School refused IEE request

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
School refused IEE request
11
Sat, 08-26-2006 - 1:10am

And i am livid.

It is a long story but my 12yo's triennial was last year. The psychologist did a rubber stamp evaluation. Not that it was inaccurate, it just was lame and incomplete. Her interpretations were merely spitting back the numbers stated earlier in the results. She would say there was a signficant descrapancy then not elaborate on even where it was or what it could mean. There was no mention of my constant academic concerns during the school year. In fact it stated there were no academic concerns. They did something like the vineland with behavior, self help, social skills, etc and she scored "poor" in almost every area but it wasn't clarified or elaborated on. Some of the report was nearly scary talking about "self abuse" which she has never done but upon questioning the psychologist it was something very innocent like her lack of stranger danger. But that wasn't clarified. In fact none of the results were explain. And then what really bugged me was that there were no recomendations what so ever. Just that she still qualified as a student with special needs.

The academic assessment was all over the place and so totally not her typical assessment. The teacher just said it was an off day but the report says the results are valid. So the teacher says that these things change alot. The only mention of the academic assessment in the report were the areas that Cait did well on.

I did have Cait's private psychologist complete an eval on executive function that was good so the school thinks that since I was happy with that, this should let them off the hook. I have that eval after all.

Ok, I am getting to my point after much venting. Today I got a letter denying my request for an IEE. What do I do next. I told them I wasn't accepting that. I called the DO and the teacher and left messages. I am writing a letter to the DO, director of special ed and the teacher why I don't accept their response. How do I go from here.

It wouldn't be such a big deal but Cait is already having a rough year again and it has been only 1 week. She already hasn't turned in at least 2 big things that were due and she had completed or nearly so and in her backpack. She has an aide and specialized supports. She is spending hours per night on homework and even then can't get it all done and this is the FIRST week of school!

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Renee

Photobucket

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 08-26-2006 - 4:21am

The ONLY LEGAL way that they can refuse an IEE is by taking you to a due process hearing to prove to the hearing officer that their eval was good enough. There is NO OTHER LEGAL way!!! I would suggest that you use this letter template, gear to your situation, and emphasize the part about "I understand that the school must pay for the independent evaluation unless it can prove in a due process hearing that its assessment is appropriate. Please inform me in writing within seven days whether you intend to honor my request or to request a hearing on the issue." Of course, send it the usual way via registered mail with verification of receipt by signature. Then see what happens. Let me know!!

PARENTS NAME
ADDRESS
CITY, STATE ZIP CODE
TELEPHONE NUMBER

Date

(Name of Special Education Director)
(Name of School District)
(Address of School)

Dear (Name of Special Education Director):

My child, (child’s name) (date of birth) attends (school name). I disagree with the results of the school district evaluation of (child’s name) on (date) because (reason why you feel the tests were invalid, inadequate or not an accurate measure of your child’s performance).

I request an independent evaluation to obtain the valid and reliable information I believe is needed to plan an appropriate educational program for my child. Please send me information on:

• Criteria for qualified examiners;
• Suggested sources and locations;
• Procedures for reimbursement; and
• Reasonable and expected costs.

I understand that the school must pay for the independent evaluation unless it can prove in a due process hearing that its assessment is appropriate. Please inform me in writing within seven days whether you intend to honor my request or to request a hearing on the issue.

I will forward the results of the evaluation to you since, as I understand it, the results of an independent evaluation must be considered in any future decisions about my child.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

(Your name)
(Your address)
(Your telephone number)

Steph

Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 08-26-2006 - 10:08am

Steph,

Thank you so much. Before I write that (which I will this weekend) can you point me in the direction of some sort of law which states that? My DH has told me in the past and I know I have heard that if the districts eval is ok they can demand that parents pay for the IEE.

I don't disagree with the accuracy of the scores, I find it to be not complete.

Actually thinking about it, I am sure my parents rights brochure has something in there on it. That should be right with the main rights.

Renee

Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 08-26-2006 - 10:11am

YOU ARE RIGHT!!!! I FOUND IT!!!!!!!! nearly verbatim the words you told me. WOOOHOOOOOOOOOO

Off I go to type!

Renee

Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 08-26-2006 - 1:51pm

Ok Steph, Check this out for me. I made some changes to the letter as I had already requested the IEE and they refused. I wanted that noted. And I wanted it all to fit on one page. Here it is, let me know if it is ok. Changes to protect privacy stuff. I also added in exactly where in the parent safeguards I found the info. hehe.

Renee

(Parents names)
(address)
(Phone)

August 26, 2006

xxxxxxxx, Director of Special Education
xxxxxx Unified School District
xxxxxxxx
xxxx, CA xxxxx

Dr. Mr. xxxxxxxxx,

My child, Caitlin xxxxx (xx/xx/xx) attends xxxxx Middle School. I disagree with the results of the school districts evaluation of Caitlin that were presented at her IEP meeting on 4/25/06 and 6/15/06 for numerous reasons. First, they did not address my concerns for Caitlin's academic progress that I had been communicating the entire school year. In addition to my concerns regarding school work, Caitlin's academic assessments had radically changed from her previous assessments with her broad reading score drastically going down from her last 2 triennial assessments (127 in 2001, 120 in 2003 and 92 in 2006) and ranges in subtest standard scores of 78 to 144. Second, the interpretations were inadequate and did not explain how the scores were related to Caitlin's struggles in school and only briefly stated the average scores on Caitlin's academic assessment. Finally, there were no recommendations made within the report but rather only addressed whether or not she continued to qualify as a child with special needs.

I have requested an independent evaluation to obtain the valid and reliable information I believe is needed to plan an appropriate educational program for my child on June 15, 2006. I received a letter from the school on August 24, 2006 that my request has been denied.

I understand that the school must pay for the independent evaluation unless it can prove in a due process hearing that its assessment is appropriate. (North Coastal Consortium for Special Education Notice of Procedural Safeguards, revised June 2004, page 4 paragraph 1) Please inform me in writing within seven days whether you intend to honor my request or to request a hearing on the issue.

I will forward the results of the evaluation to you since, as I understand it, the results of an independent evaluation must be considered in any future decisions about my child.

Sincerely,


(me)
(My address and phone
cc: teacher, psycologist, distict program specialist. school principal (by name of course, I changed that here)

Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 08-26-2006 - 4:57pm

On your cc list, I recommend always putting "Parent's File" at the top. That way there is no question that you are documenting. :)

I'd like to look at your list of reasons that you want the IEE. It has to be something that is wrong with the testing, not the report, not what they did or did not do in regard to including you, etc. I'm going to put [] around the sentences that I think you should remove.

" In addition to my concerns regarding school work, Caitlin's academic assessments had radically changed from her previous assessments with her broad reading score drastically going down from her last 2 triennial assessments (127 in 2001, 120 in 2003 and 92 in 2006) and ranges in subtest standard scores of 78 to 144. "

So, here is what you are left with:

"In addition to my concerns regarding school work, Caitlin's academic assessments had radically changed from her previous assessments with her broad reading score drastically going down from her last 2 triennial assessments (127 in 2001, 120 in 2003 and 92 in 2006) and ranges in subtest standard scores of 78 to 144."

This, in and of itself, is enough to warrant an IEE. The other items, well, here's how it goes:

"First, they did not address my concerns for Caitlin's academic progress that I had been communicating the entire school year."
This was an error on their part in not including your input into the eval process. It is also an issue as to the IEP having been correct last year. These are items you could use in a complaint to the state or a due process hearing. They are not reasons for an IEE.

"Second, the interpretations were inadequate and did not explain how the scores were related to Caitlin's struggles in school and only briefly stated the average scores on Caitlin's academic assessment."
This is an error in report writing. It doesn't mean that there was an error in the testing itself. You have the right to go and review her records, even those test scores. (Although for the test scores, you would probably have to meet with the psych to get them.) This is not a reason for an IEE.

"Finally, there were no recommendations made within the report but rather only addressed whether or not she continued to qualify as a child with special needs."
Again, this is an error in the report writing. It doesn't mean that the information is not available. This is not a reason for an IEE.

What you DO need to do with these items, is document them through letter writing. Write a separate letter (I would wait until you get a response about the IEE.) including all of these items. They don't have to respond to the letter unless they find you are in error. Of course, in this case, I would expect that they would respond. You don't have to respond to their letter unless it harms your case for what has and is happening. If it's to that point, let me know. Make sure you give them 5 business days to respond in the letter itself if they don't agree. And, of course, send it the usual way.

Hope this helps!

Steph

Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 08-26-2006 - 6:18pm

hmmm, well that is did confuse me a bit. I equate the report with the evaluation. The report was crap. How do I nix the report without making them do a new one? See from my reading evaluation is for 2 things, first to determine if the child is a student with special needs and second to determine what the childs needs are and what the appropriate education would be.

It seems to me that the second part is drastically missing in the eval. OK the numbers are there but without proper interpretation, recomendations, etc. her needs will not be met. I understand it isn't the test numbers but the report is part of the eval as far as my understanding. How do you change a report without requesting an IEE?

Somewhere I have a handout from a presentation by one of the district psychologists. In fact she is the one who did Cait's last assessment and she is very good. She stated that the main part of a good assessment is good interpretations and recomendations. That an educational assessment needs to be more than just determining eligibility and the numbers. It should help us plan for the child and what needs to be done. I just don't feel like that is happening in this case. I feel like they are failing her miserably and just want her to make her self fit into thier cookie cutter AS program.

Sorry to vent. Very frustrated. As it stands unfortunately the letter is already sent so I will wait for thier response. If they take me to due process or come back with the answers you gave me then I will figure out my next course of action which may be to make them pay for outside placement.

Cait's state testing reports aught to be in any time and I have a feeling she dropped a ton. That combined with teh drop in her academic achievement scores and I can likely vye for an alternative placement.

Renee

Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 08-26-2006 - 9:44pm

YOu have an absolutely solid reason for wanting the IEE. The only thing is that the other things may muddy the water, so to speak. If that happens, just use the one solid and clear reason- her test scores are significantly lower with no explaination. There is no way to know whether it was the first two tests that were inaccurate, the last test that was inaccurate, or if there is something further going on with an IEE. That WILL stand up in a due process hearing! The district would have to prove that there was some unknown, unexplainable reason why her test score were so vastly different.

The report, that's another thing, as I said in my last post. It definitely needs to be addressed. I believe that addressing it is a two step process. First, go in and look at her records. You will (almost certainly) have to make an appt with the psych to go over her tests. Some of the tests will not be available for you to review as anything that "gives away" the test itself (One test I know of, in particular, that falls under this category has a long series of pictures. Once the child misses x amount of pictures, the test ends. To reuse that test, they simply start just before where the child ended last time and continue on. The part that would not be available to you is from the picture that the child left off on, forward.), but that is a VERY small piece.

Second, write the letter as I have suggested to document the problems. You have the IEE letter, but that may appear unclear to a state investigator or a due process hearing judge. Writing the letter separately, stating that even though an IEE is in process (which hopefully it will be), you need to have the report clarified in these areas before the IEP team meets again.

IF they think that they can get away with just denying an IEE request without a due process hearing, you will be left with two ways of handling it. First, you can have the IEE, pay for it, then bill the school. You will then end up having to go to a due process hearing or state investigation to have this paid for. (HIGHLY unlikely that they would just pay it.)

Second, you can file a complaint to the state or ask for a due process hearing. On this issue, I would normally go for a due process hearing. However, in some states, you are not allowed to represent yourself, and that's not a great idea anyway. Filing a complaint to the state would work, too. The timeline for each is about the same. If you decide to file a complaint, you can file it on this issue alone OR you can include other issues in the complaint. You will be asked if you want to go to mediation on this. On this issue, I would recommend that you NOT go to mediation. There is nothing to mediate. They will have refused to follow the law in denying an IEE. On the issues about the report, I would recommend mediation. You can go to mediation on some, not all, of the issues of the complaint. You can then settle some or all of the issues in mediation. If you don't settle the other issues in mediation, the investigation goes forward on those items. This is all, of course, IF they deny. Hopefully, they will read their own booklet and "get it." It is amazing how many SDs don't know that they can't just deny it, they must go to due process.

Hope this clarifies it for you.

Steph

Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2004
Sun, 08-27-2006 - 1:41am
Unfortunately I don't have any advice. Just wanted to send you some positive vibes and (((HUGS))). You'll have to keep us updated if you can.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 08-27-2006 - 1:52am

Thank you steph,

Loads of good advice. I also got some from my DH who has the district background so understands how these things go on. Between the 2 here is what I think happened. I think that the school told the program specialist of my request but that they thought the report was fine. Program specialist thought they could just get away with denying it and made the teacher write the letter instead of taking care of the issue himself.

Here is what I think is going to happen. They are going to get my letter and go "oh crap" we goofed. Meanwhile the director of special ed, the teacher, the school principal and everyone else involved is also getting the letter. Realize they messed up big time in denying a right that was clearly stated in the parents rights brochure and also realizing that they have very little hope of winning a due process in this case since they already messed up, they will honor my request. ORRRRR even more likely, they will offer to have another in district psychologist who specializes in this area review all the records and write a new report. There are actually a couple psychologists in the district whom I wouldn't mind doing that.

I have had to file on this district a couple times in the past and this is not the first time I am requesting an IEE. This is the first time they are denying it out right though, but it is the first time I am dealing with the middle school program specialist. Honestly, so far the guy seems like an idiot. In the past when I have not been satisfied with a report they have offered to have someone in district do it. Once they requested an IEE (for a SIPT eval).

I was spoiled for the last 2 years and I really don't want to go back to this kind of relationship with personel but I will do what I gotta do. Typically this is a good indicator of the kind of school or program that isn't going to work out for my kids. I hope they pull thier act together because Cait has some great social opportunities at that school (most of the kids from her youth group and our church go there) and I am very reluctant to pull her for that reason.

Renee

Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 08-27-2006 - 3:25am

Are you sure that you want to just have another report? It seems to me that with such drastic differences in test scores, you might want to reconsider that. The district can not, by law, retest her. The IDEA 2004 no longer gives a SD that option or a parent that option. Schools may only test once annually. That's it. While having another psych rewrite the report would be extremely helpful, you may still need to have her retested.

It's amazing what SDs do sometimes when they know darn well that the parent is not going to just lie down and take it and has some history with them. LOL You know all about that one, I know! What I was taken aback by, and shouldn't have been, was when it was my own kids. I had had two IEEs, two complaints to the state that we won, one complaint that led to setting a precedent, and mediation that we came out the "winners" of with my dd by the time she was a junior in high school. My ds comes along, moving out of a private school after five years and into the public school, and they started pulling all the same stunts!! ARGH It's frustrating and just plain stupid on their part. Even my attorney was taken aback since it was the same issue that we had set precedent on. LOL

Steph

Photobucket

Pages