Special Education Caseloads: Draft Recommendations
Category # 1 Paperwork
Recommendation # 1: Streamline paperwork requirements
a. Evaluate the need and function of all require forms and eliminate were possible
ü Eliminate the “Prior Written Notice” form. Replace it with updating the IEP after the annual meeting at which parents are asked to sign off on revisions.
ü Eliminate “Summary of Performance” form. The information on this worksheet can be found in the IEP, Evaluation Report and even the student transcript.
ü Improve IEP form by eliminating sections that contains information that is found elsewhere. ie. courses can be found on the student transcript.
ü Condense information so it is not repeated or redundant and eliminate duplicative IEP sections such as
i. “Present Levels of Academic and Functional Performance and the Present Level of Academic and Functional Performance and Educational Needs are two different sections of any IEP that duplicates information.
ii. Measurable Postsecondary Goals: sections found on the transition IEP form. This information is redundant and can be found in the Present Levels when assessing the 5 Transition areas
b. Create a “fluid” or 3 year IEP process. Have the goal area expandable – date the goal and have all progress reporting right under the goal. Continue on down that same page/goal area all three years ---Date the next time the team meets, adjust the goal as needed and continue with the progress reporting under that goal. The three years of IEPs must relate back to the comprehensive assessment so since the assessment is every 3 years thus a 3-year IEP.
c. With the 3 year IEP or annual IEP – leave out the objective since the goal is broken into 2 smaller parts - redundant.
d. Align paperwork requirements with Federal expectations.
e. Designate on each form its link to a state or federal requirement
f. Standardized forms across the state preferably in electronic form.
Recommendation # 2: Encourage the use of differentiated staffing models
a. Use special education coordinator/lead staff to manage timelines, follow-up with details from evaluations, to IEP and meetings., follow up with doctor phone calls, send releases, send IEPs, evaluations and other paperwork. This person would sit in on all meetings and would provide technical and legal advice.
b. Use special education administrative assistants to help with paperwork load, for example write and send letters, make appointments with team members.
c. Share responsibility between regular education and special education teacher.
d. Use a testing coordinator who would complete three-year reassessments, initial and write the evaluation reports and set IEP meetings with parents.
e. Use administration support staff such as due process secretaries to schedule meetings, type forms/enter information.
f. Create assessment and IEP writing teams – Take the paperwork completely out of the case managers - teacher’s hands.
Recommendation # 3: Utilize Technology
a. Have a Statewide system for paperwork that is available electronically so parents can look at the IEPS, goals and progress at their leisure. (Grade book is available for student/parent now to view grades) Creates less “office management” duties/mailings/printing of paper.
b. Develop and utilize “progress monitoring” through a paperless system. (Anchorage, Alaska)
c. Use new technologies that allow transcriptions from voices to record information (smart phones).
d. Develop technology to use for video conferencing, electronic parent and educator signatures, automatic data input, and MDE reporting functions that are automatically accessible eliminating the need for teachers to send to the department.
Recommendation # 4: Improve Professional Development
1. The MDE and each district should provide annual professional development on how the state wants paperwork done and then have rubrics for the monitors to use to assure consistency.
2. Provide training to a teacher on how to write an IEP and measureable goals. Use a website to provide examples of good ones