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ASDOE mandated to provide additional SPED training and notice to parents

As part of the settlement agreement with the federal government, the local Department of Education (ASDOE) is being required to provide “notice and training” to all teaching and administrative staff regarding new ASDOE policies and procedures pertaining to students with disability attending public schools.

The agreement, signed Oct. 11 by ASDOE Deputy Director Philo Jennings addressed findings by the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, which received four separate complaints from parents of students with special needs, who were not provided appropriate service in accordance with federal law during school year 2013/2014.

The 11-page agreement requires ASDOE by Jan. 12, 2017 — after consultation with OCR - to review and revised policies and procedures to ensure that ASDOE provides a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all students within its jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the students’ disability. The agreement also outlined several issues to be addressed in the policies and procedures. (See Samoa News edition Nov. 15 for details).

Under the subtitle “Notice and Training”, the agreement states that 45 days after ASDOE receives notice that OCR has approved the policies and procedures, ASDOE “will provide written notice of policies and procedures to all teaching and administrative staff working at ASDOE.”

Additionally, ASDOE will be required to publish the approved policies and procedures on ASDOE’s publicly accessible website and school websites, accessible to persons with vision disability. If the school does not have a website, the school is require to provide written notice to all parents of the policies and procedures, with a description where parents can review the policies and procedures.

Additionally, ASDOE will provide training to all of its teaching, paraprofessional, disability services provider staff, and administrators on the policies and procedures developed.

And within 60 days after receiving OCR’s final approval of policies and procedures, ASDOE will provide OCR with a report containing its plan to provide the notice and training. The report contains copies of proposed notice to staff of the policies and procedures and the proposed location of the policies and procedures on ASDOE’s and schools’ websites.

Regarding the required training, the report will contain, at a minimum: proposed date of training; name and qualifications of the proposed trainer; and an outline of the proposed training with a copy of training materials.

ASDOE is also being required to provide a report on the sign-in sheets for training that identifies the participants by name and positions; and a list of any staff that is required to take the training but did not complete it — with a plan to provide training for those staff.

Samoa News in previous stories covered other issues cited in the agreement. And provisions of the agreement state in part that ASDOE agrees to provide OCR data and other information in a timely manner. Additionally, ASDOE understands that during the monitoring of the agreement, OCR may visit ASDOE’s schools or places of business, interview staff and students, and request such additional reports or data as are necessary for OCR to determine whether ASDOE has fulfilled terms of the agreement.

As Samoa News reported on the OCR finding and agreement over the past three weeks, at least two parents inquired about the contact information for OCR. The parents say they have children attending public schools and allege that their children are not receiving the education they are entitled to under federal law. Samoa News did provide the parents with contact information: US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 915 2nd Avenue Suite 3310, Seattle, WA 98174-1099.  And the ASDOE website: