Grattan Academy responds to state education findings


By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 10:06 am on Friday, October 05, 2012

EUREKA TOWNSHIP — A focused-monitoring activity performed on Grattan Academy by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) yielded findings, which the district responded to with an action plan.

Grattan Academy is a charter school with facilities in Grattan and Greenville.

According to Maureen Schafer, senior executive management assistant for the office of public and government affairs for the MDE, the investigation did not take place at Grattan Academy, however, a certain type of “risk” caused the MDE to visit the district for the focused-monitoring activity.

“Staff were not investigated, nor were any students directly involved,” Schafer said. “A focused-monitoring visit entails a review of student files, district polices/procedures and staff reviews.”

Schafer said focused monitoring is not based on a complaint and a “risk” can including something like “too many suspensions, too many students in restrictive settings, etc.”

After Grattan Academy was sent focused-monitoring findings on Aug. 15, the district had until Oct. 1 to respond with a corrective action plan. MDE Assistant Director of Special Education Dr. Eleanor White confirmed Grattan Academy officials responded on Sept. 26, before the Oct. 1 deadline.

Grattan Academy Principal/Superintendent Tom Kreiner did not return messages from The Daily News seeking comment.

According to the MDE, “As part of state monitoring and enforcement, the Office of Special Education must review policies, procedures and practices related to the provision of a Focused Appropriate Public Education. The state is responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are carried out and that each educational program for children with disabilities meets the state’s educational standards.”

White said the findings showed Grattan Academy was noncompliant in three areas involving Individualized Education Program (IEP) development and implementation and review of existing evaluation data (see info box).

“The district developed a corrective-action place (regarding the three areas),” said White, adding that the MDE assigned a specialist to the district to help Grattan Academy stay on track for the next year.

During the process, eight student records were reviewed, eight staff members were interviewed and a review of the policies, procedures and practices related to students’ IEP took place.

The MDE also found several areas where Grattan Academy showed strength, including:

• A strong effort to ensure parents attend IEPs

• Communication between special education and general education staff

• A philosophy to provide special education services in an inclusive setting

 

Non-compliance issues

Findings showed Grattan Academy being noncompliant in three areas:

• Not being compliant with Individualized Education Program (IEP) development

• Required attendance was not met at IEP meetings.

• Addressing whether students will participate with non-disabled students in extracurricular services and activities.

• Specifying the time, frequency and conditions for accommodations, modifications and supplemental aids and services.

• Not being compliant with IEP implementation

• The provision of progress reports to parents.

• The provision of special education programs and services as specified in IEPs.

• Not being compliant with the Review of Existing Evaluation Data (REED)

• Document parent input in the REED.

• Documenting a description of the information reviewed in the REED.

• Documenting the required members’ input in the REED.

Source: Michigan Department of Education

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