IDEA, 504 and ADA Compliance and Protocol
In accordance with the CCPS Continuity of Learning Plan and the mandates under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA), students with disabilities must have access to and progress in the Maryland Common Core State Standards. CCPS complies with IDEA, 504, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as outlined below. Screenings and evaluations for students are conducted virtually and in person. Measures include parent/guardian interviews, document reviews, standardized assessments, and observations. Students have their IEPs fully implemented, including service provision and progress monitoring. IEP teams meet as required. The general education classroom provides students the opportunity to access grade-level content standards through the implementation of specially designed instruction. Within inclusion classes, special education teachers collaborate with general education teachers to plan and deliver high quality lessons. This collaboration allows special education and general education teachers to develop and evaluate the effects of specially designed instruction.
Instructional Logistics for SDI Implementation
Push-in/inclusion services are delivered by special education teachers or instructional assistants under the guidance of a special education teacher. Small group instruction occurs with inclusive groups of students at strategic times within the instructional period.
In all cases when implementing IEPs, teachers provide supplemental services outlined, such as Check-in/Check-out, organizational assistance and social skills support. Special education teachers provide consultation to general education teachers, instructional assistants (IA) and related service providers.
Infants and Toddlers Program
The Charles County Infants and Toddlers program provides early intervention services to infants and toddlers, birth to 3 years of age, who may be delayed in development or have disabilities. This includes children identified and evaluated through Child Find. Services for eligible children and families in the Infants and Toddlers Program are provided as written on the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). Early intervention services are provided in the home and/or virtually per parent request. Staff members may wear face-covers when visiting students’ homes to provide services. When staff members are in the students’ homes, students, family members and caregivers must wear face coverings as well.
Preschool Students Receiving Special Education Services
Students in their 2-year-old school year attend in-person instruction two days a week. Students in their 3-year-old school year attend in-person instruction three days a week. Students in their 4-year-old school year attend in-person instruction five days a week.
ACHIEVE is a regionalized special education program designed to meet the needs of students in kindergarten through age 21, with significant cognitive disabilities. The ACHIEVE Program provides rigorous and individualized instruction in: (A)cademics
(C)ommunication and (H)eightened (I)ndependence for (E)ducation, (V)ocation and (E)ngagement.
ACHIEVE students in kindergarten through age 21 attend school in person five days a week at their assigned school, following the countywide calendar and school bell schedule. ACHIEVE students and staff follow countywide COVID-19 protocols, with adherence to MSDE and Maryland Department of Health guidance as appropriate regarding mask-wearing and physical distancing for individuals with sensory, cognitive and/or physical limitations. Students in the ACHIEVE Program are provided with explicit instruction using evidence-based practices to support implementation of COVID-19 protocols. Instruction and support for social-emotional learning and self-management are addressed by a student’s IEP goals and supplementary aids and are embedded into daily learning.
Structured Opportunities for Active Learning and Rigor (SOAR) Program
SOAR is a regionalized program for students with characteristics of autism who require specialized instruction in order to develop skills essential to achieving independence, self-advocacy, flexibility and generalization. Students in the SOAR program attend school in person five days per week at their assigned school and follow the special education protocols outlined above. Students in the SOAR program receive specially designed instructional services, as designated on their IEPs. Instruction and support for social-emotional learning and self-management are addressed by students’ IEP goals and supplementary aids and are embedded into daily learning; this includes explicit social skills training and access to grade-level peers. Students who experience aversion and/or difficulties with wearing a mask due to sensory, cognitive and/or physical limitations are supported by explicit and direct instruction, via modeling and evidence-based practices to encourage generalization.
Emotional Adjustment (EA) Program
The Emotional Adjustment (EA) program is a highly structured self-contained therapeutic program with mainstreaming opportunities for students who have difficulty accessing the academic curriculum in the general education setting due to emotional/behavioral concerns. Students and staff in the EA program resumed in-person instruction five days a week at the beginning of the school year and follow the expectations described above, including in-person attendance and wearing a face mask. Students who transitioned to middle or high school began the year on Level 1 of the program’s point and level system. Their class schedule, however, included any mainstreams determined by last spring’s IEP transition meeting. All other students in the program started the year on the level they achieved by June 16, 2021. Students who started this year on the program’s highest level were able to access an additional mainstream class after maintaining that level with consistent demonstration of in-person social-emotional behavioral regulation and academic success.
Psychological services provided by the EA school psychologist includes weekly individual and/or group student counseling per each student’s IEP, social skills training, crisis prevention/intervention and consultation/collaboration with staff and parents/guardians. All counseling sessions are conducted in person at school. Consultation services for parents/guardians and staff are provided in person, by phone or email. Parent/guardian consultation includes describing and modeling coping and social skills strategies that have been practiced and found effective for the student. Parents and staff may work together to develop interventions and reinforcers for use at school or home.
Students with Related Services (SLP, OT, PT, CMT)
Related services are provided as directed by the IEP. Services may be provided in person or virtually.
Secondary Transition Services
The Transition Team ensures uniform case management and compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by providing direct services to students between the ages of 14 and 21 who have IEPs. Transition planning and instructional activities are provided and outlined in the student’s IEP. Special education teachers or instructional assistants — under the guidance of the special education teacher — assigned individualized activities and provided transition supports to assigned students using in-person and digital platforms such as Microsoft TEAMS, Virtual Job Shadow, Everyday Speech and Unique Learning Systems. Consideration of services are also re-evaluated for each student in alignment with their IEP and post-secondary goals for employment, education/training and independent living. Work-based learning is addressed in person and in the community.
IEP meetings continue to be held as mandated under IDEA. IDEA states that when conducting IEP team meetings, the parent and the public agency may agree to use alternative means of meeting participation, such as video conferences and conference calls (34 CFR §300.328). CCPS is offering the opportunity for in-person or virtual meetings. Virtual IEP meetings will use the WebEx meeting platform while continuing to maintain scheduling meetings at mutually agreed upon times with parents and meaningful parental input.
IEP teams discuss emergency plans as a part of the annual review process. The emergency plan that is embedded in the IEP becomes effective if a school closure lasts for longer than ten days school days. Students with disabilities remain entitled to an educational experience in the least restrictive environment (LRE). IEP teams consider the opportunities offered to all students and use this context as the basis from which to make individualized determinations about how to maintain LRE on a continuum of alternative service delivery models, with a continued emphasis on maximizing opportunities for students with disabilities to learn and make progress alongside their non-disabled peers, and access and participate in the school community.
All 504 meetings are held as mandated under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Meetings are held in person or with an alternative means of meeting participation, such as video conferences and conference calls. CCPS uses the WebEx meeting platform to hold meetings and scheduling meetings at mutually agreed upon times with parents to allow for meaningful parental input.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities may require accommodation in the school environment, such as wearing face coverings. For their own health and safety, and that of other students and staff in the school environment, helping students increase their tolerance for wearing a mask is important. In such situations, IEP teams work with families and healthcare providers to determine a student’s needs and safety skill levels. The teams work to provide intentional, proactive, individualized instruction and behavior support to teach students to wear a mask properly for sustained periods. Additionally, some students may require accommodation in the areas of physical distancing, appropriate greetings, and handwashing.
The IEP team considers gathering baseline skill data and develop and implement a plan for addressing the desired skill or behavior. The team may consider formal behavior assessments (FBAs) and behavioral intervention plans (BIPs). A recursive approach of data collection, review, and analysis to update and improve the effectiveness of the plan is a best practice.
Disability Accommodations for Employees
Accommodations are provided on an individual basis and created in collaboration with the requesting employee, the appropriate supervisor and the Office of Human Resources.
Requesting Workplace Accommodations: If an employee believes that a medical condition is affecting his/her ability to perform their job, the employee may want to begin the accommodation request process by discussing his/her needs with their supervisor or contacting the appropriate Human Resources (HR) representative. Employees are not required to disclose the medical need for an accommodation to their immediate supervisor.
Forms for Accommodation Requests: During the accommodation request process, an employee may need to complete the Accommodation Request for Disability or Serious Medical Condition form. In addition to the accommodation request form, employees may be asked to submit a health care provider statement