Students with special needs have numerous records that directly reflect their educational goals and performance. These records require routine review by parents, teachers, and the entire IEP team. Parents and guardians of children with special needs, as well as parents of general education students, who are concerned about whether their child’s unique educational needs are being met in their school environment, can request to examine their child’s educational records and reevaluate the appropriateness of the goals and objectives, services, accommodations, and placement that have been previously determined for the student.
It is essential for parents to understand how the details of their child’s individualized needs are being met and adjusted as the child fulfills educational goals or demonstrates the need for additional support. An experienced special education attorney can help provide understanding and clarity during the process of reviewing educational records such as Individualized Education Plans (IEP), assessment reports, progress reports, and behavior data, and assist in advocating for your child’s academic needs.
What is the Importance of Conducting a Records Review?
Continual child development necessitates the regular reevaluation of a child’s IEP following the initial assessment and creation of goals and services. Reviewing records can provide important information about a student’s academic, behavioral, and medical background and needs that can help parents and the IEP team address changes in the child’s development and progress. The objective of a records review meeting will depend on the child’s specific needs but there are many benefits that apply:
- Examines whether the student is making meaningful progress toward goals
Parents and the IEP team can review data, assessment results, and services documentation to identify if the student is meeting academic and functional goals with the supports set in place by the IEP. A records review can also provide parents with access to review formative and summative assessments, behavior charts, and other measurable means of educational progress. Open discussion with teachers and staff can help parents understand their child’s academic levels and areas of strength and weakness.
- Evaluates whether the student’s areas of need have changed
As children develop, their academic and related special education services may also change. The records review provides an opportunity for a comprehensive reevaluation of a student’s areas of need and whether goals and services need to be created to address a specific area. If behavior monitoring is a major component of the student’s IEP, data collected by the school can help determine if the challenging behavior is decreasing or escalating.
- Verify compliance with student goals
A records review can help a parent or guardian see if the school is adequately supporting their child and can indicate any shortcomings within the district’s services in the support of a child’s academic progress.
Requesting a Records Review and other Documentation
Parents and guardians have the right to request a review of their child’s educational records at any time by contacting the school. Copies of their child’s school records can be made available to parents and guardians within five business days of a written request.
If a parent or guardian feels that their child is not receiving services such as speech, counseling, or occupational therapy, as outlined in their IEP, service logs can be requested. Service providers are legally required to log and document the services they provide to a student as determined by their IEP. These records can be made available to parents upon request to demonstrate the implementation of services.
When to Seek the Services of a Special Education Attorney?
It can be frustrating to confront teachers and school staff when all you want is for your child to succeed in school. IEP meetings offer many benefits but they also include complex documentation that involves the many nuances of special education law. Working with an experienced special education attorney can increase your success in receiving support from the district and the ideal educational placement for your child.
If you believe that your child’s school in not providing appropriate services based on your child’s IEP, contact California special education attorney Jennifer Chang. Jennifer can assist you in the records review process, can help you effectively advocate for your child, and help hold the school district accountable while obtaining all necessary accommodations for your child.
Here’s How We Can Help
Jennifer Chang is an education rights attorney who works vigorously to protect the rights students have to a free and appropriate education under both federal and state laws, such as the IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.