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Recognizing the need for school based and home based teams to work together effectively, this protocol aims to facilitate communication and partnership between school staff and outside therapists/consultants.

This protocol addresses ways of working together to combine the various unique perspectives, understandings and skills to accomplish goals that might not be achieved independently.

Under this protocol, professionals will share information and agree upon a communication plan to address questions and issues that might arise regarding the progress of a student with special needs.

Since the classroom teacher is generally an active participant in the school based program of a student with special needs, the classroom teacher(s) should be an integral part of the process. The following guidelines are offered to clarify roles and responsibilities and to maximize the benefits to the student.

  1. Outside professionals who wish to liaise with school staff and/or observe a student, must contact the respective district support team who will facilitate the scheduling of the pre-observation meeting. The purpose of this initial meeting is to review, and sign this protocol agreement prior to non-SBCSC staff involvement.

  2. Parents must give written permission for outside professionals to participate in any activities at school, including but not limited to observations, meetings, etc. This protocol agreement records how services will be communicated in accordance with the student’s educational goals as outlined in the Individual Education Plan (IEP) including the Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP).

  3. Non-SBCSC staff visiting classrooms and/or schools in the South Bend Community School Corporation must be respectful of the confidential nature of all discussions as well as respectful of privileged, confidential information gained through meetings or general access in the school. SBCSC retains the right to discontinue this partnership at any time.

  4. All verbal and written communication between parents, teachers, district staff and outside personnel is to be shared respectfully at a place and time that is suitable to all involved. Furthermore, other students are not to be identified or named in reports, observation notes, or in verbal discussion.

  5. Prior to visiting a classroom, every non-SBCSC employee must have or submit proof of a criminal history background check. Individuals who do not have a recent criminal history check must contact the Human Resources Department for SBCSC and request a limited criminal history check. There is no cost for the limited history check.

  6. The special education teacher is responsible for arranging visits by non-SBCSC professionals. A reasonable number of working days should be allowed to give the teacher time to make suitable arrangements, including specific date(s) and time(s). In every instance, the special education teacher, general education teacher (if applicable) should agree to the observations. The building administrator must be informed, authorize and monitor the visit(s).

  7. Visitors must register at the school office and obtain a visitor’s pass upon every visit. Visitors must also sign out when they are exiting the building.

  8. The goal(s) of the observation must be discussed, clarified and agreed upon prior to the observation. The focus must be solely upon the student’s responses to the techniques involved in specific intervention practices and refinement of techniques. The observation shall not in any way be an evaluation of staff performance.

  9. It is best practice for student observations to include staffings before and immediately after each session. The outside therapist or consultant will be accompanied by the special education teacher during the observation period. The outside therapist or consultant should provide some written notes for the special education teacher to share as soon as possible with the rest of the IEP team.

  10. The outside therapists or consultants may demonstrate and model effective intervention strategies to school staff and may undertake periodic reviews with school staff members. However, their own private therapy sessions may not take place on school premises and they may not act in the role of a teaching assistant.

  11. Parents and, at the parents’ request, outside agencies, may make recommendations relevant to the development of the IEP. The case conference committee will consider these recommendations in the development of the IEP. The case conference committee has sole responsibility for the determination of services included in the IEP.

  12. Frequency of classroom/school visits is to be determined by the principal and the teacher in consultation with parents, in accordance with the IEP. Visits must not unduly disrupt the educational programs of the student with special needs or other students in the class or school.

  13. The South Bend Community School Corporation reserves the right to discontinue this partnership at any time.

Confidentiality_Communication Agreement for Non-SBCSC Staff

FERPA-HIPPA - Authorization for Release of Medical and Education (In Spanish)

Student Records

  • Student records confidentiality is of the utmost importance.
  • Storage and maintenance of these records is the responsibility of the principal and student services personnel.
  • It is the responsibility of all corporation staff to maintain confidentiality of records and information pertaining to a student’s educational program. If any information is kept separate from the cumulative file (as in a “teacher’s file) and is shared with other personnel, legally it becomes a part of the student’s educational record and cannot be destroyed. This includes e-mails in which the student’s name is used.
  • A cumulative record is kept at the school of attendance for both students without and with disabilities. These records contain information on the student’s academic and disciplinary performance throughout his/her school career.
  • For students with disabilities copies of the most recent Multidisciplinary Evaluations, IEPs, staffing reports, etc. are kept in the cumulative record.
  • Originals of evaluations, IEPs, etc. are sent to the Special Education Department where they are scanned and stored electronically. The hard copies are destroyed.
Accessing/Amending Records
  • Federal and state law, as well as corporation policy defines the procedures for accessing and amending student records. These procedures are also consistent with provisions in the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The Notice of Procedural Safeguards contains a condensed description of these procedures.
  • A parent or guardian or a student upon reaching the age of 18 (unless adjudicated incompetent by the court) may review and request a copy of the student’s educational record. Proof of identification must be shown to Special Education personnel to obtain copies of records. Non-custodial parents may also access the student’s records if there is no court order terminating or restricting their access to the records.
  • A parent/guardian/student (18 years or older) may request that contents in the student’s record be amended. This request must be in writing, dated, and specify exactly what information is requested to be changed. The Director of Special Education is required to respond to the parent within 10 business days whether the record will be amended or not. If the decision is made by the corporation not to amend the record the parent/guardian/student may exercise their due process rights.
  • Information about a student’s special education services is confidential. The corporation may disclose some information of a directory nature (school pictures, yearbook, award ceremonies, etc.) unless parents object in writing. Written consent is required before pictures, press releases, brochures, etc. of a student with a disability may be released when the intent is to publicize special education services in the corporation. This consent, once received, is valid until revoked in writing by the parent. A copy of this Permission for Publication of Identifiable Student Information must be sent to the Special Education Department.
  • Class rosters, listings of students/services, and other identifiable information regarding students receiving special education services is confidential and shall be provided only to authorized school personnel. Class lists, address directories, and other confidential information shall not be released to individuals, parent groups, or organizations without the approval of the Office of Communications and the Special Education Department.
  • Special education records may be forwarded to or requested from another school district without written parent consent, if there are legitimate educational interests involved.
  • If a district or agency requires signed parental consent, an information release may be faxed between school systems.
  • If an outside agency requests records a signed Release of Information must be received.
  • Releases of Information become part of a student’s educational record.
  • Federal law requires that records including IEPs and any supporting documents must be promptly sent to districts where students transfer during the school year. Disciplinary information regarding a student’s suspension or expulsion is to be included in the student’s educational record when transferring to another public school.
  • If a student is transferring to a non-public school, a signed Release of Information must be obtained before educational records can be released.
  • A student’s special education records including disciplinary information may be transmitted to law enforcement or judicial authorities to whom the school corporation has reported a crime, to the extent the transmission is permitted by FERPA.
  • Some special education and related services may also be considered as “health care” and certain information may be transmitted to an agency that facilitates billing of Medicaid. This process is subject to provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Parental consent is required for this release on evaluation referral forms and IEPs.

Special education records will be maintained for a period of three years following:

  • A student’s graduation from high school with a regular diploma; or
  • A student’s exit from special education programs at the end of the school year in which the student reaches age 22; or
  • Determination that the student is no longer eligible for special education and related services.

Parents are given notice of this policy in writing in the Procedural Safeguards.