As a co-founder of Special Education Day (http://www.specialeducationday.com/), I am so happy to let you know that one of our holiday’s reform efforts, SpedEx, is now launched. Supported and funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE), SpedEx is ready to help parents and schools resolve disputes about special education and a FAPE (free appropriate public education) to students.
We wish SpedEx much success as a trailblazer in rebuilding trust between schools and families and providing a FAPE to students.
Please forward this information to others with an interest in special education. Here’s the ESE description.
SpedEx is: a dispute resolution pilot project that will be available after a hearing request has been filed. It (a) isdesigned to assure that a child receives a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE);(b) is voluntary and will build trust between parents and schools; (c) is expedient; (d) involves a jointlyagreed-upon independent SpedEx consultant chosen from a list maintained by the BSEA, who can assist parties to determinethe program the child needs to assure a FAPE in the LRE. The parties are not bound by the consultant’s report and recommendation.If the parties do agree, the hearing request is withdrawn and the SpedEx consultant observes the child in the program to assurethat FAPE is being provided in the LRE. If the parties do not agree, the parties may pursue their due process rights.
Use of an independent, neutral educational SpedEx consultant jointly agreed-upon by family and school whose fee willbe paid by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE)
Placement of students by agreement within 30 days with post-placement observation by SpedEx consultant
Decisions made through joint school-family knowledge and cooperation
ESE has solicited and selected an administrator of the SpedEx Program, Dr. Alec Peck, Professor of Education at BostonCollege. Professor Peck will set up a database to administer the program, maintain schedules, contract with the SpedEx consultants,conduct satisfaction surveys, and develop data to assess the efficacy of the pilot project.
Applications for inclusion on the list of SpedEx consultants will be accepted throughout the life of the pilot project(i.e., three years). Persons who may wish to be included on the list of SpedEx consultants must have at least a Master’sDegree and three years experience in their field of expertise. In addition, a SpedEx consultant must (a) hold the appropriatelicense or certification in their area of expertise; (b) should possess an understanding of the legal basis of FAPE – a freeappropriate public education – and LRE – least restrictive environment; (c) be prepared to review and recommend programs thatmeet the needs of the student, that is, provide FAPE in the LRE; (d) be able to maintain strict neutrality and work expeditiouslyto gather necessary information from all parties; (e) seek to promote dispute resolution through cooperation and trust betweenschools and parents; and (f) be willing and able follow up agreements with an on-site visit to the child in the agreed-uponprogram. Additional information may be found at the Commonwealth’s contract solicitation site, http://www.comm-pass/,key word “bsea.”
This a three year pilot project, with limited funding (eight cases) for each fiscal year. Requests for this option aftera hearing request has been filed will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Please direct any questions to: Richard E. Connolly, Esq., DirectorBureau of Special Education Appeals; 781-338-6402;email@example.com updated: June 10,2009.