August 18, 2020 | Rhonda Logsdon; Stella Beard

Rhonda: Good morning, everyone. Thank you all so much for joining us. Today what we’re going to talk about is on our Tuesday Tips of Special Education, some tips and strategies, given guidance that has come out. And we kind of compile this to try to help with some of your great suggestions and feedback that you all have given us, to try to come up with some tips and some things really do put into acti...

Rhonda: Good morning, everyone. Thank you all so much for joining us. Today what we’re going to talk about is on our Tuesday Tips of Special Education, some tips and strategies, given guidance that has come out. And we kind of compile this to try to help with some of your great suggestions and feedback that you all have given us, to try to come up with some tips and some things really do put into action to be able to help our children as we are all moving through this uncertain time and their education.

[00:00:38] So my name’s Rhonda with Kentucky SPIN, and I also have the pleasure to have Stella Beard on with us, with Kentucky SPIN, and she’s helping us. And we’re going to pause throughout to see if there are any questions. If we happen to miss your question, please follow-up with us. I’m not real good at catching stuff. So I’ll let you all know that ahead of time. So please don’t take anything personal. If I don’t catch something, we’re here to follow-up afterwards. You let us know.

[00:01:08] We’re also going to be sending a follow-up email to everybody that it’s here. But a few housekeeping things is, there is an area where you can ask questions, so you just do that in the chat box. Also, you will see a handouts area. There’s only one handout, which is the PowerPoint. Don’t worry. I know some people are having glitches with it, not showing up in your dashboard, not to worry we’ll send that link, the PDF version of it, exactly what you’re going to see today in the follow-up email we send.

[00:01:42] And you’re going to be able to click on the links within it and I’ll show you as we step through to where you can access the different guidance documents that are important. And so that you have those links to that. So we will go ahead and get started here.

[00:02:00] Kentucky SPIN is Kentucky Special Parent Involvement Network and we’re the parent training and information project for the state of Kentucky, the PTI, and that is funded through the US Department of Education. And every state at least has one parent training and information center. Kentucky’s always have one and Kentucky SPIN’s had it since Kentucky first received one back in 1988. And some States who have a larger population like California and Florida, they have more than one. But it’s always good to know too if you happen to move to another state, we can connect to with that parent training and information center, because this is a great resource, and it is funded under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA that calls for IEPs in school.

[00:02:49] Our focus is, first of all, we don’t act as attorneys. We do not represent families. We are here to provide peer to peer support. We are all persons with disabilities and or parents or family members of persons with disabilities helping one another. And really to provide information, resources, and access stepping through the process, not just with education. But we all know as families as you go through this journey, there are many things that come up and we help, you know, explain different Medicaid waivers in Kentucky as one example, but a whole variety of things. So we are here for you.

[00:03:31] Now, I have been keeping this, if you all have been on our other webinars, you all may be sick of seeing this slide, but I think it is so important that we always go back to this because the more we work together only great things can happen for our children. And we all know, living in the time that we’re in right now, it is got to take all of us and really thinking outside the box so that all of our children succeed and have what they need.

[00:04:00] So what we’re going to do as we step through here. Now, some of this you’re going to be familiar with, you saw on different presentations we’ve done, but I always want to make sure that I cover this within it. So that everybody understands the federal law IDEA, section 504 and Title II of ADA and the Kentucky Administrative Regulations did not anywhere in them, had any guidelines for anyone given the circumstances that we’re living in right now with the pandemic and the state of emergency. So it’s important to know that none of, I mean, this is the first time we’re living through this together. So, it’s important to know that there are not guidelines that were created of what do you do when this happens? So that’s just important to keep in mind.

[00:04:50] Now a lot, and there’s reasons I picked out these certain slides and you’re going to see, because we’re going to go through some of the guidance and again, it’s guidance that might be from the US Department of Education or Kentucky Department of Education. Then we’re going to get into our tips. So we’re really pulling together, because we’ve done a lot of webinars and videos explaining the guidance, but we want to connect it with some tips so that you can have actionable things that you can do to help your child given the guidance that’s been laid out.

[00:05:27] So we all know during the summer there was released and again, note that I think if you could see my cursor moving around, see how it clicks to a hand, these are links you can go directly when you download the PDF or access it when we do the follow-up email, directly to that guidance document, that again gives you a lot more than this. But this is important because I want us to look at okay all districts were planning cause there’s 171 school districts in Kentucky, all districts were planning and this was sort of some guidance provided to all school districts on what could be the options of going back to school. Different districts have developed different plans and what’s important is knowing what the plan is within your district.

[00:06:20] So some may have went to strategy one, which would be the rotation. Right. But you could have some of the kids that the families decided whether they have a disability or not, that they wanted them just to do online learning. Some would go back in-person, but it would be on alternating days, again because we’re having to look at you can’t have too many children at once back in the school.

[00:06:47] So I just wanted to put this up here so that we keep this in context knowing that, yes there have been some changes because, but I want us to look at this when the children go back in-person, no matter what strategy was provided or will be provided by your district, they are still entitled to the education services and supports that are within their IEP. Again, given which one you choose, it may have to be altered some to be able to provide it, given the circumstances, if it’s not in school instruction. But you still, you know, you have that ability to make the choice of what you feel is best for your family.

[00:07:34] Now, one of the things I wanted to point out that was in July and some of the guidance was very important, and you’ll see in the second paragraph where it states that, you know, when the kids go back to school, that it is not appropriate and not the least restricted  environment, which is LRE, which is in IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, to put all of the children with disabilities in the same classroom in response to the pandemic. Because then you could be denying them FAPE, their free, appropriate public education. A child’s placement is decided by the ARC IEP team, which you are a critical member of, that is not to be something that is a decision that is made because of the pandemic, you go to this classroom.

[00:08:24] I want to make sure that that’s explained so that you know, because we want to ensure as they are going back to school are not segregated. You know, and it may not have been any intention on anyone else’s part, other than trying to provide the best services to keep everybody the safest. But we also have to keep in mind, we can’t deny them the free, appropriate public education.

[00:08:49] So now, one of the things too, that I want to make sure that I bring up and again, we’re talking about right now, cause I know things, what’s been, cause I know you’re probably thinking, okay but most of the school districts aren’t going back in-person now. Things have changed, which we are going to get to that. But we get a lot of questions that have to do, especially with children with disabilities about the mask requirements. So I just wanted to cover this depending upon the plan that you chose, if you were given options for the school, then looking at if your child is not able to wear a mask. First of all, it was stated in the guidance that you would, if there’s a doctor’s notes then you would be given an automatic waiver, that requires that you don’t have to wear the mask. Or in that guidance it also stated ARC teams, Admissions and Release Committee meeting, IEP team, means the same thing could need and grant the waiver. And that would then be automatically that the waiver would be implemented.

[00:10:06] Again, this is the majority of children with disabilities are going to be able to wear a mask. But there are certain circumstances where that is not going to work, whether it be because of a physical condition, mental, there’s a whole host of things. So I want to make sure that I hit on this because when the children go back in-person, even if it’s not a hundred percent in-person, this is going to be something, especially for our children where the mask and wearing them is a concern. This can be done and granted.

[00:10:40] So. Now you get to where we’re at right now. Right? So and we all know that we’re all, whether you’re a parent, a student, a teacher, we’re all having to adapt day to day, given the guidance that’s provided. Right. Cause we’re all trying to do the best that we can by keeping everybody as safe as we can. So and many of you all are aware, first of all, even before this came out on August the 10th, that it had been recommended that no schools start back until at least the third week of August.

[00:11:19] To my understanding all Kentucky school districts did that. So technically none of them will be going back. But don’t hold me to that cause there may have been some other situations to where they didn’t, but it’s still okay. These tips and things are good because it’s going to still help you. You pick up where you’re at and if you’re catching this because we have this recorded and school has already started back, these tips and ideas and strategies are still going to help you.

[00:11:47] So we know that they weren’t supposed to start till next week sometime. So then it came out and everybody was developing the plans based on the options that your district decided that we have just shown, on how they were going to roll out school. Was it going to be all virtually? I think 49 prior to this guidance coming out, 49 of the 171 school districts were going to go virtually to begin with for everybody. The others were in some degree offering options, like what was shown up there, where there would be a mixture. Now with the guidance that came from the Governor on the 10th, he recommended that in-person classes did not start until September 28th, not stating that school wouldn’t star till then. But that prior to September 28th, what the hope is that everybody will be doing it virtually. And then you can implement, hopefully if things go the way we’re hoping, and again all of this we’re having to figure out as we go, and as guidance comes down, that then once the 28th, once it was after that, then it would roll out into the options that your district’s planned.

[00:13:11] So it’s going to be crucial to really know, even if they’re not going to be doing the in-person to the 28th, which I do think the majority of Kentucky school districts are following that, but I’ve heard some word now, and I don’t know the exact school districts, there are a few that may not be following that recommendation. So it’s gotta be important for you to know where your district’s at and what are they following.

[00:13:37] Now, I want to explain too, when we say that in their plans, because now that things changed, right, that the kids are gonna start back next week, but if the districts following the recommendation from the governor, everybody has going to be starting virtually in some capacity. So meaning that, and I’ll give you the perfect example, my son’s school district, they were planning the option of you could do the in-person and they were choosing the strategy one, the alternating, the group A, group B. Right and then they were offering, or you could choose for your child to do a hundred percent of the virtual. So now that things have changed the children they’re going to be in two different systems. The one who was already planning to do that families had made the choice and through our district you had to apply under that part to do the hundred percent virtual are going to be through a different system. And what our district is doing and then the children who were going to go back in-person are accessing through Google classroom, their assignments, and getting those things. So that they’re still getting the education, but they may be set up a little different. That’s why it’s important to know what options even now, before we hit September the 28th, so you know what is the best method. And know exactly what they’ve got to do.

[00:15:10] So and that’s where we’re going to get to tip number one. Everything is communication. And the first thing is you’ve got to contact your child’s school. Now you may have already had communication with them, which is wonderful. And that is my hopes of everybody who’s on here. If not though, call them and it’s okay, so we can work from there. Don’t worry because you’re not the only one. And, you know, it doesn’t mean it’s too late, so I don’t want you to think that.

[00:15:43] We’re all at different steps in this so what’s going to be critical is when you contact them, find out what the plans are for the reopening. So even though we know what the guidance is, and that the district’s going to be going back and following the recommendation, it might very well be just like for my son in the district, depending upon which choice you would have chose, the in-person or the hundred percent virtually, they’re two different systems that they will be going into.

[00:16:19] So it’s critical for you to know what is the plan? Are there options and which one do you choose? And when you choose one, do you have to complete an online form? I’ll use the example of my district that my son is in, you did not have to complete a form if you were going to go back in-person. But there was a special, online form that you would fill out if you wanted them to begin a hundred percent virtually, right? No plan for the in-person till maybe after this is over and everybody’s back to the a hundred percent in class.

[00:17:01] So also too, you need to know not only that, but one of the things I’ll give you the example for my son. There was also, since things changed and they weren’t going to be in-person, I needed to know, we had to have his Google classroom, his email address, his log-in. The student, campus portal, all of those log-ins so that he can access what’s being sent by the teachers. So you may also need those.

[00:17:33] Even outside of that, it may not be because one of the things too, we got to know who your child’s teachers are and how do you get in touch with them. Right. Because it’s going to be a whole variety of means for different teachers and how you get ahold of them and how you communicate, right. Because it makes it more challenging, because no one’s in person. It’s not like the so called normal, none of it’s been normal for a long time, right? So we’ve got to know how to get ahold of, who the teachers are, how to get a hold of them.

[00:18:09] The other critical part of this is, and all of the things we’re covering right now it’s for any child, whether they have a disability or not, you need to know these things. What resources will your child need to be able to do those? Is it that you’ve got to have WIFI? That you have to have access to a computer? Is there an option, are paper copies going to be provided? So this is what’s critical with communicating with the school because we need to know what their plans are. It may be because, many of our families, we don’t have access to WIFI. We don’t have access to a computer.

[00:18:49] Some districts are providing, and again, this is where it’s going to be critical, contacting your district. Some districts are providing that technology. An example would be, I know, and again, I can only speak on behalf of my experience and what’s being provided in my district. It may be, if you needed you can get a Chromebook to where they can log on. That may not be able to be provided or something that’s available.

[00:19:17] There has to be some means though, this is what’s critical, there has to be a plan and some means, that the school has developed, to provide access to all children. What’s going to be critical is, what are again not just in reopening, but what are the different options and access best fit your family to be able to access so that your child can do the work?

[00:19:48] Then how, and then they’re going to be able to provide those resources or the access to that for your child, right. So those are critical things. And if you haven’t received communication about those, because I do know in some districts they may be sending stuff via text. Not everybody gets texts. You know, and I know a lot of districts are really trying to think outside the box and really trying to reach all of the families. But given the pandemic we’re living in, and in the real world, you may not have heard or had access to know what all these things are. So don’t feel bad, but know that it’s not too late and that these are the things though calling them. And when you call it might not be the appropriate person who could tell you all these answers, but ask who would be. So it’s key to find out all of those things, because this is going to help you be able to help your child.

[00:20:50] You know, when we move on to the number three, another thing that’s critical. And when you’re talking to the school, first of all, we want to make sure you have a copy of your child’s current IEP. If you don’t, request that as soon as possible for them, because it’s going to be important as we go through these different steps on how to advocate for them and to best help, so that they are successful through this.

[00:21:20] Another question would be, and this is all children when they go back because every school year, when kids go back to school, there is an aspect, in the normal day, outside of the pandemic, right, that they always sort of evaluate the children to see where they’re at, right? Because after summer break and everything, they will see where they’re at.

[00:21:42] There is going to be even more so need for the evaluating and seeing where they are at for all children, since we all ended the school year, you know, from March on, last year, it was all through the non-traditional instruction, the NTI. And then you count on that, then the summer, so all children are going to be at all different levels, even more so now than they would have been on a normal basis when you come back from the summer.

[00:22:13] So there’s going to be some evaluating that is going to take place and planned and how that rolls out is going to be, it can be very tricky. Now, especially is how that gets rolled out because we know that that’s gotta be an important piece of it, but then also given the guidance and how we have been told how school is going to roll out for the safety of everyone involved.

[00:22:38] So again, these are key, then as we go through the other areas to keep in mind, I’m going to pause just for a moment and see if there’s any questions.

[00:22:51] Stella: Rhonda, I don’t see any questions right now, but I just wanted to let everyone know on their dashboard, there is a box that says questions. It may even say chat. But if you would like for Rhonda to answer one of your questions, just type that in the question box there, and we will be happy to answer them for you.

[00:23:16] Rhonda: Thank you so much, Stella, she just keeps me in line here. One of the things too is, we’re going to go to the review in the IEP, so you’ve got the copy of it. So here’s where, and each one of these we’re going to kind of feed in and I’m gonna intertwine guidance that has been included in it.

[00:23:40] So, when you review the IEP, start a list of services and supports that are in. I’m a writer, right, so I need to look at stuff and  I’m old school., I like to have the papers in front of me. Look at it, you don’t even have to write the list. If you’re more of a person take and highlight the key areas. but what’s important is look at that and what services and supports are listed in that IEP. Then we need to communicate with our child’s teacher and team to find out the how, when, and by who these services and support are going to be provided based on how your child will be attending school.

[00:24:26] Because keep in mind when all children are in school, whether it be physically or in a virtual setting, right, they’re all back to school. An IEP still has to be followed,. And the services and supports provided. Now it may be on an, depending upon how it’s being delivered the education and in what setting, it may have to be altered. So we need to know, okay, what is the plan of how these are going to be provided?

[00:24:57] Then I want you to really take a close look at the beginning of the IEP, where it talks about the present levels of performance, in their current IEP. Now, really think about does this right now, give a true picture of where my child’s at? Because if it doesn’t because for many of our children a lot of things have changed. For some it’s still is a good, accurate picture. And you may have had your annual IEP meeting before the end of last school year, right. But things have evolved and y’all have updated your IEP, things could have drastically changed over the summer, too.

[00:25:40] So what’s going to be critical is not only knowing how, when and by who services are going to be provided, but does the present levels give you a true picture of the things about your child and where they’re at right now? If it doesn’t, you may need to request an IEP or ARC team meeting to develop a plan and update it. And it may be, and you’re going to see through our different tips, that it states request an IEP or ARC meeting.

[00:26:14] I don’t want you to think as we go through these different tips, these have to be separate meetings that take place, right. That’s why we’re going through these, because if we start these lists, we’re going to tell you when you go to all the different tips, things that may need to be covered within that meeting. Now, you may need to schedule an additional IEP and ARC team meeting, but it may very well be able to be all covered under that same meeting.

[00:26:44] And again, it is going to probably be in an alternate format. So it may be video conferencing with the whole IEP team. But, and some of the things too, it may need to be, because you’ve got to, we always talk about when we do our IEP workshop and all that, and the importance of the present levels of performance, we got to know where our children are at to know how to get them to where they need to be, right. So it may be that because if you’ll remember back just a little bit ago that we talked about, that you would, all children, regardless of their IEP or not, there to be some sort of evaluating done. So some of these parts may have to wait, until that’s done. But that certainly doesn’t mean that at any time you can’t request an IEP or ARC meeting.

[00:27:46] But it may be to that because you know that these things have changed drastically, we may need to look and see and evaluate them sooner rather than later. So that we can make sure that the IEP is up-to-date and gives a current picture of your child. So just keep those things in mind.

[00:28:08] Now so one of the things too that was stated in one of the, and it was indicated in several guidance documents previously regarding contingency plans. I think right now, more so it’s critical that contingency plans, because we already have had a major change from what was already being planned. Right. Nobody can start back, if they’re following the recommendations, till September 28th in-person, to some extent. If that’s what your district was going to provide. Now, what it is, is the contingency plans will help so that there is a plan to implement during closures based on COVID. You know, we have so many changes that are taking place, because of the nature of the pandemic, and keeping everyone safe. So a contingency plan would be very important for a child with an IEP to have in place. Because we already know in the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a major shift of already a change in plan for back to school.

[00:29:22] So here’s where again, too, request an IEP meeting. Again, they can all be the same meeting, covering the different things, but what’s going to be critical, and the reason I wanted to separate them into tips is because each one of these are critical areas to look at, especially if it applies to your child and would benefit your child to get their FAPE, free, appropriate public education.

[00:29:49] So in the contingency plan, we’ve got to know who, what, when and where and how. Who’s going to do what? If this happens and we all have to go to virtually, who’s gonna do what, how are we going to do it? Everybody it’s important for everybody to understand their role and also too how we are going to ensure including the child has the adequate resources and accommodations and modifications that are in their IEP to be able to follow that plan.

[00:30:21] So we need to make sure that in the IEP there is a contingency plan. So everybody is able to adapt given what recommendations or what guidelines are put out that we may have to change. You know, today it may be this, but tomorrow may be something else. The more we can plan and know what to do when this happens or now that it already has happened, we’ve got to have a contingency plan.

[00:30:50] So when I was talking about the different things of the, who, what, when and where that’s perfect in the contingency plan. So here we go ahead and we know that no, if they’re following the recommendations, right, and not starting back in-person till the 28th, we already know that it is highly likely. We’re going to need a contingency plan to know, how are we going to ensure that they received their support services? What our role is in it? Other people’s role is in it? Not to point the finger at anyone, but if we don’t understand who’s gonna do what, then nobody knows how to get anything done, right. So think of it, just like other things in your life. And, you know, when I’m very I’m OCD, so I like the who, what, when and where, right. Everything in my life, I’ve got to know what’s going to happen, when. Again, our lives though it changes daily, even outside of COVID and you adapt as you go, but the more we can plan and have these things in place, the better it’s going to be for our children.

[00:31:56] And also too, we’ve got to make sure again, we develop a plan that’s feasible. Can this be done? How can it be done? How can we still accomplish what they need and the service and support within the perimeter that we all have to follow? So again, it’s not going to look like every other child, right, because each of our children is different, and you may not really need a contingency plan. If they’re doing okay and they don’t need, it’s already been figured out and you all already have it documented and in the IEP team meeting and all that. The key is looking to make sure that there are those things in place so we ensure that they are having access to the education equally.

[00:32:46] So again here. So I bring up the present levels of performance. They may be called PLOP, is the acronym, but we’re not only looking at academic, we’re looking at functional performance. So where are they at? And you’ll remember in your IEP, that you look at different areas. Not just academic, you look at social. All the areas and you need to go through and again, make a list or take a highlighter, depends on what you best prefer, is to see which present levels that are currently listed. If it doesn’t give a true, accurate picture of where they’re at now, that’s something in an IEP meeting, you all need to meet and update. Because your present levels of performance are going to shape the rest of your IEP.

[00:33:42] So if it’s not in the present levels of performance, and again, it’s key to not only put in the areas of concern, it’s critical to put your child’s strengths. Because your child’s strengths are going to help them with their weaknesses. So that’s just like the rest of us. I use my strengths all the time to help with my weaknesses. Our children are no different. But we’ve got to make sure it gives a true picture because that is what forms the rest of the IEP. If it’s not in the present level, as a concern or where they need some assistance, it’s not going to be addressed further in the IEP. So present levels of performance, not just during COVID, anytime for a child and in their IEP, an accurate present level of performance is critical to their success because that is what’s going to form what their program is.

[00:34:34] So again, you don’t have to request a separate IEP meeting. These can all be handled in one or broken up. Some, that we’re getting ready to talk about, may have to be handled in ones after you have these initial IEP, ARC team meetings. But make a list. And what I always tell people, because I’m not the best. I’m not, I don’t know all the fancy terms, but you know what, it doesn’t matter. You know what your child’s good at. You know, what your child struggles with. You don’t have to have the fancy words, make a list of areas that you’re concerned about or areas that your child has excelled in. What have been some things that you all have been doing and working on? Things that you all have learned? Because through this pandemic, yes, this has been very, very hard and difficult for everybody, but sometimes, and in some things, there are also some blessings that come about and some positive. So that’s going to be important to put in there because that reflects where they’re currently at now too.

[00:35:41] And sharing, normally we have developed. And I’m always big about not just during COVID but when you’re in IEP meetings is sharing what you do at home, teachers sharing what they do at school, because the more you can have the consistency from home to school, the better children are going to do. And, you know, it’s, maybe something so simple, a little adjustment you do of that how do we do it ready to start this different work? Something that you’ve found that really works, that could be a game changer for them at school and vice versa. So that communication and sharing with one another. You also want to come up with, you know, make the ideas of lists, and you don’t want to have to have all the answers to the question, but the more we can help be a part of the solution. And that, again goes back to the partnership. It’s only gonna be better for our children.

[00:36:37] And bring your list, the different things that we’re talking about, mark and underline or highlight, make sure you have those with you. Because I don’t know if you’re like me and my mom told me years ago, she said, you know, when I would go to the, I have several siblings who had disabilities, with the doctor and my brother Grant, who if you look at his medical diagnosis, that’s no true picture of Grant. So, but it’s only see one, but that is not Grant. But what I’ll tell you, she said, I learned early on whether it’s the doctor, school or anything, if I’m make myself that list, I won’t forget to bring it up. Or it will kind of help keep me on track and it helps keep you focused on the main goal of why you’re there.

[00:37:23] And not only, you know, to say something that’s not going right, but then also to offer solutions or how can we do this? Because we’re all partners in solutions. What was it, and this is not just with education, it’s either a part of the problem or a solution to the problem. And I know I probably got that quote really wrong, not in the right terms, but it’s true, you think about it. So, yes, we don’t have to have all the answers. But if we’re all working together to try to figure out it’s only going to benefit our children.

[00:37:58] Let’s pause for a moment and see if there’s any questions.

[00:38:04] Stella: Rhonda, we had a question, but it was just someone needing some additional resources for their child going to middle school and we’re going to work with them one-on-one. I told them about our website and some of our videos and I will reach out to her. So that’s all I see right now, but everyone please submit your questions and we’ll be happy to answer them.

[00:38:28] Rhonda: Yes. And I love when you all submit stuff like that, because then we can follow-up and help you. And even if we don’t know the answers, right when we follow-up, we will work to find them for you. So know that we’re always here and we will kind of help step through this and get you to where you need to be or get the information you need.

[00:38:51] So the next guidance I want to talk about, is the compensatory education. And if you caught our webinar last week, we went into great detail about compensatory education and ESY, extended school year services. It’s actually available on YouTube, you can watch it now. But the reason I wanted to put this in here, a couple of slides, because you know I’m big on, I want to show you the guidance it comes from because it doesn’t do you any good for just to be Rhonda said it’s this. Right. That that’s not going to help you. So I want you to see exactly the guidance it comes from. How to access that guidance.

[00:39:30] So a part of things, and if you’re not familiar with it, the compensatory education, is not called for in the law, but cases, there are court cases that shaped and created compensatory education. A lot of times people think that this is a negative thing, but we’re going to have to look at for children with IEPs, is there some compensatory education. Because, and again, I’ll give you my plain Rhonda terms, compensatory education is, was there services or supports and education that they should have received that they didn’t.  Not at any fault of anybody else’s, the pandemic has shaped, this is a question we’ve got to ask. The pandemic has shaped and permitted people from being provided the full education. Right.

[00:40:29] People are used to only hearing about compensatory education through court cases, because that’s where it was formed because there was education that was not provided. They didn’t get what they were supposed to. So here’s the thing too, we did not want anyone to have to go to court to get compensatory education. I don’t want that as a family. Teachers don’t want that. Nobody wants it in. It’s not that we’re saying that the schools did anything wrong, and I think just because of the nature of it, it gives that tone.

[00:41:02] But what is going to be critical is that compensatory education can be awarded by the ARC, the Admissions and Release Committee or the committee,  IEP team, voluntarily. Right. So with a remedy for failing to provide FAPE, the free, appropriate public education, because it was due to the pandemic, they weren’t able to.

[00:41:26] So,  now most school districts were able to offer, to some degree, because it had to be adapted. But what you’re going to look at is, and be thinking of, what they should have got that they didn’t. Think of what they got. And then where is that gap from what they got to where they should have. That gap is going to be what you’re going to be looking at for compensatory education.

[00:41:53] The critical thing here too is, it’s for the IEP team, ARC team to look at that and not all children are going to need this. But it needs to be looked at, for all children who have IEPs especially who may be entitled to compensatory education. But it can take place and be awarded outside of court. And this is critical because we don’t want no one to have to go to court. That’s the last thing anybody involved needs to have to worry about right now. So that gives us too our tip and really stepping through.

[00:42:28] And again is look at your current IEP. Now, what are the services and supports in the list that you created? You either created the list, if you’re like me, writing everything down, or you highlighted the areas. So look at from last year into this year due to COVID, start looking at it now, because first of all, we don’t know when all of this is going to be done. So you’re going to may have to look back at this several times, but we already know there is a span of time last year, once March hit till the end of the school year, we need to look at. And then anytime you’re looking at once school starts back, so there may be the gap there.

[00:43:11] Is due to COVID, was there any services or support and to what level were they not able to be provided? So in the meeting you decide is that something that could be provided now. On last week we had a wonderful question and I have thought about it nonstop. And Stella and them all know, like I can’t cut it off. I keep thinking. So we had a great question last week because some of the guidance indicated once school’s back to normal. Well, it didn’t define what normal was.

[00:43:47] So this was a great question that was asked that I kept in my mind and I’m like, so here’s the thing, is there’s nothing stopping an IEP, ARC team from deciding and moving forward, even if they’re not able to be back a hundred percent in-person, to go ahead and start providing compensatory education, if it can actually be delivered given the guidance that we currently have. Now, you may not know what compensatory education is going to be needed till we all come out on the other side of this. But that does not mean we cannot start looking at it right now and chipping away at it and develop a plan that could start if appropriate, and given the guidance, you could start addressing it now.

[00:44:42] But this is the key thing. Number five and tip five is compensatory education does not happen during the normal school day when they’re receiving their current education. Right. Because if they’re getting compensatory education, they’re losing their current education and supports and services. So you’re defeating the purpose. You’re causing more compensatory education to come down the road. So if it can be feasibly started safe when they go back, here’s a great example if they go back and you choose for your child, if you’re given the choice that you could choose for your child to go back in-person and given it may be on an altered thing, AB schedule, say as of September 28th, if when they’re back like that, you can start, the child can start receiving that. And it’s going to look different for every child and it’s not going to be, really it is going to be a means to get that so that your child has it, but not necessarily like an award of a certain amount of money. Right.

[00:45:58] So yes, the thing is any compensatory education that’s provided, however you all decide within the IEP team and it is going to depend on, I can’t say that it will be a dollar amount, whether there’ll be a different service, but because it’s individualized based on what is decided appropriate for your child, the compensatory education. But an example would be, if they needed additional tutoring, and working on the services and supports that they would have got in, say math. And they didn’t get that say 30 minutes or a therapy under a related service. They didn’t get that 30 minutes of therapy every week. Well, outside of the normal school schedule you’ll know that they missed 30 minutes every week, by weekly, you look at the start-end date of when this was put in place, you will have a concrete answer of what supports or services were missed.

[00:46:59] So again, it’s going to vary depending upon the individual child. And again, not all children are going to require compensatory education.

[00:47:11] Now, the question of the ESY. So when you think of extended school year services, ESY, that is, compensatory education was you didn’t get what you were supposed to, ESY is you have lost what you had, right. Skills, different progress that you had gained and there may be a huge risk that because of all of this, they have lost what they had. So that’s totally separate from the ESY again, from the compensatory education. Again, just like you look for the compensatory education, you are going to look at and make a list of has your child lost any skills that they had? And don’t be alarmed if you’re like, yes. And there are several of them because given the pandemic, there has been just like with the compensatory education, you know, it’s happening. And it’s not abnormal that it happened, given the pandemic that we’re living in, not that every child will qualify and get ESY. But again, look, are there skills that have been lost? If so, list them out, again at the IEP team meeting.

[00:48:31] Remember again, just like on the compensatory education, this is not to take place during  normal school time. It has to be outside of that. Because again, you know, and this is not ESY is not to teach them any new skills, keep that in mind. And that’s something ESY that is looked at annually, regardless if there is COVID or not, if ESY services are needed or required or appropriate for your child.

[00:49:04] So I’ve saved, I don’t know if you want to say the best for last, but what is going to help again is recordkeeping. And Kellie Smith, who’s with us, and many of you all may have been on some of her webinars that she has done. She just created an awesome video, which the link is right here, that you can access because it is very key to keep copies of your IEP. Not only that part of it too, in our info sheet, you click on the record keeping it shows you how to breakdown, in one sheet to create a binder. Kellie steps you through the process and what she’s showing you in the video for the binder is how you can do it, like electronically. I will tell you she has much more skills in that and about the Google drive and different things than I do, I’m a work in progress.

[00:50:02] But what she shows you, you do not have to do it electronically. You can get a binder, just like I would be the guy over here pulling out the red binder. That would be me because I want to be able to have the different papers regardless of how you do it. And when you watch that video within the description of the video are the links to the sample binder and all of those resources. It’s important that you keep phone logs, who you spoke with. Not to hold anybody’s feet to the fire. That’s not the intent there. The intent is making sure everything’s documented. Cause again, well even outside of the pandemic, but we living through a pandemic and everything is changing. It’s critical that everybody, including the parents and the students know who, what, when and where and how,. More so now than ever.

[00:50:58] So what we need to make sure too is, but I wanted to make sure because you’ll see the third sentence or bullet down here. I put,. Make sure that you keep the previous IEP too. If they have changed. Say even if, remember when I stated that you might’ve had your annual IEP meeting at the end of last school year, right. So during the pandemic, your IEP would change. In that scenario I want to make sure that you have a copy of all of the IEPs that were in place, you’ll know from their start and end dates, that are in place during the pandemic, right. So you actually might have two that you might need in front of you, say the pandemic hit in March, and you updated at the end of April, you had your annual IEP    meeting. So it changed.

[00:51:59] See where it would be critical to have both of those IEPs to look at because there would be a time that you might need to be looking at the compensatory education that would cross over into both. Likewise, a lot of this, what we talked about and making sure you’re present levels for your child are giving an accurate picture right now, you need to keep the current IEP along with the new one you may update because you need to also be looking at those to see, not only go from the current one, but what was in place as well during COVID. You need to be looking at all of those to look at the list and all of the other IEP team members need to look at those because you are to look at and evaluate was compensatory education something that should be considered under the child’s IEP? Under the full timeframe when COVID and things changed?

[00:53:02] So I hope that’s kind of making sense, but again, it helps to be able, and a lot of times you will find answers to the questions or if you can’t there’s so much to remember and things are changing daily, it helps me to be able to go back and look at, the only thing I have to admit, I don’t have everything nice and organized in a binder and mine’s more like a stack. So I’m a work in progress, which is not a good tip at all. So I need Kellie to help me, but the thing is I need to go back to look at, so I remember what are the things that not only everyone else was doing, what was I doing? How are we making sure that these things were covered?

[00:53:51] So, let me check here just a moment. I know we’re getting close to time. Very close. I just want to double check there’s no question.

[00:54:02] Stella: No, Rhonda, I don’t see any additional questions right now.

[00:54:08] Rhonda: Okay, thank you so much. So I want to make sure, there was some initial, there were some additional guidance that was issued yesterday from the Kentucky Department of Education. You’ll see up at the top, this will say press release. And these where within the press release these first two were new guidance. They also referred to this previous guidance that I want to make sure you had them link within that press release.

[00:54:40] But what I wanted to concentrate with on this first one, because the wonderful thing about the guidance that has been issued through the Kentucky Department of Education, that I mean quite frankly, I’m going to tell you people in other States are not getting this type of guidance. And they have been putting out guidance, not only at the end of the school year, all throughout the summer. But one of the things too, that just warms my heart too, is even when it’s not disability specific or special education, within the different guidance documents on different topics, they have done different considerations that districts need to be considering, which has always put in there, special education so that all of our children are not only thought of but planned for. So I have been very grateful for that.

[00:55:38] They did under this, you know, welcoming students for orientation and targeted service because we know we can’t start back to school. Normally the kids would go, they might have a meet with their teachers, have a back to school bash. None of that’s been able to take place. The only part I wanted to put was because they had considerations for special population. It actually, again, refers back to making sure that there are the visual reminders and gestures. So not just in words, for some of our students, they may need the pictures. Or if they are deaf or hard of hearing, and they are lip readers, you know, and this goes back to this other guidance document that you can click on, to where you can access it, making sure that there are clear facemasks. So we are eliminating the accessibility issue. Not only because most times you think of accessibility of does it have a wheelchair ramp? Accessibility is so much more than that. And we know that as family.

[00:56:49] Of course it includes accessibility getting in the building, but there are so many things and looking at not only in the daily activity, but students coming back, because now we’ve got things in place that has to be done that you didn’t have to do before. And making sure that there is that assistance and opportunities to visit the school. And it might be with the teachers, and setting up sort of a separate scheduled, private meeting. Again, if they’re able to do it and depending on what the district has put forward to keep everyone safe. And looking at too, again, the guidance that was recently provided and the recommendation of the in-person.

[00:57:37] So also too, looking at the assessments. Conducting them. And here’s another area where I was very grateful. So you’ll see, and I should have like underlined this. So we’ve been talking about the assessments right, at the very beginning that all children are going to probably need some assessments, even outside of eligibility. But making sure that we don’t delay any, when we talk about the eligibility, children who may have a disability that haven’t been identified or qualified yet, and having an IEP. In those assessments, they’re looking at doing them virtually whenever possible. And if there’s parts of it in-person making sure that we’re abiding by the guidelines that have been set forth, so that we’re not delaying eligibility, assessments and services. But how can we do it within the constraints that we have of what’s been issued.

[00:58:43] So making sure and looking at all of those different things and then transportation too, there was that specifically. COVID transportation, you can click on there for more information. Because especially, if transportation is listed as a related service in your child’s IEP. If they’re going, and when they go back to some level of in-person, they still had to provide that. But how do we provide that with the parameters, now that we have? So just keeping those things in mind. But I wanted to make sure you saw that that was, again issued yesterday.

[00:59:24] Then I have a big list of ones that have kind of led up to, and you know how I said KDE’s put out a lot of guidance. And we’ve used each of these. And there’s another page too. And there’s some guidance from the US Department of Education in here. Again, this is not an exhaustive list but some key things that I thought were important that you have access and the links to those.

[00:59:49] Now I want to, before wrap up here and I know we’re right about at time, I want to make sure and Kellie had caught this and shared it with and that’s what I love about all the staff at SPIN, we’re always on the lookout and sharing and everybody compliments one another so, well. Is maybe some things where you could get some free WIFI or phone service, and want to make sure that you knew about it. You can click on this here, the WellCare Safelink phone to where you may be able to get our free smartphone for the WellCare members. So check that out. And it would have, you know, free text messaging, data and a certain amount of minutes each month on that. So check that out if you don’t have a smart phone or have access to that. If you are a member you may be able to qualify.

[01:00:42] Also, she had found out that  \McDonald’s and this was a resource shared with her, from another agency about all of these programs, which is what I love, is the sharing of the information. Is that McDonald’s has the free WIFI, and they’re saying that families can access that in their parking lot.

[01:01:06] Also charter communication and here’s the phone number to call, that they are offering WIFI  hotspots across the country. And where you may be able to get free broadband or WIFI services. So call them to see if maybe that’s possible.

[01:01:24] But these are some resources I want to and make sure that we shared with you. So, I’m so grateful that you all joined us for Tuesday Tips, we are going to do those, we’ve got those scheduled out for the rest of August and we’re going to keep those going. Cause even, we’re gonna focus on the topic of the communication you can already register if I’m not mistaken. I’m looking at the date. You can already register for next weeks, and then we will shortly have up links for the September ones, but you can always check on our web page and we send out through our e-news, you can click on that, to sign up for that. We send that information out there, the Facebook, Twitter. And you can get the most up to date information on guidance on our COVID web page. And sign up for our listserv there too.

[01:02:17] So I just wanted to thank you all so much and know that we are here to help if you have any questions. And let me just check, Stella was there anything before we sign off?

[01:02:32] Stella: I don’t think so, Rhonda. I think everything is good.

[01:02:38] Rhonda: Okay, well, thank you all so much. I hope you all have a wonderful day. I hope this was helpful. Please fill out, you’ll be prompted for the evaluation as soon as this ends. Please take the time to do that because we are actually shaping what we bring to you around that and we value your feedback greatly.

[01:02:57] Thank you so much. You all have a great day and love to you all. Bye bye.