PATERSON, NJ - The Paterson Public Schools today reaffirmed their commitment to including parental input on drafting Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).

The district issued a statement in response to an issue raised by members of the Paterson Child Study Teams claiming pressure from supervisors to “get approval” on drafted Individualized Education Programs (IEP) without parental input, and to change the wording on certain IEPs.

“The district's priority is to meet NJAC 6a:14 code requirements.  We have asked our Child Study Team’s to engage parents in a full discussion of the proposals contained in draft IEPs,” said Terry Corallo, Executive Director of Information Services for the Paterson Public Schools in a statement today. “IEPs are never considered a final document unless and until the parent has the opportunity to provide their input regarding their child's educational program. This is being done to comply with code requirements and to bring consistency into the IEP process by including clear statements of each child’s present levels of academic functioning in the draft documents. No child’s educational placement or related services would be changed without parental approval.

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“Additionally, the district supervisors now have the opportunity to review draft IEPs before IEP meetings are held.  This helps to ensure that IEPs are updated annually, rather than recycled, and that our CSTs in all cases engage parents in a meaningful collaborative IEP process so that every IEP document includes statements of current observation from the child’s parents and teachers.  If a draft is signed by the parent, then the directive is to provide notice to the parent to describe any discrepancies between the draft and the final version.  Supervisors do not request changes to programs or services though they may require that the finalized IEP incorporate parental input from the IEP meeting.”

The Paterson Child Study Teams had drafted a letter to State District Superintendent Donnie W. Evans, Ed.D. requesting that he investigate charges of illegal practices by some supervisors and building administrators.

“In some cases, Child Study Teams are being pressured to write encouraging IEPs so that students can get into certain schools, and, in other cases, teams are being asked to write discouraging IEPs so that students can get into certain schools and, in other cases, teams are being asked to write discouraging IEPs so students can be transferred out of a particular school,” a portion of the letter says.