>> Welcome to today's webinar regarding calculating educational support
and least restrictive environment.
My goal today is to provide some clarification about how to calculate the amount
of special education supports a student with an IEP receives and how to calculate the amount
of time he or she spends in the general education class environment.
Both of these calculations are percentages, but they represent very different things.
PaTTAN provides training and technical assistance under the direction
of the Bureau of Special Education.
PaTTAN's mission is to build the capacity of local education agencies
to provide special education services to students with disabilities.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education is committed to ensuring that students
with IEPs are receiving their education in the least restrictive environment.
Each IEP team must determine whether the goals and objectives
on each student's IEP can be supported in the general education classroom
with appropriate supplementary aids and services provided for that child.
The general education classroom in the student's home school is the least
restrictive environment.
Note certain words and phrases in green on this slide.
The first one we come to is responsibility.
This is more than a suggestion for LEAs.
You have the responsibility of ensuring the least restrictive environment
for students with disabilities.
And they do that by trying to do it to the maximum extent appropriate.
This is a determination made by the IEP team based upon the individual needs of the child.
And so what is that least restrictive environment when looking to make sure
that students are educated with students who are not disabled, making sure that students
with disabilities are educated in an educational environment with students without disabilities?
Moving down to removal, we need to be sure that we are not removing students
from that general educational environment just based upon whether or not he can make it.
The removal occurs only when the student cannot have success
in that general education environment with appropriate supplementary agent services,
and it must be used as a last resort.
And then, finally, use of supplementary aids and services.
Students with disabilities must be provided the supports that they need to be successful
in the general education classroom.
It is not merely placing the child in the classroom, we need to make sure
that they have the supports, the supplementary agent services that are needed.
In Chapter 14 of the Pennsylvania Regulations,
under 14.145 least restrictive environment requirements, you will see this information,
as well as a point that we are expecting that students with disabilities who are
in those general education placements
and have appropriate supplementary agent services are able to make meaningful progress.
And then, finally, in our regulations it also says that school entities shall be required
to provide full access to a full continuum of placement options.
And so what that is saying is we need
to make sure we are considering the least restrictive environment,
the general education classroom in the neighborhood school
with appropriate supplementary agent services as our first starting point when we're looking
at where special education can be provided for a child.
However, a local education agency also needs to make sure that they have a continuum
of other placement options available for students for whom
that really isn't the best placement.
So in Section VII of IEP, this part talks about educational placement.
So we're kind of moving away from the LEA requirements for a few slides,
and we're looking at what kind of supports the student is getting.
Least restrictive environment has to do with where a student is receiving his
or her education, but I would bet you've heard it said
that special education is a service, not a place.
How do we determine the amount of service that a student with a disability receives?
The educational placement is decided by the IEP team and documented on the IEP in Section VII.
This is a screenshot of the type of support component of the IEP.
Under type of support IEP teams determine the amount
of special education supports the student needs, and this is a mathematical percentage.
And then they also decide the type of support that is needed.
There are three different amounts of support from which to choose.
The first one is itinerant.
This is special education supports and services provided by special education personnel
for 20% or less of the school day.
This option shows the least amount of special education support received by a student,
and I'm going to come back to a phrase in just a moment.
The second option, when we're looking at the amount of support, is supplemental.
These are special education supports and services provided by special education personnel
for more than 20%, but less than 80% of the school day.
So it's kind of in that middle range there.
And then, finally, full time, special education supports and services provided
by special education personnel for 80% or more of the school day.
This option indicates the most amount of special education support needed.
The amount and type of support is based on professional special education services
and support provided to the student during the school day and documented on the IEP.
This calculation is about special education service,
time when the special education professional is working with the student, and it has nothing
to do with where the student is receiving his supports and services.
For each of these options I indicated that we are looking at amount
of support provided by special education personnel.
On the next slide I will be addressing who is included
when it states special education personnel, who are these people?
But before going there, let's look at the other components on this page.
The type of special education supports
that the student needs must also be determined by the IEP team.
Please note that the type of support needed by a student is not determined by disability label.
A child who has a learning disability may need support to provide it
in an emotional support classroom or by an emotional support teacher.
A child with autism may need learning support.
The disability does not determine the type of special education support the student needs,
nor does the type of special education classroom available
within a particular building determine the type of special education supports for the student.
And more than one type of support may be checked, depending upon the needs of the child.
And, finally, let's look at the bottom of this screenshot and look
at the location of the student's program.
Now we're starting to edge into least restrictive environment,
but when we were figuring out amount of special education supports, as indicated at the top
of the page, it had nothing to do with where the services are being provided.
So when we look at the bottom, we're looking at where they're going to be provided.
And, as I said earlier, the least restrictive environment is considered
to be the general education classroom in the school that the student would attend if he
or she did not have a disability.
And you can think of this as it would be the school that a sibling without a disability
of the same grade or age would attend, that is what is considered the neighborhood school.
Educating a student with a disability
in the least restrictive environment is required in the law and regulations.
Remember that it is also necessary that in LEA has a continuum of placement options.
There will be students for whom the IEP team determines
that the student's IEP can best me bet in a school other than the neighborhood school.
It is an IEP team decision and it must be noted here.
So let's talk about the amount of supports, though,
that part that was at the top of the last page.
Note the phrases in green.
Typical school day, this refers to the amount of time from the beginning bell
to the closing bell, what is the typical length of the school day, and it's just merely looking
at when do we begin school and when does school end.
There's no individualization of that, it's when does school start and when does school end.
The amount of special education supports refers to the total amount of time
in a typical school day that the student receives special education supports
from special education personnel.
Now I promised you that I was going to talk about who that really refers to.
Special education personnel refers to teachers and related service providers,
it does not include services provided by paraprofessionals.
So just take a moment and think about that.
When I'm calculating the amount of supports I'm looking at the amount of support provided
by a special education teacher and by related service providers,
but not services provided by paraprofessionals.
This is written in the annotated IEP, which can be found
on the patent website under the legal tab.
If you're not familiar with the annoted IEP I would suggest you go to the patent website
and download it because it does provide a lot of guidance
for filling out each section of the IEP.
So now let's think about this for a moment.
If a student is included in a general education classroom, without a special education teacher
in there, but the paraprofessional goes to the classroom with that student,
that time is not included in the calculation for amount of special education supports.
Support provided by paraprofessionals or one-to-ones when not working directly
under the supervision of special education personnel is not included in this calculation.
The amount of special education services and support includes only the services provided
by professional school personnel, and this includes special education teachers,
related service providers, and it also includes speech and language therapists,
occupational therapists and physical therapists.
There may be others, as well.
And then when we looked at this screenshot, this is just again showing it to you,
but probably in an easier to read format
than what you could see on the couple of slides before.
So when you are calculating the amount of special education supports that a student
with an IEP needs we are looking those services and supports provided
by special education personnel and then we're looking at the percentages.
In a few minutes, after I've spoken about least restrictive environment,
we'll be doing some calculations where we're calculating the amount of support and figuring
out whether that is itinerant, supplemental or fulltime, and then we will also be figuring
out the amount of time spent in the general education environment.
So we've just spent some time looking at what amount of supports is and how to calculate it.
And some people refer to that as face time, it's when you are face-to-face with the student
with an IEP, the amount of time when you're actually seeing them
and working with him or her.
Now we're going to look at where the student is receiving his or her education,
what is that educational environment.
And this is what we mean when we say least restrictive environment calculation.
Some people refer to that as place time.
We're calculating the amount of time the student spends in a particular place,
that being the least restrictive environment inside that regular classroom.
So this calculation is done when you get to Section VIII of the IEP,
and that's titled educational environment.
Every state is required to provide an annual report of specific data related to the education
of students with disabilities to the United States Department of Education.
In Pennsylvania these data are gathered through the Penn Data Reporting System.
Educational environment data from each student's IEP are compiled by the LAA and reported
to their respective intermediate unit.
They then get reported and verified for accuracy,
reported to PDE BSE via that Penn Data Reporting System.
Educational environment reporting is not an indication of the amount
of special education service a student with a disability receives,
rather it reflects the location of where those services take place.
So I want you to just think about the two different types of things that I was talking
about and two different calculations that the IEP team needs to do.
One has to do with how much special education support a child is going to receive
and the percentage that that falls into, whether it be itinerant, supplemental or fulltime.
And then moving into this other area where we're looking at where the student is receiving his
or her education with the primary consideration being that it is
in the least restrictive environment, what time is the student spending
in the regular education classroom.
So the IEP team has to calculate that percentage of time that the student is spending
in that regular classroom or general education environment, and this includes any environment
where students without disabilities are included, are involved,
so that would be in the cafeteria or maybe in age appropriate community based settings.
So the percentage of time is documented on the IEP in Section VIII under Section A,
and here's our screenshot of that part of it.
The Penn Data Reporting Page of the IEP contains two parts regarding educational placement
of the student.
The IPE team completes either Section A or Section B. Today we're only going to be focusing
on Section A because in Section B this is required when students are educated outside
of a regular school building for more than 50% of the day.
So our focus is on finding out how much of the time a student is spending
in the regular education environment in regular school buildings
where nondisabled peers are there, and then we're going to calculate the percentage there.
So in Section A the IEP team completes Section A, as I just said, when the student is educated
in a regular school building with nondisabled peers.
It is important to remember that time and places when the student is
with nondisabled peers is included here.
The team must indicate the percentage
of time the student spends inside the regular education environment.
This calculation requires dividing the number of hours the student spends inside
that regular classroom by the total number of hours in a typical school day and, again,
remember we're including lunch, recess and study periods.
The important thing here is looking at our students
without disabilities, also part of this setting.
The first step in the calculation is to identify the number of hours the student spends
in the regular classroom per day, column one.
I actually prefer counting the hours to minutes to avoid working with decimals and fractions.
So time spent in the regular classroom, though, includes instruction
in an educational environment where students without disabilities are receiving instruction,
instruction that occurs outside the classroom, such as within the school or community,
where interaction occurs with persons without disabilities,
and includes nondisabled peers and community members.
Time spent outside the regular education classroom receiving services unrelated
to the student's disability, for example, a student who also receives --
is in a class for English as a second language, who also might have an IEP,
as long as there are students who do not have disabilities there, that's included here.
Time spent in age appropriate community based settings and include individuals
without disabilities, that might include college campuses and vocational sites.
And, finally, lunch, recess and study periods.
But it's important to remember that students
without disabilities must be part of those settings, as well.
Next, the IEP team identifies the total hours in a typical school day, including lunch,
recess and study periods, those transition times between classes, and this goes into column two.
The team then divides the total hours a student spends in a regular classroom per day,
which is what we had in column one, by the total hours in the typical school day, column two.
Multiply that number by 100 to get the percentage
of time the student spends inside the regular classroom, that goes in column three,
and then using this percentage, which is in column four,
the IEP team selects the appropriate percentage category from column five.
Those percentage categories, we're looking at how much of the student's stay is inside
that regular classroom or that general education kind of setting
where there are other nondisabled peers, as the law puts it, for 80% or more of the day,
how much of the time is spent in regular setting, for 795 to 40% of the day,
and then finally how much is inside the regular classroom for less than 40% of the day.
Understand that the calculation for amount of supports may be high, let's say 66%,
because a student may be in some co-taught classes that have some services that are pushed
in -- 66% would indicate that the amount of support is supplemental,
that the educational environment placement may indicate that the student is
in the regular classroom for more than 80% of the day.
So our percentages do not need to and in all probability will not match.
We're doing two separate calculations.
We're going to be practicing both types of calculations in a few moments.
Let's take a look at a few scenarios, and in each scenario we're going
to be using the same length of day, just as if these students are in the same school.
So we're going to do some, it says LRE calculation practice, but it's the amount
of support calculation practice and LRE practice.
And we're going to be looking at two students, Mac and Alyssa.
So if you'll give me a minute to bring that up.
Okay, oops, didn't want to change it.
Okay, we're first going to take a look at Mac.
Let's say Mac is a student in a middle school type of setting, and the typical school day,
we have that beginning of the day, it rings at eight o'clock,
and the dismissal bell is at two-forty-five.
So one of the first things we want to do is to find out, okay, what is the length,
the typical length of the school day?
If we look from eight o'clock to two-forty-five, we count that up, and we get six hours
and three-quarters of an hour, so six and three-quarter hours.
I said earlier that I prefer working with minutes because it's just easier,
for me, it's just easier to do the math.
So I'm going to convert six hours, six and three-quarter hours to minutes.
Six hours is 360 minutes, three-quarter hours is another 45 minutes,
we get 405 minutes for our typical school day.
So let's take a look at Mac's schedule.
Now there are things on here that really wouldn't be,
but I've indicated them for our purposes.
So Mac arrives at school the usual time kind of thing, he goes to a typical homeroom
because it's not noted otherwise on his schedule, and then he goes to math class,
and this math class is co-taught with a special education teacher
and a general education teacher.
And over to the side you're going to see 10 minutes,
and what this is indicating is the special education teacher estimates that of
that 46 minutes in class about 10 minutes is time
that she really has to provide extra support to Mac.
It may mean that she needs to, he or she, needs to get him started, clarify some directions,
check a problem to make sure he's on the right track, you know, there could be a variety
of different things, but she estimates that about 10 minutes
of that class period Mac needs special education support.
His next period he goes to an elective, and there's no indication
that there are not students without disabilities included there.
And then he moves into English language arts, and it says learning support,
so this is to indicate that he has that class within a learning support classroom,
so there are no peers who do not have IEPs in that class.
He goes to lunch, and then to a science class, which again is co-taught
with a special education teacher and a general education science teacher,
and here the teacher estimates that a little bit more time is needed
because Mac does have a little bit of a problem with reading so he needs a little bit more time,
so the estimate is about 15 minutes of a period.
He goes to an elective, which is an intervention class,
and this intervention class he has with typical peers.
Social studies class comes next, another co-taught class with an estimate
of about 15 minutes of special education support being provided.
He finishes his day with reading in a learning support classroom,
and then the dismissal time is at two-forty-five.
So as we've already seen this 405 minutes in this day, so let's take a look at how much,
what is the amount of special education support that Mac needs in this school day?
So what I'm going with is I'm going to look at the amounts in parens along the side,
as well as the places, the times when he is spending his class period
in that learning support classroom.
So we take a look and we have 10 minutes in that co-taught math class.
We have 46 minutes for English language arts, 15 minutes in the science co-taught class,
15 minutes in social studies co-taught class,
and 46 minutes in his reading, learning support class.
And then we add that up we get 132 minutes.
So 132 minutes of his day he is getting special education support, and now we want to find
out so what percentage of his day is it?
We get our percentage by dividing the number of minutes he's getting special education support,
that was 132, and we divide that by the number of minutes in the school day, 405.
The calculation comes out to 0.325, we're going to round that up, we're multiplying it by 100
to get a percentage, we get 33%,
33% is the amount of special education supports he needs, he's getting.
And what this falls into is the supplemental support category
because it says special education supports and services provided by special education personnel
for more than 20% of the day, but less than 80% of the school day.
So our 33% falls in there.
Now let's move on down to find out, okay, now we know the amount of support
that Mac is receiving, let's find out where this falls with regard
to the least restrictive environment.
So when we look at that, when we look back up at Mac's schedule, first of all,
we see that the only two periods, classes where he is not
with typical peers are his English language arts class,
which is in the learning support classroom, and his reading class,
which is in the learning support classroom.
So we have two 46 minutes of time that he is not included with students
who do not have IPEs, so two times 46 is 92.
What I'm going to do, now I need to find out the opposite,
I want to know how much time he's with typical peers.
So I'm going to subtract this 92 from 405 minutes and get 313 minutes,
313 minutes of his school day he is with typical peers.
Give you a moment to look at how I did that, rather than adding up each of the pieces to get
to 313, I went with the two smaller pieces, subtracted it to get the 313 minutes.
So that's what goes in column one.
Now it says total hours the student spends in the regular classroom per day,
you can do a conversion to hours, again, I like minutes,
it's just a little cleaner when you're doing the math.
Column two, we already have this answer, this is the total amount of time
for the school day, so there's our 405.
And we get to column three, the calculation,
we're looking at the time inside the regular classroom, which is 313 minutes,
divided by the typical school day, which is 405 minutes.
That calculation comes out to 0.772, there's no rounding up on this one,
and you multiply it times 100 to get percentage, it comes to 77%.
Now in this case that means that we're going to check off that middle category.
He is inside the regular classroom 79 to 40% of the day.
He's really close to having gotten up into
that least restrictive environment area, but he's not quite there.
So we're going to do one more, we're going to take a look at Alyssa.
You can take a look at her school schedule.
When it says functional math, it means it's in the learning support classroom.
Sometimes on school schedules they use functional, so I was just trying
to give you a little bit of variety.
But I'm going to give you just a few moments to just kind of think
about what you will do before I walk you through it.
Again, we have the total number of minutes in a school day at 405,
so that's our piece that's the same for both of these, but just kind of take a moment,
look through there, and say okay when I'm figuring out the amount of supports which kinds
of -- which pieces am I going to include in that calculation?
[ Pause ]
Okay, like I said, I'm not necessarily giving you time to do all of the math,
although you could have paused it if you wanted to.
So let's take a look at what we've got.
I hope that when you were looking at what needed to be included you said, well,
we'd have to include the functional math class, we would have to include
that English language arts class with learning support, those are two 46-minute periods,
we would include 25 minutes of special ed support that's kind of indicated on the side.
We can see that Alyssa needs a little bit more support
in that general education classroom than Mac had needed.
We're also going to include the 25 minutes of support needed in that social studies class.
And then, finally, the reading class, another 46 minutes.
So when we add all of those up we get 188 minutes.
In order to do our calculation
to get our percentage we'll divide the 188 minutes by 405, and we get 0.464.
multiply it times 100, it comes out to 46%.
So this is also a supplemental support, just as Mac's was,
but you can see there's a different amount of support that Alyssa is receiving than Mac had.
She has another class that she's not with typical peers,
that she's being provided her math by a special education teacher, and she needs extra support
in those co-taught classes than Mac had needed.
So this also comes out to supplemental support.
When we move down to looking at the educational environment to figure out that, again,
I'm going to subtract to find out how many minutes we're talking,
but what I'm actually subtracting here, I'm taking out the functional math,
the 46 minutes for that, the 46 minutes
for English language arts, and the 46 minutes for reading.
Those are the only three going into that calculation.
It doesn't matter that when she is in science
or social studies she needs some special ed support, 25 minutes in each of those,
those are not being included in this one.
We're just getting our three periods where she is
in a learning support classroom and not with typical peers.
So three times 46 is 138.
We have 405 minutes in a day.
We're pulling out the days when she's not with typical peers, that's the 138,
and we get 267 minutes as the number of minutes that Alyssa is spending
in the least restrictive environment and in an environment with typical peers.
Column two remains the same at 405, so when we do our calculation, 267 divided by 405,
we get 0.659, which round up to 0.66, multiplied times 100, gets 66% of the day.
And you'll see, again, that this one also falls into that middle range,
but her percentage is quite a bit lower than Mac's was, so even though both of them,
the amount of support was in supplemental for both
and the least restrictive environment piece was in the middle category for each of them,
their numbers were different, as well.
And the numbers for amount of support, the percentage for amount of support,
here with Alyssa we had 46% and her percentage for LRE 66%.
Those percentages don't match either, so there's no need to get those to be matching,
you're doing straight math, but you need
to make sure you're including the proper things into that.
When you're looking at the amount of supports you need to make sure
that you are including support and services by professional special education personnel,
and when you are looking at least restrictive environment you're looking
at where it's taking place and you're asking are there typical peers here,
is this student being instructed or educated with typical peers, are there typical peers
within this environment that we would include that time for?
So I hope this helps to clear this up.
I have spoken with some other people saying this was a very basic thing,
but I think unless you get it clear in your head what gets counted
into these percentages it just gets a little bit trickier to try and explain
when you go a little bit deeper with some of the situations that we have in schools,
when there's push in and pull out and all of that type of thing,
and when we're on a six-day rotation versus a five-day and so on.
There probably will be future webinars to try and get into some
of these more difficult things, but I hope this helps to make it, helped to have clarified
for you the two different types of calculations being done and to emphasize to you
that you're not trying to make them match in any way,
they are two totally different things that we're looking at.
Thank you for joining me today.
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