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Progress Reports - November 5, 2012

on Mon, 11/05/2012 - 21:49

At about this time of year, schools send home report cards and other progress reports to parents.  Unfortunately, those reports might not show as much progress as you would hope for your child.  How can we fix this problem?  

First, it is important to note that lack of progress - standing alone - does not prove that the school district has failed its legal obligations. Schools cannot guarantee progress for typically developed children. Adding the difficulties created by a child's special needs only makes the problem harder.

Still, school districts cannot ignore lack of progress.  Although the Supreme Court held in Rowley that an IEP need only be "reasonably calculated" to provide educational benefit, the progress report provides valuable information.  Lack of sufficient progress shows that the IEP plan from the beginning of the year that looked like it could provide educational benefit is not be doing enough.  In short, what once appeared to be "reasonably calculated" to help your child learn is not actually good enough to sufficiently educate your child - given what we know now but did not know before.

Thus, it is time for an IEP meeting to revise the plan.  There is nothing in the IDEA that limits meetings to once per year. If the district's plan is not doing enough, ask them for improvements based on the new information learned from actually implementing the plan.