understanding that
relationship is gonna be important. I also hope that, indeed, we don’t want to, I think there’s concern
about disproportionate or over-identification of students as having disabilities. On the other hand, if we can do some work and make improvements in systems that serve the needs of
students with disabilities, then accidentally identifying someone as a student with a disability, when they really might have just needed some additional supports
and time to work through, wouldn’t be something that sets them up on a negative pathway, right? In other words, let’s say there is a child who’s experienced trauma, maybe it’s not so severe and long-lasting that they would be diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, but that it influences and
sets them back academically to get identified and
eligible to get some supports, and then a year later, two years late, they’re in a stable
situation, they’re caught up, they’re doing fine. What we do then is
reevaluate and they may exit special ed services, right? Versus the risk, if there’s a child who’s experienced significant trauma, they’re having a really
hard time in school, they’re not keeping up academically, behavior is becoming a challenge, relationships are difficult, and we say let’s just wait. Let’s wait a year, see what happens. Sometimes waiting can
put them further behind, can make it more difficult
to build relationships. It can add to that list
of behavior incidents that has just been piling
up in their record, right? So we kind of dig deeper,
unless we’re giving some really individualized targeted supports. So I don’t know if my instinct
on this matches everyone, but I do think that there’s a
couple things to think about. One is, and the question was, what do I do if there is a child in care, they’ve been moving around a lot, so yes, they’re behind, but they’re also, we’re
worried about them, we wanna ask for an evaluation, but the district is
saying no, let’s not rush, I don’t think that’s where we need to go, let’s address this as a child
who’s experienced trauma and see what happens. So the delay is on even
the evaluation, right? That’s key, right? The distinction between, are
we gonna delay evaluation, or after evaluation, are we gonna make a careful determination about whether there is a disability here that’s at play, right? So the question I would
encourage is to again, go to your written advocacy, be clear that you’re
asking for an evaluation. And again, we’re gonna
jump back to the website, ’cause we wanna take a look at the child with a disability definition, because it could be that the child, because of the trauma, if it
has impacted them in a way that they need that definition
of a child with a disability, because of that trauma
they might be eligible for special education and
the impact it’s had on them. It could be that, in
addition to the trauma, this is a child with another disability. And we don’t wanna miss that, and we don’t wanna delay evaluation. How could we answer that if we don’t do the evaluation, right? And so that’s a key thing. Sometimes we’ll hear, no
we don’t wanna evaluate because they’ve had
gaps in their education, they’ve missed a lot of school. Well, absolutely, if the
reason they’re behind is because they’ve missed a lot of school, not because they have a disability, then they would not qualify
for special education. They’d need other academic supports to help them catch up. But I wanna take a look
here and show you that that actually, if we
go back to our website, we’re gonna go back to
our special ed rules, and we’re gonna hop up here and we’re gonna look at
the eligibility section. And we’re just gonna… Eligibility determinations. Here it is, determination of eligibility. A student must not be determined eligible for special ed services
if the determinant factor, so the primary factor, is lack of appropriate instruction
in reading, or in math, or limited English proficiency, and the student doesn’t otherwise
meet eligibility criteria. Okay. So it’s an “and”, right? So what if you have a
child in foster care, has missed a lot of school,
and is an English learner. Could they still be eligible
for special education? Yes, they could, because it could be that
this is a child with autism that is getting a late diagnosis because they didn’t have access to medical assessment or care. It could be because they
have very severe ADHD and they are not gonna
be able to concentrate and focus and participate. It could be that they have an emotional or behavior disorder that
is the primary factor interfering now with their education. So this is an eligibility question, and it doesn’t say that any kid
who’s missed a lot of school can’t be qualified for special ed. So again, it’s eligibility, it’s not whether we’re
doing the evaluation. That’s a key thing to engage
that conversation around, and to ask for the written follow up. And the other key thing
again, is to go back, I’m scrolling back to the top and looking back at our definition, and again, one of the
categories of eligibility for special education services is emotional behavior
disorder, or disability. And now, it does have
some very specific parts to the definition. It’s a student who exhibits
certain characteristics over a long period of time
and to a marked degree. And so it’s not sort of a
short term kind of thing. So yeah, it might be that if this is new and that’s the only thing at issue, you might be waiting a little
while to see what’s going on, does this continue? You would hopefully be doing
interventions in the meantime. But if you’re talking about, can we get an evaluation to
really try to understand, then I would urge you to try
to have that conversation or reach out to someone
to join that conversation on the distinction between
a decision to evaluate and then after that’s done, and you actually have information, then the care that you use around eligibility determinations. I hope that makes sense. And I spent a little time on that because I do think it comes up and I think sometimes it
does contribute to a delay in really understanding a student’s needs. And then, if we assume that
once we really understand that, the team can do some really good planning and effective interventions, then the idea is the sooner the better to get that identified. The other thing I had on this
slide that I thought about, which is helpful to remember, so you might have this young person, they’ve been moving around a
lot, lots of different schools, so it might not be in
their school records only that you’re gonna get a sense of whether, is this something new,
or was this there before? And so to gather information
from various sources, this might be the time when you
really wanna kind of canvas. Who knew this child earlier? What was going on then? Who saw this child in
these other settings? Do we see it over there, too? So you’re asking not just at school, but you’re asking more
broadly to try to understand, is this something, again,
is this something new, or is this something we’ve
had a concern about over time, in which case that weighs in favor of, so let’s get that evaluation and we’ll take some time and care at the eligibility determination. Folks, I’ve taken you to 7:28, that means we have two
minutes left on the clock, and that was an hour and a half. I did not leave enough
time for some open Q&A. You know we have a couple other questions, but I’m afraid I’m not gonna get to them. You’re welcome to contact
us again separately. The one other thing I wanna note is, one of the links on this other slide here is about an article on
trauma-informed practices in the IEP process. So there are people who are
looking at the connection here and trying to share some helpful ideas. Questions, last questions. This is our one more minute, and if you wanna put out one
more question, I’ll do my best. Well, thank you for that, thank you. That makes the wrap-up easier. If you have other situations, if you’re working with
an individual student and you still have questions, give us a call at 1-866-297-2597. And thank you so much.

Posted in Uncategorized
Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *