TEA LPAC/ARD Collaboration
When a student with a disability is, or might be identified as an English language learner (ELL), the student's admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee must work in conjunction with the language proficiency assessment committee (LPAC) to determine appropriate entry and exit criteria for a bilingual education or English as a Second Language (ESL) program. (19 TAC §§89.1226(h), (l), and (m)).
An FAQ for English Learners and LPAC was updated and released on December 18, 2018. The document contains six questions and answers related to the LPAC and ARD collaboration process.
TLPAC / Annual Review and Dismissal (ARD) Collaboration (section I-B)
- Can the decisions of the ARD committee override the decisions of the LPAC?
No. For students who are identified as English learners and have qualified for special education services, the ARD committee and LPAC must collaborate on decisions such as assessment, program services, and instruction. Similarly, the LPAC must coordinate with any other special programs for which the EL is eligible (such as 504 or advanced academics/gifted and talented) while ensuring that ELs have full access to language program services (TAC 89.1220 (g)(4)).
- How are English learner identification assessments utilized for students who are significantly cognitively disabled?
Per TAC 89.1225 (h), if a student’s ability in English is so limited or the student’s disabilities are so severe that the oral language proficiency assessment (OLPT) or norm-referenced assessment cannot be administered, the LPAC in conjunction with the ARD committee identifies the student as an English learner. The attempted assessment is to be maintained in the LPAC documentation. Currently, there are no allowances for alternative identification assessments under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
How are English learner identification assessments administered for students who are nonverbal, deaf, and/or visually-impaired?
An attempt must be made to administer the appropriate OLPT and norm-referenced assessments. If no response or a response other than English is provided, the trial is scored as a non-fluent score. The attempted assessment is to be maintained in the LPAC documentation. Currently, there are no allowances for alternative identification assessments under the ESSA.
Can English learners who qualify to receive special education services use different criteria for reclassification?
Under TAC 89.1225(i), districts are required to use the English Learner Reclassification Criteria Chart to reclassify ELs as English proficient. The reclassification criteria under TAC 89.1225(i) apply to the vast majority of ELs who also have identified special needs. In rare cases, an EL with significant cognitive disabilities who is receiving special education services may qualify to be reclassified using criteria permitted under TAC 89.1225(m), which gives special consideration to an EL for whom assessments and/or standards under TAC 89.1225(i) are not appropriate because of the nature of a student’s particular disabling condition. Students eligible to be considered using the reclassification criteria under TAC 89.1225(m) should only be those designated to take STAAR Alternate 2 and/or those who meet participation requirements for TELPAS Alternate, as determined by LPAC, in conjunction with the ARD committee. The first five steps of the six-step Process for Considering Reclassification of English Learners Who Also Have Identified Special Needs is to be completed by the LPAC and ARD at the beginning of the school year in order for the special reclassification criteria to be utilized at the end of the school year in step six.
- Can the administrator in an ARD committee meeting for an EL who also receives special education services perform the role of the ARD committee administrator and the role of the LPAC representative simultaneously?
No. According to TAC Chapter 89, Subchapter AA for Commissioner's Rules Concerning Special Education Services, section 1050 (c)(1)(J) refers to the LPAC representative as a professional staff member who is a member of the LPAC. As stated in this section, the LPAC representative may also be the ARD committee general education or special education teacher representative simultaneously. Typically, the best representative of the needs of the EL in the ARD is the bilingual or ESL educator from the LPAC that directly instructs the student and has detailed knowledge of the student’s linguistic needs and strengths. Resource: TAC Chapter 89, Subchapter AA Commissioner’s Rules Concerning Special Education Services
- Can the ARD and LPAC determine that an EL who receives special education services will not participate in the bilingual or ESL program?
No. An English learner who receives special education services cannot be limited from access to the appropriate bilingual or ESL program. The joint colleague letter from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provided in January of 2015 clearly outlines the responsibility of LEAs to appropriately serve ELs with disabilities as follows: “School districts must provide EL students with disabilities with both the language assistance and disability-related services to which they are entitled under Federal law. Districts must also inform a parent of an EL student with an individualized education program (IEP) how the language instruction education program meets the objectives of the child’s IEP. The Departments (OCR and DOJ) are aware that some school districts have a formal or informal policy of “no dual services,” i.e., a policy of allowing students to receive either EL services or special education services, but not both. Other districts have a policy of delaying disability evaluations of EL students for special education and related services for a specified period of time based on their EL status. These policies are impermissible under the IDEA and Federal civil rights laws, and the Departments expect SEAs (State Education Agencies) to address these policies in monitoring districts’ compliance with Federal law. Further, even if a parent of an EL student with a disability declines disability-related services under the IDEA or Section 504, that student with a disability remains entitled to all EL rights and services as described in this guidance.” Resource: The quote above can be found on pages 24–25 of the joint colleague letter from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provided in January of 2015.