September 03, 2020 | Rhonda Logsdon; Stella Beard

Rhonda: Welcome everyone. Thank you all so much for joining us today, we’re going to be talking about Dispute Resolution and Procedural Safeguards on the webinar today. [coughs] Excuse me. So just to kind of start us out here, Kentucky SPIN, is Kentucky Special Parent Involvement Network, we’re the parent training and information project for the state of Kentucky. And we are funded under the Ind...

Rhonda: Welcome everyone. Thank you all so much for joining us today, we’re going to be talking about Dispute Resolution and Procedural Safeguards on the webinar today. [coughs] Excuse me. So just to kind of start us out here, Kentucky SPIN, is Kentucky Special Parent Involvement Network, we’re the parent training and information project for the state of Kentucky. And we are funded under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA, which is what caused for IEP in school. And also IDEA is what sets forth procedural safeguards, and some dispute resolution process and rights that parents have. Joining me today is Stella Beard with Kentucky SPIN, and she’ll be helping us out throughout this.

[00:00:51] Just wanted to go over a couple of things for you. There are, you should see a handout section if you don’t, don’t worry, because we will follow-up with an email. I know some people on their dashboard, for some reason, aren’t able to see that. If you’re not, not to worry, because in that email will be links to all the handouts, including this PowerPoint that will be sent to you later today. And even if you see them and don’t have a chance to download it, not to worry.

[00:01:24] We, also, you’ll see that there’s a questions or a chat box that you could submit some questions through there. And we’ll stop periodically and check in with Stella and see if there’s any questions. We want this to best help you all. I’ll tell you where I’m at now, Stella and I are in separate locations, but we both have had storms this morning. The sun looks like it’s coming out, but I will warn you ahead of time and apologize in advance if we do have some issues with the WIFI and everything. So, but hopefully that’s sun is a good sign, I’m seeing it and we’ll be good to go.

[00:02:04] First and foremost, I do want to share with you that I am a sister, three of my siblings have disabilities from the seen to the unseen, with their own unique experiences. And yes, they are smarter than I could wish to be. And I also am a proud foster adoptive mom to the greatest gift of my life. And just to tell you, we don’t act as attorneys. We are here to help step you through the process. We work with parents, professionals, everybody to help build that partnership and also with youth and adults with disabilities so that we can do best and help one another best, so that our children live the best lives possible and have opportunities just as others.

[00:02:55] We do help to effectively advocate for your child. We provide peer to peer support. I know I just shared about myself, but all of our staff are persons with disabilities and or parents or family members of persons with disabilities. So we truly are families helping families. And we always have been since we began in 1988, when we first received parent training and information project. That has always been the core of everything we do is families and individuals helping one another. So we’ll go ahead and jump right on in here.

[00:03:37] And some of you all have been on some of the webinars with me, or maybe when we were able to do in person trainings, but I am a very visual person and I always starting with this, especially when we’re talking about IDEA, IEP, the law because I think it’s very important that everyone knows that IDEA is the federal. And then you have your Kentucky Administrative Regulations or KAR, and then you’ll have your local policies and procedures, which will be your local County or independent public school district. It’s always good to keep in mind that the federal law always overrides or supersedes the state or local policies and procedures, unless they go above and beyond in favor of the child, or they let them decide. Meaning if there’s parts in IDEA that the States decide and there’s parts in KAR, Kentucky administrative regulator that lets the local districts decide, so that’s why sometimes you have to look at different things to see, and the different laws to see sort of what the answer is and what has been set forth.

[00:04:56] But I always like to kind of go over that, and that always kind of helps bring me back, and remind me too, you know, because it’s important to know, I want to give a few things here that kind of sets the stage for what we’re going to talk about today. But IDEA sets forth guidelines and it is a federal law that States in school districts provides the specially designed instruction and related services to children with disabilities who qualify. If in part funded through federal dollars, but state dollars also provide that.

[00:05:36] It’s important to understand we’re going to concentrate on Part B of that. There are different parts. But Part C is the birth to three, which is First Steps in Kentucky, the early intervention which you, if you’re familiar with that, that is you would have the ISFP, which is the Individual Family Service Plan. Under part B is what called for, and you have the IEP Individualized Education Program through the school district. We also, because we are funded out of that law are funded out of Part D and there is at least one parent training and information project in each state. Some States like Florida and California have more than one, but it’s also good to keep in mind too, if you move States and many of our military families move frequently, we can always connect you with the parent training and information project that will be in the state that you’re moving to and help with that.

[00:06:38] So some key principles because these principles set forth in IDEA, the procedural safeguards and the rights of parents and students. The right to a free, appropriate public education, FAPE. You will see that throughout everything. And an appropriate evaluation. And again, you know, everything that is about IDEA, just like you see the Individualized Education Program, IEP, is individualized so it may look different. There are guidelines that are developed, because many times I get questions, can you do this? Or can you do that? And many times, because it is individualized, and we know regardless, even if children have the same disability, one is going to look very different to than the other child’s because no two children are the same, whether if they have a disability or not. But understanding that this is FAPE meaning that, and I always like to bring this up, you know, that meaning that you’re not charged for your child with a disability to be educated, and get that specially designed instruction and related services that is to be provided free to you. Now, if kids have field trip fees or, all students, different fees, that doesn’t mean that those things wouldn’t apply. But you cannot be charged for your child to get an appropriate education because of their disability and that’s under the federal law.

[00:08:15] Parent and student participation are key parts, because no one knows the child best than the parent or the student themselves. And the least restricted environment. This is a huge right in LRE, you will hear that. What it means is that you have the right to be educated with your non-disabled peers to the maximum extent possible. And really you should start that way in different accommodations, modifications to be brought in. If that’s not what the appropriate for your child, then you look at the alternatives. But that is a key factor in IDEA.

[00:08:57] And procedural safeguards that are set in place. And again, bring up the FAPE again, because it is at the public expense, and under their supervision. And when you see SEA, that means the State Education Agency, and that is the Kentucky Department of Education. That is our state education agency. So we’re going to kind of go into the procedural safeguards that then feed into, and part of those procedural safeguards is dispute resolution. And I will point out as we go through those, the examples of and where that is an example of the actual procedural safeguards and the parents’ rights that are put in place.

[00:09:45] To keep things there under the procedural safeguards. Every eligible student has equal protection under the law. And the reason this is here is because children will qualify, they can qualify under a list of categories, right? But it doesn’t mean if you qualify under this that you’re protected more than if you qualify under another there’s equal protection. If you qualify, you are covered by IDEA, and those safeguards are equal no matter what category you qualify under.

[00:10:18] Also too many of you may be familiar with and been given, because the school must give parents or offer the parents a copy of their procedural safeguards every year, and if you haven’t had a moment to look through those, those set forth, and you’re going to see some of the stuff we talk about today, that will be in those. Those are the safeguards and the rights that are put in place for you, as a parent. And when you’re going through those, if you have questions, you can always, we do presentations all the time, but we help families one-on-one, and professionals sort of step through the process. So if there’s something that you have a question, when you’re going through that, give us a call, send us an email and we will help you with that.

[00:11:07] Now there’s some other key parts under the procedural safeguards, and this is the consent to evaluate. Meaning that anyone can refer in the special education process, to see if the child qualifies for an IEP. Anyone can refer a child, anyone that has knowledge and works with the child, but there has to be parental consent to evaluate signed before it can take place. That is part of the parental rights.

[00:11:38] Prior written notice of, but let me go back just a second. I get ahead of myself. I do want everybody to know too, giving consent to be evaluated you can also, then there’ll be a meeting if your child qualifies then consent to get services and to put the IEP in place. So know that along this step, in this process, you are involved in their rights throughout that for you.

[00:12:08] Prior written notice about coming meetings or any changes. You should and one of the things too that you want to make sure, because I get this question a lot, is can an IEP meeting take place without me? Under the parental rights, your procedural safeguards, the district has to notify you of upcoming meetings. Please make sure you respond to those because if the district has tried numerous times and looking at alternative dates, alternative means for you to participate and has that documented that they’ve made those attempts an IEP meeting can take place. But again make sure that you respond to all of those, because you are to be given prior written notice and they have to try numerous times to work it out with you before an IEP meeting would take place without you.

[00:13:06] Access to records. You are to have access to those. An independent education evaluation, this is another key one, and was set forth in IDEA and the Kentucky Administrative Regulations is when the evaluation, the initial evaluation comes back, if you don’t agree with the evaluation results, you have the right to request the independent education evaluation. Know that too, in Kentucky, under Kentucky Administrative Regulations, that not only in that initial evaluation, any evaluations that take place that is for, because at least every, once you qualify on an IEP, you will have an evaluation at least every three, a re-evaluation at least every three years, if not sooner. Some children need it sooner because things change.

[00:13:58] Also know that in that if that evaluation comes back in, you’re not in agreement, you also do have the right to request the independent education evaluation at that time too. While we’re talking about the evaluation, I do want to also bring up the option because I do get this question a lot too, is when you get a re-evaluation, it’s either they’re every three years or something’s changed y’all need to update. And for some children, they need it more often than every three years, but you wouldn’t have one in this one, the overall evaluation to qualify with the IEP.

[00:14:38] Some don’t need it, when you’re at three years, things may still look the same. There is a part in the law that states that if the IEP team, which is the ARC team in Kentucky we also give it an additional name. When people talk about ARC meetings, Admissions and Release Committee meetings and IEP meetings, they’re one and the same in Kentucky. If the, and too the parent is a critical and equal member of that team, along with the student and youth. If the IEP team agrees that the current evaluation is still an accurate picture, the whole IEP team can agree to adopt the previous evaluation as the current and it would set you good then again for three more years. Unless there needed to be a re-evaluation sooner than that. And you can always request, if things have changed a lot, you can request that. Now you wouldn’t have one more than one in a year. But those are options there and I just want to make sure that you’re aware of those.

[00:15:48] And when you request an independent education evaluation, you need to do it through the process, through an IEP meeting, ARC meeting and they, what it is, the independent education evaluation will be from an outside source. And you will get a list of evaluators that you can take your child to. I will tell you too, though, when the results come back, that doesn’t mean that those results are the end all be all, the ARC team, which you’re an important member of at least has to take those evaluation results into consideration, when determining if the child qualifies or re-qualifies. So just know that too.

[00:16:36] The procedures, there are different procedures in place for placement changes. And those are, those are things that we can help. Another thing, and I just thought of Stella, I didn’t send you earlier, I’ll make sure that we have a chart that we created, that we put the link for that chart too, that sort of shows what Kentucky Administrative Regulations, KAR and IDEA says to frequently asked questions. And there are some in there that chart is very handy to be able to see and there are some different questions on that in regards to what’s to take place with placement changes.

[00:17:17] Let’s stop here just a moment and check in with Stella and see if there’s any questions.

[00:17:25] Stella: Hey Rhonda, I do have a question for you, it’s regarding the independent education evaluation. Can a parent requests that every year, or is it just for when the three year re-eval comes? Is it, can we request one even if there’s not an evaluation year?

[00:17:49] Rhonda: Okay. The independent education evaluation is a right of, because that’s a great question, and thank you for asking it because your right to an independent education evaluation is a result of if they’re evalue— if their evaluation comes back and states and you are not in agreement with it, then you can request the independent education evaluation. If it’s an evaluation. So if it’s every year that your child is re-evaluated because many things have changed/ for overall services, you know, to qualify for the IEP and under the category, yes. If say you got one last year and you weren’t in agreement, you could request the independent education evaluation. If the next year you did, so you’re not like only given a certain amount. I do know that it states and it’s actually in that chart as well that I talked about that it wouldn’t be more often than once a year, but you do any time that that comes back, you do have the right to request that.

[00:19:03] Now there are other evaluations that children may be receiving that this may not apply to. This is the overall evaluation in regards to qualifying for the IEP and under the category. So if you all decide and it’s going to depend on, again your child and what’s appropriate for them. It’s not necessarily every year that you’d have one and we could check more into detail if there’s a certain test and you’re not sure of, if that’s considered what you would have the right for that, then let us know, because I know there are like some other evaluations that may take place that would not fit under this. Does that kind of help?

[00:19:58] Stella: Yes, that’s perfect. Thank you. That’s all the questions for right now.

[00:20:04] Rhonda: Okay. Awesome. Well, just let us know. And if we happen to miss, Stella’s real good about stuff, but if we happen to miss something, please don’t take it personal. We can always follow-up after the webinar too.

[00:20:16] So now we’re going to go into the dispute resolution. And again, before we go into this I just want to kind of explain these are steps you can, now there is one instance which I’m going to explain that you need to make sure that you take one step before the other. At any time you can skip any of these, but many times you’re going to be asked when you go to that next step, have you tried this.

[00:20:47] And really the whole goal when we talk about dispute conflict resolution is you want to get things resolved with the least amount of steps possible. Right? So as we go through this these are some suggestions of things that hopefully you won’t have to go all the way to the furthest step, but know that it is part of the parental rights and the procedural safeguards that you do have rights to these different things.

[00:21:18] First and foremost, if there’s something going on, meet with your child’s teacher or your child’s therapist. Talk through things, see if you all can’t come up with an agreement or the   thing here is, it’s always best to talk through things and try first before then you go to an IEP or an ARC meeting. And it also will save, it helps build the relationships with one another, even when we aren’t in agreement and some things we may not be happy with, if we give those opportunities, at least, if you go to the next step, you know that you have and following up from your meeting in writing, even if you all don’t agree. Just having that to where you have attempted that and you’re trying to work through things. And everybody, sometimes some things could be a misunderstanding or it could be that really they didn’t understand, or, you know, and with everything there, there are going to be bad situations, there’s going to be good situations. That’s regardless, anywhere in our life, right. So anywhere that we can give the opportunity to try to help build it in a positive way, even if there’s something that may be upsetting to us, but meeting with the teacher, with a therapist, and really talking through that I think will, will help a great deal even later on down the road.

[00:23:02] But let me also state the reasons that you, they have these different steps is because you know in your heart, what you can or can’t stand for, for your child, right. So I always try to look at things, through that lens of making sure too when you do have these conversations, you are very concise. You stick to the main point of things. I don’t know if you’re like me and this isn’t even about when you’re working with teachers or, anything in life, sometimes when you’re talking through things, everything else kind of comes up. One of the things that will really help you resolve disputes very quickly is, is trying not to bring up all that other stuff. Stay on point about, and this has helped me and I have a hard time with this sometimes. This has helped me in different areas and arenas of my life, is really trying to stay the focus. And not let all the other things that play a factor, really influence so that we ensure that what is most critical to us, we are getting that message across.

[00:24:17] And what is most critical from our child’s success? Then, if you don’t have resolved, I would request the ARC, Admissions Release Committee meeting, IEP meeting, to discuss that where the whole team is there, everybody can, we can work through to try to come up with an agreement and action and not just come up with it, but who’s responsible. How are we going to ensure that? What part do we play as the parent? How can we help with this? And a key thing too, to bring to the meeting, just like when you’re talking with the teacher also bring solutions. It doesn’t mean that you have to solve everything or that it use your job to do that for them. But try to think through maybe some ideas or things that would help. Sharing what works for you at home with your child and the teachers, you know, what them sharing with you what works with them that can create consistency from home to school and will help things better.

[00:25:22] Document anything that you all agree about, even if you don’t agree, that needs to be documented. And I always put the important tip there and you’re going to see that on several, the next slide too, it’s very critical, your conference summary should give a true picture of what took place at the ARC or IEP meeting. Even things you don’t agree about. Things that, you know, this is, we can’t do that or, and also too many times in a suggestion I would bring up is anytime that as you’re talking through stuff, well we can’t do that, I would always recommend asking for the policy or procedure. And in writing that the district had. Not so that you can hold people’s feet to the fire. That’s not the purpose there, but we want to make sure that we understand what policies and procedures are in place for the district, cause you’ll remember when we opened up with the slide where you’ll have the federal law, the state law, and then you’ll have the local policies and procedures, there are some instances to where they let the districts decide. So it is important if that is what can or cannot occur within the district, it will be part of your policies or procedures. So I would request getting them.

[00:26:52] Making sure that that summary gives an accurate picture of the conversation, concerns, requests. The game plan that you all develop, the action plan, who’s responsible, making sure all of that is a part of the conference summary is very critical. And also it helps so that if you have to go to the next level, that it is shown that you’re working on this throughout. Again, remember you can skip to any of the other, except for one, I’m going to explain here in a minute, but when you have this and you have this documented and the work that you all are doing to work on it, it’s only going to help you be able to get resolved quicker if you have already attempted these other things, and you can show that. And with the IEP team working together.

[00:27:45] Now before we, check for more questions here in just a second, the next one. Now this step could actually be combined with step two because if you don’t get resolved, then you would want to request another ARC, IEP meeting with the head of special education for your school district, public school district, or their designee to chair the meeting. Now some small counties automatically already have their head of special education or someone else chairing it from the district. So you could possibly be having step two and three combined. If not, you want to make sure that the next one that you hold you request that. Now in some larger school districts, I’ll use Jefferson County as an example because Jefferson County is huge, they may not be able to attend all of the meetings, the head of special education. But they would send their designee to chair the meeting that is from the district. It’s important that they be there and could help to come up again.

[00:28:56] You’re going to go through the same steps. Agreed upon actions, document anything you’re not in agreement. follow-up again, just like previously you follow-up with letter or email what was decided, or we weren’t able to come to an agreement and I’m requesting that this take place. And again, important tip and I know I’m probably driving y’all crazy, but the conference summary has to give a good picture. Right? We want to paint a picture of what happened at the meeting and it’s important to go over the conference summary before the meeting ends to make sure if there’s something that, and many times what happens is someone will read that back and so make sure if there are anything that important that you agreed upon, or you didn’t agree on, or what is stated as this is the policy or procedure is documented in there.

[00:29:55] And again, there’s so much that goes on, it’s hard, because I do feel that it’s hard for the person who is keeping track of those. So that only helps with all of us making sure, not only that it gives an accurate picture there, but so that anybody can, my mom gave me a very good tip many years ago. Anybody should be able to pick up your child’s IEP and understand exactly what they need right then. Right. So anybody should be able to pick up that IEP, understand what took place, the conversation, the summary, and all of that, so that they would understand exactly right where you’re at. Because if there were someone who wasn’t able to be there, it’s critical that they’re kept up to date because they’re a critical member of the team. So just keep those things in mind.

[00:30:48] Let’s pause just for a moment to see if there’s any other questions.

[00:30:53] Stella: I don’t see any questions right now, but just encourage folks, I just want to encourage them. If you do have a question, just type it in the question box and we’ll see if we can get to you in time.

[00:31:06] Rhonda: Thank you so much Stella. So the next step, and this is one of the procedural safeguards and rights is the right to request a mediation. [coughs] Pardon me. Please know when you do this, though, that both the parents and the school have to agree to this because what’s going to take place is it’s an impartial meeting and the trained mediators going to come in, they’re not coming in to solve the issue and tell you you’ve got to do this, or you’ve got to do that. Right. What they’re doing is what, there’s a form that you can fill out. And if you all have any questions about any of these steps, as you are going through them, we can help step you through that. Just keep that in mind as well. And in  the handouts there’s a great, some handouts about the mediation due process and all of that that are included as well.

[00:32:08] But what takes place is the Kentucky Department of Education, there are mediators, there is a form that you request it and if the school agrees, now, if the school doesn’t agree or if the school suggests it and you don’t agree, make sure that that again is documented in the conference summary, that that was attempted because there’s gotta to be a good reason why too that I’ll tell you here in a minute. So anyone can request it, but they both have to agree to do it, the parents and the school. What will happen when that’s filled out is, someone, the Kentucky Department of Education, will send a trained mediator in. It will not be anyone from within your school district or surrounding area. So, it’s not, you know, Kelly that knows Bobby Joe, and you know it truly is an impartial person that will come in. Now, they’re not coming in to say the parent needs to do this, the school needs to do this.

[00:33:12] They’re going to help to try to, sometimes it helps when there’s an outside person come in. I know that this helps in all different aspects of my life, you know, because you see things different if you’re not been so in the trenches and involved with everything. But they come in and try to help you all come to a mutual agreement. And you’ll write up the agreement and it is binding. Now, you may not come to a solution or an agreement, but that’s okay. But making sure that it was documented that you all attempted it, I think is very critical too. And again, remember when it comes to this, we want to take as few of steps as possible to get the resolve that we want for our child.

[00:34:00] Not just for us, but for the school, for our future partnership. Because here’s the thing is our children still have to go to school. And the further you go up in the steps, it make it harder. But the great thing about the law is you do have those rights. And you’re going to know if it is something that you need to continue up those steps to get the resolve for, but know that you can request that, and that is one of your rights.

[00:34:31] So there is another step in the conflict resolution, which again, you can skip right to this, but it’s really going to help you better if, in all of these, the further up you go, you can show that you have attempted this and what you have attempted to do. Not just for the parent, for the school, everybody involved. You can file a formal complaint with the Kentucky Department of Education. And there is a template too, that we can share with you and step through. But what it is, is the state will then investigate the complaint and issue a written decision on that. Again, your formal complaint would be about where instances where your child’s rights were not providing, or to the extent. So again, really working on building, trying to come to an agreement prior to getting to this step. But this step is there because for certain situations, it is needed to be able to get the resolved. But know that you can do that.

[00:35:51] Now due process. This is, you know, last resort it is. Part of the safe guards is, and there will be a hearing officer that’ll make a decision based on the facts. Here’s the instance that I was talking about, mediation or resolution session has to be done before the hearing. You have to at least have attempted it. This was the one that I wanted to make sure that you knew though, that you had to attempt or go through a mediation or resolution session to try to get it resolved there before filing the due process. Again, it is there if you need it. I have known very few that have went this far, but I will tell you the ones who have and have had the court cases in the end, regardless of who’s ruled as the so-called winner, it doesn’t matter because when you get to that point, nobody really wins.

[00:36:53] So, again, you’re going to know in your heart the different things. I will give you the perfect example of the one thing and mom never had to get to this part with it. She knew the one thing for my brother Grant, who does have, if you look at his medical diagnosis, right, which that really isn’t Grant though, but is a medical condition, the physical, legally blind, all of that, but that doesn’t mean though that he doesn’t have great things, just like all of our children do. She knew though that he had to have access to the regular education curriculum. And again, Grant’s a bit older, we’re all quite a bit older, so.

[00:37:40] She knew the thing that she had to stand for Grant was for him to be in the regular classroom because that’s what was appropriate for him. And to have the supports and modifications brought in. That was the one thing that she knew, and typically even now you don’t see many that are in the regular education classroom with more severe disabilities. But that should not be the determining factor because all children, regardless of the disability, should have that opportunity. And that’s what was appropriate for Grant, right. Because, mind, and he actually graduated with honors with a standard diploma and has completed a couple of years of college and is going to go back. The thing about it was, is she knew, and the reason I gave you this example, and all children are different, she knew that’s what was right for him. That is what would help him be successful. And not only just for that moment, but his future. So she knew and it never, I will be, it never even got to the mediation process. It was able to be resolved.

[00:38:51] One of the things too is that working through those things together, because there are a lot of things and given our age, you know, again, we’re a bit older going back through, it had never been done for anybody. But here’s the thing is, that’s not the determining factor, what the determining factor is and with IDEA is, it’s individualized for what’s appropriate for your child, regardless of the category of disability that they have, is having the appropriate program, the appropriate placement, and the free, appropriate public education, FAPE.

[00:39:33] So the things to keep in mind is to make sure that we take those steps if need be because they are there because there are situations that have had to do it. But we also want to, you know, make sure again, that as few of steps as we could take, we attempt it in that manner.

[00:39:57] Let’s stop for a moment. Cause I know when we’re talking about the mediation, the due process and all of that, that is a whole lot. So I want to check in with Stella just a second to see if there’s any questions.

[00:40:11] Stella: I don’t see any right now, Rhonda. I have a question though, if a parent feels like that due process is the way to go, I know you recommended they start, you know, from the beginning and I’d totally agree with that, totally, but, if a parent does decide, they just want to go right to that what is some documentation that they would need or even documentation they would need to start back at step one?

[00:40:43] Rhonda: That’s a great question. Part of your documentation is going to be your IEPs and the conference summaries. As you all have been working through this. The document that have all led where you would end up at the due process, you know, all of those things are part of painting the picture, remember. So, if we’re looking at it, as a visual person, like I am, if all of those things would be things to take into consideration. Anything that, because it could vary so much, depending upon the reason that you would be going to due process and feel that their rights have been violated or that the free FAPE, free, appropriate public education is not provided. Any documentation that shows where that did not occur, that’s going to be critical. So all of those things play a part. That’s why going through the steps as well, also not only gives you the opportunity, try to, so you don’t have to go through all the steps. It also too, though, if it doesn’t work and you have to go to the next one at each step you take the previous documentation of your attempt is part of that.

[00:42:17] I hope that makes sense as I’m explaining it, but the thing is, is anything that has occurred that is documented, that’s why you always want to follow-up just to make — sometimes I just, and I ask questions all the time, not to be annoying, but just so I understand. and it’s good to ask questions and get the policies or procedures which shows what’s to occur, or what is in the law. And one of the things too, if there’s a specific question you may have about a certain scenario or situation we can let you know if that something that is in the law that states where it gives the guidelines. Again, remember things, many of it, because it has to be individualized for every child is going to look different. But there are certain things that sets forth the chart that we’re going to see and in frequently asked questions, sets forth a lot of information, and how things are to be handled.

[00:43:29] But keep in mind, anything that will show the reason that you are following the due process is going to be critical. Saying if it’s, you know, that you’re requesting the mediation, those different things. And again, not to provide the mediator, but that, because again, they’re not going to say you do this, you do this, but it relates to show how you’ve been working on it, suggestions, again at all levels, those are only going to help if you have to go to the next step, I hope that kinda helps Stella did it?

[00:44:09] Stella: Yes, Rhonda, that was perfect. Thank you.

[00:44:17] Rhonda: Stella’s saves the hard questions for me. She’s got me over here thinking and everything. Oh, y’all, so I want to make sure too, and these links you can, when you get your PDF, these are clickable links. There is a page on the Kentucky Department of Education’s dispute resolution process, where it has the mediation form, all of those different things. And we can help you with that. And to follow-up complaints, you know, a formal complaint with KDE, but then also there is a dispute resolution procedure update. Cause this is during COVID because you know what we’re all living in right now. And this is link there and it’ll also, we will include in your follow-up email the link directly to that document as well.

[00:45:11] And just to kind of give you a quick overview, this, the procedural updates to dispute resolution throughout it, and KDE sets forth that, while KDE has transitioned to the remote teleworking status, and as we are all, you know, we’re all adapting as we go through this. There’s still your rights still, you still are able to get those. Now, when you’re talking about the mediation and this sets forth for what’s in here, provisions and things, the meetings, because they can’t host them in person, but that they can be in a remote manner. Right, if it could be Zoom, video conferencing, these mediations, it could  be remote  teleconferencing is available for mediation. So know that, even though we’re in COVID and children, the majority of the school districts did go with the governor’s recommendations to not roll out, at least the partial in-person until after I think it’s September the 28th, but again, you know, things change every day.

[00:46:26] So, but the thing is it just because COVID these things don’t stop just like the IEP. Your IEP services and support still have to be provided, but maybe on an alternate means, right. So I just wanted, it’s very critical to bring that up and I want to make sure, KDE has done, I mean, a wonderful job making sure and I will have to tell you the guidance document and if you’re looking for any of that, we do a lot of, and we have a lot of videos available about questions with special education related to COVID and all of that. We are very fortunate that we do live in Kentucky, cause other States aren’t getting this. Kentucky Department of Education has been very deliberate and any guidance that they roll out, they have made sure that they have considered special population, which includes our children with disabilities. And addressing that. And I can tell you, first of all, other States are not getting guidance like this  from their Sate departments, much less than they should ensuring that they are addressing all of our children.

[00:47:44] And not only addressing but putting the recommendations out there to help us, we’re all going through this together, whether you’re a parent or a teacher, or a student, this is uncharted territory. And so any of that we can help, but I wanted to make sure because it’s very critical that you still have your procedural rights and these things are still in place. They may have to be provided in an alternate means, while we are in COVID and given what the recommendation is right now. But I wanted to make sure that I did point that out to you all.

[00:48:25] And again, this kind of sums it up from, you know, back to that that my mom gave me many years ago, anybody should be able to implement, look at your child’s IEP and implement the program. Anyone should be able to look and see what conversations took place, even the things that you did not agree upon. And also making sure things you do agree, steps that are put into place. Cause you may not completely agree on everything, but there may be other parts that you do and ensuring that you lay out the groundwork of how this is going to take place is critical.

[00:49:05] And again, the important tip again, make sure it accurately reflects what has occurred, your concerns, your conversations, because you are a critical member of the team. And we need to make sure, and this makes me think of my twin sister, because she was very good, at total side note y’all, my twin sister had great, wonderful handwriting. And she had a severe learning disability, as an adult was  diagnosed bipolar and she was the most artistic. And I am not, I would be the twin that did not get that talent, but I’m just making sure that, picture that when you’re like at the meeting. Make sure, you know, when you read over the conference, think of it like that is, is we’ve got to make sure that not only you know, it won’t be done in pretty calligraphy, like Robin would have done, but make sure that it does give that true picture of the conversation and following up with emails.

[00:50:15] And thank people, tell people what they’re doing right too. Because I don’t know, this is going to go a long way in your steps in resolving disputes, because I don’t know about y’all, but I hear bad news all the time. And I’m not just talking about, you know, my child in school, I’m talking about everywhere. And I think it’s got even worse now with COVID. Make sure you take those opportunities to share the good, because just like we don’t hear the good as a parent very often, they don’t hear the good. So make sure that you share those things. It will do wonders to build your relationship. I know, and thanking people, even if you don’t agree, you want to thank them for their time. And it doesn’t mean that you are folding on what is important to you or what you know that is critical for your child. But being able to come and work through this.

[00:51:18] And another tip, if I could just throw this out there is, especially when it comes to our babies. We can be emotional, our children are the most important part of us. And we want their future to be the best possible, especially if you see yourself, it is best to sort of take a break from the meeting or request that a meeting be continued to another time, no matter where you’re at on the steps, because it is much better, especially if you’re upset, angry, it is better to step away than continue. Because once people are at ends on stuff, you’re really not going to get any resolve. So sometimes it’s best just to step back. That doesn’t mean that you’re not going to continue another day to work through it, but these are also some tips and things I’ve learned the hard way in my life, I’ll just be honest. Maybe that’s the thing that’s coming with the age.

[00:52:22] But is to take those steps because that is going to help you get resolved quicker. And with this fewer steps too is, and sometimes we need to speak up because we are so entrenched in it and just, you know, we need to reschedule this for another day. So, that’s sort of some of the tips that I would offer.  And again, I know if y’all been on our other webinars, I’ve been driving y’all crazy with this picture, but I love this picture because it is, this is my life right there. You know, everything is different. You’ve got to think outside the box. I’ve never fit in a box. I don’t know, I don’t even know who made the box, but but I’ve never fit in it. My family has never fit in it. And what works for us, you’ve got to constantly be thinking of different things, but also getting input for others. And really we can work together even when we don’t agree to achieve great things for our children.

[00:53:23] So we are always here. I want to check with Stella to see if there are any questions, cause I know we’re getting close on time here and I want to be respectful of your time. But know that you can call us, email us, there’s a lot of resources on our website. But let’s check and see cell. Are there any questions?

[00:53:47] Stella: I don’t see any questions right now, Rhonda, you answered everyone’s questions.

[00:53:57] Rhonda: Okay, well, please know that if you have any after, I don’t know if you’re like me, but I’m like an over-thinker and I like think nonstop. So I’ll think of stuff like in the middle of the night, but, so please let us know if you have any questions. And stepping through this, if you need more information and we are so grateful that you joined us.

[00:54:17] And we are having weekly webinars, our Tuesday Tips webinars from 11 to 12 Eastern standard time. And, also on Thursdays, we have webinars as well on a variety of topics. So please join us, check out our web page. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, we always post on there and if you want to be added to our listserv, Stella, can you remind me? So we tell, this sounds awful, but I’ve already, what’s our Tuesday Tips coming up this coming week so they know?

[00:54:56] Stella: Sure this Tuesday, today, we are going to have Laura Butler with us from the Human Development Institute and she is going to be giving us tips about using supported decision-making as an alternative to guardianship. So it should be really, really good.

[00:55:16] Rhonda: Awesome. Thank you so much. Well, listen, I hope you all have a great day and thank you again for joining us. You’re going to be prompted to complete our survey, please do so. We greatly, we are shaping what we do and what we offer from your feedback. And we greatly value that. Please take that time. If you don’t get a chance after the webinar in that follow-up email, there’ll also be a link so.

[00:55:42] Thanks so much, you all have a great day and love to you all. Bye bye.