Fall 2020 Special Education Information for Families

Special Education Supports and Services for Students with IEPs
Fall 2020 Virtual Learning Information for Families
August 25, 2020
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As Arlington Public Schools (APS) prepares to support all learners during the 2020-21 Academic Year, we recognize that students with disabilities have unique learning needs that require careful consideration and close collaboration between families and school staff. Although instruction will be provided virtually during the beginning of the school year, APS has a legal responsibility to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) to each student with a disability. Although schools will be providing remote instruction, FAPE has NOT been waived, and APS is preparing to  implement students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to the fullest extent possible.

Also, the APS Strategic Plan includes a goal that by 2024, 80% of students with disabilities (SWD) will spend 80% of their time in general education settings. As we build towards this percentage, APS will continue to increase our inclusive practices, even while we are virtual.

During the upcoming days and weeks, case carriers will thoughtfully review each student’s IEP to consider any possible needs they may have accessing distance learning, and continue inclusive practices. IEP meetings may be scheduled to align services and supports the student needs in the distance learning model as well as to make any needed adjustments to the current IEP.  The goal of these meetings is not to simply reduce hours or make proportional adjustments to services, but rather to ensure that each student receives meaningful instruction and the services needed to continue to make progress. Parents are encouraged to share their input, observations, ideas and questions with the IEP team. Should the IEP Team (which, as always, includes parents) determine to adjust any services, a Prior Written Notice (PWN) will indicate the services the student had been receiving prior to the COVID school closure to ensure IEP teams can resume previous services when APS re-opens to a full time, in-person instructional model.