Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Very Important Memo for Parents

One of the best-kept secrets in Woodstock, perhaps throughout the State of Illinois, is a Memorandum written in 2003 by the then-Director of Special Education for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). On April 10, 2003, Dr. Chris Koch issued a Memorandum entitled "Appropriate Procedures for Determining Placement in the Least Restrictive Environment."

At the top of Page 2 he wrote, "Because it is important that all stakeholders receive consistent information, we ask that special educator directors assist us by disseminating copies of this memorandum to all school administrators, teachers, related services personnel, and parents of students with disabilities in their district...

"Additionally, given the importance of these issues, we encourage district superintendents to discuss the implications of this procedural guidance of this with their administrators at an upcoming staff meeting.

"Finally, we ask that parent organizations distribute copies to persons who access their services
and/or by posting it on their websites."

The Memo is about ten pages in length, easily printed from your home computer. I urge you to read it carefully, print copies, and then highlight the paragraphs that are important to you.

The Memo is found on the webpages of the Special Education Division of ISBE:
Go to
Click on Parents (right side)
Under Advocacy Resources see the article (first article at this writing) with the above title. Disregard the year (2001) shown; it may be corrected by the time you read this. That's the Memo.

Or you can click on

I learned of this Memo in January 2004 at a parent support group meeting in Rockford. Shortly after that, I approached the District 200 headquarters to inquire about it and learned they did not know of it. They did, after I provided the web address to them and then met with them.

To my knowledge District 200 still has never provided copies to parents of special education students. Why not?

Parents must learn of memos like this one. You shouldn't have to fight to find out about important memos like this one.

Dr. Koch is now the State Superintendent of ISBE, and special education students and their parents are fortunate that he is there, because he understands Special Education. However, until all parents know their students' rights and learn about these Memos much sooner than 4 1/2 years after they are written, there is much work to do done to provide this information to parents.

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