Olga Khazan, Washington Post, August 15, 2012:
“Basis D.C. was initially met with skepticism. When the school’s founders first applied, staff members and consultants for the D.C. Public Charter School Board worried that the school would not be able to meet the needs of ‘low-performing, English-language learners and special education students.'”
It turns out the concerns expressed by the D.C. Public Charter School Board staff were warranted, at least in the area of special education. The PCSB has notified the administrators of Basis Public Charter School of five parent complaints during the school’s first year of operation regarding special education services. The charges resulted in the PCSB performing an investigation which included a two day site visit. At the same time Basis PCS hired a company called End-To-End Solutions to develop a Special Education Action Plan. The deficiencies identified by End-To-End were also discovered by the PCSB during their time at the school. The PCSB lists them as:
1. Most of the documented IEPs, as well as accompanying notes and minutes that
included decisions that altered the plan or established that the services were not
needed, were either missing entirely from the students’ file folders or were not
signed by the parent and/or the school’s administration,
2. The student files at the school and the files found in the EasyIEP/ Special Education
Database System (SEDS) maintained by OSSE do not match. SEDS is the system
of record for IEPs of students with disabilities, and it is state policy that all LEAs
maintain in SEDS current and accurate records,
3. Lack of a tracking system (such as service delivery tracking or log system) for
special education performance and related services, such as speech and language,
4. Students with disabilities were placed in a remedial classroom set up for students
who are at risk of academic failure but not for students with disabilities (entitled the
Targeted Intervention Program –TIP). These students did not appear to receive
specialized instruction hours for reading prescribed in their IEPs,
5. There was no observable evidence of collaboration between the special education
teacher and general education teachers,
6. Staff reported that the school had not by the time of PCSB’s visit provided adequate
professional development on special education issues.
The PCSB has added three additional steps to the draft action plan submitted by Basis PCS. The Board is also requiring that the plan be finalized and implemented by August 12, 2013, and that the components of the plan be communicated to the parents of special education students. Furthermore, the Board is planning on scheduling four “check-in’s with Basis PCS throughout the upcoming school year, the first of which will be on-site.
The matter is up for discussion at tonight’s monthly PCSB meeting.