ISMP Training Slides FINAL1

Independent School
Monitoring Project
Volunteer Training, 8-22-13
Introductions, purposes of the project
School closings: the scope of the problem
Legal rights of students at welcoming schools
(including special education laws)
Your job as a monitor
Volunteer sign-ups
Project Purposes & Goals
What is the Independent School
Monitoring Project?
A joint effort of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee
for Civil Rights Under Law and the Education
Law and Policy Institute at Loyola University
Chicago School of Law
The project is intended to assist in the orderly
transition of children to new schools and ensure
that their right to a high quality education is
preserved during that process.
Purposes of the Independent
School Monitoring Project
Monitoring where transition difficulties are
 Providing legal referrals
 Distributing information to parents and
students regarding their rights
 Collecting data and information so that
identified problems can be resolved
What the Project Will Do
Provide trained volunteers at specific welcoming
schools, both before and after school on the first
two days of the school year, with possible
additional days as-needed
Collect information from volunteers to determine
what issues need to be addressed
Provide know your rights information to parents
Our Concerns
Whether CPS is following through on its commitments
regarding the transition process and services provided at
the welcoming schools
Possible overcrowding of classrooms
Whether closings will disrupt learning for Special
Education Students or English Language Learners
Whether student safety is being compromised
Whether there are access or enrollment barriers for
homeless, immigrant students or others
School Closings:
The Scope of the Problem
Who is Affected?
The largest closure of schools at one time
in recorded US history
 49 schools
 More than 13,000 students
 Overwhelmingly students from
neighborhoods on the South and West
Sides of Chicago
Closing Schools –
Affected Neighborhoods
Impact on Protected Classes
Impact on Homeless Students
“All students are harmed by this
chaos and destabilization and
students who are homeless are
particularly vulnerable to harm.
The very cornerstone of
homeless education law and
policy is to provide stability in
education to students who lack
stable housing. The massive
scale of CPS school actions
undercut the very stability that
students who are homeless so
need and richly deserve.”
Patricia Nix Hodes-Chicago
Coalition for the Homeless
School Closing Litigation
CTU Federal Lawsuits
 State lawsuit over ten schools
 LAF lawsuit over closing of Trumbull
 Preliminary injunctions were denied in all
four lawsuits
Target Schools
Independent hearing officers
recommended that ten schools stay open
and/or closings be delayed
 Other schools have been selected
because they were identified by
community members and others as being
likely to have transition problems
Students’ Rights During the
Transition Process
Rights of Students: Overview
Federal Disability Law: ADA and IDEA
 McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
 Illinois School Code
 CPS Policies and Handbook
 Commitments by CPS in hearings and
court proceedings
Special Education Law Basics
IEP = a plan created at least annually which lays out the educational
goals and services to be provided to a student with a disability
Federal and state law directs how IEPs are supposed to be created
and implemented
Special education includes a continuum of placements
(classrooms), which could include  A typical elementary classroom with accommodations and
 A resource classroom with a special education teacher who
provides targeted instruction to address needs
 A self-contained classroom only for students with disabilities
 Cluster programs to address the educational needs of students
with low-incidence disabilities, such as autism or cognitive
Top Violation #1: Improperly
Revising IEPs
IEPs are supposed to be created by a team that includes
parents and should be revised based on the needs of the
IEPs for students entering welcoming schools may be
revised improperly.
Watch out for concerns about –
IEPs that were revised to remove minutes of special education
IEP meetings that were held without the parent in attendance
IEP meetings that were rushed without providing proper notice to
the parent
Requests for the parent to waive provision of services in a
student’s IEP
Top Violation #2: Not Providing
IEP Services
Schools are required to provide the educational services that are
included in a student’s IEP.
Welcoming schools may not provide the required IEP services.
Some parents may know the services that are required in the IEP,
others may not.
Watch out for concerns about –
 A student who is not being supported by an aide that was at the
previous school
 A student who is not getting to participate in the typical
elementary classroom, but did at the old school
 A student with a behavior plan that is not being followed
Top Violation #3: “Our School
Doesn’t Do That”
Education needs to be provided in accordance with a
student’s IEP.
Welcoming schools may claim they do not have the
same classes or supports included in a student’s IEP, so
they will not provide them.
Watch out for concerns about –
 Anytime a parent tells you that they were told that the
new school “doesn’t do that”
 Native language support (ie – Spanish) not being
provided at the new school
Top Violation #4: Not Providing
Students with IEPs may be eligible for door-to-door
transportation to the new school based on their IEPs or
based on the nature of their disabilities.
Transportation services may not be provided properly at
the beginning of the school year.
Watch out for concerns about –
 The bus not coming to pick the student up
 A student with an IEP not being able to walk to the
new school
 The school not being willing to alter pick-up/drop-off
at a daycare or babysitter
Top Violation #5: Enrollment
Students with IEPs are entitled to immediate enrollment
at their neighborhood schools.
Welcoming schools may create barriers for students
whose parents did not follow the appropriate registration
Watch out for concerns about –
 Students who are turned away at the door and told to
return on another date
 Students who are sent to another school for
 Students who are turned away because the school is
Access and Enrollment Barriers
Safe Passages
From CPS Website:
Chicago Public Schools will be expanding the Safe Passage
program to 51 Welcoming Schools to support our students as they
transition to their new schools this fall.
Expanding the Safe Passage program to include next year’s
welcoming schools is one of several steps CPS is taking to create
safe environments in and around our schools. Safe Passage
workers are the eyes and ears of their communities and will be our
partners in providing safe routes to and from school every day for
More info and find the route:
Other Commitments by CPS
Welcoming coffee sessions
 Ipads
 Community gardens
 Air conditioning in every building
 Libraries
Other Issues to Flag
Document any concerns raised by parents
or students regarding their child’s
education and/or the transition process to
the new school
 Potential other issues include: pending
school discipline, bullying, racial
discrimination, transportation, ESL
services, school transfer
The School Monitoring Process
Your job as a monitor
Talk to parents and students
 Fill out short survey forms
 Distribute “know your rights” materials
 Conduct intakes
 Provide legal referrals as needed
Materials provided to you
Training manual
 Volunteer cover sheet
 Copies of survey form
 Copies of intake form
 “Know your rights” brochures and other
 Yellow “MONITOR” button
What’s in Your Training Manual?
Welcome Note
Safe Passages map of welcoming schools
List of Schools and start Times
Brief legal summary
Copies of volunteer cover sheet, survey forms, and intake
List of legal non-profit referral numbers
List of frequently called CPS numbers
Contact information for your Coordinators
Preparing for Monitoring
Bring your packet and monitor button
Dress professionally (business casual)
Prepare for the weather
Determine how you will get to your assigned
Arrive fifteen minutes early in order to familiarize
yourself with the school’s environment
When You Get to Your School
Selecting a spot to station yourself
 Start
on the sidewalk in front of schools
 Do not go on the school grounds
 Make sure you are getting substantial traffic
from parents and students
Stand within eye distance of your partner,
ideally facing each other
Introducing Yourself
Only approach parents
You may mention that you are an attorney or law
student (if applicable)
Introduce yourself as part of the Independent
School Monitoring Project.
Make it clear that you are not affiliated with CPS
Ask if their child formerly attended a closing
Ask if they would mind taking a few minutes to
answer some questions about the school
transition process.
Filling out Your Volunteer Cover
(insert a slide here about the cover sheet,
like the one on the next page about survey
Filling out Survey Forms
Address questions
in order
 Get as much
information as
Conducting Longer Intakes
Obtain as much information as possible –
name, address, and phone number are
important. Ideally get a back up phone
number as well.
 You can’t guarantee anything but with
permission can get the information to the
right legal services organization
Providing Legal Referrals
Quick referral: school closure helpline
(773) 8000-EDU
 Special Education Concerns
 Equip,
Homeless Students
 Chicago
Coalition for the Homeless
Legal Concerns Not Related to Education
If you are asked to leave
School officials or police officers could
conceivably ask you to stop talking to
parents and students, even if you are not
on school grounds
 If this happens, you should document the
incident, but should leave school grounds.
 Call one of the organizers immediately
after leaving
In Closing
Thank the parent and student for their time
 Remind them that you are not agreeing to
represent them or to share their
 Let them know that we may seek to followup on the information they provided if
given permission to do so.
 Approach
students unaccompanied by a
 Enter the school building, or school grounds
 Escalate any situation
 Provide legal information or advice, or
promise families that any organization will
provide them with legal assistance
 Insist on staying at a school after being
instructed to leave
After you leave the school
Once your shift is over, you are free to leave your
Forms, including your cover sheet, your survey forms,
and all longer intake forms should be scanned and emailed immediately upon return to (Loyola students
can also bring them to the ChildLaw Center/11th Floor)
Please note in the body of the e-mail if there are parents
we should follow through with, or particular concerns
about the school in question.
Thank you for volunteering!