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Special Education Distance Learning Info and Resources

Special Education Distance Learning Info and Resources

MPS has outlined five phases for easing back into in-person learning over time. 

Phase 1

Phase 1 provides distance learning only and there is no access to school buildings for staff or students

Phase 2

In Phase 2, all learning is done through distance learning.  Buildings are open and staffed with school administration and a school secretary.  Community partners that provide physical and mental health support are allowed back into the building to provide some in person supports at certain buildings.  Students receiving special education supports can access these services.  Your school social worker has more information about services provided at your school and can make referrals to a community partner as appropriate.

Phase 3

Phase 3 will be the earliest Phase in which a student can be supported in-person by MPS staff.  The majority of learning will continue to be on-line.  Students, including students receiving special education services,  will be selected to return to buildings for targeted supports in the areas of academics and social/emotional supports.  Students receiving special education services will be prioritized and guidance for  identification factors for Phase 3 are currently being worked on by Senior Leaders and the Special Education Department.

Phase 4

In Phase 4, schools will reopen on a limited basis with combination of grade level rotations.  Some grade levels might continue in distance learning full-time.  Students receiving special education services will be prioritized.  Plans for this phase will focus on small class sizes, social distancing and defined health and safety protocols. The Special Education Department is already working on a plan of what a hybrid model might look like as we move through the school year.  While we continue to work on the details, all updated information for families can be found here throughout the year.

Phase 5

In Phase 5, there will be a return to in-person instruction in schools for all students. 

Special Education Distance Learning Parent Letter: English, Spanish, Somali

Along with other students, children with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) or Individual Family Service Plans (IFSPs) will begin the school year with distance learning. Lessons will be provided live and guided by their teacher, Special Education Assistant or Related Service Provider. Other lessons will be pre-recorded and through at-home learning activities.
Making distance learning work for families
  • To make it easier for families, we are working to provide one coordinated entry point to access your child's lessons so families don't have to learn different software programs for distance learning. 
  • In accordance with your student's IEP, either your child's general education or special education teacher will check in with your child every day. 
  • It's important that families share their needs and expectations with their child's case manager. Tell case managers what did and did not work well for your student when they did distance learning last spring so those issues can be addressed.
  • Work with your IEP team to set a schedule that works best for your child and home situation. 
  • By September 3, IEP teams will contact families. Someone from your child's IEP team will reach out to you during the last two weeks of August. Because there may have been some changes to your IEP team, if you don't hear from someone by September 3, call the school immediately to get connected to someone on the IEP team. 
  • Also make sure your contact information is up to date. Call your school to report any changes to your phone number, email or address.

When all students are learning from home (Phase 2), what is the difference between homebound instruction and "regular" distance learning? 
"Regular" distance learning for a student is learning for the length of a typical school day which is usually about six hours at MPS. On the other hand, homebound instruction is usually one hour a day or as determined by the Special Education IEP team and provided one-to-one by a tutor who is a licensed teacher.  While the curriculum may be the same as that used by the student's usual class, it is adapted and individualized to meet the student's progress needs so they can keep pace despite the much shorter instruction time. 

During distance learning, can students receiving Special Education services still be on a homebound IEP?  
Yes. If a student is unable to participate with their class in distance learning activities because of medical or other issues, the student's IEP team will still write a homebound (Federal Setting 8) IEP.  There are many reasons why a student may be unable to participate in regular distance learning activities such as a physical or mental illness; not enough stamina to engage in learning activities for the length of a regular school day; or may be unable to keep up with their regular school activity. Note: An outside service provider will need to document their recommendation that the student receive homebound services.