Anyone been through a state audit before?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by karebear76, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Aug 12, 2011

    Earlier this year, my district was audited by the state sp ed department. They randomly selected 38 students from K-12 to review the complete sp ed file. They also conducted personal interviews with the teachers responsible (sp ed & gen ed), administrators, sp ed supervisors, school psych, etc.

    We just received the report earlier this week with the findings, and we really took a hit :eek: I guess there were major errors on all 38 files. :unsure:

    I haven't seen the report yet, and we'll have a meeting on Friday to discuss the results and develop a plan.

    I was wondering if anyone had been through this before, and had any advice. I'm not sure what my role will be, as none of my students were selected. I'm thinking I'll be there to support my colleagues, and make any changes to my own procedures that are necessary.

    Some problems were understandable and easily corrected: no documented attempts of parent contact, no district rep at meeting. Others seem vague and distressing: no evidence of annual goals (???), parent did not attend meeting. :dizzy:

    I'm hoping it isn't too upsetting when we meet next week...I've been told the corrective actions must be completed by Oct 14, as well as a preventative plan in place. We also have the vast majority of IEPs due by the middle of October! :eek:hmy:
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Aug 12, 2011

    We went through a state audit awhile ago. I'm not exactly sure what the results were because none of my kids were picked and I had moved out of special education. But I know that we had major changes after the audit. Psychs went to meetings on how to write IEPs, specific wording, sections added, etc.

    Now we have monthly audits done by our special education director (or assistant special education director) and teachers are talked to about each step and where to make changes, etc.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 12, 2011

    We had an audit last spring of some of our ELL students and the report should be in sometime in September, I think. I suspect some changes will be in order.

    I'm dreading the day we have an audit of our Special Ed students. Although we are very careful about being sure everything is in order, there have been many changes in Special Ed teachers over the past couple of years (I'm the only constant in the past 3 years). I'm sure a few things have slipped by.
     
  5. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Aug 12, 2011

    What happens if parents never come to meetings? I was the general Ed teacher present for 3 different students and 3 out of 3 times, the parent was a no-show, so I assume this isn't unusual.
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Aug 12, 2011

    Someone on the team needs to document three different contacts made to inform the parent of the meeting (at least in my state). This is usually the special education teachers job.
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Aug 12, 2011

    My district went through an audit the year before I came. Our psych said they got slammed (honestly, they should have the way they run things), yet our sped director kept mentioning really high scores in our meetings. I wondered if there were different sections they were scored on (I'm honestly not sure exactly how it works since I wasn't there yet) and they purposely only mentioned the parts where they got good scores.

    Our director now randomly pulls IEP's to look them over and make sure everything is correct. I didn't experience this, but some of my friends in the district said it was extremely frustrating because she'd pull them AFTER they'd been archived, and send back really pointless comments that they couldn't do anything about anyway (since the IEP's were already archived). She pulled 6 of mine throughout the year, and only made one or two comments. If she couldn't find anything wrong she didn't say anything at all (really, would it kill her to tell someone they've done a good job on something?) Once this past Spring, she was upset that I'd written in my eval report RtI services descritpion that the student had been going through the RtI process since December of 2009. She thought it "sounded bad." Well it was true...and the whole reason he'd been going through RtI for a year and a half was because SHE wouldn't let us move on to referral, even though we'd been asking since the beginning of the year. I didn't change it (I'm not going to lie on an official document, especially when his parents know full well how long he's been in RtI), and I suspect she never went back to look.

    I think it can be really hard to evaluate the document when you don't know the child- I know people in the district have often run into this with our director. For example, she might think a goal is set way too low, but she has no idea how that child normally learns- it may be at the right pace for that specific child. I can imagine it would be the same situation for an outside person auditing it-which may be why you're running into seemingly silly corrections. It can create a lot of stress- I hope the department isn't too hard on you and your colleagues!

    About parents attending meetings- we get a lot of no-shows too. Those of you that document, is there some special way that you do this? We have a "signature page" with everyone from the meeting on this that I turn in to our department office after every meeting. If the parent wasn't there, I put a little note right on that page saying how we contacted them and saying I am sending the draft and procedural safeguards home that day. So next to the parents name it would look like this:
    *The parent did not attend the meeting. We sent home 6 notices of meeting beginning 6 weeks in advance and called the parent on 3/15/11 to remind her of the meeting. We are sending home a draft copy of the IEP and a copy of the parent procedural safeguards today,3/18/11.
    Is that okay? Do we need to be listing the exact dates we send home NOM's? Should this be listed somewhere other than the signature page? It just sort of made sense to us to have everything in one place- but now thinking about all this audit stuff makes me worried that we're not doing it correctly!
     
  8. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Well, this is only my opinion (until I see otherwise b/c of this report) but anyway, we have an optional page to add to the IEP for documentation. It is divided into sections to describe type of contact. I've also designed one of my own, before I discovered the optional form. I note the date of each contact, type of contact, and resulting action, if any. I'm now going to type this info on the cover page of the IEP, in the other info box. So my contacts look like this:
    3-10-11 Note home Vision questionaire sent with student
    3-12-11 Note Vision received
    3-13-11 Note home Invite 1 sent with student
    3-18-11 US Mail Invite 2 mailed
    3-23-11 Phone Called parent to invite to meeting; left msg
    3-24-11 Phone Received call from parent; confirmed mtg for scheduled time
    3-28-11 Meeting Meeting held as scheduled

    Or it sometimes shows that I tried to get them in, but they were no shows. Only time it is different is with an initial, as parent must sign before services begin. This has caused problems as well. I was told in a training that the reason you can get by with 3 attempts (I think 2 are required in OH but most do 3 to be safe) is when a parent signs the initial, they are consenting for services until aging out, unless they revoke consent in writing.
     
  9. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Aug 13, 2011

    The school must try to accommodate the parent to their fullest, meeting them whenever is reasonable, or even holding the IEP meeting at the childs home if necessary.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 13, 2011

    I didn't know this. Where's the language in the law that says that teachers have to do IEP meetings at the child's home?
     
  11. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    waterfall---we post the information about contacting parents on the additional notes page. We put a line on the signature page to see the additional notes page.

    Then we document the date of each contact and the outcome if any (did a parent call to confirm, email to confirm, nothing). If we email a parent, we usually print out and include a copy of the email and response (if any).
     
  12. Spedrunnerdude

    Spedrunnerdude Rookie

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    Aug 17, 2011

    We did last year. In a way it was a good thing for our district. Some people were really half-assing it on their IEPs, which created inconsistency for the students and confusion for the next year teachers. We now have a template we follow so everyone is on the same page.
     
  13. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Aug 17, 2011

    I'm anxious to see the results, even though none of my files were pulled. I've always felt very confident on what I've done on IEPs and changed accordingly after having new training.

    I want to see if I'm on the right track, or if I need to change. I really do want to follow the law and provide the best services for students that I can.
     
  14. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Aug 17, 2011

    I'm sure you have nothing to worry about!:thumb:
     
  15. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Aug 18, 2011

    8:00 am tomorrow and I'll know (hopefully) We have a sp ed meeting for an hour...

    Thanks waterfall
     
  16. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Aug 19, 2011

    To quote my 3 year old: O-M-G word!!!

    It's bad, not impossible but bad. I felt so disheartened by the whole meeting, as well as very unprepared. Everyone else had already read through the official report, and I'd never seen it until today. That was on top of the rude announcement over the whole school, at 7:56 mind you, 'The special education meeting is in room 211 in the high school and started 1 minute ago.' Our agenda said mtg @ 8:00, with no place designated. I was a little miffed, and didn't even have the chance to go to the restroom before it started. Oh well...

    Most of the mistakes are ETR errors, which the county office should take a lot of the responsibility for those, but probably won't. The IEP errors seem like they will be easy to fix. Here's to a very long process until Oct 14.
     
  17. roll

    roll Rookie

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    Aug 24, 2011

    I never heard of an IEP meeting being held in a child's home. That doesn't sound right.
     
  18. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I agree. I wouldn't call holding a meeting in a home a "reasonable accommodation." We have a free public bus system though, so in my area parents have absolutely no excuse for not coming in. Even without it though, I would not expect an IEP team to go to someone's home for a meeting. In the situation where the parent absolutely could not come in (which really, how many really valid excuses are there for that- it'd have to be some pretty interesting circumstances) I'd think the appropriate accommodation for the parent would be to do a conference call for the meeting. Documents could be mailed home or e-mailed prior to the meeting if the parent wanted the visual in front of them.
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 24, 2011

    Um. A parent who's hard put to keep a roof over the family's head - and such parents do exist - might find it a bit challenging to come in on the school's schedule. A single parent might also find it difficult to come in, if other children are in the picture.
     
  20. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I agree. We have several families for whom it is impossible--not inconvenient, impossible--to come in to the school anytime between 6:00am and 8:00pm. As well, they don't work in places where they are able to take or make phone calls during the work day. I've taken some "flack" from colleagues when I arranged a parent meeting (only for myself, no other staff involved) at 9:00pm. Bottom line was, we needed to meet, and that was the only possible time. I don't think that we should have to do this, but I also don't believe that we can make a judgement about the concern or commitment of a parent based on whether or not they can come in to the school between 8:00 and 4:00.
     
  21. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I believe one of my IEP meetings was held at my house once, because my father had to go on an inordinate amount of business trips that year, so my mom was home alone with me and my brother near IEP season, so she didn't exactly have much time to take off of work, so the IEP team met at my home.
     
  22. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I didn't say they had to come in between 8-4, just that they had to come to school. I think it's completely ridiculous to expect a team to hold a meeting at an outside home-especially considering safety and legal issues. I would just never even think of doing that. Like I said, if the parent absolutely can't come in (which really, I can't think of a single reason why, if they're completely incapacitated or something, then who takes care of the child?) then we do a phone conference. If the parent needs to meet outside of business hours for extreme circumstances, we'll meet them in the evening. Our conferences are at night so it's not that unusual for the teachers anyway. We give parents 3 months notice of exactly when the meeting is. That's plenty of time to find a sub for work, switch shifts, make sure that time is okay, etc. No one is able to work 24/7, so taking an hour out with 3 months notice is not a big deal. They can also let us know at that time if that day absolutely does not work for them (like if they know they always work on that day) and we'll switch it. Almost all of our parents bring younger kids into the meetings. We provide toys/activities for the little kids while we're having the meetings. We're very accommodating...but you have to draw the line somewhere. At some point, the parent needs to take some responsibility. I had one parent that attempted to reschedule a meeting with me 13 times last year. He kept calling in 20 minutes before the meeting time to tell me he wasn't coming in. We ended up having to hold the meeting without him to meet the timeline guidelines, but I told him he could come meet with me and we'd go over the IEP, and write an amendment if there was something he wanted to change. I was canceling my lessons to meet with this guy when he wanted- and he literally tried to reschedule 13 times. You have to say enough is enough- I have teaching responsibilities to worry about also. Finally, on that last phone call I told him I wasn't able to reschedule but would quickly review the main points over the phone if he wanted, and I'd send the documents home for him to look over and call back if he saw a problem. He was okay with that.
     
  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 25, 2011

    I agree that most parents are able to make arrangements, particularly with notice. Burned in my memory, though, is the fact that one of our parents lost his job after taking time off to come to a meeting that the school insisted he attend. I was, and still am, devastated by that. I know it's an extreme case, but one that has me very sensitive about this issue.
     
  24. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Aug 25, 2011

    Our district always provides a letter to parents if they request one (and we do OFFER it when we know they've taken off work/switched their schedule) that they can take back to their employer... it basically says they were attending a required meeting at their child's school, and to call us if there are any problems.

    Reasonable employers understand families, most of the time, and are pretty willing to let people work something out if they have enough notice. Not saying there aren't UNreasonable employers, and I feel really bad for people that have to deal with them.
     

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