Be careful if filing special ed due process in August 2012 in Missouri. The process changes on August 28, 2012.
Hearings requested on that date, or after, are to be heard by an “Administrative Hearing Commissioner”. This commissioner is not associated with DESE.
If a parent files before August 28, 2012, they will be stuck in the “old” system.
A grassroots effort was successful earlier this year to make this change happen through the legislative process. It is yet to be seen how it plays out.
Perhaps school districts will want to avoid the “unknown” of this new process, and consider mediation with parents. Mediation can be a much more advantageous process for both parties. My advocate experience assisting parents in mediation has been mostly positive in Missouri. the iep center . com
So you’ve told the school you want to go there and look through your child’s records. You arrive and are seated. Folders are presented and explanations given. You see documents.
But did you really SEE the documents?
Advocates who assist parents can be an asset to the records review process. Experienced and trained advocates can assist a parent in digging for documents that a parent might not be aware exists. Perhaps the folders you were handed were only a part of all that exists. My experience has been that schools often have attendance, academic and discpline records ready for a parent; there can be much more.
Professional advocates also assist with an analysis of what records are not present at the school. There may be documents that your child should have in place but are not. The advocate can help a parent look for discrepancies in what should or shouldn’t exist. The advocate can also prompt a parent about questions the parent might want to ask about what is on the documents, such as the meaning of test scores, what the test measured, frequency of tests/grading, etc.
It is advantageous for a parent of a child with special needs to review student records at least every two years, if not more often. Never go alone; consider an advocate. the iep center . com