The school district must locate, identify and evaluate all resident children with disabilities, including children with disabilities attending private schools, regardless of the severity of their disabilities. The school district has a special education screening program to locate and screen all children with suspected disabilities who are residents of the district and who have not graduated from high school. Upon request the school district will screen any resident child who has not graduated from high school to determine whether a special education referral is appropriate. A request may be made by contacting Mary Zimmerman, Director of Special Education, Ellsworth School District, at 715-273-3911 or by writing to her at P.O. Box 1500, Ellsworth, WI 54011.
Annually the district conducts developmental screening of preschool children. Each child's motor, communication and social skills are observed at various play areas. Each child is weighed and measured, and the child's hearing and vision are checked. The information is used to provide the parent with a profile of their child's current development and to provide suggestions for follow-up activities. Parents learn about community services available to them and speak with representatives of agencies serving families. The information from screening is also used to determine whether a child should be evaluated for a suspected disability. When school staff reasonably believe a child is a child with a disability, they will refer the child for evaluation by a school district Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. Developmental screening will be part of the kindergarten screening in late winter. Watch for the dates at your local school.
A physician, nurse, psychologist, social worker or administrator of a social agency who reasonably believes a child brought to him or her for services is a child with a disability has a legal duty to report the child to the school district in which the child resides.Before referring the child, the person making the referral must inform the child's parent that the referral will be made. The referral must be in writing and include the reason why the person believes the child is a child with a disability. Others who reasonably believe a child is a child with a disability may also refer the child to the school district in which the child resides. A referral of a child residing in the Ellsworth Community School District will be sent to Carolyn Sorenson, Director of Special Education at the school district address above.
The school district maintains pupil records, including information from screening and special education referral. All records directly related to a student and maintained by the school district are pupil records. They include records maintained in any way including, but not limited to, computer storage media, video and audiotape, film, microfilm and microfiche. Records maintained for personal use by a teacher and not available to others and records available only to persons involved in the psychological treatment of a child are not pupil records.
The school district maintains several classes of pupil records.
- "Progress records" include grades, courses the child has taken, the child's attendance record, immunization records, required lead screening records and records of school extra-curricular activities. Progress records must be maintained for at least five years after the child ceases to be enrolled.
- "Behavioral records" include such records as psychological tests, personality evaluations, records of conversations, written statements relating specifically to the pupil's behavior, tests relating specifically to achievement or measurement of ability, physical health records other than immunization and lead screening records, law enforcement officers' records and other pupil records that are not "progress records." Law enforcement officers' records are maintained separately from other pupil records. Behavioral records may be maintained for no longer than one year after the child graduates or otherwise ceases to be enrolled, unless the parent specifies in writing that the records may be maintained for a longer period of time. The school district informs parents when pupil records are no longer needed to provide special education. At the request of the child's parents, the school district destroys the information that is no longer needed.
- "Directory data" includes the student's name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, photographs, degrees and awards received and the name of the school most recently previously attended by the student.
- "Pupil Health records" include basic health information about a pupil, including the pupil's immunization records, an emergency medical card, a log of first aid and medicine administered to the pupil, an athletic permit card, a record concerning the pupil's ability to participate in an education program, any required lead screening records, the results of any routine screening test, such as for hearing, vision or scoliosis, and any follow-up to the test, and any other basic health information, as determined by the state superintendent. Any pupil record relating to a pupil's physical health that is not a pupil physical health record is treated as a patient health care record under sections 146.81 to 146.84, Wisconsin Statutes. Any pupil record concerning HIV testing is treated as provided under section 252.15. Wisconsin Statues.
The family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and section 1118.125, Wisconsin Statutes, afford parents and students over 18 years of age ("eligible students") the following rights with respect to education records:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of receipt of the request. Parents or eligible students should submit to the school principal [or appropriate school official] a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The principal will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. The school district will comply with the request without unnecessary delay and before any meeting about an individualized education program, or any due process hearing, and in no case more than 45 days after the request has been made. If any record includes information on more than one child, the parents of those children have the right to inspect and review only the information about their child or to be informed of that specific information. Upon request, the school district will give a parent or eligible student a copy of the progress records and a copy of the behavioral records. Upon request, the school district will give the parent or eligible student a list of the types and locations of education records collected, maintained or used by the district for special education. The school district will respond to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of the records. A representative of the parent may inspect and review the records.
- The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the parent or eligible student believes is inaccurate or misleading. Parents or eligible students may ask the Ellsworth School District to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the school principal, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the district decides not to amend the record, the district will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA and state law authorize disclosure without consent. The exceptions are stated in 34 CFR 99.31 and section 118.125(2)(a) to (m) and sub. (2m), Wisconsin Statutes. One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosures to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the district as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the school board; a person or company with whom the district has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant or therapist); or a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the district discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. Also the district discloses "directory data" without consent, unless the parent notifies the district that it may not be released without prior parental consent.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the District to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Mary land Ave. S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202-4605.
- The right to request that a student's name, address, and telephone listing not be released to military recruiters or institutions of higher education without prior written parental consent. A secondary student or parent of such student may make this request by submitting such written request to their school office.