Recovery Services are unique to each child’s IEP. The District is committed to providing an array of services based on student’s unique needs. Our initial and unrealistic assumption was to provide services by August 31, 2022. This timeline was solely based on what was thought to be one-time funding from OSPI and the perception that the return to in-person learning for all schools in 2021-2022 would mean a quicker return to a typical year. Our original timelines represented a good faith commitment given the information at the time. As we approach the mid-point in the year, we face a COVID resurgence, fatigue and continued Department of Health mandates. This confluence of these challenges combined with our commitment to deliver the very best services in the current year have pushed us to reconsider our recovery services timelines while not diminishing our commitment to our students and families.
I understand parents may be frustrated that services have not materialized in the ways they were initially envisioned. Our office is working diligently to provide a variety of services, prioritizing students with the greatest need and those that are closest to graduation or that have recently graduated.
If you are looking for specific information about your students, our office is more than happy to provide you the Recovery Service document that was filled out during an IEP meeting that reviewed the number of hours based on (a) access to FAPE, (b) lack of progress towards IEP goals, or (c) regression due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The Mercer Island School District Special Services team- paraeducators, teachers, therapists, psychologists, nurses, administrators, admin assistants- have worked tirelessly to meet the needs of students. We are proud of our return to in-person services in fall 2020. That same commitment to students then continues now, and we have not lost sight of the recovery services for your children.
Sue Ann Bube
Director, Special Services
OSPI Recovery Resources: Washington's Roadmap for Special Education Recovery Services: 2021 & Beyond
Frequently Asked Questions
Can the district unilaterally make a decision to change the recovery service commitments?
No. Recovery Services are individualized to student's needs based on an IEP Team decision. Any alterations to these minutes would need to be during an IEP Team meeting and based on updated data.
Is the district looking at adding more hours to recovery services due to delays?
Not at this time. Recovery services are based on individual student needs. If after the initial services are provided, the IEP team can meet to determine if additional services are warranted based on the current individualized student data.
If my student is ageing out of the services (i.e., graduating or over 21) how will services be provided?
Services are individualized. If your student is graduating and the district still owes your adult student recovery services, then the student may continue past the age of 21 until the recovery service commitment has been fulfilled. IEP teams may meet and look at other ways to provide services based on the identified student need.
Is the district exploring the possibility of contracting with outside agencies to provide services?
Yes. The District is currently working with School-to-Work and contracting for 2 years of services instead of 1 to provide students in Pathways extended access to employment support. We also have secured a contract with Seattle Therapy Skills for Life that will be offering Speech and OT services starting with the High School Students. As of 1/14/2022 we have interviewed a Physical Therapist as well to bring on additional related services.
This is a difficult time to reach out again to other agencies as the new surge of COVID-19 related cases has increased staffing shortages. We anticipate a change in availability by March.
How will the decision for Recovery Services be made?
When determining the extent to which recovery services may be needed, IEP teams will consider three factors as it relates to the student’s IEP, (a) the provision of FAPE, (b) regression of skills, and (c) no progress toward goals.
Will Recovery Services be provided in person or remotely?
These determinations will be made by the IEP team; however, we plan to provide the majority of recovery services in-person. Expectations to this may include access to asynchronous programs.
Can my student qualify for Recovery Services for Speech, Occupational or Physical Therapy only?
Yes. Related Service providers are looking at student data to determine if recovery services are needed. Determination of Recovery Services will be made based on each area of Specially Designed Instruction the child receives.
What if I don’t agree with the qualifying areas for Recovery services or the amount/duration of the services offered?
Parents should first work with the student’s case manager to hold an IEP meeting to review and discuss concerns. Parents also have rights as outlined in the OSPI Procedural Safeguard Manual.