Message from Chris Willis - Executive Director Student Support Services

  • EDUCATIONAL SERVICES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

    DURING COVID-19 FACILITIES CLOSURE

     Staff and administration will ensure children will receive special education, related services, accommodations, and supplemental aids as outlined in their IEP’s and Section 504 Plans.  In all cases, we will be working with students and parents on an individual basis in a safe manner. If you have any questions, call Christopher Willis at (360) 893-6500 or e-mail at willisc@orting.wednet.edu. Below are questions and answers related to special education and Section 504 Plans:

     What can I expect from Student Support Services?

    Answer: You can expect us to be here, provided it is safe and we are legally allowed to. You can expect us to support you within this new, rapidly changing framework by informing you of resources to support our students and families as we are made aware of them. You can expect us to care and respond in a timely manner.

     Is the district providing services and accommodations to students with disabilities during this time? 

    Answer: Yes. There is an expectation that individualized education program (IEP) services and Section 504 accommodations will be delivered to the maximum extent possible during the pandemic, while adjusting delivery methods to comply with state and local health/safety restrictions. There will be no reductions in IEP services and Section 504 accommodations during facility closures without parent participation in the decision.

     Will there be any in-person special education services and Section 504 accommodations provided in the Orting School District?

    Answer: Yes.  In order to meet state and local Department of Health (DOH) requirements, the district will utilize a hybrid of face-to-face/online models or any combination of modalities and schedules to meet the needs of students.  It will be rare that a single delivery method will meet the needs of each student with an IEP and Section 504 Plan. Health and safety precautions will be in place, including the use of PPE, a daily health screening, and physical distancing when possible.

     How will the district address the impact of the extended school closure last year on each students’ educational progress?

    Answer: During this unprecedented time, unfortunately all students, including those with IEP’s and Section 504 Plans will see an impact to their educational progress. IEP and Section 504 teams will be preparing to address student-specific needs resulting from the closure last year and will address those needs with the full IEP and Section 504 team.

     How will evaluation/eligibility and IEP/Section 504 meetings be conducted?

    Answer: Meetings will be held using phone and Google technology.  Electronic signatures will be used to document staff and parent/guardian participation in meetings, and to initiate consent for evaluation and special education services/Section 504 accommodations. 

     Where can parents go for support and guidance during the facilities closure?

    Answer:  There are a number of resources available for parents of students with disabilities in Pierce County.  These resources include: 

    • P.A.V.E. www.wapave.org,  Support for individuals with disabilities
    • Pierce County Coalition for Developmental Disabilities (PC2) pc2online.org
    • Greater Pierce Special Needs PTA: GPSNPTA@gmail.com
    • NOFAS Washington State: nofaswa.org

    Warmest Regards, 
    Christopher Willis
    Executive Director of Student Support Services
    Orting School District

     

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