Special Education COVID-19 Resources

  • Overview

    Overview

    While federal guidance permits flexibilities in the implementation of special education services during pandemic-related school closures, the return to full-time in-person instruction requires the return to full implementation of individualized education programs (IEPs) and other special education processes.

    In addition to resuming all special education processes, there are considerations that need to be addressed at the school level related to evaluations, instruction, and other special education services that were missed or interrupted during building closures. Specific guidance for teams, center programs, and others can be found at the Special Education Guidance - Return to School 2020 document.

  • Community Involvement and Support

    Community Involvement and Support

    Denver Special Education Advisory Committee is the primary vehicle for receiving advice and feedback from the various stakeholders. You can learn more about committee membership here.

  • Educator Supports

    Educator Supports

    Special Education Instructional Specialists will be the primary point of contact for ongoing supports. The Special Education department is developing a series of virtual breakout sessions and will be developing additional professional learning throughout the school year. Visit Learning Space by clicking development through the Employee Action Center for additional training and resources. 

    Foundations for School Leaders

    Inclusion and Specially Designed Instruction for Instructional Staff

  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meetings

    Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meetings

    Denver Public Schools is committed to providing families an opportunity to have meaningful participation in the special education process. Whether in-person or using an alternative format, such as videoconferencing or by phone, Special Education teams will partner with families to determine the most practical format to conduct IEP meetings consistent with the most recent health guidelines and arrange for an interpreter as determined by the IEP team and parent request. 

    For more detailed information and process, click the link below:

    Holding Virtual Evaluation and IEP Meetings During Remote Learning

  • Progress Monitoring and Reporting

    Progress Monitoring and Reporting 

    Special Education teams will be required to continue to do progress monitoring and progress reporting. All new IEP’s must have progress monitoring setup in Enrich. By the end of the school year, all teams will be using Enrich for progress monitoring. Collecting data and tracking the provision of services will assist educators and families in determining the effectiveness of instruction provided, student performance on IEP goals/objectives, and assist IEP teams in making any necessary adjustments to instruction. Periodic reports will continue to be provided to teams during report card interverials.

  • Child Find and Evaluations

    Child Find and Evaluations

    Missed and Interrupted Evaluations: Under IDEA each school district has a Child Find responsibility to seek out, evaluate and provide services for students with a disability. Regulations require strict timelines for the completion of evaluations —ordinarily evaluations must occur within 60 days of receiving a parent’s consent. Critically, neither the Child Find obligation nor evaluation timelines were waived during remote learning. Multidisciplinary teams conducted as much of the evaluation process as possible, given building closures and limitations on access to students.  Nevertheless, there are some assessments that could not be completed entirely virtually.  Because our obligation to evaluate and identify students remains ongoing, teams must prioritize completing these assessments upon return to avoid further delays. This will be challenging as many teams may be responsible for completing evaluations that they did not begin, such as evaluations for students transitioning from preschool to elementary, elementary to middle/jr. high School, and middle/jr. high school to high school. The special education department is developing guidance to help teams to plan for completing missed and interrupted evaluations.


    Necessary Structures for Evaluations: SSP’s and Special Education teams must have dedicated space to conduct assessments that allow for health and safety. Hallways and closets are not appropriate locations for these evaluations. In addition, SSP’s may have to provide services via livestreaming and will need a private place to deliver these services.  Plexiglass shields that have been ordered need to be made available to SSP’s and Special Education teachers when they conduct assessments. 

  • Compensatory Services

    Compensatory Services

    As noted above, federal guidance permitted implementation of IEPs “to the greatest extent possible” during pandemic-related building closures. Denver public schools satisfied this standard by developing and implementing “contingency plans” designed for remote service delivery.  However, upon returning to in-person learning, special education processes must resume as normal. School teams will need to determine on a case-by-case basis whether each student with an IEP is entitled to compensatory services due to service interruptions that occurred during building closures. This determination process and subsequent delivery of compensatory services is required by state and federal law.

    Importantly, the special education department just received guidance from the Colorado Department of Education on July 3rd  outlining Colorado’s particular expectations related to compensatory services. The special education department is currently working on DPS specific guidance, including a flow chart to clarify processes for making individualized determinations about the need for compensatory services. In some cases, an IEP meeting may be necessary for that purpose.  Critically, determinations about compensatory services will be based on a “qualitative” versus a “quantitative” approach. In other words, teams must consider what services are necessary to repair educational and functional deficits that may have occurred, rather than offer minute-by-minute “make-up” services.  Additional guidance to support teams with these determinations will be forthcoming.

    The Special Education department is prepared to provide after-hours extra pay for teams that need to work outside the 40-hour work week to satisfy requirements related to compensatory services. School leaders will be given information about how to access this process. 

    The Department of Special Education will share all Special Education related guidance and resources on the Special Education Guidance - Return to School 2020 document

Questions?

CONTACT


  • Robert Frantum-Allen
    Director, Special Education

     

    Michele Sandoval 

    Senior Manager of Elementary Schools

    Michele_Sandoval@dpsk12.org

    Jared LeMieux

    Senior Manager of Secondary Schools

    Jared_Lemieux@dpsk12.org

    Ingrid Wulczyn

    Senior Manager of Charter School and iZone

    Ingrid_Wulcyn@dpsk12.org

    Kelley Morrison

    Senior Manager, Related Services

    Kelley_Morrison@dps12.org

    Jane Miyahara

    Senior Manager, Preschool and Child Find

    Jane_Miyahara@dpsk12.org