Back to School 2020

General Information

Special Education Guidance

PLEASE NOTE: The details in this document are subject to change as directives are provided by governing authorities and/or health officials or as environmental conditions change.

Legal Requirement

Life School will ensure that students with disabilities have access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). We will ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, each student with a disability can be provided the special education and related services identified in the student's individualized education program (IEP).


General Guidance

  • Students with disabilities will follow the same guidelines and protocols with special consideration given to meet their individual needs.
  • Students who are entitled to instructional and related services through an ARD (Admission, Review and Dismissal)/IEP and who chooses to enroll in Life School’s remote learning will have an ARD convened to revise their supports and services to ensure the District meets their individual needs.
  • Special education instructional and related services will be provided in accordance with the ARD/IEP either On-campus (Face-to-Face) or through Remote Learning.
  • In an effort to minimize potential exposure to our most vulnerable students, Life School will:
    • Focus on social distancing, hand-washing with warm water or hand sanitizer and wearing masks.
    • Require masks when social distancing is not possible.
    • Post visual supports throughout building to remind and support understanding of expectations.
    • Keep each student’s belongings separated using student designated containers or areas.
    • Minimize sharing of high-touch materials (e.g., assign each student their own device/materials for the day when possible).
    • Sanitize all used materials daily.
    • Utilize grouping and scheduling strategies to reduce exposure.

Meeting IEP Service Recommendations

  • Life School will review all health plans and IEPs prior to reentry into on-campus settings and revise them through an ARD with appropriate safety protocols as needed.
  • Life School  is committed to meeting the unique needs of students with disabilities by ensuring that ARD/IEP meetings will be convened as needed to discuss needs, review progress, and make individualized recommendations for our students.

Special Education Services On-campus (Face-to-Face)

  • Group sizes will comply with state and local regulations.
  • Multiple groups may use a shared space only when the area is large enough to allow for all students and their respective desks to be six feet apart. 
  • Designated spaces in the resource room or flex areas should be used for small group instruction.
    • Face coverings and protective barriers should be used when appropriate.
    • Speech-language pathologists will wear clear face masks/shields as needed.
  • Students should be taught good hand-washing techniques and provided frequent opportunities to wash their hands with prompting when necessary. As appropriate, students should engage in supervised hand-washing when entering/leaving the class, before/after meals, before/after toileting, and other scheduled times during the day.
  • Employees should wear face coverings over the nose and mouth when appropriate.
  • Students for whom it is developmentally appropriate should wear face coverings over the nose and mouth, except while engaging in an activity where the mask cannot be worn (e.g., eating). Students’ individual needs will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Floor tape or dividers should be used to separate large areas into smaller spaces.

Related Services On-campus (Face-to-Face)

  • Group sizes will comply with state and local regulations.
  • Providers will develop schedules that maximize time in a single classroom and minimize the number of rooms visited per day.
  • Designated spaces in the resource room or flex areas should be used for small group instruction.
    • Face coverings and protective barriers should be used when appropriate.
    • Speech-language pathologists will wear clear face masks/shields as needed.
  • Employees should wear face coverings over the nose and mouth when appropriate.
  • Students for whom it is developmentally appropriate should wear face coverings over the nose and mouth, except while engaging in an activity where the mask cannot be worn (e.g., eating). Students’ individual needs will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Provision of Resource and Inclusion Services

  • Special education teachers will follow the general education guidance and complete lesson plans for each resource class whether On-campus (Face-to-Face) or Remote Learning.
  • Special and general education teachers will collaborate to ensure lessons are designed to meet the needs of all students.
  • Special education teachers are required to complete differentiated lesson plans to meet the needs of the IEP-entitled students they support whether instruction is Remote Learning or On-campus (Face-to-Face).
  • Life School will ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, each student with a disability will be provided the special education and related services identified in the student's IEP.
  • For students who choose the Remote Learning option, teachers will:
    • Develop individualized lessons;
    • Provide direct instruction through scheduled synchronous sessions;
      • If a student is unable to participate during synchronous sessions and accesses lessons at another time, the ARD committee should convene to document how IEP will be implemented.
    • Provide links to Remote Learning platforms for lesson participation;
    • Upload weekly lesson materials to the district-designated virtual platforms (e.g., flipgrid, Google Classroom, Canvas, etc.);
    • Document student participation and attendance on the student’s log;
    • Collect data and monitor progress; and
    • Request an ARD/IEP committee meeting to address any concerns with progress on IEP goals/objectives or in the general education curriculum.

Documentation of Services in the IEP

  • The student’s schedule of special education and related services should be accurately documented in the ARD/IEP to reflect what supports and services the student requires for FAPE whether attending school On-campus (Face-to-Face) or Remote Learning.
  • Students with disabilities must have available an instructional day commensurate with that of students without disabilities.
  • A contingency plan for services should be documented within the deliberations of every ARD/IEP outlining how services will be implemented during remote learning.
  • Data should be collected weekly, at minimum, on IEP goals/objectives.

Lack of Progress Guidance

  • Whether On-campus (Face-to-Face) or Remote Learning, special education teachers should review the progress of each student on their caseload weekly (i.e., grade books, data collection, etc.) and determine what, if any, additional supports may be needed for each student to continue to progress in the general education curriculum and on their IEP goals/objectives.
  • Special education teachers should consider alternate strategies/supports to ensure continued progress (i.e., more synchronous instruction; more small group support, etc.).
  • Special education teachers should, after other interventions have been unsuccessful, request to convene an ARD/IEP committee meeting to address lack of progress.
  • When On-campus (Face-to-Face) instruction resumes fully, annual ARD committees should address student-specific needs resulting from closure. On a case-by-case basis, this might include discussions of COVID-related compensatory services or a need for extended school year (ESY) services. ARD/IEP committees should:
    • Answer any questions and address any parent concerns regarding COVID-related compensatory services;
    • Determine what services, if any, are needed;
    • Document the discussion and decision in the deliberations, including:
      • Start and end dates,
      • Frequency,
      • Duration,
      • Area of service, and
      • Goals services will address.
    • Provide prior written notice to parents following any offer of COVID-related compensatory services; and
    • Indicate whether or not the parents agree with the recommendation of COVID-related compensatory or ESY services.

Times of Closure

Upon notice that a campus is closed:

  • Contact/service logs will be maintained by special education staff;
  • Material distribution procedures should be followed by service providers;
  • Remote learning guidelines and IEP contingency plans should be followed;
  • ARDs will proceed virtually throughout closure, adhering to legal timelines; and
  • If an evaluation timeline cannot be met due to closure, the impact of the delay on services must be addressed when the ARD committee convenes to review evaluation results and develop the IEP.

Exposure Prevention Strategies

Special education services are oftentimes delivered in a small group setting with hands-on support. Special education teachers and service providers will take care to reduce any unintentional exposure by:

Creating supplementary aid and manipulative kits for each student

  • Update as needed per unit of instruction.
  • Follow procedures for sanitizing items prior to adding to a student’s bag.
  • Laminate supplemental aids so they can be easily cleaned and reused.

Strategically scheduling students

  • Limit variation of student groupings.
  • Minimize number of resource staff working with a particular group of students.
  • Adhere to district guidelines regarding number of students and staff in a specific location at any given time.

Facilitating safe small group activities

  • Adhere to social distancing requirements.
  • Ensure sanitization of space before and after each small group.
  • Wear appropriate face covering at all times during small group instruction.

Supervising transitions

  • Follow district guidelines.
  • Enforce social distancing of students in hallways and other common areas.
  • Provide visual supports or schedules that highlight social distancing when transitioning between classrooms or activities.

Instructional & Related Services

Service providers should:

  • Provide indirect services virtually when possible;
  • Provide direct service minutes in alignment with the IEP schedules of services;
  • Provide direct services virtually during school day when appropriate;
  • Adhere to district expectations for PPE and scheduling to minimize cross-contamination;
  • Maintain assignments, activities and videos of lessons in the virtual platform used; and
  • Maintain accurate contact/service logs, documenting minutes provided.

Emergency Closure Kits

Supplementary aids and manipulatives should be prepared in ziploc bags ready to send home for students in the event the campus needs to close unexpectedly.

TRANSLATE

Dr. Brent Wilson - President
Sharon Williams - Secretary
Christopher Clemmons - Treasurer
Dr. Sharon Lee - Board Member
Ruben Martinez - Board Member
Chris Ransbottom - Board Member

LIFE SCHOOL (HOME)

132 East Ovilla Road, Suite A,
Red Oak, TX  75154
P: (469) 850-LIFE(5433)
F: (469)850-5434

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