In 1999, the California Department of Education (CDE), Special Education Division (SED), initiated Verification Reviews as one tool in the Focused Monitoring and Technical Assistance (FMTA) process of assessing school districts' compliance with special education laws.
Consultants within the CDE-SED divided into geographic teams to coordinate all monitoring and technical assistance activities for their assigned counties, districts, and Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPAs). Consultant activities within the Verification Review process consist of reviewing student records; onsite interviews with parents, staff, and administration; a parent/guardian input meeting; a review of district policies and procedures; and a review of district service and outcome data.
The SEEDS Project, under the terms of its 2000-01 contract with the Department of Education, participated in two of the Verification Review activities: the Parent/Guardian Input Meeting, and Review of Infant and Preschool Student Records
The Parent Input Session
In 2000-2001, CDE introduced the parent/guardian input meeting as a mechanism for bringing forward the perspectives and experiences of parents and guardians as part of the Verification Review. At the beginning of the review, participants at this meeting inform the monitoring team of additional areas of suspected noncompliance according to specific themes, as well as provide an awareness of other issues important to families. The meetings were originally required under the Supplemental Budget Report to the legislature.
The Special Education Division's Verification Review Training Materials (October 2000) outline the content, design, format, and methods of the input session. In summary, the meeting may provide the review team with information not available through other, more qualitative sources. The information gained may verify or contradict information obtained from other activities, and thus, result in a modification of the monitoring plan. The meeting may reveal the relationships, roles, and perceptions of parents with regard to district operations and procedures.
Review of Infant and Preschool Student Records
The Verification Review Training Materials delineate the procedures for student record reviews. The records are randomly selected and provide information on compliance with state and federal law. Two types of forms are used for assessing compliance: age forms and supplemental topic forms. Record review is completed by the CDE monitoring team, school district staff, and consultants from training and technical assistance projects. Beginning in 2000-01, the list of records to be reviewed was no longer issued to districts in advance of the review.
SEEDS continues to participate in the efforts of CDE within their monitoring components.
If you are a parent whose school district is currently participating in a CDE-SED Verification Review, complete the Online Parent Survey now.