RECOVERY SERVICES: This is written at what feels like the 11th hour for WA State IEP supported students. Please immediately share with everyone you know who has a child on an individual education plan [IEP] and has been impacted by the Covid-Remote Learning schedule since March 2020.

When it all is said and done, the discussion related to Recovery Services, as far as need and specific services, is an IEP Team decision with parents and families as key members of this process.

Here’s the deal: The OSPI guidelines for Recovery Services, due to a lack of IEP goal attainment because of the modified Covid schedule, has been available throughout the 15 month period. However, every district is called upon to implement their own version of the guidelines since OSPI does not make certain elements of the program absolutely clear. I have seen a wide range of practices throughout the state and many of them are based upon “district decisions”. This is not within the the OSPI guidelines which clearly outlines the following:

Recovery Services:
This term is used by OSPI to describe the special education and related services and supports provided to students with disabilities to address the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and spring 2020 school facility closures. Recovery services, which may include compensatory services, provide additional special education and related services to students with disabilities and are designed to address lack of appropriate progress on IEP goals, due to missed or limited special education and related services or for other reasons as a result of 3 WAC 392-172A-03100 and WAC 392-172A-05001 4 Use of the term “recovery services” in this document is not intended to eliminate or reduce obligations to provide compensatory education for special education services that were denied or inaccessible during the school facility closure. Compensatory services could still be ordered for a finding of violation through the special education dispute resolution processes. 5 Importantly,
recovery services decisions are not the result of a dispute, but rather should be a collaborative response by the IEP team.

The purpose of this resource is to help Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams determine recovery services1 needed for students with disabilities due to the impact of COVID-19 and is supplemental to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) general education guidance. As a result of the pandemic, every student in Washington experienced unprecedented interruption to in-person learning. Many students did not make appropriate progress on preCOVID IEP goals due to school facility closures, missed or delayed services, or barriers accessing remote instruction, despite efforts of school districts, educators, families, and students. OSPI’s expectation, consistent with the need to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE), is that IEP teams consider the individual need for recovery services for every student with
an IEP from preschool to age 21. Families should not have to make a special request for this process to occur. IEP teams should review the need for recovery services as part of the IEP process and prioritize individual decisions based on student need.

Parents and families are key partners in identifying the need for recovery services, as they generally have current information about the student from the time of the school facility closures and since. As with all special education processes, school districts must provide language access supports, including interpretation and translation as needed, to support decisions about recovery services. School districts must ensure parents have the information and supports necessary to participate in the decision-making process.

For more information, check out the following: The Roadmap for Covid

Also, on March 26th, OSPI will be conducting a webinar on the latest update on Recovery Services and can be accessed as follows: March 26 OSPI

Finally, school districts are expected to update OSPI about their specific Recovery Services plans by June 1. You likely did not know this and in fact, the whole Recovery Services conversation may seem like something you are out of touch with.

Speaking of which, my next postings will feature two essential tools within the OSPI resource kit that you need to know about and were likely in the dark on:

ALTERNATIVE LEARNING EXPERIENCES: Opportunities for home schooling and it may include amazing set of resources you never imagined were available. Wouldn’t it be really helpful to have a certificated teacher check in with you once a week to assist with your child’s program and progress? What about having access to specialists like SLP or OT clinicians in your area paid for by the district?

SAFETY NET FUNDING and NON PUBLIC AGENCIES: Simply put, there is a process for specific students to access private school placement through public funding. Did you know that almost every medium to large size district across the state pays for a number of students to attend private schools? Sure, it’s not appropriate or available for all students, but this is an option that often gets unnoticed.

Also, I encourage you to read through the previous blogs if you are unfamiliar with my work. Thank you.

Take care.

Larry