Special Education Meets Requirements for the Department of Education

On the Nov. 21 school board meeting, the Director of Pupil Services Kim Carpinone came in to address questions the board had regarding the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and how it will be implemented in NH schools, specifically in the Londonderry district. The Board of Education is given the authority to make the rules around special education. In March of 2017, the rules were re-adopted, the new rules states that a self-contained classroom may have no more than 12 students.

The school board then questioned Carpinone about alternative programs that must meet the needs of children with disabilities. Carpinone explained that alternative programs are a duty under the Department of Education. In Londonderry, the FRIENDS program for children with autism was approved by the Department of Education, because it is considered an alternative program for children with other disabilities.

The Department of Ed. is the authoritative figure that monitors and oversees all programs, but districts are broken down into cohorts based on their size. Londonderry is considered one of the bigger cohorts. It is unclear how often the Department of Ed. will do on-site monitoring of these programs. When the department does come in, it includes a desk audit of all paper work, checking efficiency of programs, having proper certification for staff, and having the appropriate number of staff.

The department also measures Londonderry annually with the best rating of “meets requirements”. Londonderry has consistently met requirements. “There are no findings of either non-compliance or inappropriate disproportion, like an inappropriately disproportionate number of suspensions,” Carpinone said. If, however, somehow Londonderry was not in compliance, the state would then come in and address the issues, possibly by providing technical assistance or doing professional development. In the worst case scenario, Londonderry could lose part or all of the IDEA funding, which is over $1,000,000. Thankfully, Londonderry has proven to be in compliance with the state law for the special education programs and alternative programs.     

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