The Ohio Department of Education has requested that Ohio Virtual Academy (OHVA) provide the Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement [PDF] to all parents/guardians of students with Individual Education Plans and 504 Plans. If you have any questions, please contact Disability Rights Ohio at 614.466.7264 or 800.282.9181. Additional information about the law suit is available at: http://www.disabilityrightsohio.org.
Our school offers a host of services to help your student get the support they need to thrive in school and beyond. Below is a list of specific services, providers, and contact information.
Identification of English Learners (EL) Coordinator
Identification of Section 504 Coordinator
Identification of Homeless Liaison
Identification of Foster Care Coordinator
Idenitification of Migrant Family Coordinator
Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Compliance Act Contact – Special Programs Director
Request for Parent/Guardian Interpreter Services or Disability Accommodations
Annual Public Notice of Special Services & Programs
In accordance with federal and state regulations, OHVA will provide an annual public notice to families informing them of OHVA’s child find responsibilities, procedures involved in the identification of educational disabilities and determination of students’ service and support needs.
Families are encouraged to review the following information that describes these regulations. Information regarding OHVA’S internal practices to comply with these will be available in the OHVA’s Special Programs Manuals and Handbooks.
The 1997 Amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act mandate that every school district in the country develop a system to identify children with disabilities, birth through age 21, residing in the district. OHVA will make a concerted effort to identify, locate, and evaluate children below 22 years of age, who enroll in the school and have a confirmed or suspected disability in accordance with all federal regulations and state standards. In addition, it shall be the policy of the school that the child with a disability and his/her parent/guardian shall be provided with safeguards, as required by law, throughout the identification, assessment and placement process, and the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child. You should notify the teacher of any child that you suspect has a disability. From there, that staff member will submit a request on Child Find, as outlined via the school’s Child Find process.
OHVA staff adheres to all portions of FERPA in regard to student educational records and personal information.
Consent is required for the following actions:
- To conduct an initial evaluation
- To conduct a reevaluation
- Initial placement to receive special education and related services on the IEP
- Before disclosure of personally identifiable information that is subject to confidentiality
According to Ohio Guidelines for Parental Consent for Initial Evaluation:
(a)The school district proposing to conduct an initial evaluation to determine if a child qualifies as a child with a disability under the definition of “child with a disability” in rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code must, after providing notice consistent with the requirements of this rule, obtain informed consent, consistent with the definition of “consent” in rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code, from the parent of the child before conducting the evaluation.
(b) Parental consent for initial evaluation must not be construed as consent for initial provision of special education and related services.
OHVA must obtain informed consent from the parent for an initial evaluation to determine whether the child is a child with a disability.
Parental consent for services
(a) A school district of residence that is responsible for making FAPE available to a child with a disability must obtain informed consent from the parent of the child before the initial provision of special education and related services to the child.
(b) The school district of residence must make reasonable efforts to obtain informed consent from the parent for the initial provision of special education and related services to the child.
Special Education (IEP) or Service Agreements (504 Plans)
Special Education (IEP)
OHVA follows federal and Ohio guidelines in regards to providing a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to students eligible for special education services under the supervision of the school’s Special Education Department. The special education manual serves as a basis for policies and procedures for the Special Education Department.
As OHVA is a virtual learning environment, special educational services and supports are provided through online meeting rooms, phone meetings, and electronic communications. This environment requires constant communication from not only teachers and staff at the school but also from parents, students, and designated learning coaches in order for this educational experience to be successful.
OHVA takes steps, including the provision of supplementary aids and services determined appropriate and necessary by the child’s IEP team, to provide nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities in the manner necessary to afford children with disabilities an equal opportunity for participation in those services and activities as provided to students without disabilities.
Section 504 Plans
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is federal legislation that impacts schools and other entities that receive federal funding. The Act is a civil rights statute designed to eliminate discrimination against individuals in schools and the workplace because of disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) incorporates all Section 504 provisions, and its protections are guaranteed regardless of federal funding. The regulations are very broadly written and intended to cover a wide range of public entities to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.
The first responsibility of schools under Section 504 is to identify and locate students needing service. The process can be coordinated with the school’s special education child-find process. At least annually, however, the school must provide notice of the opportunity for referrals in (a) school forms; (b) school publications; and (c) school handbook. Evidence of this annual notification must be documented to ensure compliance. Students who may be disabled under Section 504 can be referred by a concerned teacher, administrator, parent, or private/public agency.
Privacy and Confidentiality
Confidentiality is one of the rights afforded to parents in the Parent Rights /Procedural Safeguards document. Confidentiality of educational records is a basic right shared by all children in public schools and their parents. These fundamental rights are described in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, which applies to all students, not just those with disabilities. All district personnel (including contracted employees) are governed by confidentiality requirements.
Special Education Grievances or Disputes
OHVA recognizes that despite best intentions of all parties, disagreements or miscommunications may arise between the school-based team and OHVA families or students. Should this situation occur, the OHVA Special Education Manager will initiate an IEP team discussion where the specific details contributing to any educational concern are fully discussed and addressed as the entire team determines what is appropriate for the student. Collaboration is a primary focus for this type of meeting, and the OHVA Special Education Team seeks to establish and maintain the confidence of its families to always serve its students in order to maximize their educational success.
Dispute Resolution Options
IEP facilitation is a voluntary process that can be utilized when all parties to an IEP meeting agree that the presence of a neutral third party would help facilitate communication and the successful drafting of the student’s IEP. This process is not necessary for most IEP meetings. Rather, it is most often utilized when there is a sense from any of the participants that the issues at the IEP meeting are creating an impasse or acrimonious climate.
A voluntary process in which both parties seek to resolve the issues involved in the concern with an unbiased, third party mediator from the Ohio Department of Education. The mediator who will write up the details of the agreement that the parties come to through the mediation conference, the agreement is signed by both parties, and thus what the document states is mandated to be implemented; This process is overall less time-consuming, less stressful, and less expensive to complete than a due process hearing (see below)