Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Two years later under the Revised Corrective Action Plan (RC-CAP) 2014-15.....

Sent: Saturday, September 26, 2015 9:53 AM
To: Campbell, Patricia A; Archer, Kelley A; Jessee, Wyeth
Cc: Clancy, Michaela; Schiers, Andrea L; Hanson, Kari
Subject: RE: SDI- Sup services

(I've included Andrea on this communication because I want my statements below to be
protected by client privilege. If I did not do this correctly, or did not follow protocol let me
know....I do not mean to overstep.. but I'm desperate for guidance.)
As per the offer in the email below, a conversation would be greatly appreciated:) Can we
schedule it for Monday or Tuesday of this week, the days I'm at Stevens?
I don't mean to be a "Debbie Downer" but it is extremely difficult to work with families
and staff when the ground keeps moving.
Reflecting on our situation at Stevens, I'm coming to believe that at the core of the issue
of SDI and services is really not all about differentiating between SDI and
accommodations/differentiation in the classroom, but the poor/low level of quality of
services provided by SPED staff. They are good people, with good intentions, but they do
not have the skills, or understandings that allow them to provide quality services at this
time, with the potential exception of the SM1 teacher.
Given Stevens' history of services, ACCESS families and some families in the intermediate
SM3 do not seem to want services, except in the form of another adult in the GE room.
They do not want their students pulled out for services, nor do they want them to look
"different" in the classroom because they receive help. From my perspective, it is our job,
at Stevens, to completely change/ramp up the quality and rigor of the services our staff
provide so that parents can more clearly see the difference between some
accommodations and help in GE and the power of truly provided SDI.
For example, when meeting with parents associated with the primary SM3 program, they
appreciate/respect/understand the services and supports that XXX, the teacher provides.
They want more SDI services for their students. (In her case, we need to give her the
basic skills for teaching reading, writing, math, and social skills -- and are putting a plan in
place, with the understanding that Andrea will be coming to work with her and the SM3
intermediate teacher around social/behavior instruction/intervention. We can handle the
core subjects.)
This is not true for the SM3 intermediate program. Given what is going on in the
program, I too would want my child in GE without too much interference from the SPED
group. This is one of the huge challenges we face and both XXXXX and I recognize it and
are developing a plan to change it. We are holding weekly SPED meetings, a quick
Monday morning meeting check-in with all SPED staff, and are bringing in subs so that I
can meet/train the SM3 teachers on Monday on basic curriculum/teaching in reading,
writing, and math.
So, in part, our situation does not have so much to do with the difference between SDI
and accommodations, but maybe more to do with the quality and types of services our
staff are able to provide at this time. If the services were great/strong/organized/and
impacting student learning/growth, we probably would not be having these
misunderstandings with a few families. We also would probably not have IEPs in their
current state.
However, for me to proceed as a steward of the district and as one who strives for
compliance and meeting of the spirit of the law, I need a clear definition of SDI. I do not
want to feel foolish in front of parents, keeping a clear line/threshold on what is expected
for services, only to be "over-ruled" when a parent pushes back or becomes upset. SDI is
SDI and always has been. Yes, we must be creative and flexible, but we also must ensure
our practices are compliant.
From my understanding of the law, the threshold for SDI is the same for all students with
IEPs, regardless of program. SDI is something that someone (GE teacher, IA, etc), under
the guidance of the SPED case manager, provides to support the student's achievement of
IEP goals. It is strategic, intentional, and builds student skills over time. True SDI can be
tracked through data collection because it is strategic, not "incidental" or "teaching in the
moment". I do not believe the definition or intent/spirit of SDI has changed, with IDEA
2004 still in effect, but maybe I'm wrong about that.
This issue of defining SDI brings me back in time, to a time when we, as a district, got in
trouble with OSPI when we pulled aside groups of students with IEPs and without IEPs to
deliver SDI for the student with the IEP. If the group membership was flexible and
changed weekly or daily, we were told by OSPI that it was okay.. but still a little shaky, if
the work was designed specifically with the IEP student and his/her goals in mind. If the
same group of students without IEPs attend the group over time, then either the IEP
student was not receiving SDI, or the non-IEP students were receiving SPED education
services without due process. In this context, pulling a group of students aside to
preteach and reteach would be considered an accommodation within general ed. that is
available to all students -- and did not meet the threshold for SDI. In ACCESS, pulling a
group of students who need more individual assistance, including one student with an
IEP, is not SDI, nor does it constitute SDI for that student. It is an accommodation that
the IEP student can access because he/she is a kid in that general education classroom,
accessing a support that is available to any student in the class who needs additional help.
In our current situation, we have a family wanting to count every time the GE teacher
interacts with the student with an IEP SDI. That most certainly is not SDI, but rather
good teaching and accommodating on the part of the teacher, providing support to the
student who is a member of her classroom.
If we water SDI down to the point that it is "invisible" to the student, his/her peers and
teachers are proceeding with practices that they use to support all students in the
classroom, then we have nothing left that is specially designed, and the whole reason for
having dollars and SPED services become mute.
I've attached an oldie-but-goodie that, for the most part, I believe still clarifies the
meaning of SDI. Because, at the time this procedural manual was written we had IEPs
with a total of 10 minutes of SDI for a student -- yes, 10 minutes was the total service -
we did set a minimal number of minutes. So that statement may seem strange.. but
overall, is this information relevant and accurate?
As for supplementary aids and services, my general understanding that these are services
provided to adults to support students -- such as consultation, professional development
and alike.
However, IEP Online does allow the recording of additional IA support in the classroom
under supplementary aids and services, making these additional minutes of services visible
on the IEP service matrix. At Stevens, we have students receiving a high number of
minutes of SDI by the IA in general education. We are gradually converting those
minutes to what they are -- the IA in the classroom to provide accommodations and some
quick redirects to keep students on task. They are not teaching the student -- but are
there to help support students in doing the right thing and practicing what they are
learning through SDI provided by the teacher.
Please let me know ASAP how to proceed and please provide me written guidance that I
can share with staff and families. I've checked the procedural manual, but it does not
include specific information about this key issues.
A number of other building administrators have come to me with questions and
"frustration" comments about a lack of clarity in this, and other areas. People are doing
the best they can, but as was shown in the schools participating in the OSPI visit first,
almost all IEPs are non complaint. Although some of the changes/amendments are minor,
overall, staff, and especially administrators are not prepared for doing the work with
fidelity. The training did help.. but people walked away with many different
interpretations of what to do and how to do it. Some left with more questions that they
entered with -- which could be a good thing because that indicates that they were actually
listening:) -- but also indicates the extent to which more work needs to be done.
Having been in your shoes, I completely understand the context in which you're doing the
work and appreciate all the hours invested in turning the ship around. I'm on your team.
I'm not complaining. I'm just asking for clarification ASAP so that as XXXX and I work to
turn our ship around, we have solid ground from which to work.
Thanks for reading all of this and I look forward to feedback. I'd rather not put this type
of stuff on email -- that is why I included Andrea -- but I need information now...XXXXX has
been amazing and as we talk, she too has many questions about these issues.
Thanks for understanding and your partnership in this effort.



  1. Darcie Kline - so you posted internal district communication that was intended to fall under Attorney/Client privilege? Doesn't that strike you as an unethical thing to do?

  2. Below is a snippet from Nyland's Friday memo,

    Special Education Services meets OPSI Verification Standards: Three pieces of big news and kudos to all of our
    special education staff in addition to our principals.
    o Our team in Special Education has completed 40 out of 40 compliance requirements to move off of the
    federal watch list. This is thanks to huge work over the past year.
    o OPSI notified us Monday the district has demonstrated compliance with systemic changes in Special Ed
    services across all five regions and the district’s central office.
    o The Northwest Region of the district met the minimum criteria of the verification standards listed on the
    Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the district and OSPI.
    o The Northwest was the first region selected for an on-site verification process in mid-October where OSPI
    conducted a random review of students’ Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and evaluations, observed
    classrooms and interviewed staff. Five (5) schools were selected and more than 65 IEP and evaluations were
    reviewed for compliance and application of special education services. As a result of the verification of the
    Northwest Region, SPS will receive $500,000 from the current $3 million withholding of Individuals with
    Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding that dates back to the 2013-14 school year. The next region to go
    through the OSPI on-site verification process is the Southwest region. This is a yet another great positive sign
    for the team in Special Ed all across the district. I want to acknowledge their tremendous work on
    improvements by staff all across the district.

    I attended the Northwest OSPI special education meeting and can rebut everything Nyland wrote about progress and meeting compliance requirements.

    You simply have to compare what Nyland wrote to what the Stevens administrator wrote to see SPS and OSPI are dishonest.