My Child’s 504 Plan Doesn’t Seem to Be Working. Now What?

Are you concerned your child’s 504 plan isn’t working? Sometimes 504 plans need to be adjusted to better serve your child and help her make progress. Here are steps you can take if you think your child’s 504 plan isn’t working.

1. Define what “not working” means to you.

The first step is to identify why you think the 504 plan isn’t working. Maybe you expected your child to improve in certain areas or have higher grades because of the 504 plan. Maybe you’re concerned that there’s a snag or mix-up with your child’s services and supports. You might think she needs different accommodations or more help than the school currently provides.

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No Progress. School says: “No Change is Good?!”

I am a special education teacher with a child who has an IEP. The IEP team agreed that my child’s progress in Math will be measured with the KeyMath test. When the school last administered the KeyMath test, her scores dropped!

The school wasn’t concerned. They said “No change is good.”

It is not good news when a child’s test scores drop.

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Student Progress Monitoring: What This Means for Your Child

Progress monitoring can give you and your child’s teacher information that can help your child learn more and learn faster, and help you make better decisions about the type of instruction that will work best with your child.

Our children’s progress is being monitored constantly at school, through the steady stream of homework assignments, quizzes, tests, projects, and standardized tests. On first hearing the term “student progress monitoring,” our initial reaction may be “they’re doing this already!” or “more tests?”

But do you really know how much your child is learning or progressing? Standardized tests compare your child’s performance with other children’s or with state standards. However, these tests are given at the end of the year; the teacher who has been working with your child during the year will not be able to use the test results to decide how to help your child learn better.

Progress monitoring can give you and your child’s teacher information that can help your child learn more and learn faster, and help your child’s teachers teach more effectively and make better decisions about the type of instruction that will work best with your child. In other words, student progress monitoring is not another way of assigning a number to your child; it is a way of helping the child learn and the teacher teach.
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I Don’t Think My Child’s IEP Is Working as Well as It Should, What Do I Do?

Before scheduling an IEP meeting to discuss your concern, do some homework. Your initial concern may not be the primary cause of your child’s difficulty.

1. List each of your concerns. Next, look for data to support your concerns. Talk with the teacher  informally if this feels comfortable.

2. Gather your child’s IEP and any assessments. If you aren’t sure you have everything, write a letter asking the school to provide you with copies. The school has 5 days to provide you with the information that you requested.

3. Review the assessments and IEP papers and make sure you understand these documents. If you need help with this, call PRN.

IMPORTANT: The IEP is developed from assessment information. If something is missing or incorrect in the assessment, it may be the cause of why the IEP isn’t working well.

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4 Important Signs That Your Child’s IEP Is Working

The Individualized Education Program (or IEP) lays out the school’s commitment to provide special education and related services to your child. Developed annually, an IEP must be tailored to the individual needs of your child, with your involvement and input. Once formulated, the IEP becomes your roadmap to track your child’s progress throughout the year.

Here Are Four Important Signs That Your Child’s IEP Is Working:

1. Your child’s IEP has been reviewed by all teachers and related service providers.

All school personnel involved with your child’s education should be aware of and have access to your child’s IEP. This includes general education teachers, special education teachers, and any providers of related services such as speech/language.

Everyone should be knowledgeable about your child’s learning disability and its impact on all aspects of learning and behavior.  Everyone should be clear regarding any instructional support, accommodations, or other services that must be provided your child and the role each must play in making certain they are provided consistently.

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Join us Oct. 17 @ 12:15 p.m. CST for our FREE webinar!

Join us on October 17 @ 12:15 p.m. CST for this FREE webinar where we will discuss a key component of your child’s IEP – the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP).

Why is the PLAAFP important?  Think of the IEP as a road map guiding your child from a beginning level of performance to a higher level of performance.  To plan effectively, you need to know where your child is starting out and what obstacles he or she may face along the way. Present levels (PLAAFP) are the starting point for setting IEP goals and measuring progress toward these goals.

Register at https://partnerstx.webex.com/

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Is My Child Making Progress towards IEP Goals?

By the time “Mrs. Bailey” contacted a professional to evaluate her son, she had been receiving quarterly progress reports from his public school for five years, telling her that Kevin was making progress toward achieving the academic goals listed in his Individualized Education Program (IEP). However, her observations of Kevin’s homework and the graded school work that came home didn’t match the school’s evaluation, and she wanted a psychologist to provide a “second opinion.” The outside evaluation confirmed his mother’s concerns — he had deficits in math calculation and written expression skills. In fact, Kevin’s written expression skills were severely delayed and fell in the first percentile — meaning that 99 percent of students his age performed better on the test. Naturally, Mrs. Bailey felt astonished, frustrated, and guilty about not realizing Kevin’s lack of progress sooner in his schooling.

Parents of children with learning disabilities (LD) who are receiving special education services receive regular reports of progress on their children’s IEP goals, as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA). Often these progress reports don’t really provide parents specific information, based on assessment data, as to whether their child is making progress or not.

There are several key factors that can have a positive impact on determining whether or not a child makes real, measurable progress. These include:

  •  a comprehensive evaluation that identifies a child’s strengths and weaknesses; and appropriately identifies a child’s educational needs
  •  explicitly stated present levels of performance
  •  appropriate and measurable goals/objectives
  •  effective instructional methods, and
  • continuous progress monitoring

Ask a parent how their child’s progress toward goals and objectives is being monitored and reported to them, and most often the response is “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know.” As in Mrs. Bailey’s case, it can be years before parents realize that their child is not making progress — or that the achievement gap between their child and his peers has actually widened while receiving special education services. So, how can you really know if your child is making progress? What should you do if you don’t think your child is “making expected progress” toward IEP goals and objectives?
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Student Progress Monitoring: What This Means for Your Child

Progress monitoring can give you and your child’s teacher information that can help your child learn more and learn faster, and help you make better decisions about the type of instruction that will work best with your child.

Our children’s progress is being monitored constantly at school, through the steady stream of homework assignments, quizzes, tests, projects, and standardized tests. On first hearing the term “student progress monitoring,” our initial reaction may be “they’re doing this already!” or “more tests?”.

But do you really know how much your child is learning or progressing? Standardized tests compare your child’s performance with other children’s or with state standards. However, these tests are given at the end of the year; the teacher who has been working with your child during the year will not be able to use the test results to decide how to help your child learn better.

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Monitoring Progress: Questions Parents Should Ask & Discuss

Keeping up on a student’s progress towards meeting their IEP goals can save valuable time. Be sure that you know how each goal will be monitored and when instructional changes should be made.

Regarding Strengths & Weaknesses

ASK: What do you see as my child’s strengths, weaknesses– academically, behaviorally, and socially?

DISCUSS: Your own thoughts about their strengths, weaknesses, interests, what motivates your child, what behaviors you see at home, and how your child feels about him/herself as a learner.

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How Does Mastery of Annual Goals Relate to Grading and Promotion?

TEC §28.0216 requires that school district grading policies:

“(1) must require a classroom teacher to assign a grade that reflects the students’ relative mastery of an assignment; [and]

(2) may not require a classroom teacher to assign a minimum grade for an assignment without regard to the student’s quality of work.”

These rules apply to classroom assignments, examinations, and overall grades for each grading period. Because of this, teachers may not assign a grade based on effort, and schools cannot pass a student who has not mastered the curriculum. Since goals can be either academic or functional in nature, they either serve as a “link” to grade level standards, or they serve to help a student “access” grade-level standards. In this case, IEP goals remain supplementary to grade-level standards. Because of this, mastery of an IEP goal does not constitute passing a course, and passing a course does not equate to mastering an IEP goal.

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