Students With Disabilities
(Preliminary Renewal Petition language for submission for charter renewal 2021 - 2026)
PLAN FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES –
Encore shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws in serving students with disabilities, including, but not limited to, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”), the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (“IDEA”).
Encore is its own LEA for the purposes of the provision of special education services and will apply directly for membership in the Desert Mountain Charter Special Education Local Plan Area (“SELPA”) in conformity with Education Code Section 47641(a).
Encore shall at all times agree and comply fully with the terms of the Desert Mountain Charter SELPA to provide special education services in accordance with federal and state law, including providing proof of Encore's acceptance as a member of a SELPA to the District. The District shall have no responsibility for the coordination or provision of special education services to Encore students, regardless of school district of residence of such students, and Encore shall be exclusively responsible for the coordination and provision of special education services to Encore students and for any and all other obligations of a school or school district relative to services for students with special needs.
Encore shall comply with all state and federal laws related to the provision of special education instruction and related services and all SELPA policies and procedures; and shall utilize appropriate SELPA forms.
Encore may request related services (e.g. Speech, Occupational Therapy, Adapted P.E., Nursing, and Transportation) from the SELPA, subject to SELPA approval and availability. Encore may also provide related services by hiring credentialed or licensed providers through private agencies or independent contractors.
Encore shall be solely responsible for its compliance with Section 504 and the ADA. The facilities to be utilized by Encore shall be accessible for all students with disabilities.
Education Program for Students with Disabilities
Encore will use the following procedures to serve students with disabilities. These efforts include:
The RtI process and if required the establishment of a Student Success Team to exhaust all general education alternatives before a referral to Special Education is made;
The inclusion of testing procedures and the evaluation thereof which allows for the pre- identification of children with disabilities;
Annual in-service for faculty regarding the identification of children with disabilities.
Encore will hire a highly qualified credentialed teachers in the area of special education based on the special education population. Encore High School will also designate appropriate space on campus for the special needs of EL, Section 504, RtI and Special Education Students.
Additionally, Encore will serve its special education students by:
Following a full inclusion model
Highly qualified credentialed teachers will be designated as inclusion specialists that works directly with a specific case load
Special Education Aides will be hired at a rate of 1 per 20 full inclusion special education students to be able to assist regular education teachers within the classroom models
Inclusion Specialists will work directly with regular education teachers to implement policies and documentation regarding modifications and accommodations for caseload.
Optional extended time in courses;
Technology assisted learning;
Accommodations provided in regular education classes
Study hall / tutoring if needed wtih student's SPED teacher
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
Encore recognizes its legal responsibility to ensure that no qualified person with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program of Encore. A student who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment, is eligible for protections under Section 504.
A 504 team will be assembled by the Executive Officer of Student Affairs and shall include the parent/guardian, the student (where appropriate) and other qualified persons knowledgeable about the student, the meaning of the evaluation data, placement options, and accommodations. The 504 team will review the student’s existing records; including academic, social and behavioral records, and is responsible for making a determination as to whether an evaluation for 504 services is appropriate. If the student has already been evaluated under the IDEA but found ineligible for special education instruction or related services under the IDEA, those evaluations may be used to help determine eligibility under Section 504. The student evaluation shall be carried out by the 504 team, which will evaluate the nature of the student’s disability and the impact upon the student’s education. This evaluation will include consideration of any behaviors that interfere with regular participation in the educational program and/or activities. The 504 team may also consider the following information in its evaluation:
Tests and other evaluation materials that have been validated for the specific purpose for which they are used and are administered by trained personnel.
Tests and other evaluation materials including those tailored to assess specific areas of educational need, and not merely those which are designed to provide a single general intelligence quotient.
Tests are selected and administered to ensure that when a test is administered to a student with impaired sensory, manual or speaking skills, the test results accurately reflect the student’s aptitude or achievement level, or whatever factor the test purports to measure, rather than reflecting the student’s impaired sensory, manual or speaking skills.
The final determination of whether the student will or will not be identified as a person with a disability is made by the 504 team in writing and notice is given in writing to the parent or guardian of the student in their primary language along with the procedural safeguards available to them. If during the evaluation, the 504 team obtains information indicating possible eligibility of the student for special education per the IDEA, a referral for assessment under the IDEA will be made by the 504 team.
If the student is found by the 504 team to have a disability under Section 504, the 504 team shall be responsible for determining what, if any, accommodations or services are needed to ensure that the student receives a free and appropriate public education (“FAPE”). In developing the 504 Plan, the 504 team shall consider all relevant information utilized during the evaluation of the student, drawing upon a variety of sources, including, but not limited to, assessments conducted by Encore’s professional staff.
The 504 Plan shall describe the Section 504 disability and any program accommodations, modifications or services that may be necessary.
All 504 team participants, parents, guardians, teachers and any other participants in the student’s education, including substitutes and tutors, must have a copy of each student’s 504 Plan. The site administrator will ensure that teachers include 504 Plans with lesson plans for short-term substitutes and that he/she review the 504 Plan with a long-term substitute. A copy of the 504 Plan shall be maintained in the student’s file. Each student’s 504 Plan will be reviewed at least once per year to determine the appropriateness of the Plan, needed modifications to the plan, and continued eligibility.
Services for Students under the “IDEA”
Encore will provide services for special education students enrolled in Encore. Encore will follow SELPA policies and procedures, and shall utilize SELPA forms in seeking out and identifying and serving students who may qualify for special education programs and services and for responding to record requests and parent complaints, and maintaining the confidentiality of pupil records. Encore agrees to promptly respond to all SELPA inquiries, to comply with reasonable SELPA directives, and to allow the SELPA access to Encore students, staff, facilities, equipment and records as required or imposed by law.
All special education services at Encore will be delivered by individuals or agencies qualified to provide special education services as required by California’s Education Code and the IDEA. Charter School staff shall participate in County or SELPA in-service training relating to special education. Encore will be responsible for the hiring, training, and employment of site staff necessary to provide special education services to its students, including, without limitation, special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and resource specialists. Encore shall ensure that all special education staff hired or contracted by Encore is qualified pursuant to SELPA policies, as well as meet all legal requirements. Encore shall be responsible for the hiring, training, and employment of itinerant staff necessary to provide special education services to Charter School students, including, without limitation, speech therapists, occupational therapists, behavioral therapists, and psychologists.
Notification and Coordination
Encore shall follow SELPA policies as they apply to all SELPA schools for responding to implementation of special education services. Encore will adopt and implement polices relating to all special education issues and referrals.
Identification and Referral
Encore shall have the responsibility to identify, refer, and work cooperatively in locating Charter School students who have or may have exceptional needs that qualify them to receive special education services. Encore will implement SELPA policies and procedures to ensure timely identification and referral of students who have, or may have, such exceptional needs. A pupil shall be referred for special education only after the resources of the regular education program have been considered, and where appropriate, utilized.
Encore will follow SELPA child-find procedures to identify all students who may require assessment to consider special education eligibility and special education and related services in the case that general education interventions do not provide a free appropriate public education to the student in question.
The term “assessments” shall have the same meaning as the term “evaluation” in the IDEA, as provided in Section 1414, Title 20 of the United States Code. Encore will determine what assessments, if any, are necessary and arrange for such assessments for referred or eligible students in accordance with applicable law. Encore shall obtain parent/guardian consent to assess Charter School students.
Encore shall arrange and notice the necessary IEP meetings. IEP team membership shall be in compliance with state and federal law. Encore shall be responsible for having the following individuals in attendance at the IEP meetings: the Principal and/or Encore designated representative with appropriate administrative authority as required by the IDEA; the student’s special education teacher; the student’s general education teacher if the student is or may be in a regular education classroom; the student, if appropriate; and other Charter School representatives who are knowledgeable about the regular education program at Encore and/or about the student. Encore shall arrange for the attendance or participation of all other necessary staff that may include, but are not limited to, an appropriate administrator to comply with the requirements of the IDEA, a speech therapist, psychologist, resource specialist, and behavior specialist; and shall document the IEP meeting and provide of notice of parental rights.
Encore understands that the decisions regarding eligibility, goals/objectives, program, services, placement, and exit from special education shall be the decision of the IEP team, pursuant to the IEP process. Programs, services and placements shall be provided to all eligible Charter School students in accordance with the policies, procedures and requirements of the SELPA and State and Federal law.
Encore shall be responsible for all school site implementation of the IEP. As part of this responsibility, Encore shall provide parents with timely reports on the student’s progress as provided in the student’s IEP, and at least quarterly or as frequently as progress reports are provided for Encore’s non-special education students. Encore shall also provide all home-school coordination and information exchange. Encore shall also be responsible for providing all curriculum, classroom materials, classroom modifications, and assistive technology.
Interim and Initial Placements of New Charter School Students
Encore shall comply with Education Code Section 56325 with regard to students transferring into Encore within the academic school year. In accordance with Education Code Section 56325(a)(1), for students who enroll in Encore from another school district within the State, but outside of the SELPA with a current IEP within the same academic year, Encore shall provide the pupil with a free appropriate public education, including services comparable to those described in the previously approved IEP, in consultation with the parent, for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days, by which time the Charter School shall adopt the previously approved IEP or shall develop, adopt, and implement a new IEP that is consistent with federal and state law.
In accordance with Education Code Section 56325(a)(2), in the case of an individual with exceptional needs who has an IEP and transfers into Encore from a district operated program under the same special education local plan area of Encore within the same academic year, Encore shall continue, without delay, to provide services comparable to those described in the existing approved IEP, unless the parent and Encore agree to develop, adopt, and implement a new IEP that is consistent with federal and state law.
For students transferring to Encore with an IEP from outside of California during the same academic year, Encore shall provide the pupil with a free appropriate public education, including services comparable to those described in the previously approved IEP in consultation with the parents, until Encore conducts and assessment pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Section 1414 of Title 20 of the United States Code, if determined to be necessary by Encore, and develops a new IEP, if appropriate that is consistent with federal and state law.
Non-Public Placements/Non-Public Agencies
Encore shall be solely responsible for selecting, contracting with, and overseeing all non-public schools and non-public agencies used to serve special education students.
It is understood and agreed that all children will have access to Encore and no student shall be denied admission nor counseled out of Encore due to the nature, extent, or severity of his/her disability or due to the student’s request for, or actual need for, special education services.
Parent/Guardian Concerns and Complaints
Encore shall adopt policies for responding to parental concerns or complaints related to special education services. Encore shall receive any concerns raised by parents/guardians regarding related services and rights.
Encore’s designated representative shall investigate as necessary, respond to, and address the parent/guardian concern or complaint.
Due Process Hearings
Encore may initiate a due process hearing or request for mediation with respect to a student enrolled in the Charter School if it determines such action is legally necessary or advisable. In the event that the parents/guardians file for a due process hearing, or request mediation, Encore shall defend the case.
It is Encore’s understanding that it shall represent itself at all SELPA meetings.
Encore understands that it will be subject to the allocation plan of the SELPA.
Students Achieving Below Grade level
Students achieving below grade level will be identified by academic progress made with passing grades and test scores. The school will work directly with students achieving below grade level by working on an individual student plan that will help the student pace work as needed. They will be placed with remediation coaches and offered extra accommodations based on an SST meeting and plan created. The counseling department will be responsible for monitoring the progress of students achieving below grade level.
Socio-Economically Disadvantages/Low Income Students
Socio-economic disadvantaged students will be identified by the completion of direct certification for the free / reduced lunch program. Students that are free/reduced lunch will have access to all programs equally including limited free transportation as available. The school will also offer scholarships for certain extra-curricular activities where an additional fee is involved when applicable and available. Counseling will work directly with students to help them secure low income funding for college. Other opportunities for specific groups (like homeless youth) will be offered and monitored by counseling.
Students in Other Subgroups
For Foster Youth, Standard English Learners, and any other subgroup relevant to targeted student population, Encore will strive to insure that the needs of the students in these subgroups will be met.
Encore will use CALPADS reporting and enrollment applications as a means to identify students within subgroups.
Student counselors will be responsible for monitoring and working with the rest of the Encore team to implement the appropriate ILP to meet the needs of the individual student.