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Students with Disabilities

How will special education teachers document instructional programs for blended and fully remote students this school year?

The Special Education Program Adaptations Document (PAD) will replace the Remote Learning Plan for the 2020-21 school year. Designed to memorialize a collaborative conversation between the family and the student’s special education teacher/case manager, the PAD, along with the student’s schedule, documents how the student’s special education program will be implemented in blended and fully remote learning environments. The PAD differs from the remote learning plan in several respects. First, the PAD pre-populates the student’s recommended instructional program, related services and certain other information from the student’s Individualized Education Program. Second, the PAD describes the model for delivering the student’s instructional program in blended and fully remote learning environments and gives the teacher the opportunity to explain any adjustments to the model in the school and the class. Also included are information about instruction and support for English language learners and implementation of paraprofessional services, assistive technology and behavior intervention plans. The PAD does not address adaptations to related service delivery. For more information about the PAD, see our Special Education hub on UFT.org

How should related service providers schedule in-person services for blended learning students on their caseload?

Related service providers should start with the child’s Individualized Education Program because the first objective is to deliver related services as close to the IEP mandate as possible. Next, make every effort to accommodate the parent’s preferences for in-person and remote services and, given the limited amount of time students will be in school, the parent’s preference for classroom-based services or services in a separate location.

Adherence to health and safety requirements for social distancing (either the classroom cannot accommodate another person or the space assigned to the provider is too small for a group) may mean the service cannot be delivered in accordance with the IEP and/or the parent’s preference cannot be honored at a particular point in time. To the extent possible, consider giving priority for in-person services for students who did not benefit from remote services or may not be able to participate in remote services. For students with mandates for services at high frequencies, the related service provider, in consultation with families, should consider scheduling some services in person and others remotely. 

When am I supposed to hold an IEP meeting?

IEP meetings should not be held during prep periods.  Prep periods are undirected, and if a person is asked to conduct or participate in an IEP meeting during their prep, they should either be given a prep period elsewhere in their day, or they should be paid a coverage.  IEP meetings should happen during instructional time or the teacher’s administrative period.  In the case of instructional time, the teacher’s class would have to be covered.

I am a Centrally Funded IEP teacher. Why do I have more classes?

Because of the staffing shortage, various groups of DOE employees have been redeployed. The number of teaching periods should not exceed 15. If any Special Ed teachers in your school hold comp time positions, you should not be assigned more than 10 teaching classes.

If an ICT class only has two students coming on Group A day and no special education students on Cohort B or C days, can that ICT special education teacher be assigned to a different grade level ICT class for Cohort B and Cohort C days?

If there are no students with IEPs on site on a given day, the special education teacher can be deployed elsewhere, assuming they continue to participate in instructional planning time with the general education teacher and Blended Remote Teacher supporting the class.

What are the guidelines for self-contained fully remote classes?

The class should be established with the same expectations as if it were an in-person class: class ratio aligned to the IEP and with age and functional level range requirements, assigned to a remote special education teacher, and operate with the synchronous/asynchronous expectations applied to all classes.

Can a remote ICT teacher be paired with an in-person teacher (and vice versa)?

No. Both members of the in-person co-teaching pair must be present in-person.

What if a school doesn't have enough in-person special education teachers to assign an in-person special educator to the in-person ICT pair for blended students on their in-person days?

Every effort, including the reassignment of special education teachers with school funded out-of-classroom positions, should be made to assign a certified blended in-person special education teacher and a certified blended in-person general education teacher to each blended ICT section. In the instance that a school has insufficient certified special education teachers teaching on-site to cover all special classes and ICT classes, the Blended Remote Teacher must be a certified special education teacher and the school should identify a substitute who is a certified special education teacher and contact their superintendent for support. The blended remote teacher(s) will coordinate learning with the blended in-person co-teaching partners.

Additionally, schools have the flexibility to bridge ICT classes (as long as the bridge does not combine testing grades with non-testing grades) and create two consecutive grade ICT bridge classes to maximize teacher capacity. Collocated/Campus schools should consider leveraging shared instruction in order to maximize the use of special education teachers in order to fully serve as many students as possible.

Can an in-person special education teacher be assigned to teach remote only students or blended students on remote days?

Yes. The in person special education teacher can be assigned to teach students working remotely should their schedule allow. For example, a special education teacher that is programmed to teach two periods each day of blended in-person ICT may support that class as the blended remote ICT teacher with their remaining 3 periods or may be scheduled to provide 3 periods of direct services (SETSS, ICT, SC) to either a blended in-person class or a remote class, or a combination of both. This is true for all special education assignments including Integrated Co-teaching (ICT).

What are the caseload limits for blended remote special education teachers?

To allow for teaching blended remote cohorts on different days, blended remote special education teachers can teach double their typical caseload, (i.e., a blended remote special education teacher can be assigned to one 12:1:1 class and one 8:1:1 class or two 12:1:1 classes; an ICT teacher can have double their typical caseload as long as they are not teaching more than 12 students with IEPs at any given time and the 60%/40% ratio is maintained). Special Educators should not exceed the ICT class ratio, or maximum Special Education class size during synchronous instruction in a given time.

How does the Special Education Program Adaptation Document (PAD) differ from the IEP?

The PAD addresses how the special education program recommended on the student’s IEP will be adapted to the blended and fully remote learning environments. The PAD does not replace or change the student’s IEP. While the IEP remains in effect, the PAD sets out expectations for special education program delivery under current circumstances. IEPs are not to be changed to reflect the adaptations on the PAD. IEP recommendations are made in compliance with SOPM procedures and are based on the student’s needs and the programs and services appropriate for addressing them in non-remote/blended circumstances.

Does the PAD replace the Remote Learning Plan (RLP)?

Yes. The PAD replaces the RLP for those students for whom it is created. The RLP is no longer available for development in SESIS.

For which students does the PAD need to be completed?

Any student recommended for a special education program (special class, ICT, SETSS).

Does the PAD need to be completed for students who are fully remote?

Yes, the PAD is to be completed for any student recommended for a special education program (special class, ICT, SETSS), including students who will be receiving fully remote instruction. The conversation with the parent and the PAD should address the student’s needs and the family’s experience with regard to remote learning.

Does the PAD need to be completed for students receiving related services only?

The PAD does not need to be completed for students who are recommended to receive only related services — i.e., students with no special education program.